The Conrad Maldives is a premium property and as such you're going to expect premium prices for its exclusivity, remoteness, quality and service.
To demonstrate how much the resort expects you to pay at a minimum, upon arrival at the Conrad seaplane lounge, a $5,800 USD pre-authorization was made on one of my credit cards. With that being said, as far as luxury vacations go, the costs are completely manageable as long as you watch what you spend. I think we did a decent job!
The cost breakdown
A question I get a lot is how much a trip to the Maldives actually cost me? Well let me help clear things up.
The following is a direct scan of my final Conrad Maldives invoice.
So as you can see, the final bill to my credit card came out to $4904.08 which seems like a lot but we were actually super impressed to go under the $5,800 pre-authorization so high-fives all around.
- Accommodations [$2327.40]
- 9 nights stay in King Beach Villa= 337,500 in Hilton HHonors points
- 3 nights upgrade to Water Villa (Upsell + Service Charge and TGST) = $1247.40
- Flights [$1434.52]
- YYZ -> HKG = $116 x 2 = $232 (standby fare thanks to my girlfriend)
- HKG -> MLE = 40,000 Aeroplan points + $61.30 x 2= $122.52
- Seaplane transfer ($500 per person = TGST) = $1080
- Activities [$1864.18]
- Scuba diving = $629.64 + $778.14 = $1407.78
- Whaleshark excursion (Scuba + Whaleshark Research) = $456.40
- For a full diving cost breakdown, head over to my diving review post
- Food [$1682.26]
- Ithaa underwater restaurant = $130.68
- Rangali Bar Dinner #1 = $97.63
- Rangali Bar Dinner #2 = $91.69
- Mandhoo Dinner = $103.99
- Rangali Bar Dinner #3 = $77.81
- Vilu Dinner = $180.46
- Misc [$30.24]
- Souvenirs (Island Breeze Misc) = $30.24
That's a true costs including flights come out to $5258.60 and per person that comes out to $2629.30 which for us didn't seem all that bad when you consider an all-inclusive vacation to the Caribbean is on average $1200 for 7 days. 10 days extrapolates to $1714. So REALLY in addition you're only paying ~$1000 on top of an all-inclusive vacation to the Caribbean for a property 100x better, water villas, best in class beaches and world class diving.
Cost saving tips
1. Turn breakfast into brunch
This is what is known as the mega breakfast. Why pay for lunch when you can sleep in AND have a late breakfast which basically becomes a brunch. Win-win right? Even on days we had to wake up early for morning dives, when we came back we just munched on snacks we brought and fruit that housekeeping kept leaving us. And that leads us to #2 and #3.
2. Take advantage of free food and drinks
At the Conrad Maldives, there's a ton of ways to get free food and drinks. These are great ways to tide over any hunger you might have and these are great ways to break up your day. We were pretty religious about going to Vilu everyday and went to Mandhoo 7 out of the 10 days.
If you're not a Gold or Diamond member:
- Afternoon tea at Mandhoo for tea, cakes and sandwiches between 4PM-5PM
- 1/2 price drinks happy hour between 6PM-7PM
- Every Tuesday there's a manager's reception which brings in hotel staff out to chat with guests between 6:45PM-7:30PM . Comes with free wine, cocktails and juices as well as a wide variety of hors d'oeuvres
If you're Gold/Diamond or staying on the small island:
- Happy hour at Vilu for unlimited alcoholic beverages and one canapé between 5PM-6PM. The cocktails of the day change every day as do the canapés
3. Bring lots snacks
There is no “local supermarket” or anything like that so when you're at the Conrad, what you bring in is the only outside food you'll be able have so make sure you stock up your suitcase before coming (though of course be mindful of the luggage weight restrictions). Things like granola bars, chocolates, dried fruits, trailmix, cookies, biscuits and chips are all great ideas. We basically had a grab bag of snacks in our room to help tide us over in the afternoon.
4. Take advantage of free activities
We never got a chance to take advantage of too many of these but there are quite a few things that you could look into doing to. When we first landed we reviewed the entire holiday planner book that they provide and that helped us plan our 10 days.
- Power Walking
- Morning Stretch
- Beach Volleyball
- Intro to Boxercise
- Table Tennis
- Run Rangali
- Live music at Rangali Bar every night
- Maldivian bodu beru show at 10PM on Mondays at Rangali Bar
- Cinema under the stars at 8:15PM on Wednesdays at The Quiet Zone
- DJ nights on Thursday and Saturday at Rangali Bar
- Magic show at 8PM on Sunday at Rangali Bar
5. Get scuba certified before going
If you know you want to do scuba diving, I'd recommend getting yourself certified at home on an earlier trip to a cheaper tropical destination (i.e. Caribbean, Southeast Asia). It would be a big waste of time and money to get yourself Open Water Diver certified at the Conrad Maldives. By certifying somewhere else, you'll be able to hit the water right away. The awesome part about SubAqua at Conrad Maldives is that the orientation dive, which gets you acquainted with their equipment and as a quick refresher, is free if you end up doing any diving with them. We took the safe route and did a pool refresher in Toronto before heading out but in reality I think we might've been fine with just the orientation dive with SubAqua.
6. Splurge on diving and not spas
I'm probably biased here but diving > spas. You can get spa treatment anywhere in the world and some places way cheaper than others but the diving here is one of a kind. The snorkelling at the house reef is incredible but you'll see a lot more by going on a dhoni boat dive. You'll be able to go to much lower depths and above all else, see, manta rays which was a magical experience in itself.
7. Cup noodles?
Last but not least, the most controversial of them all, but the question is do you become uber asian and ghetto and bring your own cup noodles? Well for us the answer was “yes” because it was our 2-3 nights of cup noodle dinners that allowed us to then splurge on more expensive dinners at Rangali Bar, Mandhoo and Vilu.
How about you?
If you've been to the Conrad Maldives, were your costs similar? What did you think was worth splurging on, vs. saving?