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Planning on booking at the Conrad Maldives - any tips?

Cynicor

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Most of the restaurants people wear shoes most of the time. You are able to go bare-foot if you want.
 

Cynicor

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That's great. Maybe you can answer my questions after coming back.
If you have any questions, post them. I've been 3 times and got back only last week from the last visit.
 

kyle

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If you have any questions, post them. I've been 3 times and got back only last week from the last visit.
Thanks Cynicor. I'm just overexcited that we've booked. That was a decision made after having watched a number of Youtube videos in a week, plus reading about the "No news, no shoes" motto in the Maldives. And now just waiting for my partner to confirm his leave. So here are my questions:

1. Shoes. You've answered my question. I'm surprised that most are wearing shoes as the photos posted on Tripadvisor and other places show otherwise. Also, as I've mentioned, on the Conrad website, it says "bare feet are encouraged." So obviously the people are not heeding the advice!

2. I've read that while Maldives is a Muslim country, but is the resort and the staff are gay friendly. Did you see any gay couples around?

3. People mention that the underwater restaurant should be booked well ahead of arrival. How far ahead would you recommend?

4. Which free and paid activities would you recommend? I read that there's a tour going to a village to another island.

5. What is the tipping situation like? How much and how often?

6. Is 10 days too much - 5 in beach villa and 5 in over water villa?

7. Is there any shopping?

8. Which restaurant is the best and why? The dinner for the first 5 nights will be at Atoll Market as it's part of the package,

That's all for now.
 

Daver6

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I came across this review yesterday (by chance) Conrad Maldives Review: Gorgeous Sunsets From The Water Villas | BaldThoughts

While the suggested upgraded a superior over water villa makes sense, it seems disappointing on two parts. Firstly, no pool, just a spa and secondly, according to the hotel website, the square meter size of the room is actually less. Also has been refurbished apparently. Any input on these points?
 

Cynicor

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It's hot in the sun and you're still walking around on the open ground. Shoes make a lot of sense, they just aren't compulsory (and not allowed in Ithaa, and not sensible on the beach dinners). Most people wear shoes for foot protection and this place is no different. They aren't encouraged either. It's nothing. No one talks about shoes at all.

The resort is gay agnostic. I haven't seen anything pro- or anti- gay. There were openly gay couples there and it seemed fine to me but no idea what they thought.

Depends on your luck. We had Ithaa to ourselves but it was booked solid all the days prior and the day after. So go figure! The first time I went I booked 2 days out and the second time about the same. Depends when you go and how much you want to dine there. Max 3 weeks out, I'd say.

Local village tour was simple but nice enough. Good to see at least. Do other tours as you fancy. No real need to do anything. The whale shark tours are a bit of a mad rush with lots of boats around so may be worth avoiding and doing in AU. Benefit is that you are very likely to see one and it's a great place to do it for the sea conditions.

No tipping. I didn't get out my wallet until the airport- KFC there is great.

10 days is enough but that depends on you. What will you do, what do you like to do? Too hard to answer.

No shopping. Well, 3 "boutiques" or so. But basically no. Not sure what you'd want to buy there, it's not NYC.

Best depends on tastes. I wouldn't eat at Atoll 5 nights running, package or not. I'd use that time to eat everywhere. The lobster and champagne is probably the best if you drink (ruinart). The fondue is decent too and is cheap and simple. Room service is nice. So too hard to say.

Thanks Cynicor. I'm just overexcited that we've booked. That was a decision made after having watched a number of Youtube videos in a week, plus reading about the "No news, no shoes" motto in the Maldives. And now just waiting for my partner to confirm his leave. So here are my questions:

1. Shoes. You've answered my question. I'm surprised that most are wearing shoes as the photos posted on Tripadvisor and other places show otherwise. Also, as I've mentioned, on the Conrad website, it says "bare feet are encouraged." So obviously the people are not heeding the advice!

2. I've read that while Maldives is a Muslim country, but is the resort and the staff are gay friendly. Did you see any gay couples around?

