REVIEW – Seaplane Transfer and Arrival Experience at Conrad Maldives
August 21, 2017
Retreat Water Villa - Conrad Maldives review
REVIEW – Conrad Maldives : Retreat Water Villa
September 16, 2017

REVIEW – Conrad Maldives : Beach Villa (pre-renovation)

Conrad

  • Location: Rangali – Maldives
  • Rate: 76,000 Hilton Points per night
  • Room Type: Beach Villa
  • Chain: Hilton
  • Loyalty Program: Hilton Honors
  • Status during stay: Diamond
  • Date: April 2016
  • Website: Conrad Maldives


FOR INFORMATION ON HOW I BOOKED THIS TRIP CHECK OUT THE INTRODUCTION TO THIS TRIP REPORT HERE:

Trip Report: First Class Apartments to the Maldives


Although it was quite disappointing to find out that we hadn’t been allocated an upgraded water villa, we got a beach villa which perfectly matched the criteria that I sent to the hotel ahead of our stay. I was seriously impressed by this, as I can only imagine the degree of complexity that goes into giving every person the room they want, especially when people are constantly coming and going and the resort stays at near 100% occupancy throughout the high and shoulder seasons.

In fact, there is a $1Million prize available to anybody who can prove the underlying mathematical theorem for solving (and indeed fully explaining) this type of problem 😉

Conrad Maldives Rangali Map Jarvis Marcos

Map of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

I requested a villa on the Eastern, reef side of the main island. This would allow us to walk straight outside and snorkel right by our white sand beach, whilst also ensuring that we could look out towards the ocean from our villa, rather than looking over at the other island and the bridge.

I also asked for an end unit so that we would only share a single wall with an adjoining villa rather than being sandwiched between two.

As luck would have it, our villa was also right by the dive centre, which was very convenient for us!

 

Entrance

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The entry level beach villas at the Conrad Maldives aren’t detached so each entrance serves two villas.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The door to our villa: 208 , was on the left of the entrance passage. My eyes immediately jumped to the cool detail of the water vessel and wooden boards by the door. A simple and elegant solution to getting sand off your feet before entering the villa.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Kamara was more interested in the gecko on the wall. These little guys seems to follow us around the world, usually to be met with shrieks of, “I love him!”.

There was a real rush of excitement as we finally opened the door to our villa. We had been planning this trip for so long, reading up on a whole host of trip reports, forum posts and looking through the resort’s Instagram page. We were finally about to settle down into our accommodation and fully experience this resort for ourselves!

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Immediately upon entering, there was a tea and coffee making area, as well as numerous bottles of complimentary still and sparkling water. These were refilled throughout the day, with the staff observing our preferences and giving us more bottles of still when they saw that this was what we wanted.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Dilmah teas and a wide variety of nespresso capsules. Again, we left a note asking for just black capsules and the cleaners left us a ton of them, making sure to only give us black capsules from then on.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

I quickly glanced at the mini-bar prices. We’ve all heard how expensive the Maldives are but this was my first experience of the intense ‘sticker shock’ that abounds here. Bear in mind that these prices are exclusive of Maldivian tax and service charges. To give you an idea of how absurd these prices are, the 2013 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre retails for around $25 in the UK. At the Conrad Rangali that won’t even cover the ++ on the price of $135++ 😱

 

Bathroom

Suitably shocked we headed into the villa and caught sight of the famous purple walls for the first time. I honestly have no idea why they incorporated this ‘feature wall’ concept into the design of the beach villas. The color is horrifically jarring and feels like it would be more appropriate on the wall of a children’s play area than the walls of a 5* luxury resort villa. Having been universally panned, these walls were repainted to a  neutral tone during the recent refurbishment of the villas.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Conrad Maldives – Beach Villa bathroom

The bathrooms are a great size and I particularly love how they spill out of the villa into the garden. This setup reminds me of the layout of the spectacular rooms at Alila Villas Uluwatu. There is something undeniably awesome about showering in your own private space outdoors. The sliding doors mean that the area by the sinks can be easily closed off and air conditioned, which I’m assured makes putting makeup on a lot easier 😂

