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Reviewed 30 April 2012

When the term ‘paradise’ was coined, it’s tempting to think that the wordsmith was standing on the white sand of Rangali Island in The Maldives, gazing out over the turquoise sea, the only shadow coming from the fronds of the palm trees. For it is at Rangali Island – home now to the exclusive Conrad Hilton resort – that the pictures you see in the holiday brochures are actually taken. Here, the sand really is that white, the beaches really are that deserted, and the sea is placid and warm.

The resort is actually comprised of two small islands, connected by a foot bridge – the air taxi takes you all the way to a jetty and meeting point equidistant between the two. Here you are met by reception staff and your ‘host’. Every visitor, couple or family is given their own ‘host’, someone to call on with any questions at any time. After a short orientation tour, you’ll be taken to your villa, in our case a picturesque water villa built over the quietly lapping ocean, with its own sundeck, jacuzzi and steps down to the sea itself.

Elsewhere on Rangali there are the aforementioned beaches, palms, two health spas, and a sumptuous variety of restaurants and bars. The resort also offers a good number of watersports opportunities, usually at extra cost. These include cruises, snorkelling, water skiing, visits to other islands and scuba diving. All equipment can be rented from the island itself. In fact, you don’t even need to bring your own flip-flops for padding around the beaches – pretty much everything you could need for a beach holiday is provided.

So clear and unpolluted are those Maldivian nights that you’ll see shooting stars aplenty, and best of all - from the illuminated bridge - you’ll spot several enormous manta rays, gentle and graceful creatures that live on plankton.

While the Conrad Hilton resort has much to recommend it, it is probably its culinary delights that have taken it to pole position in The Maldives’ constant race for tourism perfection. Whereas most resorts have two restaurants, one gourmet and one buffet, Rangali has at least seven. The most famous is Ithaa, it's undersea restaurant, but our favourite meal was at the Koko Grill, an al fresco Japanese-influenced culinary extravaganza. Limited to ten guests, you sit at night on the beach underneath floodlit palms while the chef (who was eight years experience working in Japan) prepares nine courses, explaining each as he goes along. Like Ithaa, the cost is massive, a whopping $250 and you're advised to book weeks before you travel. Be aware that this resort is the very definition of top end, and is almost impossible to do it on the cheap.

I could go on about the wine-tasting night, the exotic and health conscious Mandhoo Spa restaurant (a great choice for an interesting breakfast), the divine spa treatments, the wonderful bar and cocktail evening, or sipping champagne in your private jacuzzi as the sun goes down...

With a ratio of two staff to every guest, you’ll have the illusion that you have the entire place to yourself. With smiling staff wishing you well at every turn, and no need to worry about fiddling around for tips (a service charge is added at the end), or how you’re going to get from A to B (everywhere's just about in walking distance, and it's fun to do so), the Conrad Hilton Rangali is pure indulgence on every level. It is, as our imaginary wordsmith would have said, an absolute paradise on earth.

Room Tip: Nothing's cheap here - just go for the best you can afford. Water villas HIGHLY recommended!
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank SteveBB85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2012

We (husband and 10 &11 year olds) traveled for a week (too short) to this magnificent resort. The water is the clearest water I have seen anywhere in the world. Full of sea life and calm with a great house reef.

Food was generally great. 9 restaurants to choose from. Expensive as suggested in other review but given the logistics of getting food to this remote location worth every penny. We only had one failed dinner but this was comped by the Manager who also sent a bottle of champagne as an apology. Our favorite dining experience was at the Japanese Koko grill. The chef was very talented and the food delicious.

Service was second to none. The Maldivians are very happy and genuine in their approach we felt that every staff member we encountered was a delight and really tried hard to make our holiday unforgettable.

