NewsSeptember 18, 2023

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives Offers Free Scuba Diving – Exclusive Interview with GM Mark Eletr!

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, just days after being awarded Best Dive Resort 2023 in the Maldives, has added free scuba diving for guests as part of their stay.

The resort has its own five-star PADI Resort dive centre, known as Kandooma Dive complete with experienced and professional dive instructors, purpose-built facilities and a dedicated fleet of dive boats.


Kandooma is known for its diving, positioned on the doorstep of some of the Top 10 Dive Sites in the Maldives. Divers can expect to see a wealth of marine life, including manta rays, whale sharks, reef sharks, colourful reef fish, turtles, eagle rays, and a variety of coral species. Some of the dive spots near to Kandooma, include Kandooma Thila, Guraidhoo Corner, Cocoa Corner, Kuda Giri, Manta Point, Lhosfushi, Medhu Faru, Kandooma Caves, Waggiri and Miyaru Kandu.

To provide you with more insight into the dive offer and the resort, we spoke with the General Manager of Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, Mr. Mark Eletr.

First off, congratulations on being awarded “Best Dive Resort” at TTM Maldives 2023 in the Maldives. What does this recognition mean for Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives and its guests?

Thank you! Well, we are thrilled and this is a great achievement for our amazing dive team and the resort. This recognition encapsulates the relentless dedication of our team to provide exceptional dive opportunities to both experienced divers and those who are new to scuba diving.

This recognition stands as a testament to Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives’s unwavering commitment to delivering a world-class diving experience with the top dive sites close by, Kandooma Thila being one of them. This award inspires us to continue striving for excellence, ensuring that every guest who visits our resort has the most unforgettable stay, particularly for our scuba diving enthusiasts we want them to have an extraordinary underwater adventure. It’s a celebration of our passion for the ocean and the incredible world beneath the waves, and we’re deeply grateful for this recognition.

 Can you tell us more about the Dive Free @Kandooma offer? What inspired the resort to provide free scuba diving for guests as part of their stay?

The DIVE FREE inclusions are available for guests staying for three nights or longer and it includes two single tank, group dives for two certified divers per villa, per day of stay. The dives are fully guided by one of our accredited PADI Dive Instructors and include free dive equipment, boat transfers, and air/Nitrox. 

Offering complimentary scuba diving sets our resort apart from others and makes it an attractive destination for divers and adventure enthusiasts. It serves as a unique selling point, enticing guests to choose our resort over competitors. Scuba diving is not only an exciting activity but also an opportunity for education and conservation.

By making it accessible to all guests who are licensed scuba divers, we can raise awareness about marine life, coral reefs, and the importance of preserving these ecosystems. Scuba diving in the Maldives is a major draw, and by including it free, we enhance our guests’ overall experience and inspire others to take up a new hobby. Just like we include breakfast, snorkelling lessons, and access to the Kids’ Club as part of a stay, we now include scuba diving. 

The Kandooma Dive Center sounds impressive. Could you describe the unique features and offerings that set it apart from other dive centres in the Maldives?

We are very lucky to have such a wonderful purpose-built dive facility and the team, two of whom are local Maldivians, know the waters and the marine life very well, while our third dive instructor hails from the land of the rising sun, Japan, and is a favourite with kids. Our Dive Centre Manager, Nihan is an experienced dive instructor who has spent 15 years in the industry and our other dive instructor Nooh Mohamed has over 20 years of experience in hospitality and diving.

We have a full range of PADI programmes, a great equipment selection, and offer diving activities that promote aquatic environmental responsibility. The Dive Centre also has its own fleet of dive boats and offers the opportunity for guests to take courses to become licensed or advance their open-water skills.  Memorable scuba diving experiences aren’t just for adults, the Kandooma Dive Centre also provides confidence-building experiences for the little ones in the swimming pool with the PADI Bubblemaker programme and Refresher Dives for people who haven’t been diving for a few years.   

 Could you explain the eligibility criteria for guests to participate in the Dive Free @Kandooma offer, including the minimum stay requirements and certification prerequisites?

The Dive Free offer is available to full-paying guests staying a minimum of three nights. Guests must be fit to dive and be fully certified. The offer is governed by PADI best practice, meaning there is no diving on the day of departure + 24-hour ‘no-fly’ time. Any unused dives can only be rolled over to other days at the discretion of the Dive Centre Manager and unused dives are not encashable or exchangeable for other services. The Dive Free @Kandooma inclusions commenced on 1 September 2023 and will be reviewed on 31 October 2024.

Beyond scuba, other leisure activities and amenities does Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives offer to make guests’ stay even more memorable?

We are a private island and have our own fleet of boats which makes it convenient for the guests to choose between the different excursions like Nurse Shark Snorkeling, Whale Shark Snorkeling, or even a half-day trip to the famous Shipwreck. 

At Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, we offer a variety of snorkelling sites, from nearby reefs just minutes away from the resort to guided excursions to more remote locations, ensuring there’s something for snorkelers of all levels. We offer a variety of water sports activities, including windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing and surfing to name a few. We are also known, particularly within surfing circles for the wave “Kandooma Right” which attracts surfers from all over the world. 

The clear lagoons and steady winds make these activities enjoyable for both beginners and experts. Additionally, fishing excursions, including night fishing, offer a unique chance to experience Maldivian fishing traditions while catching your dinner which our chefs will prepare for you.

For a more serene experience, guests indulge in our COMO Shambhala Spa where they can relax and rejuvenate, or find their zen in a yoga class in our purpose-built yoga sala, located right next to the ocean, making it the ideal place to unwind.

Maldivian Cuisine is always something that our guests are keen to sample and we offer Masterclasses so our guests can replicate the flavours at home.  Private beachfront dining is very popular for guests seeking a romantic experience and we have helped with a few surprise marriage proposals over the years.  Many return with friends and family for a destination wedding at Kandooma.

We were also a proud nominee in the category Best Family Resort in the Maldives, recognising our incredible facilities for families.   For those families travelling with younger ones (up to 12 years), the Kandoo Kids Club is a favourite offering a dedicated water fun zone, indoor/outdoor facilities and loads of exciting activities.  

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma offers a wide range of activities that cater to the diverse interests and preferences of our guests from around the world. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a tranquil escape, we offer a variety of recreational options that make it a dream destination for young and old.