Paradise Found at Conrad Rangali
After a short sea plane flight from Male International airport, we found ourselves at Conrad Rangali. A desert island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but this desert island just happens to have 12 award winning restaurants and not one, but two world-class spas set on stilts above the turquoise lagoon…
The Maldives is synonymous with luxury, and each island has it’s own unique touches that make your trip so memorable, but the Conrad Rangali resort was unlike anything I had ever experienced before – let me show you why.
From the seaplane, we were greeted on the jetty by the smiling staff who swiftly treated us to an ice cold drink and refreshing towel, before checking us in and taking us to our room for the next four nights. I say room – this is unlike any ‘hotel room’ I have ever stayed in before. Here at the Conrad, we stayed in an overwater villa – and despite visiting the Maldives several times in the past, I’d never stayed in one of the iconic bungalows on stilts over the shimmering sands before. While you may not be able to walk straight out onto the beach like you can with the beach villas, there is something quite magical about dipping straight into the sea from your own private decking, or enjoying a serene breakfast from the privacy of your bungalow as you watch the sun rise over the pink skies and listen to the waves gently lapping beneath.
One thing I am always asked when I mention the Maldives is, ‘but what is there to do?!’
Well, firstly, I am the type of person who will quite happily plonk myself on a deckchair with a good book (or 5) and read, walk on the beach, paddle in the sea, and repeat – over and over, for a week or more. However I can completely understand those that want a little more activity during their trip (Charlie, I am looking at you), and the Conrad caters perfectly for both.
There is no shortage of postcard-worthy settings for those that want to lie back and relax, but if your version of active is little more than simply strolling down jetties and paddling in shallow crystal clear waters, then you’ll be pleased to hear that on the islands (yes, there are actually two – connected by a long jetty which also makes for a great early morning jogging track) there’s a fully equipped gym (and it got Charlie’s nod of approval which is quite a feat!) with ocean views, personal training sessions, fitness classes, private yoga sessions on the open air pavilion, a watersport centre, two infinity pools and a tennis court.
Charlie and I most enjoyed taking the kayaks out, and challenging each other with who could stand up for the longest on the paddle board – and we also enjoyed snorkelling trips on nearby reefs as well as our daily gym sessions – in fact, we may just have returned from the Maldives in better shape than when we arrived!
Dining at Conrad Rangali
The food at Conrad Rangali was exceptional. Charlie and I, while we may not have the most sophisticated of palettes (Burger, Mac & Cheese and French Fries is our weekly cheat meal…!) we were absolutely astounded by the quality of the food that we enjoyed on the small sand island quite literally in the middle of the ocean. Each evening we quizzed the chefs on how they were able to source such high quality and fresh ingredients – many of which had been flown in from far flung lands such as Australia and Japan, to ensure that they are the very best, world class ingredients.
Foodies will be spoilt for choice with the island’s restaurant offering, and whether you want a relaxed beach BBQ dinner or romantic nine course Japanese meal prepared right before your eyes – you can be sure to experience a memorable and totally scrumptious meal each and every evening. My favourite was our final evening when we dined at Ufaa, the island’s Chinese Restaurant – we enjoyed fresh handmade noodles, a colourful array of Dim Sum, and Maldivian Lobster dishes while listening to the Maldivian band playing quietly in the distance.
Charlie (proud new owner of a dedicated foodie instagram account, @HungryManAboutTown) couldn’t stop snapping away and declaring his awe at our evening at the KoKo grill – the intimate experience allows just 12 diners to enjoy the delicious Japanese dishes under the stars, and you can speak with the chef and watch as he creates the nine dishes right before your eyes.
Oh, and we weren’t left without our Friday burger fix either – we enjoyed Wagyu Beef Burgers at the Rangali Bar, because it would have been rude not too, right?!
Speaking of memorable dining experiences…
The Conrad Rangali is home to the Maldives’ first underwater restaurant, which truly is as magical experience as you could possibly imagine. For those who prefer a daytime experience, as Charlie and I did, you can enjoy Champagne and canapés in the brightly lit underwater dome, while watching the fish, turtles, sharks and other aquatic creatures swim majestically above you.
While the whole experience at Conrad is pure bliss, the part I was most looking forward to was my visit to the spa. Unlike any spa I have ever been to before, The Spa Retreat is quite extraordinary. Each treatment room is an individual over-water bungalow, with views of the expansive ocean stretched out before you. The shower area where you prepare yourself for the treatment is open air – your own perfectly secluded spot to refresh yourself before and after the pampering. As for the treatments, there are almost too many incredible offerings to choose from! When I spotted the Elemis products I knew I’d be in for a sumptuous experience no matter which treatment I opted for, but I eventually decided upon the signature 1-3-5 treatment which incorporated a coconut and sea salt scrub, hot stone massage, oil massage and the most relaxing 90 minutes of my entire life!
Should I be fortunate enough to visit the Conrad again, I will try to experience as many of the other treatments as possible (you know, for research purposes of course) – that feeling of total relaxation is something we rarely experience, but is totally addictive.
– Thank you to Conrad Rangali for their kind hospitality –