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Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:49 pm

For my birthday which just passed recently, I decided to give myself a treat, ie a trip to a place that I have always wanted to go, Maldives!! The resort chosen was the Holiday Inn Resort at Kandooma, which was booked using a mixture of earned/purchased Priority Club points (which was very good value considering the 'crazy' hotel rates in Maldives) with the flights on SQ booked on a mix of redemption on outgoing flight and paying one-way back on the return (the return flight booked via an agent was cheaper than booking through SQ's website and with 50% miles accrual too!).

Finally the long-awaited day of departure arrived. I had checked in online earlier and just needed to drop my bags and get my boarding pass at Terminal 2. The flight was going to be very full!

Made a visit to the Green Market, compliments of my credit card, but only a buffet continental breakfast was available. The all-day set-menu would only be available from 11am.

The Green Market is quite empty in the morning.

Some nibbles from the breakfast buffet.

After the quick bite, it was up to the Sunflower Garden to spot my plane.

9V-STA, SQ's first A333, would be flying me to Male. Departure was from Gate F41. Also spotted are more SQs and MIs. Boring...

03 August 2012
Singapore Airlines
SQ 462
Singapore (SIN) - Male (MLE)
Economy Class

Proceeded to F41 as boarding was commencing. The gate was filled with passengers, majority are Chinese families with kids transiting via SIN. Looks like Maldives is not just a destination for honeymooning couples anymore!

Boarding pass


Boarding commenced shortly and was conducted from the rear of aircraft. Greeted at the door and directed towards the correct aisle. My first impression of this set of crew - Not very warm with few greetings along the aisles. Oh, and boarding music is back!

Window seats at the forward cabin.

Rear economy cabin.

At the gate.

Legroom was just average on the A333. I just could not find a comfortable sitting position on the new SQ economy seats. Hard seat cushions and I could not fully stretch my legs under the seat in front.

The plane plane filled up to the brim, with barely any empty seats left! Could be a 100% load in economy today! Business class should be quite empty as a crew member to sent up to assist in economy. 7 crew in economy and 3 crew in business class today. My cabin was served by 3 crew: LS, FSS and FS. As usual, the SQ protocol of hot towels, menus and headphones distribution. Flight time was announced to be a short 4h05m.

All the mags and menu.

Departure time of 0945hrs came and went, and then the pilot came on nearing 1000hrs, explaining that there was a slight technical problem with the aircraft and the technicians were working on it, and we would be expecting a delay of about 10-15min more.

Finally we were pushed back at about 1015hrs with safety video playing. SQ birdies, including the famous 9V-SYE, can be seen parked at T2 remote stands.

Even though we had pushed back, we were number 7 for takeoff, which means another 15min of taxiing to Rwy20C. Some of the planes taking off ahead of us includes:

SQ B772

CX B744 to HKG

3K A320

MI and another SQ behind.

And finally we were off, almost 45min behind schedule.


Post takeoff service announcement.

And it was time to fire up the Krisworld entertainment system. Not sure if it is my personal preference, but I find the selection of movies offered for the month of August rather poor. What's with the offering of 8 movies from the Avengers series?? In the end, I settled for the comedy "Mirror, Mirror" starring Julia Roberts. In comparison, I find QF's entertainment system to have much more variety of movies and serials compared to SQ.

Cabin Service: Initially, I mentioned that my first impression of the set of crew was not too great, well they remained that way (especially the junior crew) for the rest of the flight. Very robotic service from the junior crew members and even lack of smiles from some. Most were just going through the motions with few, if any, interactions with passengers. Really not up to the usual high SQ standards. During boarding earlier, a FSS was only eye-powering rather then settling pax or assisting with bags. A stark contrast from my recent Jetstar flight where the crew were much more proactive during boarding. And the full-load up did not really help either.

Bar service was offered first using bar carts. Each pax got 2 packets of nuts. I had an apple juice to go along. No alcohol for me so early in the day.

Cruising above clouds.

Lets take a look at the menu today.

As the fish option doesn't sound too appetising, I went for the Japanese curry.

Marinated seafood with penne pasta salad. Tasted quite fishy.

Cheese, crackers and butter. And SQ had changed the roll to a soft roll instead of the previous hard roll!

Japanese style chicken curry with steamed rice. Just very average and tasted similar to those bought-off-the-shelf japanese curry mix. Quite similar to what I had months back for Jetstar's BOB meal too!
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:06 pm

Meal service. After the meal, I overhead that the fish option tasted horrible...

