1000 Ways To Do Nothing
Once you arrive at the Conrad Maldives, you’ll be filled with tons of emotions. You’ll almost feel schizo. You’ll be elated with joy, wonder and amazement. One one hand though you’ll want to just drop all your bags and do a whole lot of nothing but at the same time you’ll want to go and explore and see what everyone’s been raving about.
So this post is dedicated for everyone that wants to know what’s up at the Conrad Maldives and what you can do to on either island of the resort. I want to help you answer “What is there to do at the Conrad Maldives?”
Let me tell you, there’s a whole lot of nothing to do but time will fly by so fast. By the end of it you’ll be wondering, like we did, how we ended up being so busy.
Plan it out
Always the project manager, after we settled into our suite and laid out all of our luggage, my girlfriend and I went out the back of our lovely Beach Villa, we brought our Weekly Planner out (you can find a copy of the planner on Conrad Maldives’ Dropbox page) with us, notepad, pen and started sketch out our week.
These were the questions that helped us figure out what our 10 days was going to look like:
- Which days can we dive? Which days we can’t? Do we want to do consecutive days of diving?
- Which days are available for us to do the Whaleshark excursion? (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday only)
- Which free activities do we want to participate in?
- Which nights do we want to do fancy dinners? How many fancy dinners do we want to do?
- Considering our move to the King Water Villa, do we want to plan more time to enjoy our villa?
- How much time should we factor in for packing?
- Which island do we spend more time on and can we do it based on where we’re staying?
Ultimately this is we sketched out. It was pretty rough but it gave is a good idea of what we needed to book with our Island Host and the SubAqua dive shop. Certainly spend a bit of time to plan out your week so you don’t miss out on anything! For instance a couple we met really wanted to do the Whaleshark excursion on the day we went but they decided to sign up too late so they had to cut it out of their trip which was unfortunate.
The main island (Rangali Finolhu)
As we started of our stay on the main island with the King Beach Villa for 6 nights we got to know this side very well. This is the main island for a reason. It has most of the main facilities and a majority of your activities will start out on this side. We enjoyed this side quite a bit and here’s why.
- Best beaches are on this side, particularly the side the faces the house reef.
- There’s the amazing house reef for snorkelling.
- Close to all the action – dive shop, Rangali Bar, Mandhoo, free entertainment in the evening, water sports.
- If you’re not a fan of kids, you may find parts of the island a bit more noisy. This is particularly true of the main pool.
Places to play
- Diving – All dives depart from the dock on the main island side. The orientation dive is also done right off the beach by Sunset Grill. More on Diving with SubAqua at the Conrad.
- House reef – See my post on epic snorkelling in the house reef (coming soon).
- Water sports center is right in front of main reception. Peddle boats and kayaks are free. Things like paddle boarding, windsurfing, catamarans and jet skiis are extra.
- Fitness center was well stocked with equipment so if you're looking to do a work out or attend one of the fitness classes, you'll be able to do it here.
- Ping pong table is right below the fitness center. Rent the paddles and ball from the recreation team at beach level.
- Tennis court – The tennis court is available for complimentary booking from 7AM – 11PM. Bookings can be made 24 hours in advance. Equipment rental is complimentary as well but of course you have to have your own shoes and clothes.
- Beach volleyball can be played with the recreation team Sunday and Thursdays between 5:30PM and 6:30PM.
Places to chill and relax
- Beach Villa – Your villa is as good as any place to chill and relax, particularly that outdoor terrace
- Beach – Whether or not you stay in a beach villa facing the sunrise side, the beach chairs and umbrellas are more or less first come first serve so just bring your beach towels out, a magazine or book and that Conrad glass bottle to keep you hydrated. Lay out and get your tan on!
- The Spa Retreat – We never did any spa treatments here but I did come here to use the bathroom in one emergency situation (Won’t divulge the details here) but from my charging in to find the toilet, the setting was very zen and the staff incredibly friendly. We took a look at their menu and they provided quite an array of options including some specials around holistic and naturopath health with their specialist Christelle Stockdale.
- Hammock – There's one giant hammock right by the fitness center on the beach which is great for lounging around.
Places to eat
- Rangali Bar – One of favourite restaurants because it was super casual and the prices were lower than the fancier restaurants. Service was always good. Happy Hour between 6-7 was awesome for half price drinks. Their smoothies were the bomb and Maldivian Lobster even more amazing.
- Wine & Cheese Bar – Never got to try this restaurant but we heard that they have quite the selections of wine in the cellar. Cuisine is tapas style.
- Mandhoo – We came here for both afternoon tea and dinner and loved the food, location and staff. Everyone here was extremely attentive. The tea the served during afternoon tea was premium TWG (Some of the best Camomile tea I’ve ever had) and the cakes and cookies were always yummy. My girlfriend got a bit sick of the place after our third or fourth visit mainly because the sandwiches were always the same but I didn’t mind it. Mandhoo for dinner is unique because they focus on the five elements of Air, Earth, Fire, Waterand Plant with an angle of healthier and more nutritional foods. Lastly I’ll mention that the location of the restaurant always brought us joy because it was here where we could always spot eagle rays and sting rays. For our evening dinner we were constantly distracted with a sting ray that would make passes around the water just by the deck of the patio where our table was situated.
- Sunset Grill – As the name implies, this restaurant has amazing views of the sunset. It has a nice mix of meats, seafood and salads but for us we had to pick and choose where to eat and unfortunately this was cut out.
