Advance Upgrade Options for My Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Stay and Seaplane Transfer Costs

Dec 17, 2013

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This post is a continuation of my Maldives Trip Report: EVA Royal Laurel business class from JFK to Taipei , Singapore Airlines to Male International Airport, Hulhule Island Hotel

Why I Decided to Stay at the Conrad Rangali Island vs. Other Top Resorts
In March, Hilton Honors drastically devalued their program- raising some standard redemption rates as much as 95%! I had a stash of points that I wanted to use for a top resprt, so I ended up redeeming the last 150,000 Hilton points that I had for three nights at the Conrad Rangali Island (those standard rooms are now 95,000 points a night!) and I used 2 free weekend nights from my Citi Hilton Reserve card to get a total of five nights. Room rates were $1,150, so my 5 night stay in a standard room would have cost a whopping $5,750 plus taxes. Pre-paid rates were $920, but I never book pre-paid rates for stays that are 6+ months in advance, because too much can happen and I couldn’t bear to lose $5,000 if my plans had to change.
Conrad-Maldives-April-20-23About a month before my stay, a representative from the hotel emailed me with details of my stay and options to upgrade my room.

Base Level HHonors™ Global Benefits Offered at the Resort:

Complimentary weekday newspaper (online print), Late checkout upon request subject to room availability and two complimentary bottles of water per day. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is exempted from the free upgrade policy.

Diamond/ Benefits :

Daily breakfast for two, One bottle of wine upon arrival, Chocolate & Fruit amenities upon arrival, Daily Happy Hour at Vilu restaurant for you and sharing guest in same villa from 17.00 – 18.00 hours (though they never checked room keys at the happy hour, so it seemed like anyone was able to get free drinks during this time)

The daily breakfast buffet at Atoll was awesome- Asian buffet, traditional European, omelette station, fresh juice and fruits.
The daily breakfast buffet at Atoll was awesome- Asian buffet, traditional European, omelette station, fresh juice and fruits.

Villa Upgrades

Upgrade from King Beach Villa to King Deluxe Beach Villa US$ 375 + 10% service charge + 8% T GST per night.

Deluxe Beach Villas have small pools and are slightly larger
Deluxe Beach Villas have small pools and are slightly larger

Upgrade from King Beach Villa to King Water Villa US$ 375 + 10% service charge + 8% T GST per night.
Each villa boasts a private sundeck with wooden sun loungers, umbrella and plunge pool making this an ideal spot for private sun bathing during the day, or star gazing at night.

Upgrade from King Beach Villa to King Superior Water Villa US$ 400 + 10% service charge + 8% T GST per night.
Essentially the same as King Water, but have “face the sunset making a sundowner cocktail or two in the evenings an absolute must” and instead of plunge pool, they have a jacuzzi.

Upgrade from King Beach Villa to Spa Water Villa/Retreat Water Villa US$ 500 + 10% service charge + 8% T GST per night.
“Each villa is the perfect escape from the outside world and has its own separate spa treatment room with two massage beds, mini gym and medicine ball.” These are located by the Spa Retreat, which is on the main side of the island and are within walking distance to the Mandhoo restaurant, which is Euro/Asian cuisine (with a lot of healthy options) and also hosts afternoon tea. I never got a chance to go, but heard good things.

Overwater Spa Villa, with hottub on the deck
Overwater Spa Villa, with whirlpool on the deck

Upgrade from King Beach Villa to Deluxe Water Villa US$ 840 + 10% service charge + 8% T GST per night.
Larger villas facing the sunset with “whirlpool and freshwater shower on the private deck, a romantic ‘floating’ bed and spacious living area creating the perfect retreat.” Basically they are just bigger and have a prime sunset view.

My Choice and Recommendations
I was a little bit overwhelmed with the options, but knew that if I was going to travel nearly 12,000 miles, I wanted to splurge a little bit- especially since all 5 nights were covered with points/ hotel free nights.

This Maldives trip I was traveling with one of my best friends who is a spa junkie and we thought we’d go for the Spa Overwater Bungalow, which has its own treatment room en-suite and also came with a jacuzzi on the deck over the water. Cool! I’m going to be reviewing the room in detail, but I’ll say that we never once used the spa treatment room, because the two spas at the resort were gorgeous and a lot of times we made last minute reservations and they couldn’t accommodate us unless we went to the on-site spa. While the jacuzzi looked cool, we basically never used that either, so the $125 a night premium from a regular water villa to Spa villa was not worth it.

Why pay extra for a treatment room in your villa when you can go to the on-site spa and have a glass bottomed treatment room?!
Why pay extra for a treatment room in your villa when you can go to the on-site spa and have a glass bottomed treatment room?!

As for the deluxe beach villa, it was a gorgeous room, but we didn’t even use the pool because the beach was stunning. All rooms are on the beach, so there is no need to pay $375+ for the deluxe room unless you need a slightly larger room. I will also be reviewing that room in more detail so stay tuned.

In general, I do think staying in an Overwater Villa is a unique experience and worth the $400+ nightly upcharge if you love the water and take advantage of the off-villa snorkeling and private sunbathing. However, it rained for 3 of our 5 days and it was absolutely not worth it on those days, so we actually asked to be downgraded the last night and they let us stay in the room and waived the upcharge. It is a unique experience, but not for everyone and the normal rooms are absolutely fine as it is. Since everything on the resort is expensive, it might make sense to just keep a normal room and splurge on nice dinners or diving trips- it really depends on your personal situation. However, I’m glad I got the overwater bungalow, though do regret paying the upcharge for the spa villa!

Sea Plane Transfers
“Seaplane transfers will be arranged by the resort according to your arrival and departure flights. The seaplane journey is available for arrivals between 06:00 am – 4:00 pm only. Seaplane transfers will be arranged by the resort according to your arrival and departure flights. The luggage allowance is 25 kg per person plus 5 kg of hand luggage and the maximum weight is 32 kg per piece of luggage. Any excess goods will need to be removed and placed in another baggage. Any excess baggage is chargeable and will have to be paid directly for both ways to Trans Maldivian Airways at US$ 5.00 + 8% T GST per 1 kg per way.

Comfortable transfers between terminals
Comfortable transfers between terminals

The Conrad Maldives Representative will be at the airport to meet & greet you upon arrival at Male’ Airport. Our Representatives are located at the Counter # 19 at the arrival terminal hall with Conrad Sign Board. They will escort you to Trans Maldivian Airways, Conrad Lounge, where you will be transferred to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.”

Great views as you fly low from Male to Rangali
Great views as you fly low from Male to Rangali

We got in around 10pm, so I ended up staying at the Hulhule hotel and then took an 8am seaplane flight the next day. There is a free shuttle to the Hulhule, so they took us back to the main airport (5 minutes) the next morning and then we connected with the Conrad people who shuttled us to the seaplane terminal (10 minutes) in the Conrad van. The lounge was nice, with free massages and the 25 minute ride to Rangali was a breeze. All-in-all, while expensive, they at least make the process painfree as possible.

  Stay tuned for more details of my stay: dining, spa, scuba diving and more!

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