This is a review of the luxurious Conrad Rangali resort on the Alifu Dhaalu atoll in The Maldives.
The Conrad Rangali is a popular choice amongst HfP readers, in part because it has historically offered exceptional redemption value, and it remains an excellent use of Hilton Honors points. Remember that elite members of Hilton Honors get ‘5 nights for 4’ when redeeming which really helps on resort stays.
Long-time reader Cat recently stayed at the resort and offered to review it for us. As this is such a beautiful location, and because it is such a great redemption, we were happy to accept.
It’s not every month that we publish a three-part review of one resort – in fact, the last time was probably in 2017, for this exact hotel before it was refurbished. We hope it is useful for anyone who has already booked a stay at the Conrad Rangali or who is seriously considering it. I’m pretty sure Cat has covered all the bases!
Over to Cat:
“I am aware that the Conrad Maldives can be a contentious topic on HfP, and that the mere mention of Rangali Island can incur a degree of comment-thread polarization normally reserved for the Trump Turnberry, marmite and £220 recycled plastic swimming shorts.
However, the resort has just re-opened following an extensive refurbishment of all 50 over-water villas and the rooms look all sparkly and new again, so here we are.
I’m not here to convince you that this is the holiday to end all holidays, or that you’re missing out, but it is an undeniable bargain as redemptions go. To me and many others, the Conrad Rangali is paradise.
I have been saving my Hilton Honors points with the intention of redeeming them in the Maldives for the best part of a decade now, and I finally had enough for a 10-night trip. When the April 2022 dates were made available, I pounced. Even better that it doubled up as some much-needed post-pandemic pampering!
Booking Conrad Rangali with Hilton points
If you book the Conrad Rangali as a redemption – and frankly you’d be crazy not to, as it’s far cheaper to buy Hilton points in a points promotion and book a redemption than to pay cash – you have the choice of a Beach Villa or a Sunrise Water Villa.
Both of these options are available as Standard Room Reward redemptions for 120,000 points per night (or 96,000 if you have Hilton Honors Silver status or above, and book 5 nights for the price of 4). We were lucky enough to book before the redemption rates went up, and managed to book for 76,000 points per night (95,000 points per night, with 5 nights for the price of 4).
It is worth noting that redemptions tend to become available 11 months in advance, usually in the first 6 days of the month. While there is generally good availability for the Beach Villas at any given time, the Sunrise Water Villas are often snapped up pretty quickly – in peak season they can to go almost as fast as HfP party tickets. I checked to see if redemptions were available 3-4 times a day for the first few days of May 2021 to ensure I got them.
Once you’ve secured the booking, you can email the Rangali directly to get a quote for an upgrade (don’t expect a complimentary upgrade – even Diamond Honors members are unlikely to receive one.) You will receive a custom quote that seems to vary wildly from one person to the next. I’m assured that this is a function of time of year and relative occupancy levels of the different room categories, but the quotes I received were far more steep than I was expecting.
If you do plan to upgrade, try to book the Sunrise Water Villa, as this is a higher value room than the beach villa, and the upgrade prices are generally significantly lower from the base level water villas than from the base level beach villas.
Getting to the Conrad Maldives Rangali
The journey to the Conrad Rangali is pretty arduous at the best of times – once you land in Male you have to get a connecting sea plane – but throw in the Easter holiday airport chaos, pandemic restrictions (including one or two details that Qatar Airways neglected to tell me), and luggage that we were convinced had been rerouted to Mongolia, and frankly I think it’s a miracle that we made it at all!
We arrived at Male, desperate to grab our bags and make our way to the Conrad lounge before our sea plane to the Alifu Dhaalu atoll, but it was not to be. Em’s luggage stubbornly refused to appear on the carousel and after waiting a good 90 minutes we decided it was a lost cause and headed through customs.
We were met at arrivals by a Conrad rep who was looking rather stressed, as they had been holding the seaplane and were wondering where we were. The rep took us to the seaplane check in desk, which resembled a scrum, and pushed through with our luggage to get it weighed.
There is a 27kg checked luggage allowance and 3kg hand luggage limit. If you’re over (like I was on my hand luggage – oops) then you are charged at $5 + 23.2% tax per kg.
We then waited in the seaplane waiting room for about five minutes before being taken out to board the seaplane which was alarmingly small:
Not the start to our holiday we wanted, but the excitement finally started to bubble up again through my befuddled jet-lagged state, as we flew past blindingly white coral atolls speckled with palm trees in the midst of azure blue seas that made me repeatedly rub my eyes – surely the sea can’t really be that colour?
We arrived, with the seaplane taxiing/floating to the seaplane dock on the walkway between the islands, where we were greeted by our host, Bema, who came bearing the most refreshing coconuts ever.
The Conrad Maldives Rangali resort
Conrad Rangali actually comprises of two islands, connected a walkway and seaplane dock. It’s more obvious on the map:
The skinny island on the left is the adults-only Rangali island whilst on the right is the family-friendly Rangalifinolhu island which is also the main island. The main island has two pools, including a kids’ pool, whilst Rangali island features only a ‘quiet zone’ pool above the water.
We were whizzed across to the main island in a buggy to complete check-in. I took the opportunity to grab us both snorkelling gear, available to borrow free of charge for the duration of your stay from the scuba centre.
We were then shown to Rangali island, the quieter, adults only half of the resort and our over-water villa, which I will tell you all about in a future instalment.
Note that the Rangali has its own resort time zone. Male is GMT + 5hrs, but Rangali (a 30min seaplane west) is GMT + 6hrs. This may sound strange initially, but once you’re there it actually this makes sense – it means sunrise is approx 7am and sunset approx 7:30pm.”
This is end of Part 1. Click here for Part 2 of our Conrad Maldives Rangali review, where we look at the different villa types available and here for Part 3 where we look at the best restaurants at Conrad Maldives Rangali – and at how to keep food costs down.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)