I found Paradise, it goes by the name of The Conrad Maldives.
I have recently returned from a week’s stay in the stunningly beautiful Maldives. Having traveled to the islands on my honeymoon I knew to expect; amazing views, glorious sunshine and incredible wildlife, what I wasn’t expecting however was to leave the lands with a new favourite hotel.
The Maldives has long been known as the idilic honeymoon destination and I have often heard the phrase bounced around that ‘it doesn’t matter where you stay in the Maldives’ as all resorts are similar and you travel for the views and weather alone. There’s also another common thought that there is nothing to do in the Maldives apart from sunbathe and swim. Well, all I can say is those who have once had these thoughts, have obviously never been to the Conrad Maldives!
I wanted to review this hotel for you especially for a number of reasons but the main idea of these recent series of posts was to bring to life the islands themselves, taking you on a virtual tour through the resort whilst featuring my favourite fashion, food and beauty. This article, however, is strictly about the hotel itself. The amazing hospitality, the luxury trips, delicious food, stunning setting and unbelievable attention to detail.
If I were to write my own personal definition of Paradise it would include idyllic beaches, palm trees, warm weather, sunshine, blue skies, blue waters, natural wildlife, incredible food, great company and a picture perfect moment at all times. Well here it is.
As much as I love photography there are very few skilled photographers who could ever capture the true essence of islands like these. The Conrad Maldives is genuinely an artists dream, there is no corner to turn that brings disappointment when it comes to that picture perfect moment.
The hotel boasts two islands, both with their own unique charm, 15 restaurants and bars, 2 gorgeous pools with ocean views, countless water activities and sports, a local house reef with colourful marine life to spy on, a yoga pavilion with full time instructor and 2 stunning spas.
The service is so perfect it feels staged, every day I had to pinch myself and realise that the wonderful rays of sunshine that greet you throughout your stay at every moment are in fact real life people! You’ll never see a member of staff without a smile on the islands and having stayed here for a week it’s so easy to see why. So let me tell you about my own personal experience at The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and guide you through with some never-before-seen photos!
We arrived at the hotel in the late evening, to the serene and calming views of the sun setting on the beautiful Indian Ocean.
To travel to the Maldives we took a flight to Qatar from London and then journeyed on to Male with Qatar Airways. We were then greeted at the arrivals in Male by a lovely representative from Conrad who drove us to the Conrad lounge to await our seaplane flight to the islands. The lounge itself is a great touch, I managed to jump in the shower and freshen up as well as having some breakfast an enjoying the beautiful views at the airport. They also offer complimentary massages which is so perfect after a long flight!
The seaplane journey is a novelty of the Maldives that I personally think is one not to miss. When you fly into Male you are able to see the scattered lands from your view but there is nothing like seeing the individual islands whilst flying lower in the sea plane. The journey is loud and a little bumpy but so much fun and a really unique treat. The transfer time from Male to Rangali Island was roughly 30 minutes, I spent the entire time trying to spot dolphins and whale sharks 😉
Upon arrival onto the island it was clear that this would be one of the most magical experiences of our lives. The realisation that there is not one but two islands at the resort and the greeting of over 10 members of hotel staff on the jetty, waving up to us made me feel so instantly welcome and excited. The check in was smooth and accompanied by a yummy cold refreshment as well as the introduction to our own personal butler for the entire duration of our stay.
It was this welcome that set the tone of our entire trip. At this very moment we were unsure things could get any better!
Until, we were shown to our room, a retreat water villa.
As you could hopefully see from the video the room was incredible! A huge space with endless blue views. There are a number of different rooms at the hotel and there are two islands to chose from so it can be quite the task to know which one to go for! We were allocated this Spa style Villa by the reservation team and I am so pleased they chose this for us as it was exceptional. You can find the full room spec and details here but essentially the suite consisted of a large bedroom and sitting area, a separate bathroom and dressing room, an additional bathroom that was out on the terrace though covered, to allow you to shower and bath with uninterrupted views, a separate WC and then the true extravagance of a couples spa room, complete with gym equipment and again, ridiculous views!!
For me though, this room was all about the outside space. A grand Maldivian style balcony with jet pool, sun loungers and your very own slice of the Indian Ocean! There is nothing more special than having the sea as your back garden, beneath you and all around you. To stay in a water villa is a once in a life time experience and to be able to do this with the 5 star luxury touches and privacy of such an enormous space really was a life changing experience.
