Conrad Maldives Rangali Island: A Honeymoon Dream Destination
Looking for the perfect remote island escape for your honeymoon, anniversary, or even a family trip? Maldives is hands down one of the prime locations on the planet to offer you the softest white sand, immaculate beaches, sparkling crystal blue waters and wildlife sightings onshore and offshore!
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is among one of the pioneer resorts in the Maldives and occupies two islands that you can only reach by seaplane or yacht. Though it’s been around for over 25 years – first opening up as the Hilton Maldives Rangali Island as the first hotel chain to make their mark in the archipelagos – the Conrad Maldives is still among the top tier resorts out of the 160 island-resorts that populate the Maldives today.
What makes Conrad Maldives so special and is it worth booking a trip here out of the many options that welcome us on the gorgeous islands? We’ll take a deep dive into what this five-star island-resort has to offer, what makes it unique and how to save a TON of money to book a stay at this property like we did!
Arriving to Conrad Maldives
Making your way to the Maldives can be a trip and a half. If you’re coming from North America, you might be travelling for over 30 hours straight and cannot wait to relax on the pristine beaches and take in the island ambience with incredible service to take care of your needs.
We booked our flight itinerary on Aeroplan points all the way from Calgary, Canada (YYC) to Male (MLE), but added a stopover for only 5,000 Aeroplan miles in Abu Dhabi. Here we stayed for three glorious nights with the St. Regis Abu Dhabi before taking a 5-hour red-eye flight to Maldives. Check out how we flew this whole itinerary for only 100,000 points and $150.44 CAD each on Business Class!
I would highly recommend adding a layover in the Middle East if you can to break up your flights. It worked out perfectly for us as we landed in Male at 6:20am with plenty of time to enjoy breakfast at the lounge and arrive at the resort in the early morning, giving us plenty of time to take advantage of our first night there.
Once you land, you’ll notice that the airport is situated on a mainly industrial island called Hulhule Island. The Maldives is made up of 1,200 different islands so it’s a very different experience than getting off the plane at the airport and hopping into a cab to reach your hotel. The great thing is that the Conrad doesn’t leave you to your own demise to figure out how the heck you’re going to get to this whole other island. No siree!
As soon as you exit the baggage area, there will be an airport attendant contracted by the Conrad with a brand name sign and a list of guests to check in. The attendant will then direct you while helping you with your bags to the Trans Maldivian Airways check-in counter to check your luggage, weigh them and give you your seaplane tickets.
You see, once you book your stay with Conrad Maldives, you’ll have a personal guest relations representative reach out to you via email to receive your flight information details and any special requests you may have right down to your pillow type selection. Conrad then books your seaplane flight for you, while letting you know the price, unless you decide to come any other way (i.e. private yacht).
Conrad Airport Lounge
After checking in for your seaplane flight, your assigned attendant will guide you just a few more steps to your private van that will transfer you to Conrad’s exclusive lounge to await boarding. Here you can enjoy snacks galore, a light meal and some drinks before you’re called. The lounge hadn’t changed much since I last visited in 2015 with my family, but they’re now in the midst of doing renovations which should be ready by the time you arrive for your trip!
I wouldn’t say the food options were fantastic at the lounge but it holds you over until your next satisfying meal on the island! We had a light and cold breakfast with some yogurt, slices of cheese and cold cuts, some vegetables, granola, fruit and that was all we needed really.
If you’re lucky, you might have a chance to get a quick yet effective massage at one of the professional massage chairs in the spa room. Ask the lounge staff if they’re currently providing them and get those few minutes of blissful relaxation before it’s time to move to the seaplane dock.
Seaplane Journey to Conrad Maldives
If you’ve yet to be on a seaplane, you may or may not be surprised with how tight it is in there. There’s usually enough room for 12 passengers and all our luggage, your knees will likely be right up against the seat in front you and you’ll be squished from all sides if you’re seated at the window. But don’t worry! It’s so worth that half an hour of slight discomfort to witness the marvellous views out your little window.
