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[ARCHIVE 2018 to 2019] Conrad Maldives Rangali Island {MDV}

[ARCHIVE 2018 to 2019] Conrad Maldives Rangali Island {MDV}

Old Sep 5, 2018, 12:33 pm
  #1576  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,509
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
Hi Jamie.

For your family, a FWV would indeed be the best choice. However, if your eldest can't make it then are you going to choose an OWV or would a BV be OK?
A couple of questions first off.
You are only staying 3 nights?
The pre-paid rate is a non-cancelable rate advertised on Hilton's/ the Conrad's website, correct? If so, don't worry as those rates are available even at a month out.

If your villa has an occupancy of 4 as standard (which the FWV does), then that applies to 4 persons staying in the room.
Thanks for your prompt reply.

1) If eldest can't make it, we'll change the dates of the trip all together. Hence, my trepidation surrounding booking a pre-pay right now.
2) Just 3 nights. Too short? Figure we'll make it to the resort by sunset Wednesday, then have Th/Fr for an excursion and some R&R, plus a little bit of swim time Saturday before flying back to MLE (and from there, CMB on Emirates).
3) Yes, pre-paid rate was the official, non-cancelable rate from the Conrad site, after logging in with my Diamond credentials. Good to know these types of rates can be available even a month out. VERY helpful.
4) I assume your question about four in the room (which is correct) related to my breakfast question?

Any other input while I have your attention? I'll definitely check out your posts. Glad to see drones are permitted subject to a few rules, we have some killer footage from elsewhere (Namibia, in particular) so adding some Maldives footage would be great.

Best, Jamie
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 12:34 pm
  #1577  
 
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Thinking about booking a trip to the Conrad Maldives soon. Does anyone know how the snorkeling is there? We like to spend a good part of our day snorkeling.....

Thanks
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:08 pm
  #1578  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Back in Hell
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Originally Posted by jamienbaker
2) Just 3 nights. Too short?
Too short is the understatement of the year. Basically you'll leave early afternoon (normal) but get there half way through the first night so only 2 1/2 days in total. Regardless of the fact that you'll be missing half a day and most of the daylight on the first day, 2 1/2 or 3 nights is way way waaaay to short for a destination such as the Maldives, especially if you are wanting to relax. Time will fly by and before you know it you'll be on the plane home. And it's far too short for a resort of this size. There are two islands with plenty of areas to wander round and explore. If you were going to a small island resort with only a quarter or less in actual land mass, say 30 or 40 villas and only 1 or 2 restaurants then 3 nights is usually enough.
Any chance you can add a few nights onto your itinerary? Shame to fly all the way there and only enjoy it a little.

Originally Posted by jamienbaker
3) Yes, pre-paid rate was the official, non-cancelable rate from the Conrad site, after logging in with my Diamond credentials. Good to know these types of rates can be available even a month out. VERY helpful.
Solves #1 then. ^

Originally Posted by jamienbaker
4) I assume your question about four in the room (which is correct) related to my breakfast question?
Yes. You should all get breakfast included (since it's a cash rate and not a redemption stay).

Originally Posted by jamienbaker
Any other input while I have your attention?
I suggest Mandhoo, Vilu and Sunset Grill for your three dinners (and in that order). Ithaa is another choice although some feel it's not worth the cost. You could always do lunch there and still visit the 3 restaurants I just mentioned.
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:13 pm
  #1579  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Back in Hell
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Originally Posted by wjnelson04
Thinking about booking a trip to the Conrad Maldives soon. Does anyone know how the snorkeling is there? We like to spend a good part of our day snorkeling.....

