The Reef Outside The World’s Largest All-Glass Undersea Restaurant 5.8 Is In Bloom

Leaving her diving equipment behind on the jetty, Paige Bennett tingles with excitement as she briskly walks to the front window of the undersea restaurant to show the miniature reef ecosystem that she has created. ‘It was always a hope of mine that I would come to 5.8 one afternoon to check on the coral growth and see a giant moray eel making a home in the reef – and look, this is already the second one!’

Paige Bennett, Hurawalhi Island Resort
Paige Bennett, Hurawalhi Island Resort

Paige, an enthusiastic diving instructor with broad marine conservation experience, started an initiative of great ecological value back in May 2016: coral gardening outside 5.8 Undersea Restaurant. ‘Prodivers and I wanted to create an extension of the existing reef that would represent, on a small scale, the beauty of the Maldives’ underwater while at the same time reviving marine life that had, at the time, been weakened by the El Niño. With a carefully devised plan of action, a team of divers dislodged some blocks of coral that showed few signs of life and placed them onto the shelves surrounding the restaurant. Just one day after the first coral planting was complete, the area was covered with damsel fish, wrasse were feeding in the sand, and pairs of butterflyfish were hovering over the reef. ‘Fish life around the restaurant is nothing short of amazing’, adds Mie Shaahh, a local who was instrumental in the project. ‘Dreams don’t work unless you do ‘- and what a dreamy hustle-bustle of marine life it is!

Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island Resort

Hurawalhi Island Resort is located inside a reef channel through which nutrient-rich water gets funnelled into the atoll. 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, in particular, lies in a bay that experiences a constant backwash current, creating a potential for the reefs to thrive. Diners at the world’s largest and deepest undersea restaurant will not only be in for a variety of treats served on their plates, but will also get to admire amazing views of the new coral reef that Paige and the team brought to life. At the moment, you can see more than 100 different species of fish living on the reef, including everyone’s favourite clownfish. ‘Coral bleaching had devastating consequences on anemones. Water temperature of 32 degrees Celsius induced stress on anemones, causing them to release photosynthetic algae they use to create energy into the water.’ Anemones became white and shriveled, but within a couple of days the team noticed that the 20 bleached anemones were turning brown again and within 2 weeks they had become healthy and full with clownfish laying eggs around them. The new location with favourable currents and temperature helped them to regain the algae quickly enough to prevent them from dying.

Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island Resort

An additional piece in Hurawalhi’s ‘sustaining the reef’ jigsaw puzzle is a sunken shipwreck, an artificial reef that already sees some vibrant marine life activity. Paige observes that the life around the wreck is different from other parts of the reef: ‘Trumpetfish, moray eels, giant pufferfish and small groups of snappers have already made it their home. Hopefully we will have sponges and soft corals covering it in a few years.’

Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island Resort

‘No matter what time of the day you dine at the restaurant, you can see the most beautiful array of marine life in all colours of the rainbow. There are oriental sweetlips hovering under a table coral, giant trevallies hunting, jellyfish bioluminescence-ing as they drift by in the current – I could list all of the species that one can expect to see during a meal, but I don’t want to spoil the magic that’s waiting here.’

2 tasting menus and coral garden view, please!

New Kandima Maldives, opening February 2017

A new game-changing destination & lifestyle resort opening February 2017
Under new hospitality development company, Pulse Hotels & Resorts

Forget normal, the mundane. Out with the everyday, the expected. Kandima Maldives, opening in February 2017 is anything but ordinary – it is smart, playful and responsible.

Located on a lush tropical island in the Dhaalu Atoll, Kandima Maldives is just a 30-minute flight from Male International Airport, followed by a 20-minute boat ride to this seriously stylish island.

Kandima will offer guests the opportunity to experience the NEW Maldives in an exciting way. This new game-changing lifestyle resort will embody all the positive values of the Maldives, whilst adding its own innovative, vibrant and playful style.

This 3 km long island will be the first lifestyle resort in the country. More than just another beach holiday, it is an experience, offering timeout for adults and plenty of fun for children, not to mention island-living at its best, year round sunshine, water sports, top activities and a safe environment.

Kandima Maldives is perfect for those searching for quality, value and a contemporary and intelligent holiday experience. The goal is to help guests get the most out of their holiday, by making each stay unique, enjoyable and memorable. Kandima Maldives’ promise is that all guests will leave feeling energised, relaxed, inspired and above all, happy. What else makes Kandima Maldives different? Well everyone is welcome for a start. This lifestyle resort caters for guests of all ages; families, couples, groups of friends and of course honeymooners. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, wellbeing, sport, spa experiences or just family time, Kandima Maldives will have something for everyone.

Just play! At Kandima Maldives, it is all about genuine hospitality with a human touch and smart solutions that make use of the latest innovations – not to mention a playful spirit. Explore one of the most beautiful settings in the world through the Diving School & Marine Centre activities, or head to the state-of-the-art Watersports Centre where an experienced team will take you windsurfing, SUP, surfing, or on one of the Catamarans.

If relaxation is more your thing, then simply open the doors onto your own private decking area and enjoy endless tropical views, sign up to the daily yoga and meditation classes on offer, or dive into the outdoor pool. Measuring 100m this is set to be the largest pool in the Maldives.

Still not convinced? Then have a look at these other activities with more cool surprises still being developed: tennis courts, art studio, marine biology school, kids club, games room, library, gym, yoga studio and spa, Zumba classes, electric scooters, beach volleyball, petanque, arts and crafts lessons, …

Whether you want to dine as a group, or slope off to somewhere more intimate for a romantic meal for two – Kandima Maldives has the perfect place for you. The island offers cuisine to suit any gastronomic taste, boasting one of the largest selection of restaurants and bars in the country, with an incredible choice of ten different outlets, featuring flavours of the world from Chinese to Maldivian and Mediterranean.

The resort offers a choice of 274 stylishly designed studios, beach and aqua villas, with eleven different categories to choose from, all of which have a private terrace and endless tropical views to enjoy. Their locations at different points along the 3km long island makes the accommodation suitable for honeymooners and couples seeking privacy and families as well as group of friends looking for activity.

Kandima Maldives will use state of the art technology in order to elevate their guest’s experience. The new Kandima property management system is the first of its kind – it is smart unobtrusive technology that makes guests stays smoother and the new RFID wristband means that there is no need to carry a key or wallet. This advanced technology will enable Kandima to service guests to the highest level from booking to arrival, throughout their stay and beyond.

So why is Kandima Maldives investing in such game-changing technology? Of course to give the best possible service to all guests, to be easily accessible for everyone but as well to follow one of its values: to be responsible and reduce its carbon footprint due to reducing the islands waste and energy consumption. All water waste and glass are recycled, food composted, items responsibly packaged, energy saved through smart room controls and printed collateral radically reduced through the use of the app and interactive systems.

Available from £160 half board per person, based on two adults sharing.