I think one of the parts of the entire Maldives trip I most looked forward to was that short journey and peering out to the many turquoise atolls and islands with deep green centres and white outlines as we glided just above them and through the clouds. It’s still one of my most treasured memories of our time here so it made the $599 USD roundtrip seaplane flight worth every penny to get us to Rangali Island and back.
Note: If you’re claustrophobic or sensitive to small spaces, this method of getting you to the resort might not be the best route for you to take and you can talk to your Conrad booking representative about other options like the yacht charter.
Checking Into Conrad Maldives
Upon arriving at the seaplane landing platform in the open waters between the two islands of Rangali, you’ll likely see a row of staff waving in Maldivian style before the seaplane even lands on the water! It’s the cutest thing as they greet the arriving guests before we even disembark the aircraft. This is one of the reasons why I suggest taking a seat on the right-hand-side of the seaplane and in the front rows if you can. The other reason is that you’ll get to see the gorgeous Rangali and Rangali-Finolhu and the shades of turquoise and blue that surround them as you slowly approach the resort while in the air.
As you get off the seaplane, be a little extra cautious as you step onto the floating dock. You haven’t hit solid ground just yet! The staff will offer you a cold towel and a refreshing green coconut filled with the fruit’s juice whilst you wait for your host to check you in. Once you’re ready to go, your host will take you on the electric buggy straight to your villa, and your luggage will be dropped off soon a baggage-only vehicle. Take in the gorgeous views and fresh Indian Ocean breeze as you drive along the narrow wooden bridge from the seaplane terminal to your home island!
After arriving to your designated room, your host will give you a rundown of your accommodation, let you know of any important notices, ask if you want to make further reservations (for dinner or activities), give you their WhatsApp number to reach them at any time of the day, and then they’ll be on their way! Alas, you can finally relax in your gorgeous stay.
Conrad Maldives Water Villas
The resort has absolutely stunning rooms and suites from their most basic beach villas to their massive multi-bedroom overwater bungalows. If you’ve heard of The Muraka, the first of its kind, you know that the Conrad can go above and beyond for its guest accommodations.
The Muraka is a stand-alone beauty – a luxurious two-level residence housing a master bedroom 16 feet under the surface of the sea and a full commercial kitchen where your private chefs will cook you every meal. There’s a hefty price tag associated to it which honestly makes sense.
The beach villas are stunning. My family and I stayed in one of their beautiful beach villas near the lobby on the main island and absolutely loved it. The luxurious architecture meet the island environment wonderfully. The same can be said about their water villas.
On Jason’s and my honeymoon this trip, we had the opportunity to book the sunrise water villa for 5 nights at a record-low rate of 95,000 points each night. If you see this points value in the reservations portal, it’s time to consider booking! Remember that with the Hilton brand, every fifth night is free, so our total expenditure on the room was 380,000 Hilton Honors points and we were blessed with an upgrade halfway through after speaking with the property manager, Nashid!
Sunrise Water Villa
We were fortunate to have been placed in one of their best sunrise water villas right off the bat at villa #312, located at the furthest end of the adults-only Rangali Island shore facing east as its name implies. This meant that there was no one to our left if we faced our outdoor balcony and we couldn’t be happier to have this extra open area to swim in the shallow light blue seas without disturbing our neighbours.
The sunrise water villa is the Conrad’s most basic water villa but their version of “low tier” starts way up high to begin with! There’s a short walk on the wooden boardwalk hovering over the waves to reach your door and as soon as you open it you’re welcomed into your not-so-humble abode! The traditional dark wood that makes up the structure and the furniture contrasts so well against the white and glass finishes.
You’re first greeted by the large counter and minibar with a captivating carved out wood partition that separates the room entrance from the bed space. The minibar is incredibly enticing with tons of Conrad branded snacks to choose from, full hard liquor bottles and even a chilled wine rack beside the mini fridge. The latter is such a thoughtful addition so you never have to call in if you’re looking for a bottle of wine ready to open!
