Maldives: Paradise Found

With almost 100 resorts sprinkled around the 1,100 islands and atolls of the Maldives (big map), choosing a resort is one of the hardest parts.  July is monsoon season in neighboring India, so the weather was a potential problem.  As it turned out, it had rained for 4 days straight prior to our arrival, but our stay was nothing but sunny weather and upper 80s.   We chose the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort because of its proximity to the South Ari atoll (a whale shark hangout) as well as its relatively short flight time from Malé.

Getting There

We arrived late from Singapore — 10 PM — into the airport at Malé.  After dark, boat transportation is limited to the main island of Malé and a few nearby resorts, and the seaplanes do not fly, so we went straight to a Trader’s Hotel (part of the Shangri-La family) across the water from the airport for an overnight. The next morning, we woke up and hopped the water taxi back to the airport – this time to the seaplane airport. We waited for our flight in the Conrad Lounge for about an hour, enjoying complimentary massages, a breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi, and a pretty view of the seaplane airport marina.
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The 10:15 AM flight was about an hour which we spent enjoying the lovely blue waters below.

We arrived at what felt like the introduction to Fantasy Island minus Mr. Rourke and Tattoo.
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We were given coconuts to pass the 2 hours while we waited for our room to be ready.   The girls enjoyed the flowers.  We also took this time to visit the dive shop, rent mask and snorkels, and get a lay of the land.


The Room

Most of the villas with 2-bedrooms are beach villas which have their own pool and private beach access.  We chose to book an overwater spa villa which has a separate but attached spa room – a second bedroom.  The Conrad staff transformed the spa room with two massage tables into a second bedroom for the girls.  It gave them their own space, and more importantly, it gave us our own space.

In addition to two rooms, the overwater spa villa is, of course, over the water, sitting above the turquoise blue water on stilts.  There are steps down to the water from a very private deck with also features a jacuzzi and chaise lounges.  Clothing optional?

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Footwear is optional here, but in the middle of the day, the walkways get hot, so these jars filled with water have a handy ladle to cool your feet.

Snorkeling and Diving

Daily activities included breakfast buffet, snorkeling the house reef, and more relaxing.   Our villa was almost at the end of the spit, about a 15 minute walk or 5 minute cart ride from the reception and restaurant, so we had to plan ahead a bit.  We were also about a 10 minute walk from the recommended house reef snorkeling site.

The girls really became proficient snorkelers.   Interesting fish to look at was a good motivator.

We did one whale shark snorkeling excursion which proved unsuccessful at spotting any whale sharks, however, we did do some brief snorkeling.

We also did a two-tank dive on one of the mornings where we saw Maldivian lobsters, octopi, a rock fish, and a Napoleon fish.   Visibility was about 50 ft – not bad, but not crystal clear.

Under the Sea

The only other planned activity was a cocktail hour in their underwater restaurant.

We left this beautiful island paradise feeling well rested and with our fill of water and beach activities.

Next stop Dubai!

Happy RTW Travels!

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