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

I really like the bamboo stepladder towel rack and woven laundry basket, there is a lot of natural light and everything is within easy reach. My only minor criticism is that counter space is quite limited.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Every bathroom amenity you could ever need within easy reach. Nothing annoys me more than staying at a 5* hotel and having to call for a toothbrush at 1am because they decide not to provide them unless you ask.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The beautiful outdoor shower and bath. What an amazing feeling stepping out of your air conditioned room into the warm morning air, feeling the sand between your toes and then washing it right off, as the sunbeams heat your skin.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

In order to be eco-friendly the resort refills these pots with the Conrad’s signature Aromatherapy associates products. You can still request Refinery, Tara Smith or Shanghai Tang if you want but we were happy to stick with AA. The smell of Aromatherapy Associates body lotion is now inextricably linked to the Maldives, in my mind, as a result of this stay.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The outdoor bathtub. How’s this for a first world problem? The tub is so large that it takes around an hour to fill, so we only used it once and gave up because we were just splashing around in ankle deep water, getting cold, waiting for it to fill completely. The recent renovation addressed this issue by filling a large portion of the tub to create a more usable space.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Of course, if you have more money than sense, you can delegate the task of filling the bathtub to somebody else for a mere $130++, plus and additional $15 delivery fee. I wonder if anybody ever orders a sensual bath for collection, rather than having it delivered 🤣

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The toilet is indoors next to the bedroom and features acres of counter space, way more than what you get near the sinks. I feel like you could create a pretty decent library in here, or perhaps do some large and complex origami with the toilet paper. Speaking of which, I particularly like the twin toilet roll holsters. Nice touch. Very nice. Bonus points for the Thai style butt hose too. Jack Kerouac wrote rather eloquently on the virtues of these, maybe I should have left a copy of Big Sur to start off the library…

Luggage and Dressing Area

Back inside, before reaching the bedroom, you come to a very large wardrobe/ luggage area.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

In addition to the robes you would expect, the Conrad also provides heavy duty rain jackets, which I am delighted to report were never required.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The Conrad Beach bag came in useful for carrying snorkelling equipment, water and beach towels.

The Bedroom

The bedroom is very spacious, I particularly like the high, vaulted cielings and love the view out to the private outdoor sitting area. The colour scheme…I’ve discussed already. Suffice to say, I’m glad they fixed it with the renovation.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Conrad Maldives Beach Villa Bedroom

No, Kamara and I didn’t elope. I’m guessing that the hotel just assumes that all young couples who come to visit are on their honeymoon. Although bizzarely our island host didn’t mention anything and we didn’t receive the free honeymoon dinner, so I’m guessing it was just the cleaners that got the wrong idea.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Our Diamond welcome amenities: Fruit (which was not refilled), chocolates and a bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne. PJ is actually one of my favourite champagnes and this has to be one of the best welcome bottles of alcohol I’ve ever received at a hotel. It sure as hell beats the ‘Follador’ we got at the Conrad Koh Samui.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Conrad Maldives Beach Villa Bedroom

The TV was turned on when we first arrived, playing the same welcome video that was showing in the seaplane lounge. We never turned it back on after this. One really annoying feature of the room (and another one which has now been fixed) was the useless courtyard next to the bed. It had a really loud fountain inside of it that did nothing but take up space and make noise. There was no switch to turn the fountain off so I had to go in there and pull the power plug from the wall. Thankfully the cleaners got the message and didn’t reconnect it.

The bed was very comfortable and I like how the bedside tables were very large and totally fixed in place. The bedside lamps were very cool too. Having the bed up on a platform does present a slight hazard for your shins though 🤕

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Getting a little closer to one of the bedside tables, you can see some of the wear and tear in these rooms. Lots of chips, bubbling, ring marks, stains and scratches. The phone, iPhone dock and switches also look decidedly old fashioned and in need of replacement. If I had paid peaks season prices for this room I would not have been happy at all.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Looking out to the private sitting area.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

A small token desk for any poor sods that have to do actual work whilst in the Maldives.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Loungers and regular outdoor seats. I assume that this small table is where room service would be served to people staying in the beach villas.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Conrad Maldives Beach Villa – outdoor sitting area

You can see how little privacy you have whilst in the ‘backyard’ of the beach villas here. Whilst we thought it was a good idea to pick an end unit, it transpires that there was a super loud air conditioning plant on the side where our other neighbour would have been. The noise was loud enough that we could hear it in the room with all the doors shut. We needed earplugs to sleep. Perhaps we should have left the fountain on to drown out the noise!

