Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: Sunrise Water Villas at the Conrad Maldives Rangali – worth it? (Part 2)

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This is part 2 of Cat’s review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali, looking at the different room types as well as an in-depth look at the Sunrise Water Villas.

Part 1 of our Conrad Maldives Rangali review ran yesterday (click here), and it will conclude tomorrow with a review of the best restaurants at Conrad Maldives Rangali.

This resort is one of the most sought after hotel loyalty points redemptions, but does it live up to expectations?

The Conrad Maldives Rangali website is here.

Conrad Maldives Rangali 1200

Why you should stay in an overwater villa

Before I get to my review of the Sunrise Water Villa, I will say this – if you can stay in an overwater villa, I would.

Many people who are in a position to choose between an overwater and beach villa split their time – half of the nights in a beach villa, half in an overwater villa. I’d just stick to the overwater villas. There are many reasons for this:

  • it’s not that difficult to find a lovely villa in a nice hotel, right on the beach. It’s always delightful staying in a beach villa, but how often do you get the chance to stay in a villa built on stilts right over the water
  • the beach villa gardens and the stretch of beach on the house reef side are the places people tend to find themselves getting bitten by mosquitoes (and I can verify this, I don’t think I got bitten once on Rangali island, but was bothered by mosquitos every time we went snorkelling). I imagine Rangali management are, quite rightly, not keen on spraying insecticides near the reef.
  • the deck of the water villa will have an infinity jacuzzi (unheated, but with jets) or an infinity pool right above the water, all you can see is miles and miles of water, and it is absolutely *glorious* 
  • your deck has steps right into the sea. It’s fabulous. 
  • your desk in the water villa has a glass bottom to it, so if you’re stuck having to do something resembling work one day, at least you might have a reef shark or two to cheer you up
  • you can have a bath with a sea view
  • seriously – who can be bothered with moving rooms?

If you have children with you and aren’t in a position to upgrade to a Grand Water Villa (these are located on Rangalifinolhu island, so children under the age of 16 can stay if you sign a parental disclaimer form – all other water villas are located on the adults-only quiet island) then choose between the beach villas, but in all other circumstances I would stay in an over water villa.

All rooms have been recently refurbished, to a high standard, and reopened in March 2022.

Sunrise Water Villas (86 m2)

We stayed in the Sunrise Water Villas, which are the entry level water villas. They are stunning, spacious, and they sleep two people, with an extra single bed if you need a twin setup. They feature a huge king-sized bed (very, very comfortable!) a living area, a deck with infinity whirlpool (no, it isn’t heated!), sun loungers and parasol.

Conrad Maldives Rangali overwater villa bed 2

The bathroom has a bath with stunning lagoon views, a rainfall shower, a double vanity and a toilet tucked away, just off the bathroom behind a door. Here is a PR photo:

Conrad Maldives Sunrise Water Villa Bathroom 2

There are all sorts of wonderful touches, like the glass-bottomed desk, a walk-in wardrobe, the steps directly into the lagoon and the water gun, for spraying the saltwater off when you come back from a swim and don’t want to leave saltwater streaks on everything.

Conrad Maldives Rangali overwater villa privacy fence

The fences that separate the neighbouring villas give you a tremendous feeling of having your own private stretch of ocean, which is yours all the way to the horizon (photos never seem to show just how wide the gap between the fences and the edge of the deck is, but I think it’s about 2-3m from the edge of the deck to the fence on either side, so you really feel like you have this big, private space).

Conrad Maldives Rangali overwater villa view

Sometimes we saw our neighbours swimming out from their villa, but it was rare.

The only other thing that interrupted the sense utter isolation is the fact that the Sunrise Water Villas are overlooked by the Grand Water Villas on Rangalifinolhu Island:

Conrad Maldives Rangali view

Much is made of this fact by some people, who express a preference for the Sunset Water Villas because they prefer their deck not being overlooked. Honestly – the Grand Water Villas are about 800m away. Unless you’re a minor celebrity and you’re worried about paparazzi, I don’t see the problem. 

Many people spend significant amounts of time devoted to worrying about whether or not they will get a complementary upgrade to a Sunset Water Villa, because they are Diamond, or because they are a returning guest. You almost certainly won’t, and if you’re really that fussed, pay for the upgrade.