Having explored the room I have to admit it can be very difficult to decide to leave it! We were aware that during our stay we would have the opportunity to experience both islands, so we decided to separate exploring the two islands during our stay. Whilst staying in the retreat villa we stayed on the first island, and whilst in the Water Villa we stayed on the second island. So far all images (apart from the two feature images at the start of this article) were taken on the first island.
It was here that I spent the majority of my time enjoying the nature. The host reef was incredible with a shark passing almost every minute (honestly no exaggeration) and hundreds of colourful ‘finding nemo’ scenes to enjoy just 5 minutes into the water. There was also a rare sighting of Manta Rays in the house reef which is always so special. You then have the wildlife living on land and above, the beautiful crabs the majestic herons and my all time favourite animal, the fruit bat! I spoke to so many of you about this on snapchat before and during my trip. Having traveled to Sri Lanka and the Maldives on my honeymoon years ago I knew it was likely we would see them but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy their adorable faces so close up! The reception at The Conrad features a grand tree that is basically a bat sanctuary! I would stand and stare for hours on end, quite often promoting the staff to ask if I was OK. ‘Yes thanks, I’m just a crazy bat lady’ 😉
This island is more family friendly, with a huge pool, watersports and diving centre and also the larger spa. It also homes the larger breakfast buffet and the famous underwater restaurant. Having dined in 9 different restaurants and bars during our stay I was so overwhelmed by the experiences that I will be writing up a separate post next Sunday which will be dedicated to all things culinary at The Conrad Maldives, so stay tuned for that!
Before I talk to you about some of the adventures and excursions we were luckily enough to enjoy, let me first take show to the second island at The Conrad Maldives. The island described by staff and guests alike as the more romantic of the two.
Travelling along the connecting jetty to the second island felt almost like our first arrival. The switch was smooth, we didn’t even need to pack up the wardrobe, everything was handled by the amazing team and the room swap was simple and easy. We simply woke up, went to breakfast and moved rooms! I think that a lot of people are put off moving rooms and exploring islands due to the fact that you have to pack and unpack yuor suitcase so this was truly wonderful to have such an incredible service whilst switching rooms. I would highly recommend trying more than one room/suite during a stay here to make it even more magical and I hope that hearing how simple the move is you will be more inclined to give it a try.
To move from one island to another you are also able to make use of the golf buggies that are always on hand to help you travel in the heat.
On arrival to the second island it was clear to see why this was dubbed the quieter island, the rooms are grouped a few at a time so that there is always a feeling of seclusion and romance. There is also a stunning adults only infinity pool which you can stroll down to see.
Let’s talk once again however about the room shall we?
Another opportunity to sleep beneath the stars and above the ocean, a water villa. This room is modern, classic and clean with white interiors and glass walls galore, another amazing way to enjoy the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean whilst living lavishly with a huge bed, living space, walk-in wardrobe and generous bathroom. The sea on this side of the island was pleasantly calmer so the water villas here are great for snorkeling and fish spotting. From the plunge pool you can easily spot the swimmers and sharks that grace the waters daily.
To see the full spec and layout of this villa click here. For me it was all about that stunning and serene outdoor space, again, making it every difficult for anyone to want to leave the bliss and privacy of the room 😉
The reefs here are shallow and vibrant and the sunsets on this side of the island are quite simply stunning! I have an article and photo feature planned for you next week that is all about the beautiful sunset views from these islands.
Staying in a water villa of this grade is a perfect idea for a honeymoon couple or special romantic trip. The comforts of a luxury resort are one thing but the serenity of the waters and the warm nights spent star gazing from the plunge pool are truly remarkable.
Staying on this side of the island also allows you to enjoy a-la-carte breakfast whilst watching the crisp, clear turquoise waters. I have already written up about this particular spot in which we enjoyed our mornings here.
Rooms aside let’s squash those rumors that there is noting to do in the Maldives.
For me, to travel to the Maldives is to be at one with nature. To simply enjoy those scare serene moments, looking out onto the vast ocean, gazing up at the endless blue skies and basking in the year round sunshine. However I too, can become quite restless and I would be lying if I said The Maldives wasn’t somewhat daunting for an active person to visit.
The idea of spending a week sunbathing and snorkeling is not enough to entice or excite me when booking a trip away. Whilst staying at The Conrad Maldives however, there was never a dull moment! With the multitude of amazing eateries and activities I was never in a position to feel sluggish. In fact, for the first time in months I slept like a baby every evening.
