Happy October, guys!
About a month ago, hubby and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary by taking a trip to the Maldives. Many people asked, why the location? It’s been on my list ever since I was a little girl, and I’m through and through, a total beach bum. Besides, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the Maldives once you’ve seen photos of how clear, blue, and delicious the water is. We spent about a week in the region, during which three days were spent at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. I’ve been a long-time fan of the Conrad brand – it’s one of my parents’ preferred hotel choices whenever they travel, and its award-winning properties have consistently delivered in quality and customer service. Even though we only spent three days / nights there, Conrad Maldives had so much to offer that we wish we could have stayed longer!
In today’s post I’ll be sharing snippets from our time at Conrad as well as our daily itineraries. I hope you’re sitting down for this as it might cause you a severe case of wanderlust 🙂
If you’re traveling from North America, chances are it will take you almost an entire day to get to the Maldives. There are no shortage of flights options, so it ultimately comes down to your schedule and travel preferences. We flew with Emirates from NYC with a stopover in Dubai before finally reaching Malé, the capital of the Maldives. Once you’re out of the Malé airport it’s pretty easy to locate your resort’s counter, where a dedicated staff will check you in and escort you to their airport lounge. You will then wait at the lounge to board the next available Trans Maldivian seaplane. For most resorts, this is the only way to transfer from Malé, unless your resort is close enough that you can also travel by boat. Finally, after ~24 hours of 3 plane changes and a short dhoni ride, we arrived at the beautiful Conrad Maldives Randgali Island.
We only had a few minutes to freshen up in our water villa before heading over to our dinner reservation at the intimate KoKo Grill Restaurant. Set on the beach with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean, KoKo Grill offers an award-winning, 10-course prix-fixe Japanese cuisine. From reef lobster to wagyu beef, we were completely spoiled with the freshest seafood and the most scrumptious dishes. After dinner, we decided to call it an early night, but I couldn’t wait to get up early the next morning to explore the resort.
I set my alarm for 5:30am with high hopes of catching a Maldivian sunrise, but sadly the weather did not want to cooperate. By 6:30am, heavy clouds had moved in and rain started to pour. Unfortunately, the rest of the day remained stormy and wet, but we weren’t going to let it damper our first day in the Maldives!
With a full day of activities ahead, we set off to enjoy breakfast at the Vilu Restaurant.
After breakfast we headed straight to the Spa Retreat, where hubby and I enjoyed the Maldivian Indiginous Treatments, a 90-min couple’s massage featuring coconut scrub and heated coconut sticks. I have to say, it was one of the best messages I’ve ever gotten as I fell deep asleep almost instantly – talk about relaxation!
The Spa Retreat has 9 couple’s treatment rooms and provides full spa services, including facial, hair styling, manicure and pedicure. The coolest part, however, had to be the outdoor shower and bathroom – being completely naked and one with mother nature? Didn’t see that coming but certainly fun to have it checked off my list! 🙂
For lunch, we headed to Conrad‘s famous undersea restaurant, Ithaa. Directly translated as “mother of pearl” in Maldivian’s local language, Dhivehi, Ithaa is the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. Descending 16 feet below sea level and being completely in the deep blue water was definitely a major highlight of this trip.
Unfortunately given the rain we had to cancel our afternoon snorkeling trip and evening sunset tour. With the few free hours, we decided to explore the resort on foot before retiring back to our water villa. Day 1 dinner took place at the Sunset Grill. It was too dark to take any photos, but if you’re a seafood lover (they also serve meat and vegetarian dishes), the crabmeat starter was PHENOMENAL and an absolute must have!
Started Day 2 with a bomb diggidy breakfast! The Atoll Market buffet has literally anything your heart desires. From Asian to Italian cuisine, fresh made-to-order juices to an entire island of bread choices, we spared nothing and pigged out big time. People always wonder why I diet BEFORE a vacation, this is precisely why 🙂
We had a few hours to kill after breakfast, so we decided to explore other parts of the main island that we didn’t get to see on Day 1.
Day 2’s lunch was at Mandhoo Restaurant, right next to the Spa Retreat from the day before. We had such a fantastic time at Mandhoo – despite the shoddy weather, it still has one of the best views on the island. When the window doors are completely open, each table gets an unobstructed view of the Indian Ocean. The water was bright turquoise even in the heavy rain. Also, this is the only place you can watch them feed reef sharks – look at those little guys go! 🙂
Another special thing about Mandhoo was its menu. Inspired by the five elements of the earth, each dish was designed and prepared (using organic produce) to nourish your mind and body in different ways. For example, we ordered the Korean style seared tuna with stir fried bak choy, lime chili and coriander vinaigrette from the FIRE section. It was hot but not overwhelming, a nice compliment to the pan seared sea bass we also ordered from WATER.
With our bellies full, we headed over to Ufaa by Jereme Leung, Conrad’s traditional Chinese restaurant, for some dim sum making class. The patient chefs taught us how to make dumplings, shui mais, wontons and egg noodles from scratch. I never knew shu mais were so easy to make! We then went back that same night and had our own creations for dinner – not to toot my own horn here, but those noodles ended up pretty delicious 🙂
The sun finally decided to come out and play for a bit on our last day at Conrad. Our seaplane back to Malé (to transfer to our next resort) wasn’t until noon, so we strolled around the island again taking in one last look at the beautiful scenery.
Before coming to the Maldives, hubby was worried that he would be bored to death with nothing to do (he’s obviously the active one in this relationship 🙂 ), but what we quickly found at Conrad was the complete opposite. From all kinds of watersports to undersea adventures, tennis, yoga, sunset cruise or spa, the activity options are endless. Or, if you’re like me and prefer to relax on the beach overlooking the bluest water ever, that’s cool, too. At the end of the day, you’ll find nothing but amazing, kind hospitality from the staff at Conrad Maldives, and that’s really what made our stay so memorable.
Thank you Conrad Maldives Rangali Island for partnering on this trip! All opinions are my own.