Best part of the meal, Magnum Ice-cream!

Magnum at 37000ft.

After meal service, I visited the lavatory. Still quite well-stocked.

Another view of cabin after meal.

After meal service, I finished up my movie followed by just browsing through the other entertainment options. Best entertainment is still the flight map!

Slightly more than an hour to go.

Rather strong tail winds.

Nothing but the Indian Ocean all the way to Maldives.

Soon started our descent. Again same procedure: Seats up, window shades up, headphones collected, all 30min prior to touchdown.

Glimpse of atolls through the clouds.

Amazing view of Maldives atolls!!

More atolls!

Passing Kurumba just before touchdown.

Landing into Male Rwy18. My shortest taxi ever from runway to the gate!

Landed 20min behind schedule but most passengers were not too bothered. At the parking stand just beside the runway.


In Maldives, the holiday atmosphere starts at the airport! No aerobridges at the airport (but going to change in the future) and we got to walk along the tarmac to the arrival hall, while basking in the Maldivian sun! Not to mention lots of photo taking too!!

Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engine.

Yepp, it is STA alright.

On the tarmac in front of the aircraft.

Male's recently renamed Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.

Still on the tarmac. Everyone was seen photo-whoring in front of the aircraft! Haha!

Some Maldivian regional planes at the domestic end.

Air India A320 preparing to depart for Bangalore.

Partnership with Malaysia Airports

Very basic arrival hall.

And onto the speedboat to the resort!

A very average flight on SQ. Yes, everything moved like clockwork, but I felt that there was no soul, no enthusiasm. Food was not too appetizing, but the ice-cream saved the day. Entertainment selection on the IFE was not too exciting, and anyone noticed that the inflight magazine is getting thinner and thinner? The Duty-free and Krisworld guides are even thicker! Ok, enough ramblings about SQ, on to my holiday in magical Maldives!
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:52 pm

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives

Passing by Male Island, which is the capital of Maldives. It is smaller than Sentosa Island in Singapore!

40min speedboat ride and finally we reached Holiday Inn Resort!

Reception area.


Lounging area above reception

My beach house.

Fresh oranges everyday!

Nice beach and sea...



Pool area

Water villas

Fishes in the crystal clear sea

Birds too

Lots of greenery too

Restaurant and bar


Buffet cafe





Giant Hermit crab!

Birthday surprise! Floral arrangements and a card by hotel staff on my bed!

Complimentary birthday cake!

Food at Kandooma!









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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:38 pm

Maldivian performance

Beach volleyball court

Final views of the beautiful resort





Speedboat to airport

Goodbye, Kandooma... :sad11:

Airport 'carpark' aka boat parking bay

Reaching the airport jetty

The 'Airport Shuttle' from Male island.

Entrance to the international departure hall.

Apparently a new terminal is being built.

Lets have a look at the departures for the day. Mainly domestic departures in the afternoon...

with more international departures in the evening hours.

I had done a mobile online check-in earlier (the website check-in is not working for my agent booked itinerary...) and thus proceeded the internet check-in counters with no queues.

View of the check-in area. Went through immigration and security with no hassles.

My boarding pass. The Maldivian departure immigration stamp is cute!

Grabbed a quick bite at the airport cafe (with not too ridiculous prices) and proceeded down a level to the waiting lounge. Reminded me of KL's LCCT Terminal!

Departure gate 3. Again, most passengers are PRC nationals, transiting in Singapore. However the load seemed quite light, probably around 50% full.

Mega Maldives B763 arriving from a Chinese city.

Boarding was announced by rows and it was again a long walk to the plane in the sun. Not that I minded!!
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:26 pm

06 August 2012
Singapore Airlines
SQ 461
Male (MLE) - Singapore (SIN)
Economy Class

World's Best Airline vs World's Most Awarded Airline

9V-STH would be flying me back. Second time on her!

Boarded the plane via stairs again. The set of crew on this flight was definitely much better than the incoming flight. Warm, genuine smiles and proactive assistance during boarding and more interaction with passengers. This should be the SQ that I know of!

2 Mega Maldives B767s were parked beside.

At the gate. Hot towels, menus and headphones were distributed with smiles. Flight time was announced to be a longer 4h35m due to strong headwinds.

All passengers were boarded by 1440hrs, 10min before STD of 1450hrs, but the captai came on the announced a 10min delay in pushback due to single runway operations restrictions at Male. As there were no taxiways in Male, we needed to allow some arrival planes to land before we can push back. When the slight delay was announced, the crew immediately came around with a water service, which was much appreciated with the hot weather. Conversely, no such service was conducted on the previous flight even though the delay stretched to almost half hour.

