Without a doubt, the Maldives is one of my favorite places this side of the solar system. My wife and I visited for the first time five years ago for our 15th anniversary so when it came time to make plans for the 20th anniversary, we knew we would be heading back to the Maldives.

For all of my aerophiles, you can catch parts 1-4 (the journey from Chicago to Rangali Island) below. Even if you are not an aerophile, you at least have to check out part 4, because a seaplane ride is pretty cool and definitely rare.

Part 1 (Chicago-Istanbul) CLICK HERE!

Part 2 (Istanbul-Singapore) CLICK HERE!

Part 3 (Singapore-Male) CLICK HERE!

Part 4 (Male-Rangali Island by seaplane) CLICK HERE!

 

THE JOURNEY TO RANGALI ISLAND:

What could make a trip to the Maldives even better?…

 

well, a seaplane ride but of course!

 

Nothing beats a view of the Maldives from 5,000 feet.

 

After a 25 minute flight, we were chilling in the lounge at the Conrad Rangali Island enjoying raspberry sorbet.

 

THE FIRST VILLA-DELUXE OCEANFRONT VILLA

Our first three nights were in a deluxe, beach-front villa. Why thank you, what a nice welcome.

 

Between you and I, I could have gone for chocolates but the fruit was appreciated as well.

 

The centerpiece of the deluxe, beach-front villa is the main living space with a bed as well as a couch.

 

While the privacy is nice, a direct ocean view would have been great. None-the-less, all the windows let tons of light in.

 

All deluxe, beach-front villas also have a covered patio and…

 

a personal plunge pool. True confession, we never used the plunge pool!

 

Every villa also had…

 

a sand path that leads from the backyard to…

 

the Indian ocean and two covered lounge chairs.

 

The villas also had a courtyard with a bathtub (in the distance, covered) and an outdoor shower.

 

I gotta say, nothing beats a Maldivian night!

 

THE SECOND VILLA-OVERWATER RELAXATION VILLA:

 

While I did love the deluxe, beach-front villa when someone offers you an upgrade to an over-water villa…

 

you take the upgrade to the over-water villa. Why? because, well, it’s over the water!

 

And I didn’t come to the Maldives to have a few of the foliage, no matter how nice it was. Nope, I came for this clear, beautiful blue water!

 

Cliche I know, but I had to get a snap of it.

 

Now, this wasn’t just any over-water villa…

 

nope! This was a spa villa with a separate room just for spa services. Now, it would be irrational of me to have a spa villa and not have a spa service or three, right?

 

In addition to all the water that the over-water villa is over, you have a little extra water…

 

in the form of a jacuzzi. Talk about a jacuzzi with a view!

 

THE HOTEL:

Okay, we’ve checked out the villas, what about the hotel.

When you literally have nature’s best infinity pool (the ocean) surrounding you, who needs an infinity pool? Having said that, the Conrad Rangali had a pretty impressive infinity pool and the sunset was pretty damn spectacular too!

 

Now, there is no coming to the Conrad Rangali with visiting…

 

Ithaa, the world famous undersea restaurant.

 

As you might imagine, the undersea restaurant is, well, under the sea. While you may not be sleeping with the fishes, you are most definitely dining with them!

 

Conrad Rangali wouldn’t be a resort if it didn’t have a spa and I wouldn’t be Dr. I if I didn’t hit the spa up in addition to the three in-room spa services I had. Don’t judge! It was all in the name of research.

 

The Maldives wouldn’t be the Maldives without a Dhoni, the traditional Maldivian fishing boat. And, I wouldn’t be a Maldivian tourist if I didn’t take at least one Dhoni ride.

 

Now, you know I am not one for water but I couldn’t leave the Maldives without snorkeling. For those that don’t know, the Maldives is renowned for the clear blue waters and the abundant sea life.

 

Now, let’s be honest folks, a big part of resort-life and vacation-life is stuffing you freaking face. While we were lucky enough to have free breakfast, which was buffet, the remaining meals…

 

were not free and they were Maldivian expensive. $270 for two people sans alcohol! Needless to say, we were a two meal a day family although we probably did enough middle of the day minibar damage to make up for a third meal.

 

Now, anybody that came along on our Seychelles adventure no doubt remembers the roach trap we stayed in for the first few nights. Roaches come with the tropics but I don’t want to see them in my room or the restaurant. Thankfully this dead roach was my only sighting (in the gym), at least until our last day. So, overall, I was happy with the almost roach-less nature of the vacation.

 

EXPLORING RANGALI ISLAND:

Now, I couldn’t put the bow on this little diddy without some pics of Rangali island itself, so here ya go…

 

Sandy beaches and…

 

nice blue waters, and…

 

more sandy beaches with more clear blue water.

 

Nothing beats the sand and water but…

 

the nice walking trails and foliage were a nice second.

 

Okay, back to the beach and my two favorite beach chairs.

 

And again, cliche but nothing says island paradise like a leaning palm tree.

 

A view of a dhoni from the outside and last but not least…

 

the literally crystal clear waters of the Maldives.

 

SAYING GOODBYE:

 

Alas, all good things must come to an end as you can no doubt tell from the completely natural look on my face, our trip had come to an end.

 

And so, we made our way back to the Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane and we were soon…

 

on our way back to Male to catch our flights (four to be exact) home by way of Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi, and Zurich.

Want some more visuals? Be sure to check out the video of our two villas, the Conrad resort, and Rangali Island.

HOTEL/RESORT REVIEW:

  • Hotel Review: Overall the Conrad Rangali Resort is a great place to spend a week or so but I think it falls a little bit short of a 5-star resort. The locale is beautiful and the staff are phenomenal but the villas could use a little updating. I know the Maldives are expensive but the resort felt a little nickle and dimey (to make up a phrase, but you get the point).
  • Total stars: 4 of 5.
  • Check-in: Check-in was quick and your personal concierge reviews all of the resort offerings with you while giving you a tour of the resort and your villa.
  • Room cleanliness: The rooms were clean, no complaints there.
  • Room décor: For a 5-star resort, and the accompanying nightly charge, the room decor could use a bit of updating.
  • Bed comfort: Typical comfy Hilton-family bedding.
  • Entertainment and connectivity: Wifi was available resort-wide and functioned pretty well. The TV’s have a broad range of satellite channels and the pay movies are very reasonably priced ($3).
  • Room amenities: The rooms had everything that you need and a few nice extras like umbrellas and beach bags.
  • Bathroom amenities: This was a black eye on the Conrad Rangali. I’m all for sustainability but all of the toiletries are in re-usable containers that are just re-filled every day. Maybe I’m a bit type-A and germophobic but are they emptying those out between guests or just topping them off?
  • Food quality: The breakfast buffet and dinners were, for the most part, delicious but the costs were ridiculous (which is pretty much in line with the Maldives). Expect to spend $150-$200 per person for dinner (upper end if you want alcohol).
  • Gym: The gym was well equipped and most importantly nice and cool.
  • Spa: The spa had a nice ambiance, with over-water treatment villas. Costs were pretty much in-line with resort spas ($150-$200 for a 90-minute massage).
  • Housekeeping: Housekeeping services were adequate and with turn-down service, the rooms were well attended.
  • Checkout: Much like check-in, check-out was quick and an itemized bill is provided the night before to review.

Thanks for coming along. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the convoluted journey from Chicago to Male on Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines in Business Class:

Part 1 (Chicago-Istanbul) CLICK HERE!

Part 2 (Istanbul-Singapore) CLICK HERE!

Part 3 (Singapore-Male) CLICK HERE!

Part 4 (Male-Rangali Island by seaplane) CLICK HERE!