luxe - Kihaad, Maldives
Written by Jessica Baldwin
Floating peacefully within the azure Indian Ocean is the exclusive new design hotel Kihaad, which welcomes guests to experience tropical bliss.
A 35-minute scenic seaplane transfer from the Maldivian capital lays a lush, private, coconut-shaped island just 600 metres long.
Fringed by pristine white shores and colourful coral reefs teeming with marine life, it is located within the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Kihaadhuffaru Islands turquoise waters offer a unique opportunity to dive seasonally with whale sharks, mantas, and turtles, as well as the abundant resident sea life.
On dry land the stylish hotel mixes traditional Maldivian design with contemporary amenities and aims to reflect its natural surrounds with whitewashed walls, wooden beams, thatched roofs, and breathtaking panoramic views of the lagoon from every villa.
With only 30% of the tiny island utilised, there is no shortage of lush vegetation and desolate beaches to explore. There are a number of excursions offered that take in the neighbouring islands, whether for a lively fishing trip or a relaxing sunset cruise.
Adrenaline junkies will love the water sports, which range from windsurfing along the shores to catamaran sailing around the island, or exploring hidden coves by kayak.
Those seeking a more relaxing itinerary will adore the spa. Perched above the ocean, you can indulge in a rejuvenating massage to the soundtrack of the waves.
The hotel restaurants offer a wide variety of international cuisine, including local Maldivian dishes and the catch of the day. Alternatively, conjure up your dream picnic spot and the dedicated concierge team will make it a reality; whether it is dining barefoot on a candlelit beach, relaxing with a private shore barbecue, or sipping champagne amidst the tropical gardens at sunset.
Keen divers must experience Hanifuru Bay, a stones throw from the island. Considered one of the best dive sites on the planet, this special bay offers the opportunity to witness a natural phenomenon. Between May and November, its intense plankton population can attract dozens of manta rays (more than 200 have been spotted in a day), and numerous whale sharks the worlds biggest fish which can measure in excess of 15 metres in length. For beginners, the hotel can arrange PADI qualifications.