(This was a pre-COVID era trip.) Like many of you, we had heard about the Maldives and seen the stunning pictures, but sort of imagined it wouldn’t ever be in the cards for us. When we realized it was, we gladly jumped on the chance, combining it with a week long trip to Sri Lanka. While many of the insta-famous destinations are overrated, I can say without a doubt, that the Maldives is not one of them. It’s truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and one of the very few I’d gladly return to again and again. So we earned the points, booked the trip, and off we went to Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives!
Thinking about taking kids with you to Conrad on Rangali Island in the Maldives? Check out our trip report below! Wondering how to afford a vacation to the Maldives? See the breakdown of how we used travel hacking to pay for it with credit card points.
Upon arrival in Male (the capital) you’ll pass through immigration, retrieve our luggage, and head toward the resort pick up area. There will either be a hotel representative with a sign, or you can find them at booth 19. They’ll take you to the TMA desk to check in for your sea plane flight. You’ll each be allowed 25kg of checked luggage and 5kg of hand luggage for the sea plane portion. Once checked in you’ll be bused to the Conrad lounge at the sea plane terminal. Here you can grab some snacks and drinks, get a complimentary 15 minute massage, begin the room check in process, and book spa treatments. There’s wi fi and a children’s area along with plenty of seating. Your flight will depart within two hours, and once it does, it takes 30-45 minutes to get to the resort, depending on if you stop at another hotel prior. The sea plane tends to be loud, and the ear plugs provided are adult size, so you may want to bring ear protection for your little ones. The views out of the windows are stunning, so be sure to keep your phone or camera handy.
Once you land in paradise you’ll be greeted by your host and taken to your room if it’s ready. In case of early arrival, pack swimsuits in an easy to access location so you can relax at the pool or beach while you wait. We chose a beach villa, as with young kids it’s helpful to have a place for them to play and a little more space. Water villas are also available. Our initial villa was very close to a noisy area, so I’d recommend requesting to be on the house reef side, or away from the main reception. Thankfully our villa host moved us to a quieter area and an amazing room, a Deluxe Beach Villa (see the YouTube tour here). This room level also includes a pool, which is a great feature for kids. Gold and Diamond members are welcomed with wine, fruit, and chocolates. The standard Beach and Water Villas can be booked with points. If you plan to upgrade, I recommend doing so by cash (and negotiate it), and beginning by booking the Water Villa with points as it’s less expensive to upgrade from that room (even to a Deluxe Beach Villa) than it is from a standard Beach Villa point booking. Note that if booking a Water Villa and wanting to hang out in beach chairs along the beach, you’ll have to do so near the bar and main pool as the chairs otherwise are assigned to the Beach Villas, another point for the Beach Villa in my opinion.
Kids are very welcomed at Conrad Rangali Island, and the kid’s club was fantastic. Open 9am-6pm, the staff have excellent activities and excursions planned for them all day. They even take them snorkeling and on a pirate cruise. Children are given shirt, backpack, and hat and are able to bring home fun projects like a painted coconut. Snorkeling gear is available for checkout for children, as are life jackets. However, if you have small swimming children, you may want to bring your own mask, as they seem to be in short supply in the smallest sizes. Upon request, our housekeeper provided a Conrad stuffed sea animal for each child. Kids can eat free at a la carte restaurants in some instances, but it varied in application among restaurants. The kid’s menu is the same across all restaurants, and was a bit of a disappointment to me, although the kids didn’t seem bothered by a rotation of pizza and pasta. There is an adult’s only quiet zone pool and bar for those wanting a little time away or wanting to avoid energetic young ones like mine.
There are many restaurants around the resort, each with a different theme. Make reservations early (or at least on your first day) if possible, as the early seating times tend to fill quickly. Breakfast is included for Gold and Diamond members, and can be at Atoll Market (buffet) or Vilu (semi a la carte). I highly recommend Vilu, as the food and overall experience was much better. I’d say food was the biggest let down for me with this resort. It was pricey and just okay, only had one really fantastic meal (lamb at Vilu). A few of the days we snorkeled early, had late breakfast, and weren’t hungry until afternoon tea time (free for gold/diamond members) snacks. For that reason, I don’t know that I’d recommend the full board option with kids. It was nice to be flexible. Happy hour is held daily at Vilu (also a gold/diamond benefit) and was wonderful. The kids went to kids club and we enjoy the hour with stunning views and drinks. Still water is provided in your room and at breakfast, but is only available for purchase for lunch and dinner.
The location of Conrad Maldives is truly fantastic. I’ve never been so sad to leave a place as I was this resort. The water is crystal clear and the sand stunningly white. I remarked that it was as if someone had turned up the saturation on a photo all the way- everything was just amazing. On the island you can do as much or as little as you’d like. The fitness center is well equipped, and running around the island was lovely. Non-motorized water sport activities (like stand up paddle boarding) are not chargeable, and our children enjoyed the paddleboat (although my husband paddling it alone, did not, ha!). The house reef is large and we saw a huge variety of sea life. The corals suffered under an El Nino event a few years back, but there is still PLENTY to see and enjoy. You can resort certify to scuba for a relatively low cost, and this seemed to be quite enjoyable according to those we spoke with. I opted for one snorkeling excursion and didn’t find it worth the time spent away from my amazing spot on the beach. I especially enjoyed waking up early for a run and sitting in the hammock on the beach as the sun rose. It was so quiet and beautiful.
We had fantastic weather for our visit in early April, mid 80s with a nice sea breeze, and water temps in the high 70s and low 80s. Visibility for snorkeling the house reef is best in the morning. Bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray, as it is quite expensive to purchase it on island. No need for fancy clothes, the resort is quite casual and flip flops and shorts were welcomed everywhere. One thing I HIGHLY recommend for families is to sign up for the complimentary 30 minute photo shoot. You get 5 complimentary photos emailed to you the following day. Such a great way to remember a fantastic trip.
The night before departure you’ll be given a check out and sea plane departure time for the following day. At the Male airport you’ll need to pay for access to the Conrad lounge, or you can opt to hang out in the food court area, which has free wi fi with purchase and AC (and a Dairy Queen, quite exciting for us living in the Middle East!). Be prepared to be sad while waiting for your plane out. It’s a difficult place to leave. We spent our airport time searching for how to come back. We even totaled how much it would cost to live there full time after retirement.
If you don’t have Hilton points, but want to go to the Maldives, I’d still highly recommend it. The country itself is just stunning. There are many many different resorts at all different price points. Start by deciding if you’d like to take a sea plane (further, more expensive) or a boat (closer, less expensive) to your resort, and then move from there. All inclusive? Kid free? Kid’s club? There’s something for everyone.
Want more info on the Conrad? This thread on FlyerTalk was immensely helpful to me in our planning.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Our trip was not sponsored by Hilton.