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

One thing I really like about the beach villa was the little garden path that led to the beach. At night when the lanterns came on it seemed like the entrance to a magical kingdom.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Conrad Maldives – Beach Villa

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

On our first evening, after unpacking, we took a moonlit walk along the beach and saw hundreds of these little guys. We soon came to realise that the defining highlight of our experience here would be the close proximity we would enjoy to the local wildlife. When you see nothing but seagulls and pigeons all day, you forget how amazingly diverse and interesting the World’s creatures can be.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

In the morning, the path may not have looked as magical but the view at the end certainly did not disappoint…

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

[As you can see, there was something of a temperature difference between the air conditioned interior of our villa and the beach outside.]

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Our own little slice of paradise. The loungers and shade were set up right outside of our villa. What a place to enjoy your first morning coffee!

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

I’d heard it mentioned before but didn’t know quite how much to believe it. Looking around we almost never saw anybody else at the resort, during the day.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Bear in mind this is what 99% occupancy looks like at 11am. (the wooden wall hides the path to the third island were a large number of the staff live)

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

You can tell which villa type sits behind each set of loungers. White shades for regular beach villas and foliage covered shades for Deluxe beach villas.

At this point I feel I should mention a couple of things about the beach. Firstly, there is a lot of obvious, visible erosion. There are large steps in the sand around both islands, with roots sticking through. If you have kids or older people travelling with you it is something worth bearing in mind, as the tripping hazard is significant.

Secondly, the sand looks good in photos, it has a really white shade to it as a result of the large amount of coral it contains. However, it is not soft. It is coarse and grainy and not particularly comfortable to lie or sit on. The sand at the beach in my birthplace of Valencia in Spain is considerably more soft and powdery. If you’re expecting sand like talcum powder, you won’t get it here.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

However, the coarseness of the sand and erosion of certain parts are not major concerns when you have picture perfect views in all directions and baby reef sharks frolicking along the shore.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

The reef sharks are harmless, very cute and hang around in pairs. They are quite scared of people but if you stand still for a while, on the water’s edge, chances are a couple of them will pass right in front of you.

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

Obligatory Maldives beach shot. I finally ate carbs again moments after this was taken 😂

Conrad Maldives Rangali - Beach Villa - Jarvis Marcos

My photographer relaxing in the shade.

Conclusion

The hardware of the beach villas had some major issues which have now been addressed. I’m glad to hear that the Conrad Maldives took on board the concerns that people had in the past:

  • The purple walls are gone
  • The fountain is gone (replaced with a sofa)
  • The bath is now a sensible size, which means it can be filled and used without a massive amount of pre-planning and water waste

I really liked the bathroom, particularly the outdoor shower. The storage space for clothes and luggage was more than adequate and the villa was very conveniently located, close to the dive centre, gym and numerous restaurants.

The best part of the beach villa experience was unsurprisingly the proximity to the beautiful beach and the house reef. Is the hardware alone worth the price tag? No. Is the location worth it? Absolutely. 100%.

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10 Comments

  1. Adam says:

    Hi Jarvis,
    A great review of the BV, your amount of pics almost make me feel like I’m there already. Only five months left to wait for us and your review has got my juices going!

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      Hi Adam, I’m glad to hear my review has helped to build your anticipation levels. Reading TRs before going became a daily a obsession for me too!

      I still have over 200 days to wait until my next visit 🙁

  2. Adam says:

    Are you going EY 1st via AUH or CW from LGW direct?

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      I’m headed to CMB first so will be taking UL from there.
      For the long hauls we’ll just do EY J, given that they’re both overnight and we’ll just be sleeping anyway 😴

      What about you?

      • Adam says:

        CW direct from LGW, be our first time in CW and an overnighter so we will see what the flat beds are like.
        If we like Rangali we may return at a future date but go EY 1st on the a380 from LHR via AUH. Now that is one flight on my bucket list! 😆

  3. Adam says:

    Looking forward to your review of the restaurants and food there, we’re trying to budget for eating out so this will be very useful to see prices.

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      There used to be PDFs of all the menus on a public dropbox drive, unfortunately they all got taken down.
      Luckily I saved them all down late last year and will be posting them as part of my review 😉

  4. Adam says:

    Cheers, looking forward to it. Any idea when it will be ready?

  5. Adam says:

    Cheers Jarvis, looking forward to it, I’ve signed up for your newsletter subscription so should receive notification through that channel.

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