The Conrad Maldives – An Island of firsts
There’s nowhere on earth quite like the Maldives; nowhere with such a sense of peace, time, space and serenity. While visiting the Indian Ocean we were lucky enough to stay at The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. This is an island where you can do as little or as much as you please. Whether you want to recline on a sun lounger all day, unwind to the sound of the lapping waves with a cocktail in hand or see a beautiful Maldivian sunset with a cruise on the Indian Ocean, the island has it all.
Set on two private tropical islands connected by a 500m footbridge, this unique resort is home to the Maldives’ first undersea restaurant and a James Bond-style stand-alone residence with a master suite under the Indian Ocean. Twelve restaurants and bars, two spas and a roster of activities keep boredom at bay.
With 12 eateries, including a fish restaurant, noodle bar and Japanese grill (probably my favourite), there is no shortage of places to dine. The jewel in the crown and the resort’s most famous eatery is Ithaa, the underwater restaurant located five meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island was the first to understand that a remote location needn’t prohibit fine dining and good wines. It was the first resort to build an underground wine cellar; the first to create an undersea restaurant; the first to invite world-class chefs and winemakers to its islands and the first to establish a cheese bar. During our stay, we were lucky enough to dine for lunch with the children. Entering the restaurant is magical, rather like tumbling down a tropical version of Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. We were led across a wooden jetty to a tiny thatched pavilion, then pointed down a dark, winding staircase. At the bottom is Ithaa – essentially a tiny transparent box, only nine metres long and five metres wide, with space for 14 diners at a time. Just inches away through the glass, there are fish of every colour and shape imaginable. The children were fascinated by the and loved watching the reef sharks swimming above their heads. The entire 175-tonne structure was constructed in Singapore in just a few months before being transported over by ship and sunk onto steel legs on the seabed. Maintaining it isn’t easy: for one thing, the glass has to be cleaned every day.
The hotel’s relentless quest for a spicy edge over its counterparts saw the launch of THE MURAKA in 2018, a once-in-a-lifetime butlered residence and affront to tired ideals on luxury, submerged five meters under the Indian Ocean with Bond villain panache. Guests are privy to a near-psychedelic flush of marine life from their sumptuous bed, shower, walk-in-wardrobe and even loo. The Muraka is everything you’d expect from a five-figures-a-night luxury villa – there’s a gym, there’s a chef, there’s a swimming pool and a specially commissioned modern art – but it’s downstairs, beneath the waves, where the magic of The Muraka really happens. Accessed by either a private elevator or a wood-clad spiral staircase, the underwater suite is built directly on the seabed and, in addition to featuring a walk-in wardrobe and an excellently stocked minibar, it comes complete with transparent walls and ceiling, which means guests are treated to a jaw-dropping 270-degree view of the surrounding reef.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is one of the most unique resorts in the Maldives paradise. If you are ready for the holiday of a lifetime, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is ready for you!