The extensive review and what you need to know
With the beach villa done and reviewed, it’s time for me to move on to the exclusive water villa that Conrad Maldives has on site. Like my previous review, I’ll break things down into logical sections that will help you learn more about the property and hopefully give you some great takeaway points if you’re deciding between beach or water villa.
To most, the Maldives is represented by really one thing, over water bungalows or villas. Only so many places in the world have these and when we were deciding between the two, we knew that it’d be a big shame if we didn’t get to try the water villa for at least a few days. Using points however will only get you the beach villa. Beyond that, you have to pay an upgrade fee which i’ll talk about later. The room itself was everything that we had hoped for – a luxurious, modern room on stilts with deck access to infinity jacuzzi and walk-down ladder into the lagoon.
This is quoted straight from the Conrad site:
“86 sq m/925 sq ft, ocean views, plunge pool, glass floor, sundeck, steps to lagoon.
Voted one of “The Maldives’ Leading Water Villas” at the 2012 World Travel Awards, this King Water Villa boasts a private sun deck with jetted plunge pool, wooden sun loungers, umbrella, and steps leading into the enticing lagoon below.
The highlight of the architecture is the glass desk which is set over glass panels, giving the impression that it is floating over the water below. Enjoy endless swimming and snorkeling opportunities right in front of the villa, or simply relax in the ocean view bath.
Understated, recessed lighting adds to the contemporary feel of the elegant decor. This villa sleeps three adults or two adults and two children. Children under 12 cannot be accommodated in over-water villas.”
As I had demonstrated in the beach villa review, the points cost for me over 9 nights was 37,500 HHonors points per night. Like I said, that only got us as far as the king beach villa but to get the king water villa, there was a bit of negotiation on my part to get a somewhat decent price.
Through reading all those FlyerTalk posts, I had learned that booking 1 year in advance, the standby upgrade and confirmed upgrade offers weren’t going to be any good. Everyone seemed to recommend talking to the folks at the Conrad 4 months prior to arrival. That is precisely what I did but I soon realized that there wasn’t a consistent upgrade cost offered by the reservation staff. I contacted 3 different staff over the course of one month and got prices that started at $476 -> $448 -> $425 -> $400 -> $390 and then finally $350. The first couple of quotes were just from me inquiring but for the last few it was hard negotiation. There was quite a bit of back and forth and me trying to get a lower price of $250.
The price you may get from negotiating is going to vary though as it really depends on season (I was going during high season), capacity, the rep you talk to and whether you’re a repeat customer. I’ve heard of people getting upgrade prices as little as $150 so the range is quite huge.
At the time of writing this blog (May 2014), the same 9 nights booked out in 2015 at the Conrad Maldives will cost the following:
Compared to $2401 (advance purchased) for the King Beach Villa. The grand total comes out to…
So that gives you a bit of an idea of what the devaluation has done and what it costs in today’s HHonors world to stay at the Conrad Maldives. Keep in mind though that the costs do fluctuate and I have seen promotions pop up from time to time that makes a room like this much more affordable.
Which villa number should you request?
After doing extensive research reading the infamous Conrad Maldives thread on FlyerTalk, the consensus was that if you were going to be staying at a King Water Villa, the best rooms are 315-330. When I spoke to one of the reservation coordinators, I made sure they put this in my reservation file and more specifically that I wanted either 315 or 318. After actually going to the Conrad, I think that your #1 request should be 315 and then 318 after that.
Make sure you ask because if you don’t and if you’re not a returning guest, it is likely you’ll get placed into whatever room is remaining after requests are fulfilled.
Ask and you shall receive
We ended up staying in 318 and although it was amazing the big fundamental flaw we discovered was that it did not in fact truly face the sunset (more on that later). That being said, here are some reasons why water villas 315-330 are better than 301-312.
- It’s much more quiet because you face the outer part of the lagoon instead of inwards towards the main island
- Privacy. You can literally run out on your deck naked if you wanted to without worry of being seen…well unless there’s someone snorkelling in the lagoon haha.
- We met a couple that was staying in one of the villas between 319-322 and they actually requested a room change the day after because they realized their villa wasn’t really facing the sunset. They got 315 instead which they said was a lot better as at least they could peer at the sunset from the deck at the edge of the wooden panels that stick out.
A photo walkthrough of Suite 318
This is the official map that you get when you check into the hotel. This was really useful to help you get around and get a perspective on where things are in relation to each other. I’ve added a little sunset image on the horizon to also give you an idea of where West proper is. Before heading down, I had interpreted this map as West being in the direction that all the water villas were facing. In fact they turned out to be skewed more towards South-West.