On the counter, there’s also – our favourite – Nespresso machine with pods, spoons, cups, saucers and sweeteners in the drawer underneath. Here, you’ll also find a variety of tea bags if that’s more your cup of tea (pun intended). Little milk cartons can be found in the fridge as well as many more snacks! If you’d like to have any, you can use the QR code on the counter where all the items are listed along with their prices. The great thing is that the filtered water in the glass is all complimentary and you can ask your designated housekeeper to replenish with more if you’re in need.
Across from the minibar is the large walk-in closet where you’ll find your thick Conrad branded robes, slippers, a durable weaved beach bag, a bug-repellent spray for your villa, a safe as well as an iron and ironing board. This is the perfect place to keep all your luggage out of sight.
Adjacent to the closet is the massive three-piece bathroom. It’s huge! I loved the large tiles and modern wallpaper, the double vanity made of granite with elegant vessel sinks, a freestanding bathtub that matched the sinks and overlooked the ocean, the spacious rainwater shower and the private water closet with a window that saw out to the beach. The modern touches like the large round-corner mirror crossed well with the tropical touches of the weaved bathroom bench and louvred wooden door to the toilet. It definitely makes you feel relaxed coming into this bathroom!
The amenities were quite inclusive with soap bars for both the soak tub and sinks, shaving amenities, extra toothbrushing kits, packaged cotton swabs and cotton balls, floss picks, mouthwash bottles and a terry cloth scrubbing bath brush. A lot of these items were also quite eco-conscious alternatives made with plant materials. The shampoo, conditioner and body wash were placed in these ceramic bottles with cork caps that were pretty tricky to dispense out of. I was always worried id drop the heavy bottle. But the intention for reducing waste is there!
The king-size bed is laid in the middle of the large room under the high vaulted ceiling. I loved that they added special bed decorations for our honeymoon with celebratory flowers on a heart-shaped towel arrangement. Leaves were also cut out to spell “HAPPY HONEYMOON”! The bed was amazingly comfortable, especially since we pre-selected our pillow preference prior to. The Conrad certainly doesn’t cheap out on bedding!
The blue colour of the decorative pillows on both the bed and the large couch at the foot of the bed goes so well with the neutral colours surrounding the villa. It certainly replicates the visuals that you’ll see outside from your balcony! On one side of the bed is a glass desk that fits perfectly within the enclave and faces a big square window to the outside. If you sit here, right under your feet is another glass panel to see through to the water and any fish that swim by. How cool!
Perfectly situated in the room corner is the massive flatscreen TV where we plugged in our Roku to catch up on our movies and shows in the comfort of our cozy couch and bed during our nights in. On the coffee table in front of the couch is where the Conrad left us a lovely bundle that made up our honeymoon amenities: a bottle of chilled sparkling wine; a platter of fresh tropical fruits including lychee, passionfruit, dragon fruit, watermelon and honeydew; a set of yummy tropical marshmallows, and a box of chocolate treats!
And of course, the moment we’ve been waiting for, beyond that coffee table is where are situated the sliding glass doors that lead you to your very own pocket of paradise! This sundeck is what we craved the most in our Maldives water villa! Here lies a never ending view of the crystalline waters and a luxurious place to enjoy it. On the sundeck, you’ll have your own round table and two cushioned patio chairs, two cushioned sun loungers and your own whirlpool to soak in the view. On the other side of the deck is a stairway that leads straight to the open waters with a freshwater hose at the top of the stairs. I don’t think we could get enough of this!
Sunset Water Villa with Pool
To top it off, we were upgraded to the sunset water villa with pool on our last two nights which allows us to see what the accommodations on the other side of the island offer. We were blessed again with having the last room of the sunset water villa section with no next-door neighbours to our right this time at villa #315.
The sunset is almost identical to the sunrise in the layout and size of the room. The most obvious difference is that it’s facing west and has a narrow pool that covers the whole width of the sundeck as opposed to the corner whirlpool of the sunrise villa. Another small difference we noticed – and this could simply be a minuscule inconsistency in housekeeping amenities at the time – was the fact that the robes were of different texture, being a much softer material.
