I have just returned from 5 days at the stunning yet unassuming Conrad Rangali Island, Maldives.
I had heard a lot about this property over the years but I went with no expectations at all as every time I visit the Maldives I always go with an open mind. Yes every resort is stunning as its surrounded by crystal blue ocean and white powdery beaches so they are all beautiful, however some resorts can hook you on service, dining options, a unique selling point, great marine life and house reefs, dive sites and of course the rooms. I am going to break my review down into segments as I honestly believe The Conrad Maldives offers all this and more – there’s no surprise that most of its guests are repeaters as they have the instant feeling of being back at home every time they step on the island.
NOT ONE BUT TWO ISLANDS
Just a 30 minute sea plane from Male International Airport, you arrive at Conrad Rangali, Maldives jetty which connects to two islands. Rangalifinolhu Island is more for families and is the heart of the resort or you can stay in the adult only hideaway on Rangali Island.
Rangalifinolhu is home to a mix of water villas and beach villas, the spa, the shopping boulevard, dive centre and water sports centre plus a mixture of the dining experiences. Plus you will find a large swimming pool next to the beach.
Rangali Island is more of a quieter island, home to just water villas, a couple of restaurants and bars plus the infinity pool. This would be a perfect island to host a small wedding with 50 rooms you could even take it privately. This island will now close until the 1st November as all the water villas are being renovated and they are building a new over water spa which is going to add an exciting new element to a fantastic location.
To get from one island to another you can take the Dhoni boat, which takes a couple of minutes otherwise simply enjoy the walk. One day I went via paddleboard, which was fun!!
Rangalifinolhu Island offers 1 and 2 bedroom water villas with and without a private swimming pool. The two bedrooms are very spacious with a large bathroom in the centre separating the rooms and a living area. The beach villas are available in 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.
The deluxe 1 bedroom villa is stunning and extremely spacious for a family with young children. They include a large outdoor relaxing area with day bed and rattan swing plus an outdoor shower which is accessible from the bathroom..
The bathroom includes all modern amenities such as a powerful rain shower and an intelligent toilet!!! From the bedroom you can access the pool and private beach.
You can watch the room tour here: https://youtu.be/_oJgAt2PgVM
The 2 bedroom beach villa is the same layout except in place of the relaxing area by the out door shower, this has been designed into another bedroom– again great for families but not ideal for 2 couples. They also have interconnecting beach villas too.
As I mentioned before, Rangali Island will actually be closed until 1st November as all the water villas are being renovated. I have seen the mock up rooms and they are lovely and will offer 1 and 2 bedroom villas with and without pool. There will also be 2 three bedroom water villas with pools that are very spacious and private as they sit on the edge of a private jetty.
THE MURAKA – The world’s first undersea residence
This has to be the most modern and unique 3 bedroom, two level luxury residence in the world, let alone the Maldives! One of the bedrooms is submerged under the sea offering the best seat to watch your own underwater theater and a truly unique visual experience.
As you walk down the jetty towards The Muraka which is located out into the sea away from the island this incredible modern white building starts to take form.
As you enter its open plan with floor to ceiling windows around the entire back of the residence. The living space with a large dining area and kitchen bar brings the out doors in with sliding doors which open up onto a large deck with a huge comfortable seating area, infinity swimming pool and lots of space to jump directly into the ocean.
On the first floor is a king bedroom with an incredibly large bathroom with a stunning bath perfectly placed to offer the most delightful views of the ocean. There’s a twin bedroom perfect for kids, a gym and for large families traveling with staff there’s a separate wing for them to relax and feel comfortable.
To get to the master bedroom you can take the spiral staircase or the elevator which takes you below sea level. Once the lift doors open you walk directly into the master bedroom which provides 180 degree curved acrylic dome from floor to ceiling windows offering the most incredible front row seat to an under water theatre.
As I lay on the bed I was in awe of what was in front of me. The small sharks and schools of fish would swim past along with the odd large fish who looked like he was staring right at you.