At exactly 1500hrs, we started our pushback. It was weird yet amazing to be pushed back directly onto the runway! There was absolutely no space for our A330 to taxi past the parked aircraft on the ramp.

Engines started up and we backtracked along the runway. Spotted a few planes that had just landed, including A320s of Etihad and Sri Lankan.

And an Emirates B772.

Taxiing along the runway.

Just beside the sea!

Made a U-turn at the end of the runway and departed from Rwy18.

Blue skies and blue sea....

Last few glimpse of Maldives atolls...

Goodbye, Maldives!

Tried to recline my seat, but unfortunately the seat was spoilt and cannot stay in the reclined position. No worries as the cabin was quite empty, I moved to the rear seat 61A. Surprisingly, the window seats at the last few rows felt to have slightly more seat pitch, probably due to the curvature of the cabin.

Climbing to cruising altitude. Nothing but the ocean for almost the entire flight.

First up, bar service and again using full bar carts. Of course, Singapore Sling for me! All of us were given 2 packets of nuts each again.

A second round of drinks were served, and the very kind stewardess along my aisle, on seeing my eaten packets of nuts, offered me another packet. Well, I politely declined but requested for an apple juice. Boy, I am beginning to like this set of crew!

Crew conducting bar service.

About half hour after the bar service, dinner was served. Lets take a look at the menu. Hmm, not too exciting.

Dinner is served. Had a coke light to go along.

Pasta and tuna salad. Simple starter.

Cheese, crackers and roll.

Braised beef with green peppercorn sauce with sauteed vegetable and mashed potatoes. Portion was sufficient but taste was not too inspiring.

Stir fried chicken with ginger and spring onion, chinese vegetable and steamed rice. This selection was slightly better.

Again, the rich and creamy dessert was the redeeming factor. Enjoyed it with a cup of hot coffee. Chocolate cream cake with coffee sauce

Meal service in progress. The crew offered another 2 rounds of drinks after distribution of trays!

Amenities in lavatory, again...

Cabin view.

Settled into the seats (which was transformed into a mini-bed with the empty seat beside and thus more comfortable), and tried to find something to watch on Krisworld. Settled on a romantic comedy, but was so bored halfway that I started playing some games. Luckily I was not flying long-haul! Would be bored to tears if I did not have my own entertainment!

Sun is gradually setting.

Midpoint of the flight.


SQ writing kit.

While overflying Sumatra, we experienced some rather strong turbulences due to changing wind directions. With the very strong headwinds coupled with peak arrival traffic, it further delayed our arrival timing to 2255hrs instead of the scheduled 2235hrs. Nearing Singapore.

Made a very long approach by flying along the southern coast of Singapore, up north towards Malaysia before making an approach back south into Changi.

Landing into Changi Rwy20R.

View of seats at the end of flight.

Forward cabin.

This concludes the end of my trip report to Magical Maldives. SQ still maintained a minimum standard of service and amenities but the "Singapore Girl" experience in sorely lacking on the flight up to Male. Fortunately, the experience on the return flight is much better and restored some my confidence in SQ. Food wise, there is definitely room for improvement. After tasting the inflight meals on a variety of airlines over many flights, SQ had seldom impressed me with their economy meals. It is not the worst, but definitely not the best either. Probably this is due to personal preference but in this aspect, I find that TG fared much better with their economy meals. Inflight entertainment choices is not lacking, but the selection is definitely not comparable to some other airlines. Again, it could probably be just an August thingy. As for the inflight magazine, has SQ editors ran out of stories/ideas or is it to save on the weight? It is so thin that the inflight magazines of Jetstar/Tiger/Scoot appear to have more contents! Overall, SQ's economy class has lost some of its sparkle and does not offer the "unique" flying experience anymore. It could be other airlines are fast catching up or standards of SQ's crew service are now a hit or miss. The latter, I felt, is more of the case.

Thanks for reading till here and hope you have enjoyed the pictures and report. Your comments are much welcomed!!

