October 15, 2016

Review: Transfer from Male to Conrad Maldives

Introduction Part Two
Planning & Booking
Sheraton JFK Airport
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge JFK
Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER New York (JFK) to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Arrivals Lounge
St. Regis Istanbul
Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-300 Istanbul to Male
Transfer from Male to Conrad Maldives
Conrad Maldives
Transfer from Conrad Maldives to Male
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-200 Male to Singapore
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Singapore
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge to Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Singapore to Tokyo (HND)
Andaz Tokyo
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo (NRT)
ANA First Class 777-300ER Tokyo (NRT) to San Francisco

After a great overnight flight on Turkish Airlines, a Conrad associate helped us check in for our Trans Maldivian seaplane ride to the Conrad.  Bags were weighed (we were not) and tagged and we were given boarding passes for the 30 minute flight.  We were then shown to a waiting Conrad minivan which took us to the seaplane terminal.

Trans Maldivian Airways check-in counter

The Conrad has their own lounge at the seaplane transfer which is pretty awesome.  While the terminal itself is nice, the seating is limited to wooden tables and chairs and the Conrad lounge proved to be much more comfortable during what would be an hour delay.

Male seaplane terminal
The lounge is located on the second floor above the seaplane "ramp" and was pretty much empty when we arrived.

The lounge features plenty of comfortable seating.

Conrad Maldives lounge
Conrad Maldives lounge
Fanta in a slim can!

An outdoor terrace.

Conrad Maldives lounge outdoor terrace
Showers which we didn't use but would be awesome upon a late arrival.

Conrad Maldives lounge shower
A cold/hot buffet and some amazing views.

Conrad Maldives lounge views
Conrad Maldives lounge
There were also plenty of outlets so we could charge all of our devices.  We relaxed in the lounge for 45 minutes before being called for the quick transfer to the terminal/gate.  Unfortunately, wind and rain delayed our departure and we were taken back to the lounge to chill for another 30 minutes.  The Conrad staff was completely on top of the delay and we didn't have to do anything other than listen to instructions.  Kudos to the Conrad for both having the lounge and coordinating so well with the Trans Maldivian staff.

Once the weather had cleared, we were taken back to our "gate."

Gate A3
Male seaplane terminal gate area
We were handed a Conrad branded bag with a couple bottles of water and ear plugs.  A really nice touch.
Water and earplugs
We waited in the gate area for maybe 10 minutes before we were guided down the dock to our waiting seaplane.

Time to fly
The plane was going to make two stops and the Conrad would be first.  There aren't any assigned seats and the cabin was setup in a 1-2 configuration.  Both Emily and I grabbed windows seats on the left side of the plane.

Trans Maldivian seaplane cockpit
I was lucky enough to get a seat in the first row so I could see into the open door cockpit and lookout the window and the unreal scenery below.  Once loaded up, we "taxied" out to the "runway" and lined up for takeoff.  Seaplanes are so awesome - there's just something so cool about being in a floating plane and taking off low and slow.

We were able to get some pretty cool pictures of Male as we climbed out.

The flight was smooth and lasted around 25 minutes once up in the air.  We landed in the Conrad's lagoon and made our way to the doc where we were met by no less than 10 Conrad associates.  We were helped off the plane where we met our host Ahmed who would be taking care of us for the next 4 days.  He helped us into a buggy and drove us to reception where he processed our check-in and eventually showed us to our villa.

Final Thoughts:

One of the requirements of the Maldives is a transfer from Male of some sort.  At $560 USD/person, the transfer to the Conrad isn't cheap.  But the Conrad does a lot to make the transfer enjoyable.  From the lounge to the staff to the worry free process, we really felt like we were taken care the entire time.  The seaplane ride itself is awesome.  The views are amazing and it's a pretty unique way to get to a resort.  The transfer was WAY easier than the Park Hyatt Maldives and definitely a reason to consider a resort that is a bit closer to Male.

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