Barefoot Luxury at Kanuhura Maldives: A Little Slice of Paradise in the Lhaviyani Atoll
Update: As of 2022 Kanuhura is now operating as Six Senses Kanuhura and its 80 private overwater, beach, spacious family villas will undergo refurbishment. Another 12 single and multibedroom villas will also be added to the room inventory.
Imagine the ultimate castaway adventure, only 1,000 times better. There’s no Wilson here but Kanuhura offers the idyllic Maldivian paradise experience, complete with beach chic design, outstanding service and the most gobsmacking private island you’ve ever set your eyes upon. If you’re looking for an amazing boutique resort in Maldives that’s easily reachable from Male International Airport and won’t cost you an absolute fortune, read on for my Kanuhura Maldives review!
Heading to the Maldives? Read this first: 14 Things You Should Know Before You Travel to the Maldives
About Kanuhura Maldives
Located on the Lhaviyani Atoll just north of the international airport atoll, Kanuhura is a private island surrounded by hundreds of uninhabited islands and dive sites. Kanuhura Maldives (now Six Senses Kanuhura) is a 5-star luxury resort set among lush vegetation and a beautiful white-sand beach, and is perfect for couples as well as families who are looking for a boutique Maldives experience.
As soon as we landed at Velana International Airport, we were greeted by Auzam and taken to the seaplane check-in counter before being driven to the Kanuhura private waiting lounge. No fuss, no trying to figure out the ferry schedule – believe me, after waking up at 1 AM to drive to the airport in Sri Lanka, Auzam was a godsend. We waited about 2 hours for the seaplane flight while other passengers arrived, but had plenty of coffee and food (and free wifi) to keep us entertained.
And then it was time for my first ever seaplane flight – spoiler: the view is incredible, just look at this!
The rooms at Kanuhura Maldives
Kanuhura offers 80 luxury villas and suites across 11 room types dotted along the sunrise and sunset sides of the beach with many different categories ranging from the beach bungalows, water villas and beach villas to the 3-bedroom villas for larger groups or families. The resort underwent a full renovation in 2016 and looks practically brand new. The first thing you’ll notice about the design at Kanuhura is their playful use of colour and chic furnishing – expect a bright and vivid colour palette filled with turquoises, corals, sunny yellows, and emerald green – no boring beige here!
We stayed on the sunset side of the island and had a beachfront villa as well as our very own private pool. The dreamy outdoor shower made us feel like we were completely immersed in nature and our troubles melted away in no time flat.
Kanuhura has used plenty of wood and natural materials to blend right in with its tropical surroundings. All villas and suites have a semi-open bathroom with bathtub, separate indoor or outdoor shower, hair dryer, bathrobe, TV, Bose sound system (play your own music via Bluetooth) phone, wifi, air conditioning, ceiling fan, mini bar and safe.
Each villa has its own private deck extending to the beach or lagoon, and the water villas feature a private decked terrace with access to the lagoon.
The beds at Kanuhura use some sort of magical cotton-linen blend for bedding, and there is a small wooden panel that you can leave on the bed to indicate that you don’t want your sheets changed every day to conserve water. In addition, Kanuhura also provides glass bottles of water to reduce single-use plastic usage at the resort, desalinates its own water, and uses paper straws that are printed with non-toxic ink and compostable.
To truly make the most of your time at Kanuhura, make sure you order in-room breakfast at least once – prosecco optional! The resort offers free wifi throughout the property, and surprisingly the connection was very steady everywhere on the island – including on the beaches.
Click here to see which room types are available for your stay at Kanuhura Maldives!
The facilities & activities at Kanuhura Maldives
Wondering what to do at Kanuhura? Despite its remote and isolated location, Kanuhura has a variety of facilities and water as well as land-based activities to keep guests busy. Alternatively, lounge by the freshwater infinity pool or on the beach for a lazy island getaway!
Some of these are at an extra cost, but beach volleyball, access to the fitness center and games room, use of the tennis court, as well as use of bicycles, kayaks/windsurfing/snorkeling equipment are complimentary.
1. Spa, wellness and fitness
Kanuhura has an award-winning spa providing treatments and experiences. The Kokaa Wellness Retreat and Spa (Kokaa means butterfly in Dhivehi, the local language), has nine treatment rooms (including three couple’s treatment rooms), an outdoor spa pavilion, fully equipped fitness center and aerobics studio, dry sauna and cold plunge pools, steam bath and beauty salon.
We indulged in a 60-minute massage after filling out a quick questionnaire – the receptionist recommended a sports massage for me (I indicated on the form that my stress levels were at a 3 out of 5), and a Balinese massage for my boyfriend. My therapist, Pretty, paid careful attention to my shoulders and managed to get rid of what felt like 15 knots in my upper back.
Once the massage was over and we reluctantly dragged ourselves out of the massage bed, we were taken to a lounge area to relax and sip on some hot tea. You then have the option to take advantage of their plunge pools or use the sauna or steam room.
Kanuhura also hosts 30-minute Yoga and meditation classes at least once a day, and also offers private training, pilates, tennis coaching (it has two outdoor tennis courts), boxing lessons, squash, circuit training, beach zumba, and much much more. Though the Yoga and meditation classes are short and more geared towards people who are new to Yoga, it’s a great way to dip your toes in to get a taste for it.
