Sweet: Take chances, go far away, and don’t worry! This motto helped me sell my husband on a trip to our bucket list destination, the Maldives. The Maldives are made of of atolls – ring shaped coral reefs that create a calm place in the sea allowing for crystal clear blue lagoons, filled with an abundance of colorful fish, and islands with white sand beaches.
Sour: I realized that this was a great opportunity, and had to jump in for this long haul: 16 hours LAX → Dubai, plus a 7 hour layover → 4 hour flight to Malé, plus a 3.5 hour layover (included lounge access provided by the Conrad) → 30 minute sea plane to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
Sweet: Upon arriving at the Conrad, our friendly island host, Maseeh, greeted us and ensured that we felt instantly welcomed. The relaxed, luxury service at the resort was refreshing. Shoes were optional, the island host was available at any time by cell, and every request we asked for was granted.
Sour: A golf cart took us across the bridge that connects the two islands of the resort to the main island, which is where most activities occur.
The Main Island – Rangalifinolhu
Sweet: The house reef, water sports, and most restaurants are located here, including Ithaa, meaning ‘mother of pearl’. Ithaa alone is a bucket list destination, where you dine in a glass bubble under the sea, and admire the abundant fish variety and reef sharks.
Sweet: The contemporary and creative menu of Ithaa added to the wonder of the unique under sea show that was full of marine life, and shades of blue that changed with the sunset.
The Second Island – Rangali
Sour: The second and smaller island, Rangali has accommodations of solely over water villas. The Quiet Zone Pool, Vilu Restaurant, Over Water Spa, and yoga pavilion are some of the reasons to visit this narrow island with pristine white sand beaches.
Sour: The first 3 nights of our stay were comfortable and convenient in a Deluxe Beach Villa. Direct beach access and a private plunge pool were right outside this modern Villa. The bedroom was large and comfortable. Other features include outdoor rain shower, over-sized tub in a private pavilion, and inner courtyard (Beach Villa #227 was great as it was steps from access to the House Reef for the best snorkeling!).
Sweet: We often rode a Dhoni – traditional fishing boat of the Maldives, to the second island, where along the ride we saw schools of fish jumping and manta rays, while staying covered in case of a short rainfall.
Sweet: In order to ensure my husband would start relaxing, we headed straight to The Spa Retreat. This spa has several treatment rooms in an over-water setting, and was right next door to Mandhoo Restaurant for an extensive buffet of afternoon tea.
Spa Retreat & Mandhoo Restaurant
Sour: The Over Water Spa has a glass floor that you can see through during the massage, and an outdoor Jacuzzi to relax. During the first two days the weather was cloudy, which meant that extra spa time made sense.
Over Water Spa
Sweet: Maseeh invited us to tour several other room types, and we chose to upgrade to both the Deluxe Water Villa, and the Premiere Water Villa. Staying over the water was unique, left us with a more memorizing view, and a greater feeling of relaxation.
Premiere Water Villa features: sunset facing, private pool, lagoon access, day bed, large outdoor deck, sunken Jacuzzi, bidet, walk in closet, dining and living areas (Premiere Water Villas #313 & #314 are on the end for the most privacy).
Deluxe Water Villa (Below)
Deluxe Water Villa features: Sunset view, outdoor spa, lagoon access, 4 post bed, combined living area, bathtub and shower, walk in closet (Deluxe Water Villa #348 is most private).
Sweet: There are numerous activities provided by the resort – sunset and sunrise sail, sports fishing, snorkeling safari, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, yachting, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, turtle safari, private island visits, romantic picnics, cultural shows, and nightly themed dinners.
Our Daily Activities
Sour: Although the extensiveness of activities was impressive, our days mostly consisted of hitting up the buffet breakfast, snorkeling, swimming, lunch by the pool, collecting shells, afternoon tea, complimentary happy hour, dinner, and relaxing in our room.
Daily Breakfast Buffet & Made to Order at Atoll Market & Vilu Restaurant
Lunches & Dinners
Sweet: With 15 lounges and restaurants, plus 24 hours of in-room dining there is no shortage of mouthwatering food! The breakfast buffet consisted of 10 stations and made to order entrees. Lunch was usually light, or room service, but our favorite dish was their famous Chicken Tikka Masala, which we devoured at least 4 times during our stay. Seafood is freshly caught, and the local Maldivian Lobster was better than any other I’ve had.
Sour: My wife’s Hilton Honor’s membership is Gold status, which provided incredible perks including daily breakfast for two, daily afternoon tea, and daily happy hour. The food at the resort can be very expensive ($35+ for a cheeseburger, prefixed dinners often run $200-$350+ per person), but the variety is definitely not lacking, and nothing we ordered was disappointing.
Walks Around the Beautiful Islands
Sweet: The waters are most calm in the mornings, and the sights and sounds of the animals come to life. We got up close and personal with numerous reef sharks, large jellyfish, a giant moray eel, and birds – including the friendly heron, George.
Sour: The island felt private, as though we had the entire island to ourselves. There were no shortages of beautiful places to stop, sit, swing, lie down, and explore. It would be truly hard to not be happy here; as confirmed by the staff who also became our friends.
Sweet: While there are many picture perfect places in the world, the hospitality, vibrant colors of the sky, land, and sea make the Maldives one of a kind. Each sunset and sunrise provided us with memorable moments of awe and inspiration.
Sour: Unfortunately, the Maldives face harsh climate changes. With global warming, the coral is dying, and reefs are noticeably becoming more of a coral boneyard. As special of a place that the Maldives is, it needs help to secure its future.
Maldives – We genuinely hope to be reacquainted again!