As we were now facing the outer part of the lagoon versus the inner, the water and tide were distinctively different in this villa’s backyard. The water was shallower and surprisingly calmer here, and it was much easier to snorkel with many nearby corals a distance away from the wave break at the reef. We could snorkel pretty far out from our villa in these shallow waters with the coral just getting more and more abundant.
Conrad Maldives Dining
There are two main options for dining during breakfast that you’ll never get tired of. With Hilton Honors Gold status, you don’t have to worry about the cost of breakfast for yourself and a guest as it’s complimentary. It certainly helps when your largest meal of the day is covered on a remote island, especially when that meal is essentially all-you-can-eat!
This was our favourite option for breakfast and we dined here four out of the five mornings. It’s a buffet-style restaurant located in an open area on soft sand. You can grab your food without having to put your shoes on ever! It’s a part of the Maldivian culture that you get to experience in the slightest while you visit the islands.
There are a number of food stations, starting with the baked goods area, moving to Western hot foods, then Indian cuisine, over to Asian with Chinese staples, sushi and a wonton/Japanese noodle bar, and over to the coffee and tea bar that your host will pick up your drink orders. You might be wondering where all the cold foods are situated. There’s an enclosed room where you’ll find a full on juice bar with fresh fruits galore and on each side of the room there are salads, cheeses, meats, yogurts, pre-made smoothies, cereals and so much more!
Not only can you grab whatever your heart desires right from the chafing dishes as any buffet would offer, but the chefs are always eager to whip you up anything that you don’t see in front of you. This is particularly at the egg (or omelette) station, crepe and pancake station, and especially at the indoor juice & smoothie bar where they’ll offer you their recommendations if you have no idea where to start. Check out the visuals of what I’m talking about in our video embedded below!
I have to say that we’ve never received such service for a buffet dining than we have at Atoll Market. There was almost nothing that you could order to eat or drink that would be off limits. The chefs would always accommodate any dietary restrictions or just preferences for how you like your breakfast.
One morning I asked if they had a Masala Chai, and though they don’t typically brew it, they did so the next morning (which is a few hours for the process) just because I asked! I told them not to worry but they insisted that they always make the effort to offer things the guests like. An Indian family specially ordered a popular dish from Kerala every morning: dosa with sambar and potato Masala. The chefs and our server saw me eyeing it so they brought me my own plate to try the traditional dish! I was over the moon.
Would many dining spots go out of their way to take initiative like this? Not likely. I do think that the chefs are very proud of their cultural foods and skills that they’re always happy to oblige when people like me who don’t know much about their cuisine are intrigued and wanting to try a taste. But I especially think that the culture of the staff at Conrad Maldives is just so top tier that they’re willing to go the extra mile for their guests.
After you indulge in all the good fresh foods – whether it’s what you see in front of you or what the chefs are willing to put together on top of it all – be sure to grab a few scoops of ice cream! The fact that they had durian flavoured ice cream was the cherry on top for me. And don’t forget to get your soothing deep-tissue massage from the ladies in the restaurant entrance! Whether before or after breakfast, this incredible few minutes will work out much of any stress you carry out of your body.
Vilu Restaurant & Bar
Vilu is situated on Rangali Island just 250 ft from the dhoni ferry dock. It’s located outside on a deck facing the beach with the majority of their seating located indoors having the option of closing the wooden accordion doors when the weather isn’t so great.
At Vilu they offer à la carte dining but in all-you-can-eat fashion! We came here for our first morning as it was a walk away from our villa. They offered many healthy and light dishes so we ordered quite a few. It was mostly health-focused Western cuisine with a few Asian twists. We ordered a salad, some eggs done in different ways, French toast, quiches, avocado toast and more pictured below! If you’re still hungry for more than what’s on the menu, you can grab whatever you’d like from the delicious pastries and other baked goods they have set up in the restaurant’s main area.