3. People mention that the underwater restaurant should be booked well ahead of arrival. How far ahead would you recommend?

4. Which free and paid activities would you recommend? I read that there's a tour going to a village to another island.

5. What is the tipping situation like? How much and how often?

6. Is 10 days too much - 5 in beach villa and 5 in over water villa?

7. Is there any shopping?

8. Which restaurant is the best and why? The dinner for the first 5 nights will be at Atoll Market as it's part of the package,

That's all for now.
 

kyle

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It's hot in the sun and you're still walking around on the open ground. Shoes make a lot of sense, they just aren't compulsory (and not allowed in Ithaa, and not sensible on the beach dinners). Most people wear shoes for foot protection and this place is no different. They aren't encouraged either. It's nothing. No one talks about shoes at all.

The resort is gay agnostic. I haven't seen anything pro- or anti- gay. There were openly gay couples there and it seemed fine to me but no idea what they thought.

Depends on your luck. We had Ithaa to ourselves but it was booked solid all the days prior and the day after. So go figure! The first time I went I booked 2 days out and the second time about the same. Depends when you go and how much you want to dine there. Max 3 weeks out, I'd say.

Local village tour was simple but nice enough. Good to see at least. Do other tours as you fancy. No real need to do anything. The whale shark tours are a bit of a mad rush with lots of boats around so may be worth avoiding and doing in AU. Benefit is that you are very likely to see one and it's a great place to do it for the sea conditions.

No tipping. I didn't get out my wallet until the airport- KFC there is great.

10 days is enough but that depends on you. What will you do, what do you like to do? Too hard to answer.

No shopping. Well, 3 "boutiques" or so. But basically no. Not sure what you'd want to buy there, it's not NYC.

Best depends on tastes. I wouldn't eat at Atoll 5 nights running, package or not. I'd use that time to eat everywhere. The lobster and champagne is probably the best if you drink (ruinart). The fondue is decent too and is cheap and simple. Room service is nice. So too hard to say.
Thanks for the detailed reply. The heat doesn't bother me too much as I'm used to walking around barefoot all the time outside of work. Really looking forward to it and wanting to see if the water is really that blue.
 

Cynicor

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Nope. But laundry prices are quite reasonable compared to most Conrads and luxury hotels. $5++ for a tee shirt IIRC
 

Jurahn

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Thanks for the detailed reply. The heat doesn't bother me too much as I'm used to walking around barefoot all the time outside of work. Really looking forward to it and wanting to see if the water is really that blue.
Yes, the water really is that blue and the sand really is that white :).

It’s almost 10 years since our visit to Rangali, but still remember every minute of it. It’s the only place I’ve ever been which was EXACTLY like the pictures in the travel brochures. We stayed in a superior water villa, and absolutely loved it. We did go barefoot most of the time - the only time we wore “shoes” was during the middle of the day when we’d have to wear thongs (or flip flops, depending where you’re from LOL) as the wooden walkways and the bridge would get extremely hot to walk on.
 

SponsorSFC

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Ok, I've taken the plunge and booked the first trip ever to the Maldives in January/Feb.

5 nights in BV on cash and 5 nights in OWV on points. Is that too many? The cash part is a package and includes the seaplane transfer, dinner and 30 mins spa treatment.

From Conrad's website, it says "Unless otherwise stated, all restaurants are open-air and have sea views. The dinner dress code is smart-casual and bare feet are encouraged."

Is that really true? From the pictures I see, every one is basically barefoot in all restaurants and everywhere else. If so, I'll be in heaven.
Thanks Cynicor. I'm just overexcited that we've booked. That was a decision made after having watched a number of Youtube videos in a week, plus reading about the "No news, no shoes" motto in the Maldives. And now just waiting for my partner to confirm his leave. So here are my questions:

1. Shoes. You've answered my question. I'm surprised that most are wearing shoes as the photos posted on Tripadvisor and other places show otherwise. Also, as I've mentioned, on the Conrad website, it says "bare feet are encouraged." So obviously the people are not heeding the advice!