- Ithaa – Last but not least is the famous underwater restaurant. If your'e looking for a one of a kind experience, this is it. Imagine yourself having cocktails and some delicious foods in a fully submerged glass dome with an abundance of fish curiously roaming about. The price is steep of course since dinner is a set menu. We opted instead for the afternoon cocktails which is only between 11AM-12PM for $55. This is more or less the price of admission as it comes with a basic champagne and 3 canapés (similar to Vilu during Happy Hour). And to be brutally honest, since we're divers, the view of the marine life was interesting but nothing different than what we had been seeing during our dives. For us it was the kind of place that we wanted to check out and say we did but in the grand scheme of the trip, it wasn't that special.
Places to take photos
Here is a compilation of some of the best shots to shoot on the main island. What better way to show you than through some of the photos I took.
The small island (Rangali Island)
This is the adult's only side of the resort and because of that was truly a great place to get some peace, quiet and enjoy the natural beauty of the resort. This side was definitely much more mellow and just felt a lot more slow paced than the main island which just felt a lot more action packed.
- Quiet and peaceful. No kids are allowed here.
- Less people here than on the main island if that's what you're looking for.
- The Quiet Zone Pool is the best in the resort. It has infinity views outwards to the main island and the Spa Villas which is picture perfect. There are different depths for you to either lay down on or even just sit down to read. They have 7 chairs and umbrellas and we found that most of the time less than half were being used by guests. The bar is right behind so if you need any snacks or refreshments, they're not that far away.
- Vilu Happy Hour is the best thing ever and it's on the small island.
- We found that most times, we still found a need to get back to the main island so that required either a bit more walking, taking the dhoni ferry or calling of a cart which took some time.
- Not the island to be on if you're looking to lounge on the beach or snorkel.
Places to play
- This island really isn't so much about the “play” side of things so you'll find this side a bit lacking on the activities.
- The small island is truly a place to kick back and do nothing.
Places to chill and relax
- Water Villa – If you have a villa on this side, you really don't have that much incentive to leave. The deck has it's own pair of beach loungers, umbrella, table with chairs and of course the nice infinity plunge pool.
- The Over-Water Spa – Like the Spa Retreat, this is a beautifully designed spa that is completely zen. In comparison, we found that the Over-Water Spa treatments were more expensive than the
- Quiet Zone Pool – Like I mentioned earlier, the nicest pool of the property. Great place to go for a swim to cool down in the afternoon, do a little suntanning or just read a book on a lounger.
- Quiet Zone loungers – There's an assortment of canopy-style loungers scattered across the beach so if you're looking to lounge around and perhaps grab a drink from the nearby bar, this is it.
- Lounge chairs by Ari Lounge Reception – Right outside the reception area, there are a bunch of chairs and even a few swinging chairs.
- Cinema Under the Stars – Once a week on Wednesday at 9:15PM they literally set up a big screen outdoors and rearrange the Quiet Zone loungers to become movie seats. When we were there, the movie was The Fox and the Child (a bit of a snoozer). I was pretty impressed with the screen size and booming speakers.
Places to eat
- Vilu Restaurant – By far the most raved about restaurant on the resort. Our Island Host recommended this one and other guests raved about it too. The emphasis is a bit more on the meats here which was totally fine by us. Everything about this restaurant impressed us. From the service, to the make-your-own bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and grilled garlic cloves, to the exquisite selection of exclusive olive oils with a selection of breads to the impressive meat entrees we tried (10 hour slow roasted suckling pig + Beef tenderloin with the biggest slab of foie gras ever) and the highly touted Signature Fondant dessert. All must-try's!
- Koko Grill – This restaurant was often mentioned as one of the favorites but unfortunately we didn't a chance to try this one out.
- The Wine Cellar – A bit of a secret on the island because it's not often talked about. There's a huge collection of wines in the cellar and apparently there's a bottle that's worth tens of thousands of dollars. The sommelier here from chatting with other guests is very knowledgable.
- Beach BBQ – This happens every Wednesday for $225 per person. Everyone was trying to sell this one hard to us but unfortunately it was a bit out of our budget.
Places to take photos
I did a bit of shooting out here too and here were some of my highlights.
As you can tell there are a ton of things you can do at the resort. It's really up to you how you went to spend your time!
At the end of the day, it’s your vacation so the most important thing is to have a good time. Whether that’s going around exploring various parts of the island, going out to snorkel, sipping on cocktails at the bar, suntanning or just staying inside your villa, the resort is your oyster.
Tips And Tricks
- Best times for house reef? – That's a really good question and honestly we never quite figured it out. Folks that had seen some bigger things like turtles, octopus and eagle rays were seeing them all throughout the day. Some in the morning, some in the late afternoon and some in the middle of the day. We snorkelled through all those times and didn't see anything crazy. I would say it's more luck than anything.
- Humidity and lens fogging – This caught me a bit off guard actually. What I was noticing was that because our room was always air conditioned and cold, every time I stepped out of the villa with my camera, my lens would immediately fog and it would actually take quite some time for the lens to acclimatize to the humidity. The only solution to this is to bring a lens pen and account for extra time if you're looking to shoot right away. I made this mistake for one of the sunrise shoots I wanted to do and all my photos turned out foggy because of the condensation that just wouldn't go away.
- Book the Whaleshark Excursion early – This one fills up fast.
Check out the prices for the Conrad Maldives for when you want to go.