Our favourite dish was actually the Maldivian breakfast made with traditional fish curry, chapatti, mas huni tuna and coconut salad. It was chef’s kiss! We ended our filling meal with a mango sticky rice and that was top-notch as well!
The drinks were fabulous as we had fresh-pressed juices and coffees with beautiful latte art including dolphin symmetry. Quite the hommage to where we were!
Vilu isn’t only a restaurant that serves at meal time. From 4pm to 5pm, they host a complimentary happy hour for all Hilton Honor guests with Silver status and up! We came every evening to try their light bites and daily cocktails and mocktails. You could order as many drinks as you’d like within the hour while the hors d’œuvres were set to three different ones per person.
It’s a fantastic way to open up your appetite prior to dinner with a few light drinks and appies. Call it an aperitivo if you will!
Every week on Tuesday evenings, the resort hosts a special guest appreciation party on the beach of the Quiet Zone from 5pm to 6pm. All guests are invited to this one and you’ll receive an invitation card in your room! It’s an all around great time to mingle with other guests and Conrad representatives, while feasting on some more delicious appetizers that go around and grabbing some delicious cocktails and mocktails that are made right in front of you. While you’re here, you can also enjoy the live music and visit the massage booth for a quick yet effective massage on your back and arms. We didn’t hesitate to do it all!
Dinner options are abundant for a resort of this size and you never have to eat at the same place twice if you’re staying no more than 10 days. Out of the 10 different restaurants and bars open for dinner time, we tried three and they were all fantastic for different reasons.
When I was here in 2015, I also had the opportunity to have lunch at Ithaa, the very first ever undersea restaurant, and a wonderful dinner at Vilu. Let’s get into what some of these dining options have to offer!
Mandhoo Spa Restaurant
Located offshore from Rangali Finolhu and hovering above the lagoon, Mandhoo Spa Restaurant is found in a secluded part of Rangali-Finolhu neighbouring the opulent spa retreat and spa water villas. It’s a quiet area apart from the sound of the waves hitting the shore.
This is where we were invited to have our complimentary honeymoon dinner which the Conrad doesn’t advertise and it’s sort of a “your mileage may vary” type of situation! Contact the representatives you’re in contact with to see if they’re willing to offer it to you on your honeymoon trip to the resort!
Our complimentary honeymoon dinner included a three-course meal which was incredibly mouthwatering. We started with some fresh bread buns served with a honeymoon butter and something similar to an olive tapenade but better. We then selected the two available non-vegetarian set menus that offered fish and chicken as the main courses. What we love about Mandhoo Spa Restaurant is the fact that their menu is categorized by Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Plant, giving their guests a visual and immersive feeling to what they order.
Before our starters arrived, we were given an amuse-bouche that melted in our mouths. It was similar to a caprese salad with the mozarella ball, basil, tomato and balsamic vinegar. But it had an added sweetness and saltiness with the watermelon slice and pesto sauce with crushed nuts for garnish. We also wanted to try their lassies – a yogurt-based drink born in India – and ordered ourselves the kiwi and pineapple lassies! This was the only thing we had to pay for for our dinner.
Our meals were not only aesthetically pleasing but pleasing to the taste buds too! We shared all three courses, starting with the warm cured Char served with homemade curd, watercress, hazelnuts and pickled red radish; and the handpicked crab meat served with avocado, mango, grapefruit, watercress, blue berry granite and arugula.
Our mains evoked very different flavours so it was so nice to be able to share them and get a taste of both land and sea. My menu had the grilled job fish served with curried cauliflower purée, rihaakuru glaze, sprinkled curry leaf, passionfruit and kulhafilha leaves. Jason’s came with the sage marinated chicken breast served with local pumpkin and shallot risotto, apple and horseradish chutney and warm orange broth.
We finished with stunning desserts, one representing Earth and the other Fire: the chocolate brownie with peanut cream, pistachio crumble and Irish coffee sorbet; and the organic cheesecake with panna cotta of caramelized tofu, fine sea salt, orange kumquat confit and fruit soup with tapioca pearls. Delicious!