To be honest, I wouldn’t bother though. The rooms are exactly the same, the only differences are what time of day the sky is prettiest, whether you have a whirlpool or a plunge pool (honestly, we preferred the whirlpool – the jets were awesome), and whether you can step straight from your villa into the lagoon, or the shallow water fringing the deeper blue of the ocean (it looks stunning either way). Oh, and the fact that the views of the ocean from the sunset water villas are entirely unobstructed. 

Conrad Maldives Rangali overwater villa bed

Toiletries are Shanghai Tang Mandarin Tea, but are packaged in refillable ceramic pump containers (be careful not to knock them over in the shower!) in order to cut down on single use plastic waste. 

Rooms come equipped with an ironing board, a safe, and a luggage rack that’s large enough for two cases (all in the walk-in wardrobe), lots of shelves and drawers for storage space, large mirrors in the bathroom and a full length mirror in the walk-in wardrobe.

There is the usual mini-bar (although the mini-bar prices are a new level of absurd), a Nespresso machine and separate kettle (a variety of teas and pods are left for you in your room. If you need more of any tea or Nespresso pod, or a particular tea that isn’t there, you can ask the person who comes to clean your room. Milk is provided in the fridge, but it is UHT milk only.

There are USB charging sockets and British sockets dotted around the room in useful places. Staff come round every day for housekeeping and turndown service.

Sunset Water Villas (86 m2)

Sunset Water Villas are the same size as the Sunrise Villas, but these apparently allow you to sleep 3. Up until recently, both Sunrise and Sunset Water Villas fell under one category and were available as standard redemptions. People generally preferred the sunset side, and are upset that they now have to pay extra for them, rather than request them. 

Don’t get overly stressed about this – both are amazing. The Sunset Water Villas have plunge pools (slightly bigger, but without jets), unobstructed views of the ocean and rather lovely sunsets. 

Superior Water Villas with pool (76 m2)

Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone pays significant money to upgrade to these either. They are actually smaller and seem to have pretty much the same facilities. They do have a slightly bigger gap between villas and are angled such that the unobstructed views of the horizon are much wider, so the sense of having an enormous area all to yourself is greater. I suppose it comes down to the perception of private space vs actual private space.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Water Villa bath

Deluxe Water Villa with pool (115 m2)

I didn’t see this room in person, unfortunately, but the bathroom on the website looks amazing. For some the upgrade would be worth it, just for the bathtub alone (pictured above!)

Grand Water Villas (150 m2)

If you are travelling with children, and are desperate to stay in an overwater villa, you can stay in a Grand Water Villa as long as you sign a parental waiver. The sense of space, privacy and standard of decor of these villas is noticeably higher than the other room categories that I saw. Here is a PR photo:

Grand Water Villa Conrad Maldives

The Grand Water Villas come with pool or whirlpool, and as one bedroom or two bedroom options. All looked absolutely lovely, and the bathrooms are divine.

Two Bedroom Rangali Ocean Pavilion with pool (451 m2, sleeps 6)

A whirlpool and a really big pool (this one is big enough that you can actually swim in). A gorgeous sandbar pretty much all to yourself (well, you share it with the other two bedroom Rangali Ocean Pavillion). The pool comes with a resident heron (well, it didn’t seem to want to move while I was there ….) There is a kitchenette, and the Pavilion appears to come with its own a private chef. The views are glorious, and the decor is stunning. It’s lovely, and absurdly spacious.

This is the only accommodation on Rangali island that families with children under the age of 16 are permitted to stay in if you sign the parental waiver.

The Muraka Residence (652 m2– 102 of which is 5m underwater, sleeps 9, but only 6 adults)

This has three bedrooms, one of which is an underwater suite. The master bedroom is hemicylindrical in shape, with transparent acrylic curved sides, so that you can see the marine life surrounding the room:

Muraka Residence Conrad Maldives

The lounge, bathroom (shower only) and walk-in wardrobe also feature enormous windows, so that you can enjoy the incredible underwater views of the Indian ocean from any part of the master suite. Above water, the Muraka Residence features a sunrise deck and a sunset deck, an infinity pool, a lounge and dining area, a kitchen, two ensuite bedrooms (one with bath and shower, the other with just a shower) and its own gym. It also comes with a 24-hour butler service. Food is apparently included in the price.

I did request a tour of the Muraka, when it was empty, but apparently this is no longer allowed.