Thanks
Lots of fish but the coral is mostly dead. Better snorkelling at Mirihi which is just 5 clicks away. You can get Mirihi to pick you up and take you back to the Conrad for a steal (a fifth of what Rangali charge!).
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:22 pm
  #1580  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 76
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
Lots of fish but the coral is mostly dead. Better snorkelling at Mirihi which is just 5 clicks away. You can get Mirihi to pick you up and take you back to the Conrad for a steal (a fifth of what Rangali charge!).
Do you have more information about snorkeling at Mirihi?
What is the price for this? How do you book this?
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:22 pm
  #1581  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: LGB
Posts: 1,204
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
Lots of fish but the coral is mostly dead. Better snorkelling at Mirihi which is just 5 clicks away. You can get Mirihi to pick you up and take you back to the Conrad for a steal (a fifth of what Rangali charge!).
Is this common? And is there any more info on doing this?
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:44 pm
  #1582  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,509
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
Too short is the understatement of the year. Basically you'll leave early afternoon (normal) but get there half way through the first night so only 2 1/2 days in total. Regardless of the fact that you'll be missing half a day and most of the daylight on the first day, 2 1/2 or 3 nights is way way waaaay to short for a destination such as the Maldives, especially if you are wanting to relax. Time will fly by and before you know it you'll be on the plane home. And it's far too short for a resort of this size. There are two islands with plenty of areas to wander round and explore. If you were going to a small island resort with only a quarter or less in actual land mass, say 30 or 40 villas and only 1 or 2 restaurants then 3 nights is usually enough.
Any chance you can add a few nights onto your itinerary? Shame to fly all the way there and only enjoy it a little.
I appreciate this and will take it under consideration. Truth be told, we're not major beach people, we tend to be a bit more active on our holidays. The original plan was merely a two-and-half-week holiday in Sri Lanka, heavy on the exploration. But when I realized how close we would be to the Maldives, we opted to fold that in. We often spend 2-3 days at the first destination just getting acclimated, which is how I was approaching the Maldives. For example, we spent 3 days in Singapore this year after flying from NYC, before pushing onto Bali which was our "main" vacation. But if there's as much to do as you suggest, maybe we can extend.

Many thanks for your input - Jamie
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:47 pm
  #1583  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Back in Hell
Posts: 4,178
@Splotly is the man to ask. He goes there every year and he was there just 10 days or so ago.

lhrhappy, do you mean the price difference being common? Or the difference in snorkelling?


FEI, just contact Mirihi directly and they will arrange transportation. CR are ripping people off with their $740pp round trip for the almighty, super-long-haul 10km return journey. Disgusting.
You've got to specify with Mirihi that you want the cheapest possible option for the speedboat, and not their luxury option (which is still 65% cheaper than Rangali.....)
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 1:54 pm
  #1584  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Back in Hell
Posts: 4,178
Originally Posted by jamienbaker
I appreciate this and will take it under consideration. Truth be told, we're not major beach people, we tend to be a bit more active on our holidays. The original plan was merely a two-and-half-week holiday in Sri Lanka, heavy on the exploration. But when I realized how close we would be to the Maldives, we opted to fold that in. We often spend 2-3 days at the first destination just getting acclimated, which is how I was approaching the Maldives. For example, we spent 3 days in Singapore this year after flying from NYC, before pushing onto Bali which was our "main" vacation. But if there's as much to do as you suggest, maybe we can extend.

Many thanks for your input - Jamie
Welcome. Remember Rangali has the biggest F&B operation in the Maldives and there are tons of options to try out. Even if you stay 10 nights and go to a different venue every night you still won't have explored all the dining options. It's truly awesome. I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay immensely.
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Old Sep 5, 2018, 7:16 pm
  #1585  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: LGB
Posts: 1,204
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
lhrhappy, do you mean the price difference being common? Or the difference in snorkelling?


FEI, just contact Mirihi directly and they will arrange transportation. CR are ripping people off with their $740pp round trip for the almighty, super-long-haul 10km return journey. Disgusting.
You've got to specify with Mirihi that you want the cheapest possible option for the speedboat, and not their luxury option (which is still 65% cheaper than Rangali.....)
I just wondered whether snorkeling off-resort is common. I'm happy as a clam at CMRI, but I would absolutely spring to see some coral that hasn't bleached.
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 1:14 am
  #1586  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Back in Hell
Posts: 4,178
Originally Posted by lhrhappy
I just wondered whether snorkeling off-resort is common.
I see. I wouldn't know about that.