Sunset Grill is one of the resort’s newest restaurants and sits on stilts on the south side of the main island halfway across the boardwalk between the shore and Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. It’s perfectly placed above the coral reef and near Ithaa to bring you quite the show when you look down into the water. The lights shine under the the entire dining area so you can see the fish, rays and sharks so clearly below your feet.
We absolutely loved our al fresco dinner at Sunset Grill while peering out into the water every few seconds throughout. The way they attracts the fish and sharks is by dumping a big ladle of water into the lagoon and it gets the sharks in particular to rush to that spot. I’d say this was one of our more memorable dining experiences because of the wildlife, but let’s get on to the food.
While water is complimentary in your room, it isn’t so when dining at any of the restaurants. Here, they offer imported Voss water which is already pricey as it is anywhere else in the world. An 800mL bottle comes to a price of $15 USD, which is already the cost of a glass of wine or beer, so we opted to get two crafted cocktails instead! Jason got the Maldives Passionfruit and I got the Berry Sling. Both were highly refreshing, quenching our thirst, and were created perfectly by Conrad’s island mixologist. The entire drink’s menu is actually from the Rangali Bar, so it might be quite a wait for you if you order anything other than house wine or draught beer!
Just like our first dinner at Mandhoo, we were offered a complimentary chef’s choice amuse-bouche. This one was quite the culinary feat in my opinion as they managed to replicate the taste and appearance of a Caprese salad in a panna cotta. It was suberb, bursting with flavour! We were off to a great start. Along with this delectable bite, we were given some bread buns served with a pumpkin parsnip spread and salted butter.
For our meal, we ordered the Sizziling Chili Salt Calamari to start which hit just right with the Szechuan spice and was shaped like a starfish, although we didn’t think it was worth the price of $32 USD.
Our mains were both fish – makes sense when you’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean! We went with the Catch of the Day, which was a Bluefin jack fish (the same type of vibrant fish that was frequently swimming below us) and the Yellowfin tuna. They both were grilled really well and came with a side of your choice.
The sand-floored Rangali Bar is Conrad’s casual dining option and also where the regular happy hour is held for half-off drinks. This is where most people go for lunch or mid-afternoon eats while they’re relaxing poolside. If you forgot to make a restaurant reservation, you can always depend on Rangali Bar to have a table for you and serve you a gratifying meal.
On our last evening, we were the only ones eating here next to the wide open accordion doors, getting the most out of the Maldivian environment in spite of the on-and-off drizzle. We were pretty hungry and ordered each of our go-to comfort foods. Mine is always a rice bowl, but add curry and fish and I’m sold! The Maldivian fish curry served with chapatti, steamed rice and coconut salad was the perfect mix for my cravings. Jason loves his burgers and ordered the Wagyu beef burger served with a brioche bun, mustard mayonnaise, aged cheddar, tomato chutney, fries and a Greek salad.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
Ithaa is the world’s first ever undersea restaurant, completely submerged and anchored to the bottom of the lagoon floor offshore from Rangali-Finolhu. It’s an incredibly unique experience just to be able to stand in this dome, let alone eat here, five meters below the sea level with a panoramic view of the abundant coral gardens.
Conrad Maldives Pools & Fitness Centres
The Conrad has two infinity pools and two fitness centres on property, one on each island.
The Main Pool
Situated on Rangali-Finolhu Island, the main infinity pool is surrounded by sand all around and steps away from the main beach near where the water sports activities are held. It’s often a pretty quiet spot and I love that most of the sun loungers are actually sitting inside the pool on its shallow edge. You can easily get pool service here as the Rangali Bar is just beside, and it’s the perfect place to cool off with a freshwater dip after snorkeling by the house reef, kayaking in the lagoon or taking a jetski for a spin.
The pool is calm and the shape is unique to see from above. It almost looks like a stingray, or a whale tail. Maybe you might be able to figure out what it looks like exactly!
