A review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – on Hilton points (Part 4)

This is part four of our reader’s review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. It focuses on snorkeling and diving, something we wouldn’t normally cover on HfP.  However as the images are stunning we had to include them.

The full four part HfP version of the review can be found starting here.

The author’s original version of this review, which includes larger and additional pictures, is here.

Snorkeling / Diving

This is still my primary reason for visiting the Maldives, we snorkelled every day. Even on our first afternoon at the resort we spotted a stingray within 10 minutes of being in the water.

If you are interested in snorkelling, you can rent a free life vest from the Watersports centre. The Ocean Dive centre will provide free masks, snorkel and fins. They will also show you how to use them, including tips on how to prevent the mask fogging up and how to clear it.

Our Snorkel Route from our Retreat Water Villa, heading south along the entire reef dropoff, at a depth of 10m+. It’s only recommended for experienced snorkelers equipped with a buoyancy aid.

Life on the reef

The El Nino event in 2016 resulted in many reefs in the Maldives being exposed to coral bleaching. These next two photos are of the same coral structure at the edge of the reef drop off. If you compare them you’ll see it highlights the effect of the warmer sea temperatures, especially on table/plate corals.

February 2015.

February 2017.

Whilst the corals have been affected, there still appeared to be lots of interesting sea-life to enjoy. I’m fairly certain that some Rays and Turtles are the identical creatures we saw two years ago.

Here’s some examples of the diverse variety of life on the reef.

School of Blue Striped Snapper.

Black Spotted Eagle Ray.

Titan Triggerfish.


Turtle – (Video here).

Hunting Octopus – (Video here).

Here’s another Octopus.

The same Octopus in flight moments later.

Stonefish (Venomous – photo taken using camera zoom).

White Tip Reef Shark.

Black Tip Reef Shark.

Giant Moray Eel – (Video here).

Yellow Pufferfish.

Another Turtle.

Baby Squid.

SCUBA Diving – Ocean Dive Centre info (pdf)

I didn’t feel the need to dive on my last trip but as soon as I learnt that there had been recent sightings of Manta Rays I made sure I registered with the Ocean Dive centre to try and see them!

Dives are $90++, Equipment is also charged per dive. (BCD $8++, Regulator $8++).

Even though I’d dived recently and my qualifications and experience didn’t require it, they offered a complimentary “shake down” dive in the safety of the lagoon. I was more than happy to go along as it’s also useful to orientate yourself with any equipment you’re hiring.

All went well with a short dive to 6m. The purpose of the dive was basically so we could prove to the instructor that we could confidently control our buoyancy in the water, clear our masks and cope if our regulator got knocked out accidentally. All good sound diving practice.

Approximately 10 of us departed from the Pontoon Bridge on a Dhoni Dive Boat.

As I’m a reasonably experienced diver, I was paired up on my own with an understanding instructor which I really appreciated as she allowed me the freedom to do my own thing and stop to take photos.

First dive was a scenic drift dive at RehiThila which is about a 20 minutes boat ride to the south, where I saw a pretty cool Ghost Pipe Fish.

For the second dive we moved to Rangali Madivaru (Manta Point) which is just south of the Conrad Resort. Where at an approx depth of 15m, I was lucky enough to be treated to 30 minutes with the spaceships of the sea (Video Here).


Conrad staff: Bobby,  Alex, Anees, Kurt, Ahmed and the attentive F&B team at Vilu.

The lifeguard Muhusin and the teams at the Watersports and Ocean Dive centres.

NB: Whilst I endeavoured to use my own photos, occasionally I felt some were lacking in sufficient quality,  in those instances I linked directly to the Conrad website (Seaplane Lounge, King Beach Villa and Special Dining Opportunities)

If you want to learn more about the resort, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island home page is here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

A review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island - on Hilton points (Part 3)
What is the best hotel loyalty scheme? - an introduction
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  1. GaryC says:

    Four articles on a single hotel resort, seriously? This used to be a site where all the articles were interesting, relevant and “on theme”, and a favourite for morning reading on my commute, but increasingly I’m just seeing the titles and clicking away without reading anything.

    • Olivia says:

      I do agree. It is all rather self indulgent and the photos aren’t good quality and are a little OTT.

      • Danny says:

        It’s one big advertisement for the resort and the build-up hype to the articles certainly gave that impression; certainly earned a well-deserved special or more favourable treatment in future visits.