As for the reef, Splotly said
Much of the reef is grey like Conrads nowadays as youd expect I guess, but the volume of life here is completely different (doesnt seem to have been affected). Without any exaggeration theres nearer 100 times (than 10 times) the fish per square meter compared to Conrad.
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 3:40 am
  #1587  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: LAX
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Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
FEI, just contact Mirihi directly and they will arrange transportation. CR are ripping people off with their $740pp round trip for the almighty, super-long-haul 10km return journey. Disgusting.
You've got to specify with Mirihi that you want the cheapest possible option for the speedboat, and not their luxury option (which is still 65% cheaper than Rangali.....)
To clarify, would I be asking for a snorkeling excursion or simply transport to/from Mirihi and snorkeling their house reef?

Last edited by StephenW; Sep 6, 2018 at 4:03 am
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 6:15 am
  #1588  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Posts: 409
Originally Posted by MaldivesFreak
I see. I wouldn't know about that.
Just an acknowldgement to The Freak, who went through the original of the below and claims to have sorted out 40 typos! Oh the shame of non native English speaker being better at English than me!

There’s been a few posts recently about snorkelling (on and around Rangali), so I thought I’d have a go at jotting down some experiences and perspectives on all that as follows,

Context

Firstly, a bit of context and an overall perspective so different readers can deduce what’s relevant to them when reading this - because your actual experience there will differ greatly (even from someone there at the same time you are) depending on a bunch of things including who you are; what you value; but more especially on how experienced you are at snorkelling, where else you’ve snorkelled, whether it’s your first time in the Maldives / Rangali, the natural cycles and simply pot luck.

- Probably most importantly - If you’ve never been to the Maldives before then pretty much ignore the history below and ‘other options and stuff’. Just go! Go to the Rangali house reef and you’re in for a wonderful surprise and the snorkelling direct from the beach will be enough to keep you satisfied and feel new and different each day for a 14 night stay. From your perspective the water will be reliably crystal clear (no matter what the weather), you will see vast amounts of the most amazing fish, you will definitely see sharks, turtles, rays (so long as you don’t thrash about) and possibly also see eels and octopuses etc if you have snorkelled before and know how and what to look for. You can also go for other non house reef options while you’re there, and some of those will be better (by definition or they wouldn’t be offered to people at extra cost) but the house reef will wow you and the other options won’t noticeably improve you’ve view to more than wow + 10%.

- If you have been to the Maldives / Rangali before then I’m not sure the content below is much more than my personal experiences and perspectives, which may well differ from yours, and if so then please do comment so others can see where there’s noticeable variation in experiences from mine or indeed stuff you think is inaccurate, missing or too much of a personal view from me rather than fact.

- For context on Rangali, I’ve been going to Conrad at least once every year (usually in August) since about 2006 and more recently (for about the last 5 years) adding on a week at the end to spend on Mirihi (which is one of the islands next door - about 20 mins speedboat away). I haven’t snorkelled everywhere in the world myself, but if this is your first time snorkelling in the Maldives but you have snorkelled elsewhere in the world then I still believe you are in for a great experience that’s distinct from elsewhere. I’ve snorkelled in a couple of islands in the Caribbean (the Maldives is in my view simply vastly better in all respects), I’ve snorkelled in the Seychelles last year (and it was good but far less fish and wasn’t off the beach in shallow water like it is in the Maldives), the Great Barrier Reef 5 years ago (and was brilliant and on par with the Maldives). I’m giving a perspective on snorkelling only, as I had an ear operation that means I can no longer dive.

- As you read this account and that of others, you should be aware that older accounts may be out of date due to the warming of the water that has caused big changes especially in the coral bleaching (and hence I suspect sea life too) in more recent years (i.e; since about 3-5 years ago).