2. I've read that while Maldives is a Muslim country, but is the resort and the staff are gay friendly. Did you see any gay couples around?

3. People mention that the underwater restaurant should be booked well ahead of arrival. How far ahead would you recommend?

4. Which free and paid activities would you recommend? I read that there's a tour going to a village to another island.

5. What is the tipping situation like? How much and how often?

6. Is 10 days too much - 5 in beach villa and 5 in over water villa?

7. Is there any shopping?

8. Which restaurant is the best and why? The dinner for the first 5 nights will be at Atoll Market as it's part of the package,

That's all for now.
We are heading back to Rangali for the 2nd time in September (Last trip was end of 2016).

1. You will be fine with no shoes especially in the morning and night, the walkways will get quite warm during the day so thongs are fine the sand never got too hot to walk on.

2. I have no personal experience but I would expect there will be no problems but discretion may be advisable in the public areas to avoid causing offence to local staff (the same should be said for straight couples).

3. If you have your hear set in Ithaa I would book as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. There is no real advantage to booking late. We only did the cocktail hour which was enough for us. I would rather spend the money elsewhere during our stay.

4. If you have Gold/Diamond status then the cocktail/afternoon tea is a good option. The fish feeding at Mandhoo is also worth going to at least once.

5. There is no need to tip, a 10% service charge is included in everything which does get distributed to staff.

6. 10 days is not too much as long as you are happy to relax, swim, read etc there is enough variety in the food offering and activities to keep us occupied. We are only going back for 5 nights but that is because of it being part of a larger 1 months Europe trip. It is up to you but I would enquire about the upgrade cost to a Deluxe Beach Villa and either a Superior or Deluxe water Villa (these two are both on the sunset side). Alternatively request a Water Villa on the sunset side and your beach villa on the sunrise side.

7. There are only a couple of small shops that are ridiculously expensive. $50 for sunscreen being an example so make sure you pack your own.

8. Best is rather subjective. Ithaa is their most expensive and most unique but you are paying a very large premium for the location.

We found Sunset Grill and Vilu much better value while still having fantastic views. We didn't go to Mandhoo last time but most likely will this time. Ufaaa and Rangali Bar were good reasonably priced (in relative terms) options for lunch. Koko Grill was great but we will probably swap this for one of the beach dinners (Champagne & Lobster or Fisherman's BBQ).

Vilu is much better for breakfast than Atoll if you don't need the massive buffet.

I did a trip report here but unfortunately a lot of the photos are broken.
 

kyle

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Mar 8, 2006
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931
Yes, the water really is that blue and the sand really is that white :).

It’s almost 10 years since our visit to Rangali, but still remember every minute of it. It’s the only place I’ve ever been which was EXACTLY like the pictures in the travel brochures. We stayed in a superior water villa, and absolutely loved it. We did go barefoot most of the time - the only time we wore “shoes” was during the middle of the day when we’d have to wear thongs (or flip flops, depending where you’re from LOL) as the wooden walkways and the bridge would get extremely hot to walk on.
I'd still bring thongs of course and would probably be wearing that on the way there, but won't wear them unless absolutely necessary.

See if they'd give me a free diamond upgrade to superior water villa!
 

kyle

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Messages
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We are heading back to Rangali for the 2nd time in September (Last trip was end of 2016).

1. You will be fine with no shoes especially in the morning and night, the walkways will get quite warm during the day so thongs are fine the sand never got too hot to walk on.

2. I have no personal experience but I would expect there will be no problems but discretion may be advisable in the public areas to avoid causing offence to local staff (the same should be said for straight couples).

3. If you have your hear set in Ithaa I would book as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. There is no real advantage to booking late. We only did the cocktail hour which was enough for us. I would rather spend the money elsewhere during our stay.

4. If you have Gold/Diamond status then the cocktail/afternoon tea is a good option. The fish feeding at Mandhoo is also worth going to at least once.