The Quiet Zone Pool
Much quieter than the main pool is the Quiet Zone, situated on the east beach of Rangali Island facing the lagoon. The pool is unequaled in its square shape and with the fact that it’s hovered over the water off the shore. It provides an elevated experience, much like an outdoor yoga pavilion with the added calm water to dip in.
We loved that barely anyone came out here. I mean, that’s the advantage of practically every guest having their own pool in their villa, and having a massive footprint of swimmable shores that are natural swimming pools in their own merit. Being here just the two of us in between a little bit of rain made it seem like we were the only ones on the resort! Ah, the benefits of coming during low season!
The main fitness centre one is located on the second floor of the retail boutique, which is adjacent to the guest lobby on the main island. The adults-only one is located on Rangali Island, steps away from Vilu Restaurant & Bar.
They both provide everything you need for a well encompassing workout, for cardio, strength training and aerobic exercises. But the adults-only gym provides more heavy free weights, a squat rack and Smiths machine, whereas the main gym has more machines that work various muscle groups. Each gym targets a different group of fitness folks! But they both have tons to work with no matter your routine.
I love how there’s a fridge with little water bottles, freshly washed and wrapped apples, and towels to wipe off as well as cold towels to cool down. The spaces are immaculately clean, fairly spacious and have windows all around to view the gorgeous environment of the Maldivian island.
Conrad Maldives Beaches & Snorkeling
All of the beaches surrounding the entire resort are accessible to all guests, apart from a small section of the Rangali Island north sandbar that is a part of two of the multi-bedroom water villas #349 & #350. The beach villas don’t have their own private section of beach, but honestly they don’t need it because their stretch isn’t all that frequented. It’s a relatively quiet resort and spread out across two islands, so you’ll never find the beaches very busy.
You can walk along the bright white shores all you want and the sand barely changes in texture. There might be some parts with coarse sand and sea shells – that’s usually where the boardwalks to the water villas stretch over and you don’t need to visit those areas unless you want little grey crabs scurrying around you. Stick to the main sections of beach and you’ll learn why the Maldives is so dearly beloved with visitors never wanting to leave (or simply have a burning desire to return!).
The absolute best area to go snorkeling is around the house reef, which is on the southwest shore of Rangali-Finolhu. It’s the best snorkeling I’ve ever done right off the beach, apart from Hanauma Bay! Because our honeymoon was at the end of July, which is in the middle of their wet season, the water wasn’t as calm as it could be and the rain from previous days would make the waters a bit murkier as it stirred the sand. But we still had a magical time swimming along the reef with countless colourful fish, coral and both black- and white-tip reef sharks! Check out our videos which I embedded above to see for yourselves!
We picked up our snorkel gear for the entire duration of our stay at the Dive Center, which is located just behind and above the sand-floored reception lobby on the main island. We were given a completely sanitized set of snorkel, mask, fins and mesh shoulder bag to carry it all, along with a proper fitting for our feet to match the fins with no issues. You get to keep everything until you check out.
If snorkeling the house reef and around the resort islands isn’t enough for you, there are tons of once-in-a-lifetime excursions you can go on off property. The turtle safari and swimming with the whale sharks are among the two most popular day tours you can go on. They’re typically private and the guides will do their best to give you the greatest experience.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the whale shark sightings, they’re not guaranteed. When I went on it in August of 2015, we didn’t catch them, so our guide took us to the turtle safari area instead and gave us an underwater photoshoot which was fun and my very first time diving so close to sea turtles! My mom is still saddened about the misadventure, but hopefully one day my parents will be able to swim with the whale sharks!
One thing I love about the reefs in the Maldives is that you can spot the wildlife living their best life right from your villa and the beach! We were enjoying the sand along the Quiet Zone beach when I spotted an eagle ray swimming by, in spite of the slight wind and waves. By the time we popped the drone up above it, two reef sharks were in the same area too!
