Conrad Maldives is rather unique among Hilton resorts in that it offers both Beach Villas and Water Villas as options for Standard Room Rewards, meaning that they can be redeemed for 95,000 points instead of sky-high figures that Premium Room Rewards cost.
I’d recommended earlier just going for the Water Villa if you’re not keen on the hassle of shifting rooms during the stay, but I figure more details would be helpful to guide decision-making…
First, some basic geography – the resort is actually spread out over two islands: the larger Rangali Finolhu (a.k.a. the main island), where the beach villas (and most of the activity) are, and the smaller Rangali Island, where most of the water villas are located.
To go between the islands, you can (take a pretty long) walk, call a buggy, or take a dhoni ferry between the two islands (the route’s marked on map above). Depending on how busy the buggy service is, the other two options might actually be faster.
What this means is that the Water Villas are generally located in a quieter area away from most of the major resort facilities, while the Beach Villas are in a more (but still not very) crowded area, with easier access to most of the restaurants and facilities. I had no problem taking my time getting to the main island from Rangali Island, but if you see yourself going on multiple snorkelling trips at the house reefs every day, for instance, that ‘commuting’ time does add up – in which case a Beach Villa might actually work better for you.
Essentially a miniature bungalow, some unique features of this 150 sq m/1614 sq ft area include a private path to a strip of the beach as well as an (enclosed) outdoor bathing area.
We were escorted by our island host to the main entrance of our villa (represented by the brown patch at the bottom of the 3D model above), off the sandy main path. The actual villas are pretty well covered by the walls and vegetation for privacy.
Upon entering the villa, you’re presented with a corridor with a walk-in wardrobe on one side…
…and the washing area on the other, with sliding doors leading to the outdoors bathing area.
The outdoor bath takes a really long time to fill – you could actually request for it to be done for you, but it’s not all that difficult to do it yourself, really.
Back indoors, go down further the corridor from the main entrance and you’ll pass the toilet on one side…
…and an extended space on the other side that you can partition from the main bedroom with the use of curtains.
Just a little further in and you’ve (finally) reached the main bedroom area.
The large glass bottles at the pantry contain drinking water – they replenish it pretty often (as they should, given that you don’t really have many alternative sources) so do hydrate yourself well.
Beyond the next set of sliding doors is a private little terrace area.
Beyond the terrace is a private path heading out of the Beach Villa…
…where you emerge to your dedicated strip of the beach (well, the beach is open to all guests, but those deck chairs are reserved for you, I guess), where you can stare out into the lovely Maldivian sea.
Moving during the stay
We were actually somewhat apprehensive about the mid-stay move, but the resort seems used to facilitating such transfers in a fuss-free way. The night before, we got a letter informing us of certain timings we needed to keep to.
So all we needed to do was to pack our bags (painful but unavoidable, I guess), leave them in our rooms, and then report to the reception at a later time to be introduced to our new villa, with our luggage waiting for us.
The 86 sq m/925 sq ft Water Villa is far less massive as compared to the Beach Villa, but it does offer the experience of being propped up just above the sea, with a private sun terrace from which to soak in the ocean views.
Most of the Water Villas come in clusters of three – though they share a boardwalk link to the island, once you step into your villa you’re effectively walled off from the others and, if you’re lucky enough, might even forget that you have neighbours.
The comparatively cosy nature of the Water Villa is apparent on stepping into the room.
Pretty much beside the entrance are the walk-in closet and bathroom.
The bathroom is large and spacious. No special stuff like the open-air equivalent at the Beach Villa, but plenty nice.
The indoor bedroom area is laid out pretty similarly to the typical hotel room, but the wooden finishings (and unique shape of the roof) make it clear you aren’t.
One unique feature of the Water Villa is a small strip of glass floor – to be honest though, it didn’t really do all that much for me. You do get to see some fish swimming under, but it doesn’t happen particularly frequently (and the fish you might see here usually aren’t particularly spectacular).
The personal sun terrace at the end of the Water Villa is probably its highlight, really. With a plunge pool, deck chairs, outdoor dining table and even the option of getting into the sea directly (via stairs), it offers a great way to enjoy the calm of the sea.
Other Villa Types
I was perfectly happy sticking with the Standard Room Reward types (and not paying to upgrade), but you can take a look at the other villa types at the Conrad Maldives website, including the Muraka (their upcoming underwater suites):
In practice, many of the villas will be out of reach for many of us, even with the magic of miles and points. Updated prices for paid upgrades can be found on the FlyerTalk wiki for the property; the Deluxe Beach Villa and Superior Water Villa in particular might be worth considering, since it’s possible to get them at less than US$100 per night.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s Beach Villa and Water Villa products both present unique experiences, but if I had to pick just one I’d go for the Water Villa. That said, many guests choose to move mid-stay in order to experience both – you might want to do the same if it’s your first time, in which case I’d suggest doing two nights in a Beach Villa and three in a Water Villa (assuming a five-night stay).
The property usually connects via email about two weeks before arrival, and that’s when you could probably make special requests such as switching villa types, paid upgrades, and even requesting specific villas (although I didn’t get what I requested – given high occupancy I suppose it wouldn’t be possible to accommodate all requests). For advice on preferred villa locations I’d look at the FlyerTalk wiki (search for ‘Villa Selection’).
Next up: Dining & Activities
After a 30min seaplane flight you’re pretty much a prisoner on this island resort – what can you do (and eat), and how much does it all cost? I’ll share some thoughts on this in the next post.
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