5. There is no need to tip, a 10% service charge is included in everything which does get distributed to staff.

6. 10 days is not too much as long as you are happy to relax, swim, read etc there is enough variety in the food offering and activities to keep us occupied. We are only going back for 5 nights but that is because of it being part of a larger 1 months Europe trip. It is up to you but I would enquire about the upgrade cost to a Deluxe Beach Villa and either a Superior or Deluxe water Villa (these two are both on the sunset side). Alternatively request a Water Villa on the sunset side and your beach villa on the sunrise side.

7. There are only a couple of small shops that are ridiculously expensive. $50 for sunscreen being an example so make sure you pack your own.

8. Best is rather subjective. Ithaa is their most expensive and most unique but you are paying a very large premium for the location.

We found Sunset Grill and Vilu much better value while still having fantastic views. We didn't go to Mandhoo last time but most likely will this time. Ufaaa and Rangali Bar were good reasonably priced (in relative terms) options for lunch. Koko Grill was great but we will probably swap this for one of the beach dinners (Champagne & Lobster or Fisherman's BBQ).

Vilu is much better for breakfast than Atoll if you don't need the massive buffet.

I did a trip report here but unfortunately a lot of the photos are broken.
$50 for sunscreen.... ouch!

I would probably not pay for an upgrade unless it's really really cheap because the holiday will be expensive enough after factoring in all the meals. Have already put in a request for sunset view for the water villa. See what I get when I get there. I know that the complementary upgrade policy for diamonds doesn't apply at this resort.
 

SponsorSFC

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The status upgrade doesn't apply but you may be surprised we received a complimentary upgrade to a DBV and an extra night in the WV last time (back when only the the base BV could be booked on points).

We were offered $90USD per night to the DBV or SWV and $200USD to the DWV.
 

kyle

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The status upgrade doesn't apply but you may be surprised we received a complimentary upgrade to a DBV and an extra night in the WV last time (back when only the the base BV could be booked on points).

We were offered $90USD per night to the DBV or SWV and $200USD to the DWV.
That's good to know. I'm not keeping my hopes up on the upgrade as the basic villas are more than adequate.
 

Daver6

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I've been offered an upgrade from the base OWV to a superior OWV for $160/night. Now I'm a little confused as to what makes it better. It seems slightly smaller and instead of a plunge pool has a spa. Can anyone comment on the benefits?

I've also been offered an upgrade to a Deluxe Water Villa for $475/night. Seems slightly larger, a spa instead of a pool and premium audio/visual gear. I'm failing to see the value here too. Point out my stupidity please? :)

Finally also offered a deluxe beach villa upgrade for $160/night. Now this sounds like something I'm seriously considering for the last 3 nights.
 

Cynicor

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Expensive. I was offered $70++ and others have had 55-70 too. Deluxe has both sunrise and sunset views I think, and is a little larger.
DBV are great, but go for $110++. If you like over water then go the SWV. If you are happy with the best villa and doesn't need to be on water, DBV are excellent (and recently redone, mostly).
 

SponsorSFC

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Those prices seem high, I would go back with a counter offer if you decide to upgrade. The upgrade prices are usually lower from a WV than for a BV.

Do you have status with Hilton at all?

Superior are more spread out than the standard water villas.

The Deluxe WV there is more spacing again and they are all on the sunset side.

We are staying in a Deluxe BV followed by a Deluxe WV at the end of month. We were offered the DBV for $90 and $200 for the DWV.
 

Daver6

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I'm HH gold FWIW.

I should also add the the upgrade prices quoted appear to include taxes.

So basically the superior OWV are just more spread out. Not having a plunge pool seems like a bit of a bummer though. Is being more spread out and the extra cost worth it? And I gather then all basic OWV are not sunset?

Stay is not till mid-Nov but looking online the resort does seem pretty full. I'm tempted to try negotiate down the DBV and lock that in. Then consider an OWV upgrade closer to the time, but I don't think I'm prepared to pay an extra US$475/night for the deluxe WV.
 

SponsorSFC

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Sounds like a good plan.

The standard WV are fine. The DBV is much nicer than the BV IMHO.

I would book the standard WV on points for all your nights then switch your first few to the DBV with a paid upgrade.
 

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