        • the real harry1 says:

          [GaryC] surely ‘read title/ decide relevant & read/ or not relevant/ click to next article or simply click away to newspaper etc’ is perfectly acceptable to all & not grounds for a moan.

          Personally I love all the underwater stuff – Padi Divemaster, GBR – but if it were about (say) horse-riding I’d be in the same boat as you but not make a fuss about it, as I’m a fully grown adult 🙂

          Great stuff, Anon

        • Thanks TRH, the Mantas were lovely, such a special feeling watching them again.

        • +1

          Thanks Anon – great review!

      • The photos are deliberately reduced in size/quality to reduce load time. And yes, I don’t profess to be a professional photographer.

        So Olivia, open question. What’s your specific constructive suggestions on what you’d like to see for future articles?

      • nogoodboyo says:

        I have to agree more pictures of fish than an Angling magazine .

    • I found the article informative and would welcome occasional articles on inspirational redemptions such as this. Thank you to Anon / Triprep for the contribution.

    • Tilly71 says:

      Due to the size of the article I believe it had to be split into four sections. It’s one of the most comprehensive and informative article I have ever read on the resort.

  2. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    I have long thought that the commitment to three articles a day dillutes content. Then again, I preferred the Maldives review to that of the BA PR exercise from which they (surprise surprise) appear to have controlled the day and given nothing away. I guess it takes all sorts and you cant please all the people all this time.

    In the interest of balance it should be noted that the hotel review was a 3rd and 4th article each day due I suspect to size.

    Just in general the point industry/hobby is in a lull at present for a variety of factors. The increasing focus of the site on hotels to diversify is unlikely to be an accident. Problem is, you never know when it might spring back into life and when it does, I’ll find out through HfP. It keeps me coming back on a daily basis.

    • 1. As you note, two parts were ‘fourth’ articles

      2. Anika is working in Tokyo, I am in Hong Kong on holiday and it fills the space nicely

      There will be more like this for the next 10 days so I suggest you tune out until after Easter if you don’t like it 🙂

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        But the moment I tune out is the moment Tesco launch a raft of great offers and then the credit card industry decides to hell with profits, lets go all in on market share and doubles all introductory offers. I’m old enough to know how life is out to get me.

        I’ll keep checking back and reading what interest’s me and skipping what doesn’t. Simples.

  3. MichelleJ says:

    Thank you for including this blog. I have been to the neighbouring island, Mirihi, on several occasions and currently holding off booking another trip after hearing about the coral damage to the Maldives. These photos are a great help.

    • GaryC – I’ve never found the following to be true…
      ‘This used to be a site where all the articles were interesting, relevant and “on theme”’

      I accept that out of 3 articles a day, only 1 maybe relevant to my interests. I skip articles that I don’t feel relevant, or even better I make specific constructive suggestions for an article I’d like to see.

      As Rob alluded to the other day, there’s less point opportunities out there, sadly not an Avis 18k Avios deal every week.

      In fairness the timing of this article acted as a “filler” due to Rob & Anika’s logistics.

      I totally accept it has niche appeal to a few regular kind contributors on HFPs that requested it.

      It does show the power of using points gained from promos highlighted on HFP, there’s no way I would ever justify;
      1) full fare business class on BA
      2) a 12 night stay at somewhere as fantastic as the Conrad if I were only paying cash.

      TPG runs “success” stories all the time, like this one.

      • Sundar says:

        Not to mention….”And you could be also doing this by clicking on the below links and applying for the cc’s for which I will be paid, which will allow me to go on more such trips and post more such articles and …..” 🙂

    • MichelleJ – thanks for the feedback, yes it’s definitely a concern for me considering a repeat visit, a lot can happen in another 2 years, especially if there’s another massive El Nino event….

  4. Noggins says:

    I enjoyed reading all four parts – as with a variety of other previous articles on various subjects it helps to make specific plans with extended horizons and value ambitions.
    Rob sets an incredibly high bar to commit to 3 articles EVERY day – what do we want from him, making up news? Spreading real news more thinly?
    I am sure many of us get a little less from the site as our knowledge level grows but I am a long way from suggesting Rob moves to two chunky issues per week. For me the best elements of the site now are the alerts to special offers – especially air fares. I accept that these will be finite in number and therefore must be patient for the most interesting ones to come along.

  5. rams1981 says:

    thanks for the review. I had considered going to Maldives but probably after we have a baby given it’s a holiday with little activity other than diving. Is it a suitable place for a couple and baby?

    • I would say yes, the “standard” Beach Villa would have room for a cot.