We booked the two bedroom sunset water villa which was magnificent. In short it had a large swimming pool, spa on the deck and was very well appointed. We particularly liked the glass bottom floor in the lounge room, our round bed that rotated to the many views from our villa, the outdoor shower and fully stocked daily complimentary bar fridge with large selection of beer, wines, french champagne and spirits. We also enjoyed climbing the stairs straight into the crystal clear blue sea. We also had exclusive use of a speedboat to zip over to the main island which was fun.

The activities were also plentiful and suited our active family. I researched very hard before choosing this resort based on having children and wanting somewhere that would cater well to their needs. There is a great kids club but our kids have outgrown kids clubs but managed to meet lots of kids to play with at the main pool.

In short this place is magnificent in every respect and I cannot wait to return.

Room Tip: Sunset villa 350 is the best on the island
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank susanPerthAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2012

This feedback is very delayed but I can't not post this.
I have stayed at the Conrad Maldives twice. The rule at the resort is 'No news, no shoes!'. First time (June 2010) it was my wife and I staying in a water villa for 4 nights. It was an amazing experience. Second time (May-June 2011) was my wife and two kids (14 and 8 years) and we stayed in a Beach Villa for 6 nights. It is very tough to say which one is better. If you can manage, both are worth doing. The water villa is the most unique experience I have ever had. It did get a bit lonely for my wife though I loved every minute. One night it got quite stormy and my wife was really scared. The beach villas are massive and right on the lovely beach. They have an open shower and a bath at the back. Its almost like a mini bungalow of your own. Both the water villa and the beach villa are beautiful, very tastefully furnished and serviced more than once a day if you want. You can find an odd lizard or crab outside your room sometimes but they are harmless and you shouldnt go to Maldives if you cant stand even seeing one during a week's stay. There is no resort in Maldives where you wont find one.
The spa is great and both my wife and I found it excellent.
I experienced Scuba diving for the first time in Maldives and during our second visit my son and I did our open water diver course and got PADI certified. The dive centre is excellent with very good instructors and all world class equipment. We have also tried diving in a PADI certified dive centre in Thailand (Pattaya) but Conrad was a class apart. My daughter also did a bubble maker session there which was handled really well. There are tons of other water sports like snorkelling, surfing, jet skis, glass floor boat, dolphin cruise and many other cruises.
If you are travelling with young kids, the kids club - Majaa is fantastic. They can keep your kids busy all day each day with a new theme and activities. It has both indoor and outdoor activities.
One of the best features is the restaurant, food and staff. The breakfast buffest is really nice. We used to mostly eat in the bar during the day as it is near the pool and the beach and thats where the kids were all the time. Dinner was usually in the room as the kids were too tired by then. When my wife and I had gone in the first trip, we tried quite a few restaurants and they were all top class. The manager of the coffee shop (apologies for forgetting his name) was perhaps the most guest centric hotel staff member I have seen anywhere in the world. All the hotel staff are really really top class. You cannot find a single fault unless thats your purpose of the trip.
Maldives is 'Heaven on earth' at least for us. We have been going there for the last 2 years and again planning this year. If you are planning and considering Conrad, just close your eyes and go for it.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank Neeraj K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2012

After years of thinking about it, we finally visited in April with the kids (ages 2 and 3) and the inlaws. It is amazing. Really at a loss for words-- but you'll see I've forced some out below. In the past few years we have taken holidays at St Regis, Ritz, W properties around the world. In places like Tahiti, Hawaii, St John, Greek Islands and I must say this is the best and most unique experience. You will never see water so clear. I thought Tahiti couldn't be beat-- and I was wrong.  There are moments here where you feel like you and your family have the entire world to yourselves. Just stars and private beach.

Beach Villa
The basic room, it is actually your best bet with small kids. We toured the Water Villas and we much preferred this room. It is much larger. And close to the beach. Now, if we visited as a couple then maybe we would go water villa. But keep in mind many water villas are a long long walk from the beach. What we loved about the bv, they are huge. Have an enormous outdoor tub-- essentially a hot tub or plunge pool and an outdoor shower. You are protected by high villa walls so it seems private. Also great for kids, it has an atrium with a fountain and sand where they can play. Then you have your own little slice of beach right in front. When we go back wont even worry about upgrading.