2. Water-based activities
You can’t visit the Maldives without partaking in some sort of water-based activity. Kanuhura operates dolphin and manta spotting tours, a sunset cruise three times a week (weather permitting), Maldivian island tours to see more of the Lhaviyana atoll, snorkeling (99.9% of the Lhaviyana Atoll lies below the water!), fishing, scuba-diving certification courses or diving if you’re already certified (there are daily scheduled dive trips every day), SUPing, canoeing and windsurfing.
The snorkeling is incredible and the water is crystal clear (we spotted tons of different species of fish as well as 1 stingray!) – just make sure you follow clear instructions for where you can snorkel safely as the currents can be strong and the water is shallow in certain areas. Also be careful not to touch any fish or coral!
3. Private deserted Islands
There’s more to Kanuhura than Kanuhura island. Jehunuhura is 300 metres off the tip of Kanuhura and has a grill restaurant and sun beds for you to enjoy a quiet, lazy afternoon. The neighboring Masleggihura can be booked for private use and is also surrounded by turquoise water and soft, white sand. These 2 islands are for the exclusive use of Kanuhura guests, but they occasionally need to close during storms.
4. Indoor games room
Don’t feel like spending time outdoors? Head to the indoor games room where you’ll find a pool table, table tennis table, foosball table, darts, board games, video games and cards.
5. Cooking classes and more
If you’re looking for a food-oriented holiday, Kanuhura offers cooking classes, cocktail making classes, wine tasting, private picnics as well as dining on the beach. The food at Kanuhura is incredibly tasty and there is also an on-site garden with plenty of locally-grown herbs and veggies – nothing but the freshest food is served at Kanuhura!
6. Kids centre
On a family holiday? Not to worry, Kanuhura hosts kids activities throughout the day so that the younger guests are never bored. The resort organizes kids fishing experiences, beach football, scavenger hunts, movie night and more.
The dining facilities at Kanuhura Maldives
Despite being on a tiny island, Kanuhura has eight (yes, 8!) dining facilities and offers a wide range of local as well as international food & drink options so you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. A Mano serves breakfast and dinner buffets was inspired by local food stalls and serves up pan-Asian and international ingredients.
Build your own custom fruit platter, assemble your own fresh-out-of-the-fryer donuts or gorge yourself on the roomful of cold cuts and cheese. Pair your food with some coffee or tea, fresh juice or prosecco – go on, you’re on vacation! Don’t be surprised if you end up having to skip lunch, breakfast was a definite highlight for us at Kanuhura.
Veli (our favourite restaurant at Kanuhura), has an Asian fusion menu and offers a contemporary beachside dining experience. Make sure you try the chicken tikka three ways and the cheese naan. You won’t regret it. If you want a taste of Italy, head to Bottega for dinner for mouthwatering pastas and gourmet pizzas.
The Drift grill restaurant can be found on the nearby private island Jehunuhura, and Deli was our go-to spot for a quick afternoon snack – you can build your own sandwich and choose your own bread, meat, veggies and sauce.
For a private dining experience, book the Chef’s Herbs Garden where your private chef will prepare a seasonal set menu featuring fresh herbs from the hanging herb and spice garden. If you don’t feel like leaving the room there’s always the option to order in-room dining 24 hours a day.
For drinks, you have the option to head to the Iru beach bar (complete with swings at the bar and teepees!) for sunset cocktails and sushi, or the slightly more upscale Cowry Club lounge bar with infinity pool.
You can’t go wrong with the ginger mojito cocktail prepared by Kanuhura’s very own master mixologist. Tip: Happy hour is from 5-7 PM!
The service & staff at Kanuhura Maldives
One of the (many) reasons why we loved our time at Kanuhura is because of its warm and wonderful team. The service is some of the best I’ve experienced over the years, and the staff go above and beyond to make sure that your stay is comfortable.
The training at Kanuhura is to the highest standards – the wait staff know everything there is to know about the food and wine they’re serving, the chefs take pride in their creations, and everyone from the Kanuhura team takes a moment to say hello and ask you how your day is going. Don’t believe me? Read the reviews for yourself here!
Ready to experience barefoot luxury at Kanuhura Maldives? Click here to check current rates and availability at Kanuhura Maldives!
One of the best things about staying at Kanuhura is the privacy – the entire shoreline of the 1.3 KM long/300 M wide island is lined with a white sand beach, which means that all of the guests get to claim a little slice of this island paradise all to themselves. You’ll come across other guests during meal times and when you’re cycling across the island, but other than that, Kanuhura delivers the ultimate private beach escape.
If you want to experience true Maldivian beach luxury without taking out a mortgage, I can highly recommend booking yourself into one of the bungalows or villas at Kanuhura; it’s one of the absolute best boutique hotels in the Maldives! We even looked into extending our stay by a couple of nights and changing our flights just so we could bask in the Kanuhura experience for a while longer – unfortunately, flight prices had more than doubled by the time we checked. Devastating! Don’t make the same mistake – click here to check current rates and availability at Kanuhura Maldives.
Have you visited the Maldives? Click here to read 14 things you should know before you visit the Maldives!
Pin this for later!
My stay at Kanuhura Maldives was sponsored; however, no compensation was received for this review, and as always, the opinions on Yogawinetravel.com are (and always will be) my own!
This article contains an affiliate link. If you choose to book using these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my website by using these links, I only recommend products, services and hotels that I have had positive personal experiences with and think you would love too.
Video music credit: Royalty Free Music from Bensound
Enjoyed reading this article? Subscribe to the mailing list!
* Unsubscribe at any time. Your e-mail address will only ever be used to send the occasional Yoga, Wine & Travel newsletter.