      See yesterday’s comments on family options, I believe babysitting might also be available.

      Feel free to email the resort for more info.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      It’s a good place to go about 9mths before you want a baby.

    • I would advise caution. There really is nothing to do apart from the limited activities listed. I suggest having your baby and seeing how much entertaining he/she requires – my son needed multiple changes of scenery each day to stop him screaming the place down but I hear they’re not all like that!

      My main concern is that in the event of an accident you’d rely on being air lifted to hospital, who knows how far away? Looking back to our Maldives trip many years ago, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a decompression chamber on the island either, and I’m not sure I would return, for all these reasons!

      • I enjoyed the pieces, TripRep, though I’m unlikely to have the cash or points to visit the resort! I’d actually like to see more reviews as I love travel articles in general, and of course anyone who doesn’t want to read them doesn’t have to.

      • rams1981 says:

        All good points

      • I would guess the nearest Deco chamber is Male, so a 30min low level flight on a seaplane.

        I dive in the UK ever year on the West coast of Scotland;
        1) further from the nearest deco chamber
        2) in far colder waters
        3) to far deeper depths

        So personally I feel the risks (like everything in life) are relative and managed appropriately.

        Rangali does have a well staffed on-site medical center, so I’d expect O2 to be plentiful for triage to treat diving incidents as well as any “normal” guests with breathing/heart conditions. (It’s a popular resort for retirees)

  6. aliks says:

    The Maldives is a major aspirational destination, with the Conrad Rangali offering significant opportunities to use points imaginatively. Yes 4 articles is a bit OTT, but they were well written and I thought the photos were decent and informative.

    Last year I agonised for weeks about whether to spend my Hilton points and vouchers on Rangali and eventually decided against it. Articles like these – and the comments from HfP readers would have been very useful to me.

  7. Pat Butcher says:

    Enjoyed the review thanks. If this doesn’t get you a free upgrade to a sunset water villa for your next trip, nothing will.

  8. Chris says:

    Great article and very thorough, thanks very much for writing it!

  9. Arun T says:

    Great set of articles. Rob, I would very much encourage more HFP ‘community’ reviews/articles of aspirational properties/trips when the spend is done on points (after all, isn’t that the point of this website!).

    As long as the quality of the review itself (as this one was) is good, and it isn’t done too often – it’s a nice change to mix things up a bit.

    • AndyF says:

      I completely agree I think it should be a section on the site where readers can discuss the most aspirational places to visit and how they did this with points etc to give possibly inspiration to other readers and targets to work towards. Great work.

      • Fantastic idea for those, who like me, read travel blogs like other people read about houses and food lol.

  10. Martin Barber says:

    We were lucky enough to enjoy five nights here last year on points, no thanks to BA who cancelled our flights and refused to rebook.

    Thanks for the stimulating some nice memories.

  11. Tracy says:

    I read the articles with interest as I had considered using my points to book a week here. Decided against it as I don’t swim and have a fear of water lol (not even joking). Do like sunbathing though 🙂
    I used the points to book family trip to Florida instead. Have started accumulating Hilton points again so you never know…..

  12. TGLoyalty says:

    Thanks for the great review Anon/TripRep was a great read and just shows you exactly what this game is all about

    76k points for a room than can be $2k a night, amazing.

  13. nogoodboyo says:

    Hi Rob
    As a matter of balance I am willing to do a 4 part review of the Hampton Inn Newport East which at 10,000 points a night is the cheapest Honors stay in UK ( I stand to be corrected) I also have a camera (box brownie and polaroid so you need not worry about the picture quality)

    • You’ll need to cover the one in Newcastle as well to compare with another 10k, maybe as a follow up ? 😉

      • nogoodboyo says:

        What a brilliant idea I could start from 10,000 and work my way up.
        Would fill this blog for years!

    • Sundar says:

      Few hotels – 2 in Sheffield, 1 in Liverpool, 1 in Corby and 1 in Bristol are all 10K.

      • nogoodboyo says:

        Got to say I loved the octopus/ octopi? photos and another one? then the same one later WTF how the hell does this refer to HFP and its alleged banner “Helping UK business and leisure travellers maximise their miles.”
        This is a blatant advert for one hotel chain by some who is brown nosing and hoping for a gratis upgrade on their next trip.
        How does this help people maximise their miles collection?

        • ‘Maximising’ miles and points means earning smartly and spending smartly. And, pound per point, this is the best way of spending Hilton points.

          In general, we only review hotels which can be redeemed via the major loyalty programmes.