One of the most enjoyable experiences for me was the sunset yoga practice I experienced with Manesh at the islands dedicated pavilion. As an active person I struggle to go a few days without exercise, but as a traveler I don’t want to spend hours in the gym when I am exploring, so yoga on the beach was the perfect compromise.
To finish my hour’s practice sweating in the sunset was honestly so magical. This is, I’m sure something you yogis out there can appreciate and I can tell you now this session was right up there with one of my all time favourites.
Another great way to enjoy that famous pink Maldivian sunset is to go on a luxury sunset cruise. Sailing out to sea whilst sipping on champagne and nibbling on delicious canapés has to be up there when it comes to the best ways to spend a sunset right? On most occasions you can also see dolphins on this cruise but we weren’t lucky enough this time to spot the fins 😉 Our chance was still to come.
Asides from the sunsets the daytime can also be activity packed. There are many fun watersports to indulge in, a fabulous dive center for those of you qualified and of course the two gorgeous spas on the island.
On a few cloudy days we indulged in a couple of treatments which was lovely. The spa staff were delightful, and the therapists were truly talented. I had both a full body massage treatment and reflexology both of which I enjoyed in the water villa style treatment rooms. Again it’s the luxury touches that make all the difference here. The treatment was slick, professional and relaxing and the added uniqueness of the relaxation room and wall-less toilet made the experience so special.
The spa I visited was on the first island, there is also another famous over-the-water spa on the calmer island which I simply didn’t have time to try, it looks stunning though!
Now for the ultimate, the star of my video, the Dolphin Spot!
When travelling to the Maldives there is always a chance you will be able to see these gorgeous and playful mammals. They are spotted all year round and guaranteed to put the biggest smile on your face when found. We actually spotted them whilst on a Whale Shark Snorkeling tour, another one of the many activities you an enjoy whilst staying in The Conrad Maldives.
Unfortunately were unable to see the Whale Sharks that day but we did spot a school of dolphins not one, two but three times! I am a huge fan of Whales and Dolphins so this for me was the absolute highlight of the trip. I have been lucky enough to see Dolphins in the wild in Bali and The Galapagos but nothing compares to this recent sighting. They swim so close to the boat you can see everything and they are so playful that they jump out of the water to say hello! One of those ‘words can’t describe’ moments but wow!
There’s a full video of the moment here in case you missed it.
I sincerely hope that if you are planning a stay at The Conrad Maldives you are also lucky enough to spot Dolphins. It was our third boat trip out so proof that if at first you don’t succeed try, try again. It’s a shame we didn’t see the whale sharks but nature will be nature! Also, it means I’ll have to travel back 😉
The whole stay at The Conrad Maldives was especially created and planned by the amazing marketing manager at the resort and I honestly can not fault the schedule in one way. The resort boasts so many unique and exclusive experiences as well as unforgettable moments for you to create yourself in day to day island living. Every trip, every meal, every room and excursion was executed perfectly, there was never a moment in our stay that we didn’t feel like royalty. It is impossible to forget that you are staying in a luxury resort.
On a technical note, which now, in this day and age has to feature at some point in a hotel review, the wifi was outstanding! I was able to snapchat at every turn and the wifi for the rooms was great. I loved being able to share the experience with you guys and thank-you so much for all your comments and emails so far about my stay. I couldn’t recommend this hotel more.
If you are inspired by this post or looking at perhaps booking a trip to The Maldives this Hotel has an incredible, up to 40% off sale on at present. It only lasts for two more days but you can view all the details here – a huge saving on such a magical resort!
I’m signing off now with a victory dance under a palm tree as I feel so incredibly lucky to have experienced such a wonderful week!
Stay tuned for more posts, I will be sharing a photo tale of the delicious bars and restaurants as well as a dedicated sunset tour. There’s also a few more style diaries coming your way 😉
I want to say a huge thank-you to Zainab, the magnificent marketing manager at the resort, Ahmed our outstanding guest services agent and Nicole at Grifco PR for helping me to organise such an unforgettable trip, as well as every member of staff at Conrad Maldives. Having traveled to a Conrad Hotel before (See my Conrad Hong Kong Hotel review here) I knew to expect an exceptional level of service but noting prepares you for the warm smiles and phenomenal hospitality that overflows from this paradise on earth.
Also a special thanks to my awesome photographer and lifetime holiday buddy Mehmet Chakici 😉