History

- I looked back at underwater photos and video I took in the early years at Conrad's house reef using those $10 disposable underwater cameras you used to be able to buy. The coral was amazing, fully alive and very colourful, with hindsight perhaps something I should have noticed and enjoyed more back then, but back then I was too wow’d by seeing sharks, rays and turtles and spent my time seeking those out rather than anything else! Back then there was an enormous amount of fish.

- Ignoring the natural year-on-year cycles, I noticed a definite step change maybe 3-5 years ago. I recall going in the water at Conrad that particular year and everything had suddenly changed. Specifically the entire reef was grey (dead, dusty looking broken corals– and I do mean every part of it) and there was very noticeably a lot less fish, although still just as many of the major marine life like turtles, rays, sharks etc and the water clarity hadn’t been affected at all.

- I know nothing about sea life cycles, but I’ve been regularly enough now to observe that each year is very different. Some years there are a lot less of the major fish (i.e; turtles, sharks and rays) and then the following year there are loads again. Just pot luck I think - but even in the low years you will see each of them every time you go in the water, just not as many or as often.

- This (current) year wasn’t a great year in the “cycle”, but I still saw countless of the more major things including eels, turtles, sharks, rays at Conrad (and indeed a Manta on the house reef at Mirihi – which was definitely a once in many-years event). However, I did also notice some new corals growing, which isn’t something I’ve seen for a few years and looks like a small start but promising.

What you’ll see

- This depends on so many things. I’ve been in the bar at both Conrad and Mirihi and overheard conversations where people who’ve been there for a few days snorkelling are impressed that others have seen sharks and rays and turtles (because they hadn’t yet in their snorkelling). I think this is reconciled simply by their lack of experience snorkelling – as you will definitely see everything, every day if you want to. The key in my experience is:

* talk to the dive centre – and listen to their advice in particular about the time of day to snorkel and the right time in the tides (go in the morning!).

* swim away from other snorkellers

* swim slow, and don’t move on if you don’t see something – I see more things (like sharks, rays and turtles) swim past me when I’m stationary over a good spot than I ever do when I go swimming around over distances looking for things. In particular, if you swim up to a large rock or piece of coral you will probably see about a tenth of the fish that are in that piece of rock/coral, as they will have “hidden” on your arrival – than if you just hover over it stationary for a couple of minutes they will all come back out again and you’ll be amazed at how many were really there.

- I’ve seen maps on this forum from others that are really handy (and correct) in terms of where to look out for certain things.

- My personal experience on Rangali is that you will see:

* every type of exotic fish (hundreds of different types) you see on those glossy little tick-list pads they sell in the shops, every time you go out

* sharks (every time you go out) if you swim smoothy and slow, and maybe not at all if you don’t

* turtles at least once a day, but you kind of have to be lucky and search around for them (and know what to look for on the bottom as they do look a heck of a lot like a static piece of coral when they’re down 10-20 feet). This is perhaps the one “fish” that you are more reliably likely to see by going on a “trip” if you’re desperate to make sure you see one.

* rays (eagle rays – at the right time of day every day, but in my experience are the ones most likely to detect you and swim away before you spot them if you are moving around; sting rays – all the time, but moreso over sand so you don’t often see them unless you go into those areas where there’s likely to be far less else to look at; mantas – no chance really)

* eels – either by being extremely lucky or by being an experienced snorkeller that knows what to be alert for and where they are – I tend to see them only a couple of times during a 14 night stay

* octopuses – I only tend to find one every other year even though they are always on the reef. They hide brilliantly and unless they move they really are pretty impossible to spot – so you need to wait dead still somewhere and hope, and even then if they’ve spotted you they simply won’t move until you look the other way!

Other snorkeling from Rangali

- Conrad has various different areas you can snorkel. There’s obviously the main house reef, which is direct and easy access from the beach on the sunrise side of the main island, but you can also snorkel off the sunset side of that island (mainly towards the spa villa end) above some corals rather than sand, and you can also snorkel off the water villas (all the different ones) but there really isn’t much to see when you’re snorkelling above sand – so to my mind that’s just for a quick snorkel to cool off from the heat direct from your villa rather than really snorkelling. (Odd villas do happen to have isolated nice chunks of coral right at the bottom of the steps – the PWVs do, but its also pretty anti-social to go snorkelling right in front of other people’s villas as it destroys the sense of idyllic privacy..)

