Introduction: Maldives an Ocean Paradise
Etihad First Class Lounge JKF Airport
Etihad First Class Apartments New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) A380
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
Etihad Regional Business Class Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Male (MLE)
Conrad Maldives Arrival Lounge and Trans Maldivian Seaplane
Around Rangali Island
Trans Maldivian Seaplane
Leeli Lounge Male Airport
Emirates Business Class Male (MLE) to Dubai (DXB) B777
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai (DXB) to Dallas (DFW) B777
We arrived on the dock at the Conrad Maldives from our seaplane trip from Male. We were introduced to our personal assistant and taken to the checkin area which is on the main island of the resort. The resort consists of two islands Rangali and Rangalifinolhu with most of the resorts guest rooms and villas on Rangalifinolhu Island.
We were seated outside the reception desk area and relaxed while our Conrad rep took our details and credit card which they preauthorized for $3000.
We were escorted to our room by buggy (golf cart). We were booked into Beach Villa #205. The Beach Villa is the base/lowest level room but we were happy with our room and thought it best (safer) to not be in an overwater bungalow with our toddler crawling all over the place. I also didn’t want to pay an up charge to be in a overwater villa which was around $200/night plus taxes.
The Beach Villas are grouped together four Villas in one building. Our villa was at the end of the group of four which is beneficial as your only sharing a wall with one other villa and there is a bit more privacy than if we had a villa in the middle of the four units.
At the entrance to our Beach Villa was a large pot filled with water and a ladle to help wash sand off your feet before entering to keep the sand out. Once inside the villa we were impressed with how spacious and nice it looked. The Beach Villas are 1614 square feet and can accommodate two adults and two children under 12 years old or three adults.
The room features a fairly large bedroom area with a large comfortable bed. At the foot of the bed is a couch with pillows.
There is a flat screen tv mounted to the wall opposite the bed. Just next to the tv is a good sized desk.
Also in the bedroom area is the mini bar which was filled with a decent selection of beverages and a coffee maker on top. We appreciated the three large bottles of water daily along with two others at night for turndown service on the night stands.
Awaiting us in our villa was a complimentary bowl of fruit and a bottle of champagne which was appreciated.
The room was recently refurbished per our Conrad personal assistant and the middleof the room was turned in to an area with a large couch and table. It is also where our crib was located. The area can be draped off from the main bedroom and can create some privacy in the room.
Just through the door behind the sink was a nice outdoor shower area and next to that was the outdoor bathtub. We never got around to using the tub but the shower was nice and spacious with good temperature and water pressure.
On the opposite end of the villa outside was a nice patio with two lounge chairs and a table with two normal chairs. From the patio there was a walkway that led to the beach and our own beach chairs.
Beach Villa outdoor patio area
Once out on the beach the views are nice and the water is amazingly blue and clear. The benefit to having a villa in this part of the island is that the lagoon and reef stretch out for hundreds of feet and is nice and shallow in such we could walk or swim it. The sand was soft and the beach was really clean with lots of little sea shells to pick up. We swam in the ocean or snorkeled every day of our trip.
After a long day of travel we decided to just have some dinner in our room for our first night. We ordered some lamb curry and chicken tika and opened our champagne to wash it down. Simple room service meals like this ran around $100+.
Two days we decided to visit the pool at the Conrad Maldives. Our baby does seem to prefer the calm water of the pool over the waves in the ocean. The pool is fairly large and was never occupied by more than just 4-6 people at a time. Most time it was empty with maybe a few sunbathers.
Due to many of the accommodations having private pools the main pool doesn’t get overly crowed at all. We took advantage of that when we wanted a change of scenery or simply a cocktail while taking a dip.
The pool is right off the beach and there is lots of seating around the pool and just down below on the beach.
We enjoyed a few drinks during our visit to the pool but their wasn’t a pool attendant on duty most of the time we were there. They would come around sporadically.
Our baby enjoyed the kids pool just next to the main pool. It is small but only one other time did we see it occupied. Everyday the staff swept the sand in so that there were no footprints in the sand if you were up early enough.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
On my birthday we decided to have lunch at Ithaa. Ithaa is the top dining experience at the Conrad Maldives as its the world’s first underwater restaurant. I appreciated that they were able to get us a table considering I requested a reservation when we arrived at the resort and not before hand as suggested. The reason we chose lunch as opposed to dinner is because dinner is like $350/per person minimum while lunch was $195/per person. This place is like a license to print money!
Once all the guests arrive for lunch reservations they walk you over to the restaurant. There you take your shoes off and they give guests a brief history of the restaurant and then we were escorted downstairs and under the water to the dining room. The tables are preselected and they show you to yours.
Our servers were great. They were friendly and professional at the same time. They explained all the dishes as they were served.
Staff does feed the fish prior to guests entering to ensure a nice amount of sea life for entertainment. There was quite the variety of fish to gaze at while having a meal.
It is very bright if your having lunch in the restaurant thus they recommend wearing sunglasses for your meal. It is also a bit hot in the restaurant but not too bad.
They decorated the table in honor of my birthday. I noticed another table had the same decoration for another guests birthday as well.
The food was very nice, my wife and I both went with the grilled reef fish for our main.
The staff also provided complimentary food for our baby. We asked for a bowl of bananas and strawberries and they delivered.
One of the Black-tip reef sharks floating over head while we ate at Ithaa
Pea soup at Ithaa
The meal was maybe two hours total and that was about the limit for our baby as well. Although he did enjoy looking at the fish for quite some time.