Food
We didn't have any food included. But we basically brought cereal for the kids, snacked early then had a big lunch and dinner. Kids ate at Rangali Bar and we went to the nice places. Let's be clear about one thing, this is not resort food. This is 4-5 star food you find in NYC and London. No joke. Even the crappy burger/chicken finger lunch food is great. Our favorite restaurant was Sunset Grill. We went twice.

$$$
Everyone's favorite subject. Do not go here looking to watch what you spend. Now that said, prices are not nearly as crazy as some people say. I honestly didn't find prices that different from luxury hotels in London, Miami etc. Where prices do seem high are on smaller things, like $9 cokes and $18 mixed drinks-- but again, no different from the Caribbean. We skipped the $35 breakfast. And we never did the $95 dinner buffet. Looks ok, but not really into the stuff yourself thing. As mentioned, the restaurants are lovely. Top of the line. You can always eat cheap at the bar- like $18 pizzas. You can factor about $150 a person a day for food -- without going crazy. This includes dinners with cheaper bottles of wine.

Kids Club
They are wonderful with kids. Just great. Only annoying thing is they only take kids 3 and up. The women we great. They even had amazing excursions for the kids like pirate boat rides. Couldn't have been better. And knowing this is included in the price helps make the overall cost better, as you basically get all day babysitting. It should also be mentioned they have an onsite medical clinic staffed with a dr and nurse. Shady? Sure, but great for being stuck in the middle on the ocean. They have all sorts of meds and bandages.

Service
Exceptional. Like you would expect from a St Regis or Ritz. They anticipate your needs at every turn. Poolside sunglasses cleaning was a nice touch. You also have a personal butler who can provide anything and seems to be reachable 24 hours a day.

Sea Plane
Another favorite topic. This is a great ride and kind of worth the money-- though you have no choice in the matter. There is a fantastic arrival lounge before you board with food, drinks and a play area-- but, perhaps most insulting, you can ONLY use the lounge on arrival. So when they assign you a water plane that leaves you with a 4 hour wait, you are forced to wait in the hot and sweaty airport -- despite the fact you paid $500 for each 15min plane ticket. Now this is just absurd. Same on them. The ride is great. What they don't tell you is you sometimes have stops to drop people off-- kind of annoying because,again, you pay $2000 for a family of four but have to stop and wait for others in a sweltering plane (and I mean hot!) bouncing on the waves.

Tipping
Everything-- and I mean everything, like a bottle of lotion in the gift shop, has a 10 percent service charge. Up to you if you add more. We did add tip on dinners, but not small things. And at the end I gave 20 euro in ash to our favorite bar waiter and 20 euro to our butler, who didn't really do anything-- but we didn't ask anything of her.

Overall
We loved it. We are already planning on coming back next year.  And nice wifi. Almost every part of the island is covered-- better than some London hotels. It's not fast, so you can't really download iTunes films or stream video.

Check out the sea plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpn38fd2qHg

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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18  Thank mpolatin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

This was our 2nd stay at the resort. After the wonderful first visit in 2009, we couldn't wait to return. This time, we spent 3 nights at the water villa, and 4 nights at the Deluxe Beach Villa.

The resort is awesome, with its well appointed villas, its beautiful surrounding, wonderful house reef, choice of F&B outlets, lovely spas, and huge range of activities to keep one occupied. You can choose to get busy with water sports options, play tennis, table tennis, work out in the gym, island hopping, whale shark snorkelling, scuba diving, or simply laze around people watching at the beach or Rangali bar, lounge around in the pool, or simply enjoy the jacuzzi or pool in the privacy of your own villa, or star gazing! Our favorite activity was getting charmed by dances of the huge manta rays when they make their nightly appearance at the jetty.

