Trip Report Part 1 – Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – Airport, Lounge, and Seaplane Transfer – Update

The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island experience starts before you even reach the resort. Upon landing in the Maldives you are greeted by hotel staff who walk you to your private Conrad vehicle. From there you are transported to a Conrad lounge at the seaplane terminal with multiple amenities before boarding the plane to the resort. This is part eight of a fifteen part trip report from my travels to the Maldives and Dubai. This picture report covers the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island airport and seaplane experience.

I booked the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island all the way back in March 2013 just prior to the HHonors devaluation – 3 Days till HHonors Devaluation – How I’m Using My Points. Almost all the points were acquired using the sign-up bonuses from the Hawaiian Airlines Bank of America and Hawaiian Airlines Bank of Hawaii cards. I decided to book the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island as it was somewhere I always wanted to visit and it was moving from a category 7 to the new category 10. Additionally, at the time of booking the cash rate was $1365 per night or 37.5k points per night, after March 28th that rate was going up to 95,000 per night but the 5th night would be free.

As we got closer to the travel dates the cash rates were even more expensive:

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OK, more about the room reserved and the unexpected and amazing upgrade we received in part two tomorrow.

After collecting your luggage at the airport you’ll see several Conrad team members in the arrivals hall. We were warmly greeted upon providing our names and taken to our Conrad vehicle just outside the arrivals hall. The car had the A/C on blast and two cold water bottles and towels waiting for us. It’s a short 10 minute drive to the seaplane terminal and interestingly enough you’ll go right by the main runway with no fencing or other barriers (3rd pic below)…

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There’s another team member waiting for you as your car arrives to the terminal and you are escorted upstairs to the Conrad lounge. There’s a formal check-in area, but it seemed that all guests were instead brought inside the lounge, situated in comfy chairs, and then asked for their credit cards and passports. All paperwork was then brought inside the lounge…but first you’ll receive another cool towel and a choice of juices.

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Seating in the lounge with pretty awesome views…

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Full breakfast selection in the lounge…

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Perhaps you want a complimentary massage? Granted, if you like it they will ask you to reserve another massage for once you arrive at the resort, but you are not pressured and you can simply say that you want to review all your activity options once you arrive.

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Shower and kid’s playroom in the lounge as well…

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It’s extremely warm out but the terrace with views of all the seaplanes landing and taking off is worth checking out for a bit…

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Note that although there is a plane in the Conrad colors, that’s not necessarily the one you’ll be taking. We were on the plane above as all the planes are operated by Trans Maldivian airlines on behalf of the many hotels. You are assigned a seaplane based on when you arrive at the lounge, so they say you could wait up to two hours if there are other planes that arrived before yours. Luckily, our wait time was a little less than 90 minutes.

I guess here is where I should mention the price for these flights…they are not included in your nightly hotel rate. A few weeks before your trip you’ll receive an email like the one below from the hotel. They’ll ask for your flight details so that they can set up the seaplane transfers at a cost of $507.60 per person roundtrip.  You really have no other options. The hotel can set up a boat transfer that can take up to 3 hours and the cost can be even higher as you’re essentially charting a boat. There are luggage restrictions (55lbs checked and 5 lbs carry-on) and our bags were weighed, but no one said anything even though they were both over.

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We were seated up front with two very chill pilots just enjoying the ride…both wearing sandals! The flight takes about 30 minutes and the scenery below was beautiful. You’re provided earbuds, but I didn’t find the sound to be loud enough that I needed them. The flight was smooth and the landing in the water was great.

Trans Maldivian Boarding Card

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Interestingly enough, it seems that the plane may have been a former Qantas plane…

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There’s a full welcoming committee waiting for you at the seaplane dock upon arrival. You’ll soon be greeted by your host who will grab your luggage and escort you across the bridge to check-in. The guest service manager is also there to greet everyone and chit chat a bit…

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Follow along tomorrow (weds.) for the second part of the trip report including a full review of the resort, amenities, activities, our upgrade, the costs, and more.

Comments

  1. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by too many great travel experiences but I wasn’t terribly impressed by the Conrad.
    Everything is hideously overpriced and I wasn’t impressed by the service. IMO, at these cash rates, one must be stark raving mad to book it.

    • @ralf – I hear you regarding the pricing and I’ll have a full report on that tomrorow – including how we kept our costs to a minimum besides the seaplane transfer. The resort itself though was gorgeous.

  2. I assume pricing is a virtue of exclusivity (sheer cost of importing consumables and fuels and the desire of the hotel to make the experience seem exclusive). That being said, I think the costs of these “exclusives” pales in comparison to the real celebrith exclusives we hear about. $20k for one night!

  3. I heard the lounge charges 80$ per Adult, it is the case while you wait for the seaplane ? Or the charge is only if you want to use it while waiting for your outbound flight?

    • @Marc – The lounge is completely free. If you want to use it for your outbound (return) flight, there is a charge. However, you should have access to the business lounge if flying in first or business. Otherwise, i’d recommend taking the $1 ferry directly from the airport into Male.

  4. Yes, the seaplane lounge is free to use on arrival, however there is an $80 charge per person for staying there on your way back home if you have an evening departure flight. This includes dinner and all the facilities of the lounge.

    Seaplanes can only fly during daylight hours so the latest you can get in to Male is around 5.30pm. If your flight leaves at 10pm or later (for example, the Emirates and Singapore Airlines flights), then that leaves you stranded outside the airport because security won’t let you into the airport until two hours before take off.

    So, for the waiting time before you’re allowed into the airport, you can use our lounge, book a day-use room at the airport hotel, sit outside the airport or leave your luggage at the airport and take the ferry across to Male.

    • @Alex – I actually had great service but I hear you on the pricing of food, activities, etc. Post later tonight on how we handled these…

  5. Loving this trip report and I would like to plan something similar for my partner and I. 2 questions if you don’t mind.

    1. Is alaska airlines calender tool the best tool to use to find first class award availability on emirates or is there a better tool.

    2. Do you find that the first class space opens up more towards the departure date?

    thanks!

    • @Danny – Thanks! 1) Alaska Airlines calendar tool is pretty fantastic, there are other places to look but I think they do a great job and it almost always matches Emirates’ own site. 2) Yes, I saw the most availability about 7-10 days out with a few additional seats opening up 2-3 days prior to departure.

  6. Adam,
    If you need help with the prices let me know. I’m glad to help.
    Greetings from Rangali Island!
    We’ll be here till Sunday.
    Stephan

    • @Stephan – Thank you! I got them now, last minute trip to Bangkok has slowed the posting…it will be up tomorrow. How are you enjoying your stay there?

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