Beach Villa (150 m2, sleeps 4)

This is the only room type that doesn’t come with its own pool. It features floor to ceiling windows, is mere metres from the water’s edge and has an outdoor bathroom with shower and open-air bathing pavilion.

Deluxe beach villa Conrad Maldives

Deluxe Beach Villa with Pool (300 m2, sleeps 4)

You can request a rectangular, oval, or kidney-shaped pool. The room has both outdoor and indoor showers and a jetted bathtub. They feel spacious, and significantly more luxurious than the base level beach villas. The deluxe beach villa also comes as a 2 bedroom option, but with similar bathroom facilities and the same floor area.

Three Bedroom Beach Suite with Pool (668 m2, sleeps 6)

Apparently, this comes with two pools and two bathrooms, as well as its own kitchenette. The main living area looks lovely and spacious, and it does look like a rather fabulous party pad.


I hope this gave you a good overview of your options at Conrad Maldives Rangali.

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).

In Part 3 tomorrow we will look at the dining options available at Conrad Maldives Rangali – click here.

The Conrad Maldives Rangali website is here if you want to book or learn more.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (November 2022)

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.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(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.)

Comments (44)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • pbcold says:

    These articles are absolutely excellent, thank you. I have stayed at Rangali 6 times and have two more visits booked (simply because 380,000 points was the craziest prise I have ever seen for a redemption and I felt it could never last).

    Having stayed in the beach villa, the OWV a few times and the superior OWV I 100% endorse what Cat says here. On the occasion that we accepted the upgrade fee to the Superior OWV, we asked to be moved back the next day; it simply was not as pleasant (and this was prior to the refurbishment).

    • Cat says:

      You have a gift for generating points, clearly! I suspected they were going to have a devaluation soon, so I’m delighted I got this redemption in before it happened. It was an absolute steal, all things considered!

      I just don’t get it with the Superior WVs – they offered me an upgrade for $225++ per night – I’m so glad we didn’t go for it! Some of the other upgrades are totally worth it, if you can afford it (Deluxe WV, Grand WV and Deluxe BV), but not that one!

      • pbcold says:

        Yes, I remember paying about $300 for that one night. The whirlpool bath in the SWV was heated, by the way, and I could find no way of turning it off which seemed quite ludicrous to me.

        My change of heart and move back to our original villa were handled superbly and immediately, of course; two staff and a buggy appeared virtually within 20 minutes. The staff is superb and service wonderful in my experience.

        • Cat says:

          *Heated*? Why? That’s absurd! Glad they sorted it out quickly, at least!

  • polly says:

    Fabulous read, thanks Cat. What a great trip you enjoyed…. A travel writing career awaits you, if you ever get fed up teaching maths to 14 year olds!

    • Cat says:

      🤣 Bless you Polly! I think that the supply of enthusiastic travel writers far outstrips demand, sadly! In the meantime I’ll make do with explaining Pythagoras’ theorem (demand and supply are the other way round in that line of work!).
      It was a fabulous trip though – very relaxing indeed!
      Where’s your next trip? X

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    A very comprehensive review and most interesting to read a personal perspective of these unique destinations. We have “done” the Maldives over 30+ years and it has always been quite challenging keeping up with the developments as they occur. Things seem to get more and more luxurious until you run the risk of losing what the destination should offer which is tranquility and beauty – with fine dining and wines. It is emphatically NOT an “all inclusive” destination.
    We believe in keeping small – less than 100 rooms. Single island and NO sea stilt rooms. There is nothing like a beautiful beach villa yards from the reef, with an outlook of open ocean with natural vegetation screening the neighbouring villas and preferably facing West (ask for a resort map before booking). Looking out over a development of rooms on stilts over the sea spoils the view, whereas staying in an overwater room gives you decking day in and day out and that’s it. You have your limited area for the duration, which if you are used to a flat is probably fine, but it’s not for us. Guests would feel awkward coming to the beach and lying in someone else’s “front garden”!
    So, overwater rooms are not for everyone and distract a bit from the barefoot luxury that these Robinson Crusoe islands should offer.
    Just be very diligent in researching your chosen island before booking. There are several that to us are simply perfect…….

    • Tracey says:

      Having stayed in both, albeit in other resorts, I agree. an OWV is a one off novelty, staying in a beach villa is more of a true Maldives experience.