- As for snorkelling away from Conrad... Conrad will take you on trips (private or shared) which by definition will be to some of the better places (relative to the house reef). I’ve been on a few over the years and find them worthwhile for something different to do but I’ve not seen anything on them that I haven’t seen on the house reefs and they also tend to be in water that puts you a bit higher up (i.e; deeper water) over a reef than when you snorkel a house reef. The key benefit is the guide will likely spot stuff you would just swim past and miss (like a turtle at the bottom). On occasions you can get a “free” snorkel like this as part of the Whale Shark excursion, especially if they don’t find any whale sharks that day.

- You can of course (unique to Conrad) “snorkel” by a different means by having dinner at Ithaa. They feed the fish while you’re there and the fish (including rays and sharks etc) are accustomed to that, so they come along at all the right times. Not quite the same of course, but a decent if pricey option to mention for the non-swimmers!

- I selected Mirihi a few years ago as an add-on part of my trips, based on TripAdvisor reviews (that specifically mentioned their house reef). On a like for like basis (i.e; compared within the same year) on every occasion the corals have been pretty much the same state in both resorts, but the quantum of sea life is very different. The quantity (but not quality nor range) of fish on the Mirihi house reef is simply noticeably vastly higher – an order of magnitude rather than just double or triple. I also find that I encounter rays and turtles several times a day and every time I go in the water for 30 mins, rather than just some of the time. The reef goes 360 degrees round the island and probably about 270 degrees of that is reasonably accessible (without being a champion swimmer) – however it’s a much smaller island so perhaps the total reef length isn’t massively longer (even though if certainly feels like it is). I would choose it over Conrad for snorkelling (by some distance) but I am every year delighted and excited by Conrad snorkelling.

- I actually transfer over to Mirihi for a week so my experience is of staying there – i.e; being able to jump in the water direct from the water villas and be immediately over the “pre-reef” and hence corals and tons of fish. When I was there a few weeks ago I asked about their transfer prices compared to Conrad doing the transfer, as there were people dropped off going the other way between the resorts on the boat I was about to board – and it prompted me to ask whether people were transferring or just coming for the day. I’d never considered coming for just the day and have never done so. Their response was that it was fairly common for Mirihi guests to go over for a visit to Ithaa and also that sometimes people do come over from Rangali for a snorkel. To be fair I didn’t quiz them much about the latter so they may have meant that Conrad snorkelling “trips” sometimes come to the small reefs immediately next to the Mirihi reef – I’m not sure. Either way, I’m not sure a day-trip to Mirihi would give you the beneficial flavour of their reef, because while you would enjoy their house reef, you would be unlikely to feel the benefit of the immediately-over-coral snorkelling direct from the villas nature (i.e; at Mirihi you spend the first 5-10 mins of the snorkel actually snorkelling while you snorkel to the reef, rather than that time being spend snorkelling out to the reef, if that makes sense – so you can literally step into the water from your villa, stay stationary there and see everything without swimming a stroke.)

Last edited by Splotly; Sep 6, 2018 at 10:56 am Reason: Lots of typos!
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 6:28 am
  #1589  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by StephenW
To clarify, would I be asking for a snorkeling excursion or simply transport to/from Mirihi and snorkeling their house reef?
More like the latter, but see my other post just now - as I think the excursions will be to whatever place Conrad expects to be best that day - unless you do it as a private trip and deictate where you want to go. And the price is far lower if you ask a Mirihi to arrange it (ie come and collect you and drop you back) + plus that way it feels more like youre not just invading their reef uninvited!
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 9:09 am
  #1590  
soy
 
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Thanks Splotly - great post. I added to the wiki as it answered a ton of questions I had on this topic ^
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