So I’m going to try something different this time and keep the review in a summarized table to make it super easy to consume.
|Water Villa Section||Review||Love it||Improve it|
|Outer entrance||We didn't quite have the grand entrance to the water villa as our first day in the beach villa since I had just finished my morning dive and Chantelle took care of the move but when I first got there, you just can't help but smile. |
All water villas are separated into blocks of 4 and so once we got off the cart we made our way on the wooden deck and to the left to reach Villa 318.
The entrance is very elemental and simple. Wood dominates everything. I loved how there was the wooden mailbox with slots for letters and a sliding door to tell housekeeping whether to come in or not. There was also a tall container for umbrellas.
|An impressive juxtaposition of shallow clear water, Maldivian thatched roof and wooden exterior on stilts. Looks and feels completely natural and zen.||None|
|Welcome||Like I said things weren't as grand as when we first arrived and that made sense since this wasn't our initial welcome to the Conrad. |
There weren't any extras for this move but they did leave a nice hibiscus flower on the bed and had the usuals in terms of 3 fruits on a platter.
|What we expected and that's a good thing!||None|
|Bar + Fridge||The bar area which is to the left once you enter was identical to what we had in the beach villa but I'd say even tidier and much more accessible since it was in the room and "inside" vs."outside".|
Won't go into details here. You can read about the rest in my Beach Villa review.
|Everything we wanted was available in the room including a water boiler.||None|
|Wardrobe||On the same wall as the main entrance to the villa and to the left is the wardrobe. |
Size wise it's a lot smaller than in the beach villa as you can comfortably only have one person in there at a time.
The bench had just enough space for our two suitcases. The bench also had drawers underneath it.
The rest was the same with a smaller rack for clothes hangers and some rack space for the beach bag, safe and other things.
|Loved how everything was just indoors now so access to things were much more convenient.||Could be a little bigger but that's just us coming from the beach villa perhaps.|
|Bedroom||I feel like when I first entered into the villa, the first thing that came to my mind was how the layout just seemed to make logical sense. Everything was much more familiar and what you'd expect in a hotel room. |
The other big thing you'll notice about the water villa is just how much more modern everything feels.
Upon entering, you face a super sleek curved white couch. The bed itself is inviting and contemporary with its white leather headboard. You take a few steps forward and immediately notice that there's so much light that comes into the room. To the left is the the much talked about glass table complete with glass bottom floor. And then you look up and despite not being large square footage wise, size is augmented with the pyramid pointed wooden ceiling with fan.
You'll also notice that the floor is hard wood which actually makes a difference as well in terms of feeling much more natural and homely compared to granite. It's also a lot less likely to slip on hardwood.
|It's everything you need in a room. Everywhere is comfortably indoors now. Modern and homely all at once.||Wood stain on the floor seemed to be worn in a lot of places so that could be touched up but other than that, there honestly wasn't much to complain about.|
|Air Condition||It could feel like 40C+ out on the deck but inside would be completely cool. I guess that's what contributed to my camera lens fogging every time.||Didn't encounter any weirdness with a master switch. It was just on all the time and we loved that.||None|
|Bathroom||So the water villa doesn't have the outdoor bath or shower but that didn't matter. I think making the upgrade in the manner we did made sense because we got our fill of "outdoorness" that we were SO ready to use an indoor bathroom.|
Things just seemed to make sense in this bathroom. The shower was large and modern. Toilet was in a separate room which was nice and the his-and-hers sink was spacious and large.
Bath tub looked comfortable but we never used it.
Same bath amenities included here so again all top notch.
|Logical layout. Large sink.||Chantelle complained about the rain fall shower head because it was hard not to get her hair wet but it was all good for me.|
Sink stoppers still sucked.
|Electronics||Same as the beach villa. 40+ inch LG TV with sound bar+subwoofer, BluRay player, 30-pin iPod dock with iPod touch. You get access to the same number of channels as you do in the beach villa and again we ended up watching a lot of Bear Grylls lol!|
In the beach villa I complained about the lack of outlets. Although there aren't an abundance of outlets in the water villa, I am happy to say that there were a few open outlets that were available to us to the left of the glass desk if you look at the photo I took. Keep in mind that all the outlets here are UK style.
Bed-side there also that same Lightning connector alarm clock which was helpful for my iPhone 5S.
|More outlets. Yay!||TV could be bigger but I really can't complain since we barely used it.|
|Lighting||Things were way more simplified and easy to use here compared to the beach villa. |
All the lights are properly labelled and work accordingly.
Check out the photo I took of the bedside light controls.
In general there was also much more lighting in the room. The ceiling pot lights were excellent at night. The LED table light was also a nice addition.
|Everything worked as we expected. No lack of light anywhere.||The frustration with the lights was that the controls were not predictable. I felt that there were something weird going on with the wiring but honestly did not have time nor want to spend time investigating what the exact behaviour was. |
This is something I feel like can be fixed.