My previous reports:

"Scoot" Off For A BKK Weekend (TZ/3K) (by ycp81 Jul 19 2012 in Trip Reports)
City, Beach And Food Paradise (Jetstar,KLM,Tiger) (by ycp81 May 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
Getaways To KCH & BKK On The 'T's (TR & TG) (by ycp81 Feb 23 2012 in Trip Reports)
Winter Weekend In Macau & Hong Kong On Jetstar (by ycp81 Jan 22 2012 in Trip Reports)
Flying The Kangaroo To Oz (by ycp81 Dec 10 2011 in Trip Reports)
Taiwan On 4 Airlines (TR,KL,GE,SQ) In 3 Classes (by ycp81 Nov 6 2011 in Trip Reports)
Binge In Bangkok By 3K And FD (by ycp81 Aug 22 2011 in Trip Reports)
Jetstar Long-Haul To Auckland! (by ycp81 Aug 11 2011 in Trip Reports)
Budget Weekend Trips To Phuket & KL (by ycp81 Jul 19 2011 in Trip Reports)
Budget Vs Business To Boracay (TR, 5J, 2P, SQ) (by ycp81 May 6 2011 in Trip Reports)
Bonjour Paris On SQ A380 (by ycp81 Feb 14 2011 in Trip Reports)
To The Cape With SQ (Pics And Vids) (by ycp81 Jan 29 2011 in Trip Reports)
Another Short Hop To KL On Firefly And Air Asia (by ycp81 Nov 27 2010 in Trip Reports)
TG Vs SQ To Incheon (Lots Of Pics And Vids) (by ycp81 Nov 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Lazing In Lombok By Silkair (by ycp81 Aug 12 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH) (by ycp81 Jul 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
Tigering To Vietnam (and VN Domestic) With Videos (by ycp81 May 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flying With Malaysian Hospitality To Tokyo (by ycp81 Apr 17 2010 in Trip Reports)
Silkair To Siem Reap : A Wonderful Way To Fly! (by Ycp81 Feb 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
36hrs In KL By Firefly And Air Asia (by Ycp81 Oct 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Invasion Of The LCCs (Penang On Tiger And Jetstar) (by Ycp81 Aug 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
10 Flights On 6 Airlines In 11 Days! (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Way To Taipei (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-DPS-SIN On Lionair And SQ (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SYD-MEL-SYD-SIN On SQ & QF (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SGN-SIN On SQ In 2008 (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
Missing Swiss In SIN (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
('07 Memories) SIN-KBV-DMK,BKK-SIN On TR, DD & FD (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)

[Edited 2012-08-14 09:31:43]
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:18 pm


I was wondering when you were going to put that concluding part of the report up.

An excellent report - very detailed and I always love to read SQ reports. I really hope to fly them some day soon.

The meals looked fairly stodgy in both cases - the mains at least and I agree the menu didn't seem to inspire. But still it's 5 times better than most of it's competitors.

The Holiday Inn food looked superb too. Happy Birthday - I am also going out to some Islands for my birthday next week!

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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:24 pm

Very nice report - the Maldives look amazing. Nice hotel too, although I think the HI branding looks rather cheap for what is quite a posh looking resort. Shame the crew weren't so good on the outbound.
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:24 am

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 6):
Very nice report - the Maldives look amazing. Nice hotel too, although I think the HI branding looks rather cheap for what is quite a posh looking resort.

I was rather surprised by the quality and service at the resort for a HI brand! The HI Resort I stayed in Bali was rather good too! Overall, I find HI brands in Asia having rather decent service and quality.
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:49 am

A great way to fly to MLE!
Those pics are super neat, clean and not so crowded beach! I'd love to visit one day.
Thank you for sharing your SQ experience  
Let's just blame it on yields.
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:47 am

Quoting nethkt (Reply 8):
A great way to fly to MLE!
Those pics are super neat, clean and not so crowded beach! I'd love to visit one day.
Thank you for sharing your SQ experience

Thanks for reading! Yes, Maldives is really beautiful!
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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:47 am

Hello YCP,

Very enjoyable TR! I especially liked the jaunty angles of your food shots. You certainly make the Maldives seem more enticing than it already is. I'm planning to go to that same HI resort in October using my PC points. But my question is: how do you actually get to Kandooma? Does HI have a ferry boat of its own or do you have to arrange your own transport from the airport???

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RE: Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives)

Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:47 am

Quoting ExLibris76 (Reply 10):
But my question is: how do you actually get to Kandooma? Does HI have a ferry boat of its own or do you have to arrange your own transport from the airport???

Drop an email to the hotel with your arrival flights and time, and they will arrange for their speedboat to pick you up. Just a small warning: The transfer to the resort is not cheap! US$188 per pax return for the 45min ride!! (But then, nothing is cheap in Maldives...)
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