In Japanese, ‘Kagi’ means key. If one had to unlock the essence of a pure life, the aptly named Kagi Maldives Spa island would be a good place to start. Designed by Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki, the three-hectare island wellness resort in the North Male Atoll, Maldives, is quite literally an oasis.
Areef Ahmed, the resort’s Deputy General Manager, says, “I’m very satisfied with the occupancy that we have had. Even during the festive season, our occupancy was over 50-60 per cent. Since then, we have witnessed a drop as some countries started re-imposing lockdowns and going back to closing borders.”
The 50-villa boutique island resort had to delay the opening as COVID-19 dealt a severe blow and borders were closed. Recalling those times, Ahmed says, “It was a very difficult time for us, especially during the phase of building the resort. Due to COVID there was an unexpected delay in getting the equipment and materials. With borders closed in countries like China and Thailand, we had to rely on other countries and that led to a long delay in opening Kagi.”
Ahmed says that while Indians formed a chunk of their source market, they have had guests of over 50 nationalities visiting Kagi, with Russian tourists coming a close second. “Before the lockdown, we also received a lot of British tourists during the festive season as well as from the United States and the Arab market.”
An aerial shot of Baani Spa
Talking about the profile of Indian guests, Nadine Kruger, Assistant Director of Sales & Marketing at the resort, informs, “Since we opened, Kagi has been exposed to many Indian partners who actively sell Maldives in their portfolios. Kagi receives a lot of attention and demand from the entry luxury level Indian clients.” Kruger agrees that occupancy isn’t at their desired level at the moment because of COVID and associated restrictions, but adds, “Occupancy may not be the way we want it to be, but despite COVID, we are very happy with the number of guests we have welcomed so far.”
One of Kagi’s main highlights is of course the wellness retreat for which the resort has a signature building called the Baani Spa – a first-of-its-kind spa in this part of the world. The influence of the ocean is pronounced, as Baani in the local language means ‘ocean swell’, reminding one of the rhythm of life. “The symbolic meaning of Baani is a personal journey to healthy and joyful living. Our service menu has been crafted to deliver an authentic, personalized, outcome-focused wellness programme which promises to take you on the Baani Journey to Release, Restore and Regain. The spa provides a 360-degree wellness experience and promises a holistic retreat for body, mind, and soul,” says Ahmed. The spa comes equipped with treatment rooms, saunas, a salon, lounge and wellness boutique, and adding to its charms is a highly recommended sound-healing studio.
The reception at Kagi Maldives Spa Island
The resort was planned pre-COVID, but had to open its doors when the pandemic had already reset rules around free interaction. Naturally, the management had a lot of thinking and recalibration to do. As Kruger says, “Kagi was designed with the concept of socialization among guests and staff as a fundamental part of the wellbeing of each guest. Architecturally, Kagi offers two hubs on the island – the spa complex to the south and the restaurant complex to the west. These public buildings are designed to provide guests with ample free space and encourage not only socialization without crowding, but also privacy without isolation. Therefore, Kagi presents the ideal space for safe social interaction and privacy. All the villas have their own private plunge pool where guests can spend their days without being exposed to public areas, should they wish. The resort has a well-established post-COVID safety guideline in place.”
With wellness in short supply these days, this serene oasis could offer a holistic route to reset and recharge.