Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Review of the Conrad Maldives on Rangali Island--Part 2

My husband and I recently returned from an AMAZING vacation in the Maldives. We stayed at the Conrad Maldives Resort on Rangali Island, and it was truly a dream. It is my favorite vacation spot of all time, (well, aside from Maine!) and that's saying something. I actually want to go back. I don't say that very often. Conrad is one of Hilton's Luxury Brands, and the Conrad Maldives is definitely at the top of that list. It was applauded by Time Magazine as one of the "World's Top 100 Greatest Destinations in 2018." I agree! Seriously, I would be a spokesperson for them for free--it's that amazing! (I wrote a separate blog about how we used the Hilton Aspire card to make this vacation a reality. There are many more details in that post. You can read it here.)

This property actually sits on 3 separate islands, two of which are accessible to guests (the third is for staff). The islands are linked by bridges, and you can walk, call for a buggy to take you to and fro, or take a boat back and forth. 

I took this shot from the sea plane as we were leaving. 

The resort is about a 30 minute sea plane ride from the international airport in Male. This is the only way to get to the island, so be sure to figure in the cost, which is about $580 USD per person (ouch!). It is the one aspect of the trip for which I could not find a discount. However, it is VERY cool to fly over the Maldives, which is comprised of over 1200 islands; it is unique and splendid and a treat all by itself. 

In the interval between your arrival at the Male airport and your transfer by seaplane, you are invited to relax in the Conrad lounge, where cool drinks and a small buffet are available. 

For the flight, they provide a little bag with bottled water and ear plugs. The engine is pretty loud!

On arrival at the resort, you are met by your own host/hostess, who is "assigned" to you for your entire stay. These are some of the most genuinely friendly people you will ever meet and will try to meet any request you might have. They give you a delicious Italian Ice to start you off: 

We stayed in a Spa Retreat Villa (we were upgraded), which has it's own hot tub, spa treatment room, steps down to the sea and over 1600 sf of amazingness! Watching the fish swim under you and porpoises play off in the distance, combined with amazing sunrises and sunsets, was absolutely stunning.  We felt like we were the only people at the resort. So quiet and secluded:

After 2 nights over the water, we moved into a deluxe beach villa (also an upgrade), which is very much an open air concept and was a whopping 3200 sf. We had our own path to the beach, complete with umbrella and chairs, a private plunge pool, and an outdoor shower and tub. 

The grounds are meticulously maintained and there are many quiet nooks and crannies to explore on both islands. 

There are 11 restaurants you can choose from as well as two spas, a dive center, two gift shops, two pools and endless beaches. You can read my other blog post for particulars regarding where we ate and all the benefits we received. There are also many "excursions" and extras you can add on for additional costs. We chose not to do many of those. We did go sunset fishing, which we both enjoyed immensely. I think everyone on the trip caught at least one fish--I caught 4 Snappers and Mike caught a Barracuda. 

Watching the sunset itself was enough to get me on the boat, and the next day we paid extra to have the Rangali Grill cook up our fish. They were delicious! 

Snorkeling equipment was free to use, as was non motorized water equipment like kayaks and paddle boards. There is a beautiful house reef, and we saw lots of rays, sharks and amazing fish. I don't have an underwater camera, but  work colleague was at a nearby resort the same week we were, and she gave me permission to share some of her pictures.

Conrad is also home to the first ever underwater restaurant, Ithaa. You cannot visit without a reservation, and the meals are super expensive (as in over $200 pp expensive!), so we opted to pay for the $75 cocktail hour. To be honest, it was nice, but in retrospect, it was one thing we did that I didn't feel was worth the money. If you've ever been in building with huge aquariums that fill a wall, you've essentially had the same experience.

All in all, Conrad Maldives is a fabulous property, and I recommend it with no reservations! 

If you want to see all the professional photos, go to the resort website here. This is one of the few places I have been where reality was as good or better than the website photos!!