Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks


Friday 23 February 2018

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort Review

maldives underwater restaurant

Conrad Maldives is one of those resorts that everyone talks about. It's a really special place. If you say to someone 'I stayed at Conrad Maldives' they gasp and they want to know exactly what it was like because usually, they've heard so much about it. It's certainly one of the most well known Maldivian islands and I was lucky enough to head there back in December. I apologise that this review has taken so long to get live but I had already put my Conrad Maldives travel vlog and so many Instagram's live from my trip. Today though, it's finally here, my review of Conrad Maldives. I feel lucky enough to say I've visited a fair few Maldives resorts now and they're all so different, it means I can draw positives and comparison points from them so I hope you'll find this blog post useful. Grab a cup of tea and let me take you to the magical Maldives... 

Skirt / Bodysuit

I'd suggest watching my vlog of Conrad Maldives first below so you can really feel as if you're there...

Rooms At Conrad Maldives: 

I was fortunate enough to try out two different room categories at Conrad Maldives  firstly one of the beach villas. I've stayed in beach villas before and they've never really been my favourite because I really enjoy the Maldivian feel of being over the water but actually, I loved this villa and it exceeded all my expectations. Conrad Maldives is huge, it's actually split into two islands with a bridge in the middle (perfect for watching fish as you cycle or walk past) and having a beach bungalow means you're closer to everything that's going on plus closer to the restaurants, bars and entertainment. You feel a little more in the centre of it all but it's still quaint and calm as you have so much of your own space. I was gutted when we had to leave the villa as it really was like our own little haven. 

I walked in with utter amazement, the sheer size of the villa and the beauty of the outdoor bathroom. It's only when I look back at photos now I realise just how perfect this villa was. At Conrad, you don't just get a room, you get the most stunning villa. At Conrad Maldives, they certainly don't skrimp on size and quality either. I nearly cried when I saw the beautiful outdoor bath and incredible outdoor shower...  the perfect way to get some me-time and feel utterly relaxed. 

Conrad Maldives villaInside the villa? It was immaculately designed, spacious and a total pleasure to get ready in. The room was almost too nice to leave.  

beach villa Conrad maldives

Conrad Maldives beach villa

Conrad Maldives villa
We walked down our own little path into paradise. The island is big but you don't really see that many people, one day we walked around our beach side and didn't see anyone. It really is your own little slice of paradise, open the doors and you have the ocean and beach right infront of you. 
conrad maldives

The Over Water Villas:

The room everyone asks for, the over water villas. Half way through our trip we moved into an over water villa and of course, it was beautiful. The villas are at the complete opposite side of the island (away from the main restaurants) and you have to use a buggy (or walk) to get to the villas. Don't worry though, both sides have pools and spas (the resort is incredibly well thought out) but I would say this side is slightly quieter. It was a very different experience because I'd only ever stayed at tiny Maldivian resorts but the staff were more than happy to put you in a buggy and take you over to your villa whenever you wished, or, you could walk for some lovely fresh air and exercise. We'd often walk back after dinner and it would take around 25 minutes. It's pretty epic to see the bridge in the middle of the resort all lit up at night too and watch out for wildlife swimming by. There are obviously a few different categories when it comes to the over-water villas, I've seen videos of some of the most spectacular ones online so if you aren't travelling on a budget, it's worth looking at these. The best thing about the Maldives? You don't even have to leave your room if you don't want. You could shut yourself off from the world for a whole week and just enjoy life in your immaculate villa, whether it's on the beach or over the water and I'm sure so many people choose to do that. There's no detox like a Maldivian detox.

My favourite part of the over-water villa? Definitely the office space with water underneath. It's little touches like this that make Conrad rooms so special. We also made friends with our cleaner, he was so lovely. The staff at Conrad were excellent.

The best part about staying in an overwater villa is definitely the terrace. Again, in different room categories you can get different pools for example, a large one which spans across the whole terrace. We had a small corner pool but it was beautiful to sit in and relax, you could spend hours watching the ocean and feel as if you are in utter paradise. When the ocean is beneath you, you don't need anything else. We swam out for miles to snorkel from our room, I noticed a lot less sharks in this part of the Maldives than other islands so felt more comfortable swimming here. I have to say, we had the most incredible sunsets from our room, you don't even want to leave your terrace, it's so peaceful. I've never seen sunsets like it.

