The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island was our choice of resorts for a romantic getaway to the Maldives – and it was a memorable trip and one of the best hotel stays in my life! The Maldives are a naturally beautiful dream destination (read here) and the Conrad is a beautifully designed resort, spread over its own three little islands with plenty of luxury and unique offerings to make it an unforgettable trip!
Location: The Conrad Maldives Rangali is located in the Southern Ari Atoll of the Maldives and you reach it via a seaplane from the International Airport at the capital, Male. The remoteness of the island provides it with its biggest draw – the privacy and exclusivity. Being on a private island (or three) with a handful of people is certainly the most exclusive hotel I have been to . It also is the biggest drawback – at $500 per person for the short flight, it is very expensive! I’d always wanted to fly a seaplane, so I was very excited about it and it was worth it to me. It was certainly the most exciting airport transfer I’ve ever had to a hotel. Keep in mind, that most hotels require either a seaplane transfer or a (also very expensive) speed boat transfer, so that is not something that differentiates the Conrad hotel…
Rooms: We booked our stay at the Conrad using HiltonHHonors points and selected the “standard” beach villa. It was everything but standard for us. At around 150sqm, you get a luxurious, private villa right on the beach. The bedroom is large, with a comfortable, king-size bed and a couch. From the bedroom, you can exit via a patio with your own loungers and table with chairs, blocked from views with lush greenery, through to the beach and the ocean. Despite being right on the beach, you have absolute privacy in your room! While the beach is shared, because each of the villas has their own “piece of the beach” it is a very private set-up. On the other side of the bedroom, you have a glass wall to an atrium, filling the room with light! Off the hallway past the atrium are a large, walk-in closet as well as the toilet cubicle. On the other side of the atrium is the large, indoor/outdoor bathroom. You have a sink inside and a stone pathway leading to a large outdoor shower and a shallow pool under a thatched roof, all surrounded by a high wall for privacy and greenery for a garden feel – I will leave it to your imagination to make the most out of this private garden and pool!
The room had all the fittings you would expect from a luxury hotel in this price class – from flat screen TV to safe and a Nespresso coffee maker (we thoroughly enjoyed). The towels, linens and amenities were also reflective of the hotel category.
The Conrad also offers a range of overwater villas. We did not upgrade to one, because we had the overwater experience at the InterConti Bora Bora (read here). If this is your dream trip, I’d recommend to consider it: An overwater villa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Amenities/Restaurants: The best thing about the Conrad is its location: We saw small sharks off the beach, a huge Manta Ray from the walkway connecting the islands and plenty of fish snorkeling off the beach – each one would be the highlight of any vacation and all available to you within steps from your room!
If the Conrad still feels too crowded for you, you can have the hotel drop you off at a private island for two and have the most exclusive lunch ever. Don’t worry, you’ll have a mobile phone to get picked up anytime you like. You can also charter a boat for a cruise of the surrounding islands, go scuba diving or swim with whale sharks!
In case you need some extra pampering, the Conrad has two spas offering a variety of treatments. If you are tired of looking at a bowl of flowers while you are getting a back massage, you should try the overwater spa with its glass floor for a different perspective! For a slightly more active vacation, you have access to a gym, yoga, tennis, volleyball and watersports.
The Conrad offers a total of 10 bars and restaurants spread over the two resort islands, giving you plenty of choices to take your meals. Given that you are “captive” on the islands for the duration of your stay, that is a good thing, and there should be something for everybody’s taste! We tried several of the restaurants during our stay and enjoyed every one of them – the food and service were outstanding throughout! The only buffet restaurant and main breakfast destination is the Atoll restaurant. You can sit inside or out in the garden, with soft sand under your feet for an exotic experience. The choices are overwhelming with items from all around the world to keep it varied even for a longer stay!
Our most memorable and unique dinner was at the underwater restaurant “Itaah”. You access it via a pavilion built on stilts over the water and descend via stairs to a glass dome under the water. It’s a small space with 8 tables seating 16 people – so make a reservation early, if this is part of your trip. The Itaah has a fixed menu for fine dining – you can take a look online before making a reservation. The dinner seating starts just before sunset and the staff feeds the fish above, making sure to get a great show of the marine life with your pre-dinner drinks! I was quite distracted with taking photos of sharks and other wildlife – I was certain that I’d not have an opportunity like this again! As the sunset, the fish take a back seat and the focus is on the food and of course your company!
The Sunset Grill is built on stilts over the ocean, with the bar at the center and tables on little platforms over the sea. It’s another romantic setting with great views at sunset, marine life underneath and a good selection of wine and food. The Mandhoo Restaurant is also built on stilts over the lagoon, but with a more casual feel to it.
The Vilu Bar & Restaurant is a stylish, open-air bar and restaurant. The bar has a bit of a stylish, South Beach feel to it, making it our favorite over the main bar and a great place for a sunset cocktail!
When you are planning your stay at the Conrad, I’d suggest to check out the many photos and extensive information on their web site (here). All the restaurants have their menus online, so you can pick the restaurant according to your taste before you go. All the restaurants are pricey and you wouldn’t want to waste your time or money at a restaurant you don’t thoroughly enjoy! You can also compare the different room types to find the best one for your dream vacation!
Conclusion: The Conrad Rangali is a carefully designed and well run luxury hotel in one of the most beautiful beach destinations on the planet, making for an unforgettable dream vacation! It is “only” the number 36 of 171 hotels on Tripadvisor, giving you an idea of how many amazing hotels you can find there. The Conrad is one of a handful of chain hotels, making it available through points in Hilton’s reward program and more accessible without spending a fortune on the room. Keep in mind that even the “free” room does not make it a cheap vacation. Between the seaplane transfer and the meals it was still the most expensive 3-day vacation I’ve ever had, so I’d recommend to inquire into prices for your desired options prior to making a reservation! If you do go, I’m sure it will be a very memorable getaway to a dream destination!