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This is the latest post in the series from my recent “Around the World” trip to the Maldives, India and Dubai. Follow along to read my reviews on several different aspects of my trip. Other posts in this series include:Quick Singapore Layover & Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class to Male, Maldives, Flight Review: EVA Air New York-JFK-Tapei Royal Laurel Class, Hotel Review: Maldives Airport Hulhule Island Hotel, Flight Review: Trans Maldivian Airways Seaplane from Male to Rangali Island, Advance Upgrade Options for My Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Stay and Seaplane Transfer Costs and Are The Maldives Worth It?, and Conrad Rangali Island Deluxe Beach Villa Review
One of my favorite parts of my whirlwind and exotic trip was easily my five-night stay at the Conrad Maldives Hotel on Rangali Island, which I got on pre-devaluation Hilton points and also two free weekend nights from the sign-up bonus on the Citi Hilton Reserve card. I had originally booked the trip right before the Hilton devaluation, when you could get award nights for 50,000 Hilton points each, which is incredible considering the base rooms go for over $1,000 a night and the overwater bungalows can exceed $2,000 a night. Plus, because I had the Citi Hilton card, I only used points on two nights, used the two free credit card nights for the others and paid for one night in total.
For the first night, I upgraded to a King Deluxe Beach Villa so I’d be able to compare the experience to staying on the water in an Overwater Spa Villa. Here’s a quick video tour of my Overwater Spa Villa.
The resort has 24 King Spa Water Villas, which are larger than regular overwater villas and have a separate spa treatment room with two beds and some light fitness equipment. The villas measure at 1614.6 sq. ft. and are set on stilts over water in a private part of the resort’s lagoon near the main spa. The bathroom includes large dressing area with day bed, and bathtub with ocean views. There is also a glass floor underneath the bathroom sink, which the regular overwater bungalows do not have. The private sundeck is a large whirlpool spa and steps leading directly into the lagoon.
Is It Worth It?
In short, I don’t believe the Spa Overwater villa is worth the extra $125 ($500 vs. $375 + tax) premium over the regular Overwater Villa. I didn’t end up using the separate spa treatment room because the two on-site spas at the resort were gorgeous and most of the time I made last-minute spa appointments (when I knew the weather wasn’t going to be good) and they couldn’t send therapists for in-room treatments unless booked in advance.
Plus, I like going to the spa and getting tea and relaxing. And with cool features like toilets that are fully outdoors (but private) and treatment rooms that have glass floors, why would you want to have a massage in your room?!
When the weather is nice, the overwater villas are incredible, though on my trip to the Maldives it rained for 3 out of the 5 days and the last night I asked to be downgraded, because it was not worth paying $500+ for the ability to sleep over the ocean. I’m glad I tried the overwater villa, but if I had to go back I’d probably just stay in the normal on-land villa and spend the nightly upgrade fee to splurge on meals/diving. I ended up going scuba diving twice a day, so I was out on the water for most of the days, but my best friend who came along on this trip doesn’t dive, so she liked having the private sun-deck and easy water access while I was away.
If you’re going to travel halfway around the world to the Maldives I recommend trying out an overwater villa, but I’m not 100% convinced they’re really worth the upgrade fee, unless money is no issue and you really want to have an absolutely special experience.
Even with the added expense, I’m glad I upgraded for a few days to get the full overwater experience, but because of the weather, just a couple days was enough and then the regular King Beach Villa was just fine. With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.