I will warn that the meal, while good, is not really worth the prices they charge. However that is a general rule in the Maldives private island resorts. Honestly a couple could spend over $3000 on food here in a week easily.
As the restaurant cleared out we snapped a few photos before leaving. Our lovely waitress offered to take some photos for us.
Overall a very memorable expierence but very pricy and if we ever decided to return to Conrad Maldives I would not have the need to eat there again.
Rangali Bar is the go to for happy hour drinks! They are half priced from 5-6pm although sometimes it appeared to run from 5-7pm but I could be mistaken. This is the only time you will find a drink at a reasonable price. By reasonable I mean $8-$10 drinks instead of $20.
The staff was wonderful here as well. They loved our baby and several staff would come over and play with or interact with our baby. This was a common theme at the resort.
You can order food here as well. It’s not fine dining of course but it is cheaper and satisfying overall. A nice benefit of the resort is that our baby always had a complimentary meal so they don’t nickel and dime you there although we are happy to share our meals with the little guy.
I want to share what I think is the best overall “deal” or value at the resort: the pitchers of sangria!! They are very reasonably priced at around $48 or so and you can get 4 or 5 drinks out of a pitcher. That is the normal price not happy hour or special pricing.
It’s also a nice spot to grab a seat outside and watch the sunset while having some snacks. They provided us complimentary chips and nuts with our drink orders. They also have a daily live performance with a cover band duet named “Chandelier Bay” from California I believe.
Sunset Grill is probably my favorite spot for dinner. Really nice location to watch the sunset while you dine. The food is good and not as overpriced as Ithaa is. Once again the staff here was wonderful. This is a great spot for a more romantic dinner but our little toddler wasn’t in a romantic mood as it was past his bed time and he let us know about it.
I had the surf and turf with a glass of champagne which was well prepared.
My wife went with the monkfish that we had at Ithaa.
Bottom line is it’s a really nice place for dinner.
Ok folks, you will be spending lots of time at Atoll Market if you stay any amount of time at the Conrad Maldives. We had free breakfast due to our Hilton Honors Reserve gold status. That saved us a ton of money!!! This is a large indoor and outdoor dining area in which they house the large breakfast buffet and also have some of the specialty dinners.
There are a ton of food options, pretty much anything you can imagine they seem to have however after a few days it gets kind of old. The food here is satisfying but not memorable. You better believe that we took advantage and stuffed our faces most mornings.
Hilton Honors Gold status saved us several hundred dollars in food costs and was well worth it.
The better breakfast option is Vilu Restaurant in my mind. We needed to take a shuttle over to the other island to dine at Vilu but it was well worth it! It’s a smaller venue and there are less guests and less hustle and bustle. The food options are made to order at Vilu. We pretty much order whatever we wanted and sometimes 2-3 entrees each to try them. All breakfast charges were free just as Atoll Market.
Vilu is a very relaxing setting in which you can sit outside or inside and enjoy nice views of the ocean. The staff again was very good and payed a lot of attention to our son.
Vilu is also the setting for the weekly managers welcome happy hour. We were invited to attend this event in which the resort GM and the head of each department met and mingled with the resort guests all while pouring generous amounts of champagne and wine!!! They also offered unlimited complimentary hors d’oeuvre . Each manager came over and spoke with us and asked us how our stay was, where we were from and shared details of the island or their jobs, etc. Any opportunity to have complimentary drinks and food we jumped on. There were probably 30 other guests at the event as well.
Another nice benefit of being Hilton Gold member is we were invited to a daily afternoon tea session which ran from 2-3pm if I recall correctly. We stopped in almost everyday to grab a cup of tea or water and unlimited snacks/crumpets. There was generally only 2-3 other tables occupied for these afternoon sessions.
Mandhoo is another place to enjoy nice views while enjoying a meal or snack. I think one time we ate enough to skip dinner that night!
We would highly suggest stopping in for an afternoon visit if you’re invited, you can’t beat free.
One afternoon we wanted to snorkel together instead of taking turns watching the baby and the other snorkeling. We decided to drop the baby off at the kids club for two hours so we could do some snorkeling. The kids club was empty outside but there were 4-5 kids inside playing. We had to sign some forms and then we were on our way and the little guy did great. They charge $20 or $25 per hour (I forgot the exact rate).
I stopped in to the fitness center just to take a look. I didn’t even bring gym shoes on the vacation to workout so I didn’t spend much time here. It seemed fairly small but I don’t think it gets to crowded here.
Overall the resort was great. I think the food is the only weak spot. The food isn’t bad but it’s not memorable or extraordinary. The staff was great and everyone was very friendly! We wouldn’t hesitate to come back. The free breakfast makes this place very compelling for Hilton Gold members. Another nice perk of the resort is they offer free snorkels and flippers for guests during their stay. The Maldives is a true ocean paradise and if you ever have a chance to stay at the Conrad I wouldn’t hesitate! (I will detail the sea life and snorkeling in the next blog post)
So this six night stay worked out pretty well for us. We used Hilton points for five nights and a free weekend night certificate that we earned from a Hilton credit card for the other night.
The free weekend night certificate actually cost us $95 because that is the annual fee on the Hilton card. The value of the cert was 95,000 Hilton points as that’s what one night costs at this resort.
We booked the next five nights using 380,000 Hilton points which is 95,000×4. The fifth night is free on five night redemptions.
The cash price for our dates were $560/night for the Beach Villa we stayed in!
So when you add in all the taxes (22%!!!!) and multiply it all by 6 nights it would of cost us over $4000 in just room charges!