The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is located in the Alif Dhaal Atoll, which is home to a number of resort and uninhabited islands. Given its remote location the resort is only accessible by sea plane or yacht, but more on that later.
The resort is hands down the most stunning hotel property I’ve ever stayed at. Powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear water and palm trees are what dreams are made of and the Conrad has it all.
I booked 4-nights in a standard water villa using 285,000 Hilton points and a free night certificate I received with my Hilton Aspire card. Hilton offers all elite members a fifth night free when you book 4 nights using points, but I thought 4-nights would be enough for my first visit to the Maldives. In hindsight I would have loved to stay a few extra nights. Next time!
I e-mailed the resort shortly after booking (MLEHI.Res@conradhotels.com) to inquire about upgrade pricing and was able to upgrade to a superior water villa for around $55 a night inclusive of tax. Given that this room was pricing out to over $1,200 a night it was an excellent value.
A Conrad representative will contact you shortly after booking your reservation to confirm your arrival and departure details, which they’ll use to try to schedule transportation to the resort that fits your schedule. If you haven’t finalized your flights at the time of booking you have up until 48-hours before arrival to do so.
For those arriving at Malé Airport between 6am and 4pm you can take a seaplane directly to the resort. However, those arriving between 4pm and 10pm need to take a domestic flight and then a speed boat. I highly recommend arranging your international flight so it gets in on the earlier side so you have more time to enjoy the Conrad.
I contacted the resort months ahead with my information and then followed-up a few days before my arrival. After landing at Malé Airport around 9am I collected my luggage, which was first scanned for alcohol. I heard stories from others who had their alcohol confiscated on arrival so I didn’t bother trying.
I went through immigration formalities and then was greeted by a friendly Conrad representative. They took my luggage and checked it with Trans Maldivian Airways. The luggage allowance is 25kg per person plus 5kg of hand luggage. Excess baggage is chargeable and will have to be paid directly to Maldivian Air Taxi at US$8 plus 12% per kg per way.
I was then taken by van to the Conrad Seaplane Lounge. The lounge is free of charge upon arrival, but the resort charges $85++ for use of the lounge on departure. Everything at the resort is priced in USD. The “++” is 10% Service Charge (levied by resort) plus 12% T-GST (Tourist Goods & Services Tax, levied by the Maldivian government). The total tax and service charge is 23.2%, which really adds up.
After allowing you to take a seat representatives come around and collect credit cards for incidentals. The seaplane ride itself is $590 roundtrip per person and is charged to your room.
The lounge has a fairly lackluster food and beverage offering consisting of whole fruits and pastries along with a selection of juices and non-diet sodas. If you’re looking for some champagne you’re not going to find it. Alcohol is generally forbidden in the Maldives with a few exceptions – the Huluhlhe Airport Hotel in Malé and the resort islands including the Conrad.
I opted to limit myself to a coffee. After finishing my coffee I headed to the back of the lounge where I enjoyed a free 10-minute chair massage. While I normally don’t find chair massages relaxing it did the trick after flying for almost 20-hours from the East Coast.
Pro tips – You can get discounted spa packages if you commit to the treatments in the Seaplane Lounge. In addition, Hilton Diamond members get an extra 15-minutes on a single treatment so long as it’s 60-minutes or longer.
I was in the lounge for about an hour before they called boarding for the 30-minute flight to the Conrad Maldives. Trans Maldivian Airways operates the 19-seat De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter aircraft. It was my first time on a seaplane and I was quite excited for both the ride and the destination.
Overall Verdict (Seaplane experience)
Meets First Class Giraffe’s Expectations