      • Cat says:

        I suppose its a very individual thing, determining what sort of destination the Maldives is to you, and what is a true quintessential Maldives experience, in terms of accommodation options.

        I don’t think that the tranquility and beauty of Rangali has been lost. It really is verdant and glorious! The people who designed the layout of the OWVs were sympathetic to preserving the views from the beach villas, so the OWVs aren’t located in front of the beach villas.

  • masaccio says:

    “what happens when the sun rises at 7am?!” I guess you’re not a scuba diver? 7am is a leisurely start sometimes if you want to have a nice breakfast before getting on the boat.

    Looks like a lovely resort for a redemption. Maybe one day I will think about collecting hotel points 🤔

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Sun rises before 5 in the UK at the moment. And the answer is the same – you get out of bed and begin your day!

    • Cat says:

      I’m very much a scuba diver, and a snorkeling enthusiast. When surrounded by nature in all its glory, I always rise early to enjoy wildlife at its most active.

      There is a very carefully engineered blackout blind for the master suite, which I can’t imagine ever using if I was lucky enough to stay there!

      Rising early while in holiday is not everyone’s preference though (and it wasn’t my sentence!).

    • Rhys says:

      Sorry, I added that in!

      • Cat says:

        🤣 I was trying to guess whether it was you or Rob, by trying to work out how old his two kids are now, and whether they’ve gone from wanting to watch cartoons at 6am, to wanting to lie in until noon yet.

        I take it you value your lie-ins, Rhys?

  • Larry Collier says:

    We were in Rangali 25 years ago. Long before it was Conrad. £1100 all inclusive per person. It was a beautiful island then.

  • Phil G says:

    I hope the cost of the seaplane transfer pp and the f&b costs of staying there for 10 nights are detailed in the next review, to give a true comparison of against other hotels which offer transfers and HB as a package

    • Grant H says:

      Hi Phil, we were in the Maldives at Easter, the Maldivian Airlines Seaplane was around $450/pp return. It was absolutely fantastic!

    • Cat says:

      I’m not exactly sure what has been kept in tomorrow’s review, and what has been edited out, but I suspect that will be covered tomorrow, as I wrote about the costs extensively! The return seaplane transfer is $600 pp though.

      Hope that helps!

  • krys_k says:

    I’m intrigued – what are the astronomical prices within the minibar?

    And , where do staff live; and if on the island, what is the quality of their accomodation.

    • Tracey says:

      In most Maldives resorts, in staff quarters are towards the centre of the island in a unit screened off from guest view.

      • Chabuddy Geezy says:

        For the Conrad the staff have their own island. The facilities are meant to be nicer than other Maldives resorts.

      • Entitled says:

        They created a third, staff only island.

    • Kevin C says:

      They have their own island. Staff live in shared accommodation but everyone gets their own TV.

      Once you get to a more senior level, you share a villa with someone and get a garden.

      • Alex Sm says:

        What a cacophony it must be in the room!

        • Kevin C says:

          I think the tv is in your bunk and imagine headphones are used.

          Have not been to the staff island but we chatted to one of the restaurant managers about it.

    • Cat says:

      $120 bottles of not especially exciting wine, $90 bottles of aftersun, $20 packets of nuts, all +23.2% tax and s.c., of course!

      The staff quarters are on a third island, which guests are no allowed on under any circumstances, so I can’t comment.

      • JDB says:

        My son worked at one of the two FS resorts for three weeks and chose to be in the staff quarters rather than management villas – said it was pretty comfortable. Downsides for him were that, if the power failed (no mains, so reliant on three generators) staff quarters were the first to be cut so no aircon and sometimes no light and that if he had staff food rather than buffet leftovers etc. whatever it was, it came smothered in very hot chilli sauce. Also, first shift started at 5am; not ideal for teenagers.

  • TimM says:

    I always wonder how the toilets work in an over-water chalet on stilts. Are the fish waiting?

    • Tracey says:

      You really aren’t meant to think of these things when lying on your deck! If you must, the supply lines supplying your water no doubt have a waste pipe flowing in the opposite direction.
      Waste removal is a big issue in general on the Maldives.

    • Cat says:

      The marine equivalent of the pig toilets on Palolem beach? Thankfully not, I’d have spent considerably less time swimming in the sea, if that was the case! They have plumbing!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.