At the far end of the roof there are two comfortable chairs facing outwards and the opposite end of the room is a walk in wardrobe and a wash room with double sinks, complete with Aesop products. Being in this room there’s wasn’t one moment that you don’t have a view of the marine life, it’s truly an incredible experience. The hardest decision to make while staying in The Muraka is which seat to sit on and what view to admire.
You can watch my room tour here: https://youtu.be/jG-eglLPus0
For the size of this island there is so much choice for dining along with unique experiences. There are 12 world class restaurants all serving totally different cuisines, from an authentic Chinese restaurant by acclaimed chef Jeremy Leung, an underground wine cellar, an underwater restaurant, Teppanyaki table on the beach and more. I’m not one for dining at the same restaurant every night , so this really is a foodies paradise. You also have a choice of two breakfast restaurants to also shake things up!
ITHAA underwater restaurant. A fine dining experience 5 meters under the sea with 180 degree panoramic views. Relax with a glass in hand as you watch the marine life swimming past you as the sunlight reflects on the coral.
Lunch is a 4 course fine dining delight and dinner is 6 courses all being specially designed to leave you feeling light and satisfied. It’s a small restaurant approx. 14 people at a time and you can book it exclusively for breakfast/lunch and dinner.
Chef cooked us a wonderful array of dishes for lunch – mine were all served without fish and shell fish:
Dill infused salmon
Beet, caper mayo, pistachio
Foie gras touchon
Pecan granola, poached rhubarb, fried shallots
Miso & truffle marinated black cod OR Wagyu beef
Green pea, edamame bean, snow pea, crisp noodles, onion sauce
Yuzu set mousse
Passion fruit, pineapple and butter milk
UFAA BY JEREMY LEUNG
Ufaa is an innovative Chinese culinary concept by celebrity chef Jeremy Leung that showcases authentic experiences which highlight the iconic flavours from the distinctive cultures and provinces across China. The restaurant presents various dining options including fresh hand- made noodles and dim sum, premium hotpot with Chef Leung’s signature broth and top quality produce.
MANDHOO SPA RESTAURANT
This was one of my favorites as it sits on stilts in the lagoon, this open-air over-water restaurant is the best kept dining secret on the island. The menu has been specially prepared to energize, nourish, detoxify, relax and fortify the body utilizing organic produce, some grown on the island grounds and imported from around the world. The chefs cooking techniques pay special attention to specific tastes, temperature, level of moisture and density as they all affect the mind and body in different ways.
THE WINE CELLAR
Located two meters underground and featuring up to 20,000 bottles of wine and up to1,400 labels – the most in the Maldives, The Wine Cellar is the setting for degustation dinners hosted by the island’s head chef and chief sommelier, who skillfully match a five-course menu with up to eight hand-picked wines. 12 guests sit at the purposely-designed table with the chief sommelier and are guided on an interactive journey through the old and new world wine regions, presented on personal video screens. The menu changes each time, allowing chef to show- case the best seasonal ingredients available.
THE CHEESE & WINE BAR
Home to over 100 of the world’s best cheeses which have been carefully selected by the Cheese Master, The Cheese and Wine Bar, is the Maldives’ one and only purposely designed cheese and wine bar. The Cheese and Wine Bar plays host to informal wine and cheese tastings as well as regular fondue and tapas evenings. Guests will feel the subtle texture of black volcanic sand imported from New Zealand between their toes as they are welcomed, whether for a cheese platter for dinner or simply a glass of wine, before or after dinner.
VILU Restaurant and Bar
Vilu Restaurant is dedicated to the art of food and wine pairing. Located on the edge of the lagoon, Vilu is an open air restaurant that showcases the resort’s extensive wine selection that has been expertly matched to the contemporary Mediterranean inspired cuisine on offer.
Located on the beach, Koko Grill Restaurant is an intimate and lively dining experience. Watch flames dance on the open teppenkayi grill as chef prepares up to 10 courses of Japanese cuisine under the stars.
Sits on the edge of the main pool, the sand-floored bar provides extensive lunch and dinner menus alongside contemporary cocktails, regular live music and events. Open for lunch and dinner from 10 am until late.