Conrad maldivesFood At Conrad Maldives:  There are 10 restauarants at Conrad Maldives. My biggest regret? I didn't even scratch the surface with trying them all! I'll talk you through the ones I did try though. So many people ask me if the Maldives is a boring place, my answer is always no. You can go to the Maldives and be completely active, working out every day, going on excursions, snorkelling or just trying new cuisines, or, you can choose to be completely relaxed and do nothing but watch the ocean. I guess that's the best bit about the Maldives, you can relax or feel energised. I like to do a mixture of both but I certainly didn't want to miss out on the epic food offerings at Conrad. The resort has won so many awards for it's exceptional restauarants and talented chefs, some flown in from all over the world. 

Ufaa - Which means 'happiness' in Maldivian - is celebrated Chef Jereme Leung restaurant. It's an innovative Chinese culinary concept and was one of my favourite places to eat. I had the most delicious noodles and dim sum for lunch as well as one of the best dinners I have ever had too. I'm obsessed with rice and I think the rice I had here is the best rice I've ever had.  Inside, it's designed beautifully like a teahouse with communal spaces to mingle ove tea, dim sum and noodles.  I've never had Asian food in the Maldives and I wanted to saviour every single bite. It was incredibly authentic. I spoke to the chef and his knowledge blew me away. 

Rangali Bar - This is the main kind of 'heart' of the resort and it's just by the edge of the main pool. This is a beautiful, sand-floored, relaxing bar and restaurant. I love the chilled vibes when sitting here, whether it's with a pizza, some sushi, some olives or a coffee. The cocktails truly blew me away here too on an evening, they have the best gins you can think of, flown in from around the world. As well as exceptional and premium spirits, they fly over special global cocktail consultants to ensure they are only serving the best to their guests. Conrad even has a healthy menu full of natural cocktails with a little bit more 'superfood' inside them, this is something I have never seen at a hotel and the fitness lover inside me couldn't get enough. I could have eaten and drank here every single day, watching people go by. I loved sitting here on lazy afternoons and also for evening drinks. 
Maldives underwater restaurant
Maldives underwater restauarant

Ithaa Underwater Restaurant - The famous, underwater restauarant, yup, it's at Conrad Maldives. I couldn't quite believe it. Yes it's true, people get married inside here, people get boats over to the resort just to dine here. It really is magnificent. Whilst I didn't dine here so can't comment on the food (which I'm sure is exceptional based on all the other restaurants at the hotel), the staff were incredible and we did sit down there with some champagne, taking in such a perfect setting. I have never seen so many beautiful fish and it was like a dream come true to visit such a famous restaurant. It offers 180-degree panormaic views of the coral gardens surrounding it and serves a six course set diner menu if you are wanting to eat there. It is open for mid-morning cocktails but can also be booked out privately. I think the photos and footage in my vlog speak for it better than any words can. Ithaa is spectacular. 

Mandhoo Spa Restauarant - I spent most of my time dining at Mandhoo, my favourite restaurant in the whole of the Maldives so far. This was the most beautiful place to grab an early breakfast before anyone else had risen, watch the sunrise with the best golden light and see the sharks at feeding time. The open-air over water restaurant is truly spectacular whether it's delicious fresh pancakes for breakfast or a healthy lunch. As most of you know, fitness and wellbeing is one of my favourite topics to write about and I am so excited that they have a whole health and wellness menu available at this restaurant. It's so easy to be healthy at Conrad Maldives, I felt like every single meal was freshly prepared with the highest quality ingridients and actually, I probably ate the healthiest I have in a long time whilst here, it's easy to be healthy and doesn't feel like a chore as the resort caters for people who want to take care with their diet. The healthy lunch menu is specially prepared to energize, nourish, detoxify, relax and fortify the body using organic produce grown on the island and imported from around the world. The chefs' cooking technique pays focused attention to specific tastes, temperature, moisture level and density as they all affect the mind and body in different ways. I've never been so impressed, as mentioned, Conrad go above and beyond. Now, when can I come back for a wellness retreat? 
Other restaurants at Conrad include Atoll Market, the only buffet restaurant but I think it's nice to have a buffet, particularly if you just want to grab loads of fresh fruits and a variety of food, or, perfect if you're heading out on an excursion and want to fill up first. This isn't just any buffet though, food is whipped up from eight kitchens which provide a culinary tour of the world under one roof. Imagine a barefoot dining experience with sand running through your toes as you drink a freshly prepared juice (with any fruit you can imagine, I promise, the chefs will have it). I had breakfast here once and it was lovely, they really can make anything for you and there are so many incredible, fresh foods to choose from. I just chose to eat at Mandhoo most days because I fell in love with its beauty. 
Sunset Grill - We ate at Sunset Grill one evening (sadly too dark for photos) and I had the most delicious surf and turf. I'm a sucker for surf and turf and of course, the lobster was one of the best I've had. You are set on stilts 50 metres out to sea above coral reef and this open-air a la carte is perfect for seafood and meat lovers. It's incredibly romantic. I was so impressed with the wine here too and the service from the staff. You can hear the gentle waves and see stingrays as you dine. It was such a special dinner. 
Koko Grill - This is one of the most romantic dining venues on the island. Completely open-air, this is set on the beach with the best views of the ocean, you get a show-stopping dining experience as the chefs prepare 10 courses for you under the stars. I am a really fussy eater and they catered to my needs and fussiness so well. It's always the sign of a good resort when they can whip up something I absolutely love and they were more than happy to accomodate little old awkward me.
Places I didn't eat at: Whilst I didn't eat at these (I wish I had the time to try them all so must head back) it's worth noting that there is also an underground wine cellar (the wine lover in me is devastated I missed this) and also Vilu which is a fine-dining restaurant on the edge of the lagoon for Mediterranean fine-dining. There's even a wine and cheese bar... what a dream. They really do have everything.
It's safe to say, you won't get bored at Conrad Maldives because there is almost too much to do, you definitely wont get bored of the eating options either, if anything, you'll be coming back for more. We had the most delicious champagne and lobster evening one night, set out on the beach like a BBQ and then also went to a special Maldivian evening where the night was themed. The possibilities are endless at Conrad, whether it's a private meal under the ocean, a healthy breakfast or a picnic on a remote island, they will be happy to cater for you. Nothing is too much. 
Relaxation At Conrad Maldives:

