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1.192 islands divided into 6 atolls, immersed in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a dream destination of everyone to escape from the Winter. The perfect time for visiting Maldives is from December to April, the local dry season.
You can reach Maldives in just over 9 hours with direct flights from Italy or with a stop in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha.
The paradise on earth and the best hotel in the world had the leading role into the surprise trip that my husband gave me for our anniversary. Today I will tell you how you can go there too.
Paradise on Earth does exist: it is in the Maldives
We arrived in Male after a stopover in Dubai. After a 30-minutes flight by seaplane from Male, we landed into the South Ari atoll at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, a unique hotel in the world that won several awards and has been voted for two consecutive years “Best Hotel in the World”.
The real wonder is underwater
Diving in the Maldivian sea is like diving in an aquarium. Here you just need mask and snorkel and you will see everything you have never seen: colorful fish, corals, turtles, sharks … yes even some little sharks! Do not worry, they are not dangerous. The female sharks enter the atolls to deposit eggs and the small sharks remain in the shallow and sandy waters until they become large enough to face the open sea.
A real magic experience is swimming on the reef. You will be on the edge of the atoll, swimming above the coral reef you will have on one side the reassuring crystal clear, while on the other the deep blue of the Indian Ocean!
The magic does not stop at night: the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is built on two islands connected by a pedestrian walkway suspended over the water, the lights attract so many fish and the biggest thrill for us was to see the dance of a giant manta ray!
The best hotel in the world
Once arrived on the island you are immediately amazed by the beauty of the sea, the perfect temperature, it seems to be landed in a postcard, but what makes the difference and makes this place unforgettable are the people who work here.
No need to mention the wonderful rooms, we had the opportunity to stay in an overwater bungalow but on the beach there are amazing villas.
We have read, seen photographs and fantasized about luxury hotels, where everything is shimmering. Surely the Conrad Rangali Island has to be defined “luxury hotel”, but not in the sense that we are used to.
Traditionally the word “luxury” denotes something that is only for few, an exclusive privilege. I would almost fear of entering the lobby of a grand hotel, feeling uncomfortable, a stranger in an elite world. I’m not ok with that, this doesn’t match with a passionated traveler.
In my opinion, luxury is being able to have the best experiences, admire a sunset on the beach, take your time, enjoy nature, discover other cultures in the deepest way that allows you to learn and enrich yourself, is to be surprised by beauty that always remembers you that our world is wonderful.
The Conrad Maldives has “my” kind of luxury idea and invested in people more than in any other area. It is amazing meeting people who call their work home, who are honestly proud of what they do and who are aware and proud of having all the credit for the best hotel in the world award. They make you feel at home, with sincere loving care for every detail, that welcome guests with warmth and respect, as in a family. They do it with genuinely because the environment in which they work is careful to them. This is the best way to give a truly luxury experience to guests.
While walking on the beach in the first morning “Hello Alessandra and Filippo”, the guy who takes care of our room, on the first day already remembers our names. The first thought is always the same, “he’s doing it for the tip”.
At breakfast I discover a lot of fruits I’ve never seen before and, curious as ever, I want to taste them all, even if I have no idea how to eat them. After a few minutes of attempts, Théva approaches, with a disarming kindness, he teaches me the right technique for each fruits and tells me which is his favorite, until he notices that the rambutans I have taken are not to ripe yet… he apologizes, disappears for a few minutes and returns with a dozen of ripe fruits. Small gestures that will make this journey unforgettable.
Too deeply kind for tip-hunters. In a short time we have to surrender to the idea that all the people we deal with sincerely care of us, probably for the simplest reason of all, they are satisfied and happy with their work and they want their guest to have a great time on the island, the best possible for each of them. This is luxury.
Kindness and Maldivian hospitality
It was chatting with Zai, the hotel marketing manager, she is Maldivian and came back home to work after years of study in Australia, that all the pieces in our mind go to their place. She tells us that there are about 600 people working in the resort for 150 rooms, a meaningful number that reveals that the real super power of the hotel is its people, not just the blue sea and the dreamy rooms. She tells us that 75% of the hotel’s staff is from Maldives, the others are from 40 different nationalities, and that every year Conrad Rangali is recognized as the best resort in the Country to work for. We find that the staff turnover is the lowest among all the resorts in the Maldives, most of the hotel staff have been working there for more than 10 years.
Now everything is clear, here is the magic, this is how you are the best hotel in the world: with the best staff in the world.
Asif, our concierge, a very nice Maldivian guy, when we complimented him, he just told us the simplest and unexpected thing that gathers all the passion and respect he has for his work “our work is hospitality, my job is to make sure that, when you are here with us as our guests are happy and live the most unforgettable experience – if you go home happy I’m satisfied with my work ” .
We bonded with Asif, he made special every details of our holiday and his history is amazing: he started as a baggage boy 12 years ago and now he is the personal concierge of the guests. In a few days his family will arrive to spend a week of vacation together in the best resort in the world.
The first underwater restaurant in the world
When we thought it could not get any better, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island amazes us again with a underwater restaurant! Ithaa means “mother-of-pearl” in Maldivian and it is the first that was built in the world to experience 100% this incredible nature above and below the water!
The Maldives consist of 95% of water: not to dive in means to lose the best!
How did we do it?
After all this story, you’re probably wondering how much it costs a night at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island? The answer is what you expect: a lot. Almost too much.
How much did we pay? Zero.
How did we do it? With the magic of my husband Filippo’s points.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is part of the Hilton hotel chain, so you can spend here the Hilton Honors points collected by staying in over 5,000 hotels around the world, not just Hilton but also Doubletree, Hampton Inn and other brands.
It is thanks to the Conrad Hilton legacy that, with a little loyalty to its brand, you can afford a free vacation in the best hotel in the Maldives (and in the world), named just after its founder.