November 13, 2016

Review: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Part Two

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 Part One
Conrad Maldives Part Two
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

This is the second part of my review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.  You can find the first post here.

We were excited for our Whale Shark excursion the morning of our third day at the resort but it was not to be due to wind and rain.  The resort/dive team were extremely apologetic and we understood.  The last thing we wanted to do was head out on a boat for hours in wind and rain and not be able to get in the water.  We decided to make the best of it and figured this was a great reason to return to the Maldives!

After a great morning snorkel we showered and changed for breakfast and morning cocktails at the property's "underwater restaurant" Ithaa.  At $60++ per person for a glass of Champagne (Ruinart) and some canap├ęs, this wasn't a cheap morning.  But we figured it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing so why not.

Conrad Maldives Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
We arrived slightly before 11AM where we waited upstairs for everyone else to arrive.  Champagne was poured and then we were brought down into the restaurant.  How cool is this?

Conrad Maldives Ithaa Restaurant
Conrad Maldives Ithaa Restaurant
We relaxed at a table, drank, and snapped a million pictures of the fish and sharks swimming all around us.

Conrad Maldives Ithaa Restaurant
I would definitely recommend morning cocktails at Ithaa especially over dinner which costs hundreds of dollars per person.  After 30 minutes, we were both a bit disoriented and ready to get back to the beach/pool!

After our underwater adventure, we headed back to the quiet zone pool for the rest of the day.

Conrad Maldives Quiet Zone pool
We had another awesome happy hour at Vilu complete with Dhoni shuttle ride across the lagoon.  The bartenders were extremely accommodating in making us both cocktails and kept the drinks coming throughout the hour.

Conrad Maldives Dhoni service
Time for dinner
For dinner, we decided to do the Maldivian night buffet at Atoll Market.  It seemed like a good idea but ended up being a giant buffet with way too many people and slow service.  At $120/person it was also extremely expensive.  For whatever reason (I think a mistake) we weren't charged for the meal at checkout.  I would recommend making dinner reservations in advance or upon arrival to ensure you get the best times, tables, and restaurants.

The next day, our routine was the same.  Wake up, yoga, snorkel, shower, breakfast, pool, beach.  Nap, snorkel, shower, happy hour.  This time, we had breakfast at Vilu.

Conrad Maldives Vilu breakfast
Conrad Maldives Vilu breakfast
While Atoll Market (buffet) certainly has more choices, Vilu offers a more intimate setting overlooking the lagoon, a small buffet along with an a la carte menu.  Atoll Market was more convenient but we enjoyed breakfast at Vilu a bit more.  Breakfast includes Champagne (white and rose) which was a great way to kick off the day.

I should note that during a heavy downpour, we spent some time in the business center above the main lobby.  There were a couple of computers, a Nespresso, bottled water, and a bunch of board games.  It was a great place to relax and wait out the storm.

Conrad Maldives business center
Conrad Maldives business center
We had dinner on our final night at the Sunset Grill.  Dinner was excellent and we had a lovely table over the water.  The weather had finally started to clear and we were excited for a sunny morning - our last day in the Maldives.

Conrad Maldives Sunset Grill
We woke up and headed out to the snorkel spot to watch the sunrise.  While not as dramatic as the Park Hyatt Maldives sunrises, it was still gorgeous.

Conrad Maldives sunrise
Conrad Maldives sunrise
We snorkeled for the last time and returned our gear to the dive shop.  We walked the entire property while it was sunny and retook all of our rainy/cloudy/wind pics!

After a last minute dip in the quiet zone pool, we headed back to the villa to pack.  Our departure was SUPER smooth.  Our host had called the evening prior to inform us of our check-out time and seaplane departure.  The resort is an hour ahead of Male (to maximize daylight) so that essentially gives you an extra hour to play at the resort before departure.  Our flight would be leaving Male for Singapore around 1PM (2PM resort time).  Our departure was scheduled for 11AM with a 10:30AM arrival in Male.

Maldives tags
I checked out and we headed down the bridge to await our seaplane.  The seaplane arrived right on time, our bags were loaded, and Ahmed bid us adieu.

Conrad Maldives
We were sad to be leaving the resort but so excited to be heading on to Tokyo for the first time!

Conrad Maldives arrival/departure lounge (at resort)
Next up:  Transfer to Male

Final Thoughts:
We both thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island but I think I would head back to the Park Hyatt (or choose a different resort) next time.  Writing this a couple months after our return, I can't help but think that the weather colored my opinion a bit.  Our room was fine but certainly not as nice as the Park Hyatt.  Food, service, drinks were all great.  We were most looking forward to our Whale Shark excursion which was rained out.  All that said, I would recommend the resort to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation (although there is plenty to do) in what is the most beautiful place (I've seen) on Earth.  We love the Maldives and will definitely be back.  There's nothing else like it in terms or natural beauty and isolation.

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