On top of seeing rays, sharks and countless vibrant fish right from the shores, you’ll also spot the cutest fruit bats in the evenings flying from tree to tree, white-breasted waterhens, little crabs, white terns and many more exotic animals that have made their home here.
Conrad Maldives Service
If you’ve made it this far in reading my post, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that we believe Conrad’s service is stellar. I wouldn’t say it’s the best we’ve ever had, but they certainly know what they’re doing and make the everything possible to keep their guests happy.
To be able to get an accommodation upgrade at this resort, it doesn’t come free even with Hilton Gold status and higher. There’s an associated daily fee depending on the tier you want to upgrade to. But after talking to the resort manager, Nashid offered an upgrade to an available villa to us fully complimentary! It’s not ever guaranteed, and can depend on the season, but they’ll make every effort to make your stay as wonderful as you hope it to be.
Our dining service was always impressive at the breakfast spots, Vilu Restaurant & Bar and Atoll Market. Particularly at Atoll where they went above and beyond to make sure we had the best breakfast and cultural experience with some of the chefs’ specialties! We had a great time at the dinner outings but they didn’t deliver the same level of service we would expect at these higher end restaurants. I can’t complain at all and we were very content, but I think we were mostly left to ourselves. Regardless of that, all our dinner meals hit the spot just right.
Housekeeping service was fantastic. Not a single complaint is coming from us! From regular morning housekeeping to turndown service, our two housekeepers who took care of the two villas we stayed in did phenomenally. It was so nice to get to know them while we were here too and hear about their families. They were also kind enough to give us the iconic Conrad plush toys for our collection and they gave them to us in abundance! We’re happy to have five different animals for keepsake thanks to them.
Conrad Maldives FAQ
How much did we spend?
We spent a total of $1500 USD and 380,000 Hilton Honors points between the two of us for the entire five nights stay, including our roundtrip seaplane flight (which made up about 80% of the entire cost). We managed to save money on dining with our complimentary honeymoon dinner at Mandhoo and all of our breakfasts and happy hour cocktails and eats thanks to our Hilton Honors Gold membership through our AMEX Platinum.
Are all the beaches accessible?
Yes, all the beaches on the two islands are accessible for you to explore, by foot and by swimming.
Can you fly your drone on the resort?
We needed to get prior permission before flying our drone. We messaged our host and the property manager who then got into contact with security personnel who would keep watch while we popped up our Mavic Mini. They were very attentive as we covered our bases and only gave us one rule: to not go over occupied villas or film from further inland past the main infinity pool. So we kept our distance and mostly filmed and snapped our photos above the open water!
Do you need to book dinner reservations in advance?
It is recommended that you make dinner reservations, which you can do through your host, and even prior to arriving for your stay by email with your appointed guest relations representative. This is especially for Ithaa as it has limited space and is in high demand. If you make a somewhat last minute decision to dine or enjoy the cocktail experience here, you can have your host add you to the waitlist.
Do you have to pay for water?
Apart from the glass bottles of filtered water found in your room, all water in the dining spots is imported. Evian and Voss water come at a price of about $12 to $15 per bottle.
When’s the best time to visit Maldives?
The best time to visit Maldives is during their dry season which lasts from December to April, but keep in mind that this is also their high season. For the perfect in-between, come during the shoulder months of May or November. It’s a gamble when it comes to visiting in the summer, as the week prior to us arriving (around July 19-25) it was raining nonstop, however it only drizzled here and there the week we were there. In August of 2015, it was sunny the whole seven days my family and I were vacationing here.
Are all prices in USD?
All prices shown at the resort including the seaplane cost are in USD. Carrying American dollars in cash is great for tipping the amazing staff.
How do you get around the resort?
You can either walk the sandy paths, bridges and boardwalks or call an electric buggy to come pick you up. The buggies are the main method of transportation throughout the property, but a unique way to get across from island to the other is by traditional dhoni. It only runs during certain times in the during, typically around meal times, and the two docks are located right beside the bridge on the main island and adjacent to the Vilu restaurant on Rangali Island.