A lot of nice things have been said about this resort by the other reviewers which I also agree with. so I will just focus on the differences compared to my last visit:

1. Food at the various restaurants is still good, albeit not as good as before. Ater spending 8 days there, I do wish there was more food variety. Most of the restaurants (Sunset Grill, Mandhu, and Villu) serve fusion Western food, which after having eaten a few times, get "tiring". With close to 10 F&B outlets at the resort, I wonder why they don't have any Asian restaurants, or at least offer some Asian dishes at the Rangali Bar. Besides that, we also find the food too fancy. Though we enjoy the food, we sometimes just feel like a simple meal- like a simple pasta or salad. The staff at the Rangali was very obliging though, and made us spaghetti Bolognese and spaghetti Aglio Oilo, which are not on the menu, for which we are very appreciative. The F&B manager whom we ran into today told us that he is looking into revamping the menu options, and we are really looking forward to that during our next stay.

2. Koko Grill dinner: the staff worked hard at giving us a good dining experience under the stars. Some of the dishes were good, but the sushi was very disappointing, and the lobster overcooked.

3. A bit of slack in housekeeping service at the Deluxe Beach Villa. We stayed in villa 235, and found a mouse in the walk-in wardrobe half an hour after we checked in. For a 5-star resort which charges way over USD1000 a night, this is certainly unacceptable! We called Conrad Service, and they promptly had someone remove it. When we returned to the room at night, the smell of dead rat still lingered. We asked for the place to be cleaned thoroughly the next morning and it was done. Meanwhile, we had a restless night worrying about the possible appearance of another mouse. What was disappointing is that no one checked on us the next day to ask if everything was ok, something which I am certain that other Conrad Hotels elsewhere would have done.

4. Another set back is that the beach villas are not sound proof. So we could hear screaming kids day and night from the villas next door.

5. The housekeeping at the water villa (#324) was excellent. The room was thoroughly cleaned everyday with fresh towels and sheets.

6. Spas: I had a great massage (Iru ritual) at the Spa retreat. The therapist is very well trained and skillful. The same cannot be said about the treatment at the Overwater Spa. While the treatment room is lovely with glass bottoms, offering you a nice view of the ocean floor, I do not enjoy the treatment as much, as I do not like the technique employed. As a regular spa visitor, I am used to having an area of the body worked on completely before moving on to the next. The massage sequence of this treatment moved from shoulders to legs, to hands, to shoulders and legs, and hands over and over again. It is very disturbing for me as it did nothing to help me relax. Also, although the treatment involved a shirodara head massage, I was given barely a minute of head massage. Very disappointing for a USD250++ treatment!

7. Dive Center: Miki, our bubbly dive instructor, and Nahoko at the dive center are great! They introduced us to the world of scuba diving, and Miki especially, made it look so easy for us by giving us a lot of confidence in the water. If you are planning to do some diving there, do look for Miki or Nahoko. When we return, we will definitely dive with Miki again!

8. Service: good on the whole. But we do notice a slight difference when the bosses were around. Eg. During the first few days of our trip, service was very good at all the F &B outlets even though the hotel was filled with Ester weekend crowd. However when the crowd thinned the last few days, the service level also dipped somewhat.

Would we return again? Most likely yes. We still love the physical attributes of the resort, and will probably stay at the water villa, and at the beach villa only during off peak season. But with the kind of money one pays at the Conrad, there are many choices in Maldives, and we are tempted to try some of the others soon before returning to Conrad.

Room Tip: Choose the water villa if you like peace and quiet, especially during peak season. The beach villas can be noisy when there are kids around.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Botanicspup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KarimRangali, General Manager at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2012

Dear Guest
Thank you very much for your comments posted in TripAdvisor. Your feedback is very detailed and it will help us to improve in the various areas.
My sincere apology for the lack of communication and shortcomings in housekeeping which has been addressed with the concerned for improvement.
On the other note I am also glad to read that you will be coming back, looking forward welcoming you back to Conrad Rangali hopefully in the near future. Kind regards
Karim Schadlou, Resort Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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