THE QUIET ZONE
An open-air tented lounge on the beach, located on Rangali Island. For adults only, The Quiet Zone features comfy daybeds, a fully stocked bar and a lunch and dinner men
The resort’s only buffet restaurant with eight show kitchens featuring Asian, Italian, Japanese, Indian, a Grill, the Deli, a bakery and desserts, Atoll market provides a culinary tour of the world under one roof. Open for breakfast and dinner.
LOBSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE ON THE BEACH
Enjoy an unforgettable occasion with a bountiful seafood feast featuring lobsters and shell fish caught off the resort’s shores, accompanied by Champagne and served in an idyllic beach setting. Advance reservations are essential.
SUNSET BAR AND GRILL
Set on stilts 50-metres out to sea above a coral reef, the open-air restaurant showcases the country’s fresh seafood and imported meats prepared simply alongside a carefully crafted wine list.
I have been to the Maldives 8 times and never have I seen so many Manta Rays so close by. Every evening they would come swimming close to the jetty as they are attracted by the lights. They would elegantly glide through the water turning upside down with their mouths wide open to feed on plankton. I watched in awe of how majestic and giant these creatures are.
Another amazing creature you can also spot close to the resort is the Whale Shark the largest fish in the ocean. The whale shark which is a shark not a whale is easy to spot not just from its size but also as part of its body is covered in white spots. They are totally harmless hence why snorkelers and divers can swim next to them as they swim slowly opening their large mouth to feed on plankton.
Boat trips are available every day in order to swim with the whale sharks. We went out one morning and unfortunately for me, we didn’t see any, which I was gutted about as at many other resorts in the Maldives people can wait for hours to see these beautiful creatures and here they are so close to us but that day they must have been swimming too deep for us to find. I will be going back to the resort to try my luck next time. However we did see many spinner dolphins putting on a display spinning next to the boat even the babies were performing.
There are also 42 dive sites close to the resort so dive lovers have enough options to keep them busy for weeks.
Along with the underwater restaurant and The Muraka private residence were you can watch sting rays and black tip sharks darting past the windows this island is the closest I have got to seeing so much marine life without getting wet.
The team on the island are very protective of the sea life around the resort and with good reason. They are always on hand to answer any questions and they politely ask people to refrain from trying to feed the Manta Rays and other sea life.
THE SPA RETREAT
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is home to two unique spa experiences, The Spa Retreat on Rangalifinolhu Island and The Over-Water Spa on Rangali Island.
100 meters off of the tip of Rangalifinolhu Island, The Spa Retreat offers a holistic and locally inspired experience which is aimed at relaxing the mind, body and soul.
The overwater spa on Rangali Island comprises of four thatched-roof treatment rooms set on stilts over the Indian Ocean. Three of these treatment rooms have glass floors, providing entrancing views of the coral reef below, whilst a secluded serenity deck with open-air Jacuzzi provides the perfect finale to the spa rituals on offer.
MAJAA Explorers Hub
Majaa Explorers Hub offers children a fun filled entertainment schedule packed with activities and themed daily programs. Little explorer favorites include the Pirate Cruises, Coral Education and Little Chef Workshops.
They are also developing a teenagers clubs for days when you just need to be out of the sun and chill.
Kids aged 10+ can learn how to snorkel and dive with their experienced PADI accredited dive team.
The island offers every water sport you can think of and all non motorized activities like paddle boarding, kayaking and pedalos are complimentary.
I have to be honest I haven’t been to a resort in the Maldives where the service wasn’t excellent and the staff were not polite and friendly. I spent a lot of time with the management team and I was surprised how all staff addressed each other by their names – that’s a lot of peoples names to remember!!
If you’re a diver this is the resort for you!
If you’re a foodie this is the culinary experience you have been waiting for!
The Conrad Maldives website is currently being updated, so don’t let it put you off as it gives a false reflection of the property, have a look at my photos below and visit their Instagram page @conrad_maldives
Before arriving on the island why not download the MARUHABA App which includes all the restaurants menus, island map, activities etc. See the QR code below.
Maldives’ regulars who have not tried the Conrad need to put this resort next on their list while for Maldives newbies this resort is literally the best way to experience all the different wonders that make Maldives truly magical!
Watch our full video on this link: https://youtu.be/uDnpKpGo6G0