This superbly stylish resort is set on two idyllic islands, both dense with palm trees and indigenous flora that create a natural castaway haven. Conrad Rangali serves glamorous luxury in chic surroundings and offers some of the most exciting underwater attractions in the Maldives.
Our experience of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island begun with a seaplane flight, which after only half an hour touched down in a spray of foam and water. The craft then docked to a 500-meter bridge connecting two idyllic islands, both of which belong to the hotel.
Villas-on-stilts and beach accommodation
We stayed on both islands, first in a beach villa and then in the Deluxe Water Villa. This gave us a taste of two popular choices.
The larger island is home to spacious, elegant beach villas, many of which come with private pools. All have bathing pavilions in the garden and are laid out on an open-plan, with huge glass walls and high ceilings. The most spacious of all are the Beach Suites (twice the size of most of the other villas). All of these are the favorite choice for families with children.
The smaller island, a little more than a thin strip of land, is designed as a couple’s destination, and with privacy in mind. All the luxury villas here are set on stilts in the sea, and all benefit from great ocean views, even if some are facing the other island. They all also have a sun terrace, with pools or jacuzzis depending on the villa category.
The best villas on this island are the two Sunset Villas, set way away from the island. Each is designed with a partial glass floor, private butler, designer furnishings and private pool.
Under the sea: Ithaa and Muraka
The most eye-popping accommodation at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is The Muraka. Nestled in a private area off the larger island, it is a first-of-its-kind residence featuring fully integrated living, dining, entertaining — and a stunner of a master suite, located fully underwater.
But this is not the only underwater attraction at the resort. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is home to the first underwater restaurant in the Maldives, Ithaa. Its celebrated dining room is built a few meters below the sea surface, with the curved, transparent acrylic roof and walls allowing for fantastic views of marine life on the reef. The restaurant combines Western and Maldivian cuisine, with a seasonal menu.
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Restaurants and spas
In total, there as many as twelve restaurants and bars in the resort. One of our favorites ones was the Vilu restaurant, which serves breakfast and à la carte and Mediterranean dishes with a hint of Asian.
Another we loved to revisit was the Koko Grill, mainly with a Japanese menu. Koko Grill is located next to a stunning infinity pool with an adjacent modern chill-out area and bar, where light snacks and drinks are served in a sophisticated ambiance, under a canvas canopy. The resort also boasts the wine cellar, which can be booked for dinner combined with a wine tasting, led by a professional sommelier.
The resort has not one but two spas, both built on stilts. The larger one is the Spa Retreat, where the session villas/room rooms have glass floors, allowing guests to observe marine life during treatment. The deck connects it with a “spa restaurant” and Utopian Spa Villas, set over-water, and with their own private double treatment rooms.
Getting there: British Airways (www.ba.com) operates direct flights from the UK, and Air France (www.airfrance.com) from Paris. The other carriers go through their hubs: Emirates (www.emirates.com) through Dubai, Qatar Airways (www.qatar-airways.com) through Doha and Etihad (www.etihad.com) via Abu Dhabi. Also, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Fly Dubai, Condor, Virgin Atlantic and KLM, all operate flights to the Maldives from major international cities.