Conrad maldives

Relaxing in the Maldives is easy. I was worried that Conrad would be too big but it just meant there's more space for everyone. It feels like your own private island or you can choose your own private corner. Whether you want to go snorkelling, play volleyball, head for a walk or use the pools. We had our own little pool so didn't really need to use the communal ones but they're so perfect, we could hardly resist. They have one at each side of the islands too so it's perfect. You can get a beautiful boat over to the other side if you don't want to walk/get a buggy, perfect if you love ocean views. 

black plt kaftan

white high leg swimsuit
I actually wish I had longer to explore and relax. We had quite a packed itinerary so I felt as if I didn't do as much relaxing as one should in the Maldives, it was great because it meant I got to see and do as much as possible, but sometimes, doing nothing is magical too. We spent an afternoon wandering around the perfect white beach and I haven't smiled as much in a long time. I could have spent forever here. You're torn between wanting to snorkel, do excurisons, cooking classes and all the magic Conrad offers and also, having a lie in, strolling on the beach and just soaking it up so ensure you pack enough time into your trip to really relax and unwind, as well as doing the more energetic activities. 

rangali island

white swimsuit

Maldives birds

Maldivian bird

There's an incredible over-water spa at Conrad, with the most wonderful staff. I had a full body coconut scrub and massage and left feeling like a new woman. It was a much needed hour of relaxation and if I could wind back now, I would. It was the most perfect setting for a massage and one I'll never forget.

Conrad maldives

conrad maldives spa

Maldives spa review
If getting out and about is your thing then you'd love the excurisons Conrad offer. Whether it's a sunset cruise, a sunrise cruise, a trip to a deserted island with a picnic, they can organise it all for you. We woke up at around 5am one morning to do a sun-rise cruise, I'm not a morning person whatsoever but this was certainly worth waking up for. I haven't used any filter or editing tool on the photos, the Maldives really is just perfect.

Maldives sunset cruise
nasty gal lace dress

Maldives sunset

backless lace dress

If only every wake up call looked like this...

I certainly didn't want to leave Conrad Maldives, a place that exceeded all my expectations and blew me away. It's a big resort but it's so well managed and planned, you really do feel as if you're at home. You can completely relax for a whole week and see no-one, or get stuck in and be active, it's completely up to you. The staff were all wonderful and obviously, the restaurants were some of the best I've ever eaten at. I had the freshest food, kept things healthy and fell in love with Rangali island and also, their gorgeous beach villas. Conrad is slightly more expensive than some other resorts as there's no all inclusive option, but, if you're a food and drink lover, you'll adore this place because the food is of the highest standard. You definitely get what you pay for. Find out more about Conrad Maldives on their website here.  Book Conrad MaldivesI feel like I could write about this magical place forever so please do watch my vlog for a more indepth look at my stay plus all the drone shots! 

Have you ever been blown away by a hotel? Where's your favourite place to visit? 

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Lots of love, Em x

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