To fix the lack of lighting I feel that all the room needs is two additional potlights on the ceiling by the sofa bed.
|Sun Deck||I have say that this is the highlight of the suite. There's nothing like having your own private deck with beach chairs, umbrella and plunge pool/jacuzzi. |
Being able to watch the sunset or chill out in the afternoon in the freshwater pool (complete with 2 jacuzzi jets) is so completely relaxing.
Couple that with the ability to walk down the steps directly into the lagoon for a snorkelling adventure truly completes the package.
I do warn you that it does get crazy hot on the deck mid-afternoon.
The sliding door makes it extremely easy to get in and out of the sun deck.
|*jaw drop*||It would be nice if there was a light for the plunge pool.|
Not sure why the suites don't face the sunset directly. All they had to do was angle them a bit more to the south. That was probably the biggest disappointment of suite 318. To actually see the sun set you had to stand on top of the sun deck table to see over the wooden dividers.
|Housekeeping||Housekeeping was on the ball as they were for the beach villa. |
Because we called it a night a lot of earlier in the water villa, we never actually got the afternoon turndown service as we were in the room every time housekeeping dropped by.
We didn't receive any plush animals when we moved to the water villa and our housekeeper told us that we were officially only allowed one per stay but we ended up talking to our resort host to get us another.
|Top notch service.|
It was so good that we never put up the do- not-disturb sign on our door.
|Timing was a bit unpredictable but I think that's just the nature of it. Just our luck a couple of times, we'd walk back to our suite to find housekeeping still working on our room.|
|Bugs||Since you're not on the beach and over the water, there is way less chance of encountering bugs in the room. The fact that everything is "indoors" also helps. |
At the same time, be smart about where you throw out food and things.
|Wifi||Wifi wasn't particularly fast but was enough to check e-mails, surf and blog. Uploading photos took awhile like it did in the beach villa.|
Compared to the beach villa, I would say the wifi speed was more or less the same.
Beach or Water Villa?
So inevitably after reading this review and my beach villa review, you’re going to be wondering which one is better. To be honest I loved how were able to break up our stay at the Conrad into two parts – 6 nights in the king beach villa and 3 nights in the water villa. Each suite has its own advantages and drawbacks.
- Newly renovated
- Ultra private
- Novelty of being over the water
- Very cool glass table
- Infinity pool
- Walk down access to the lagoon
- Less chance of bugs
- Feels much more cozy and homely
- It’s smaller than the beach villas
- Inside it feels like a proper sized hotel room but not expansive at all with multiple rooms or anything like that
- No beach access. In fact I thought the the main island was more conducive to beach-type activities. Water Villa is more about just chilling on the sun deck. Which do you prefer?
- Inconvenient to access the main island facilities. Be prepared for a lot of walking or cart calling.
Tips and Tricks
I’ll finish off this post with my usual tips and tricks that everyone can take away from this review. Some are a repeat of what I mentioned for the King Beach Villa because they still apply.
- Turn on the deck light that points into the water at night to see what fish may decide to hang around your area.
- Keep in mind that there are no clothes lines in the water villa but we came up with a cool strategy of using the clothes hangers and attaching them to the open umbrella on the sun deck for drying. Worked amazingly!
- If you’re looking to stay at the King Beach Villa suite, make a request for 315-318 and more specifically 315 as your first choice and 318 as your second choice.
- This may be more personal preference than anything but if you’re going to try to stay in both type of villas (beach and water), to us it made sense to do the beach villa first and water villa at the end because we knew that we’d be all excited to explore and roam the island initially which would make it a bit of a waste to have the water villa. Therefore it made sense to upgrade at the end of the trip when we would only want to relax and truly enjoy the villa.
- Make sure you bring a few UK outlet adaptors. The suite has one and I’m sure you could ask for more if you needed to but its nice to have more. If you can fit it, I might even bring one of those travel style surge bars like this one: Belkin SurgePlus 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger
- There are two type of slippers available from the Conrad – indoor and bamboo outdoor. Neither are in the room (at least in our case) upon arrival. You have to make a special request. Simply call concierge and they’ll make it happen. They’ll ask for the kind you want and size.
- Same thing goes for the plush toys if you want more than just one manta ray. If concierge gives you pushback, talk to your resort host. She or he will make it happen.
- No need to bring a beach bag because each suite comes with one. The bag is actually pretty good because it has no problems carrying two sets of snorkel and fins.
- No need to bring bath amenities as the ones provided by the Conrad are of high quality.
- If you want to make use of the Blu-Ray player, bring your own discs.
- If you’re looking to buy some postcards, no need because each suite has 2-3 postcards in the leather folder which contains information about the resort and suite. There are 4 designs from what I gathered and if you want more, don’t be afraid to ask your island host or front desk to send you some.
Check out the prices for the Conrad Maldives for when you want to go.
For more information, head over to my Insider’s Review of the Conrad Maldives article.