Adults Only Pool

Introduction

The Conrad Maldives is a 150 room luxury island resort located on the Alif Dhaal Atoll in the Maldives.  Arguably one of the best Hilton properties, the Conrad Maldives is an excellent award booking while also being one of the few resorts that offer over water villas using point redemptions.

While the Maldives is a far off destination requiring much travel time, once at the resort, the destination is certainly worth the journey.  Once you plop in your private hot tub and watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean, all is good.

View from Over Water Spa Villa #421

Booking

The nightly points rate at Conrad Maldives is 95,000 points. However, Silver, Gold, and Diamond Elite Members will get every 5th night free when booking a Standard Room award.  That will bring down the average nightly point rate down to 76,000 points per night or 380,000 points total for a 5 night stay.

Hilton weekend award certificates can also be redeemed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Award certificates can be obtained by signing up for the Hilton Aspire credit card or by meeting other spend requirements detailed below.

The best strategy for a week long stay at the Conrad Maldives is to use points for weekdays and award certificates for the weekends.

American Express currently has several promotional offers for Hilton credit card signup bonuses which will be detailed below.

Conrad Maldives Points Rates

Unlike similar resorts, point awards are frequently available and even offer over water villas as a standard option.   Properties such as IHG Bora Bora are impossible to book using points and Park Hyatt Maldives does not have over water villas available using points.

Happy Hour at Conrad Maldives

Arguably the best dining view ever

Getting There

Getting to the Maldives is no easy feat.  If you are flying from the east coast, you are looking at an 18 hour flight minimum to Male, Maldives.   Once at Male, you will have another 30 minute seaplane ride to get to the Conrad Maldives.  Seaplane transfer costs are around $500 per person round trip.

There are no direct flights from the US, so stop overs in either Europe or the Middle East are required.   If traveling in economy class, I recommend Emirates or Qatar Airways since, the planes tend to be newer and more comfortable.

If you have flyer miles, use pointimize.com to determine what flight options you have available for mileage awards.  Long flights like this warrant spending extra miles to book business or first class awards.

Conrad Hilton Sea Plane Lounge

After arrival in Male Maldives, a Hilton representative will take you to the lounge at the seaplane terminal to wait until the next available seaplane ride is available.

Lounge Snacks

Snacks were not impressive, however the shower in the lounge was appreciated after the long flight.

Lounge Shower

The seaplane fits about a dozen people and takes about 30 minutes to reach the resort.  There is no air conditioning but the views are amazing as you fly over several other resorts.  Try to sit near the front for the best views.

Seaplane that takes you to Conrad Maldives

View from seaplane

Check-In

Once the plane lands and docks at the resort, you will be greeted by a representative assigned to you that makes sure your entire trip goes smoothly.  After a few minutes of getting briefed on all the resort’s various features, you will be escorted to the room.   Right from the start, it is evident that the resort is well organized and efficient.

Front Desk

Front Desk Waiting Area

Property (4/5)

The resort is spread across two islands with a long bridge connecting them together.  Compared to smaller resorts like the Park Hyatt Maldives, this resort feels massive.  To get around the resort, frequent golf cart rides are required due to the long distances between the various restaurants, spas, bars, and pool areas.

If you have been to other resorts in the Maldives, the Conrad feels a bit less private since there are so many guests staying in the 150 guestrooms.  However, once inside your villas, it feels very private and secluded.

There is a large range of activities to take part in and a whole host of dining and bar options available.  However, food is incredibly expensive with a couple of hamburgers and sodas costing $75USD.

Conrad Maldives Map

The “quiet island” has only over water villas with the adults only pool while the main island has the beach and spa villas.

The shopping mall, gym, tennis courts, and most the restaurants are located on the main island.  If you are staying on the quite island, get ready for many golf cart rides.

Transport boat between islands

Plenty of areas to relax

Island Interior

Walkway to over water villas

Walkway to Spa Villas

View from transport boat between islands

View of Beach Villas

Pools and Beach (5/5)

Infinity pools are located on both the main island and the quiet island with both having glorious views.   The main island pool has shallow areas with chairs inside the pool, which is a cool idea.  The adults only pool was very peaceful and serene with no insane screaming.

The beaches were picturesque with almost no waves since the ocean around the Maldives seems more like a lake rather than an ocean.  If you are staying in a beach villa, the chairs located on the beach in front of the villa are reserved, so no worries about fighting over beach chairs.

Pool on the Main Island

Beach on the main island with chairs reserved for specific villas

Beach area in front of beach villas

Beach

Snorkeling (3/5)

If you are into coral reefs, you will be disappointed since almost all the coral reef is dead around the resort.  The last few years in the Maldives have been extraordinarily hot, which has killed off a significant amount of the corals in the Maldives, especially in the northern atolls.

The resort recently has setup coral reef nurseries to try and restore the loss of the reef.  Also, the resort is located by huge sand bars which kicks up sediment when the water current increases, which affects the clarity of the water.

Despite all that, there is an abundance of wildlife around the resort to include many species such as reef sharks, manta rays, sting rays, dolphins, octopus, and various tropical fish.

Snorkeling at Conrad Maldives

Gym (5/5)

While small, the gym has high-end equipment in a well air-conditioned environment.  The variety of equipment is enough to get a complete aerobic or weight lifting workout session.  As you work out, staff will hand you ice cold wash cloths, which is a nice touch.

Gym at Conrad Maldives

Rooms (5/5)

A whole variety of villa options are available to choose at the Conrad Maldives.  The Water Villa and Beach Villa are considered standard rooms and are available for points bookings at 95,000 points per night.   Once booked, other rooms are available for upgrade for cash rates the depend on factors such as capacity and time of year.

Water Villa

The water villas have recently been refurbished and are located on both sides of the quite island.  Neighboring villas are located close by, which shouldn’t be a problem, so long as you don’t have loud folks next door.  Request villas on facing the sunset for the best views.

Water Villa bookable with points

Superior Water Villa

Superior water villas are the next step up from the standard water villas.   They are not larger than the water villas, however the villas are more spread apart providing more privacy.  Superior water villas also have better sunset views due to the direction they face.  Request villas 335 or 339 which have less obstructed views.

Superior Water Villas

Great sunset views from the desk of the superior water villa

Beach Villa

Beach villas are located on the main island and are bookable using points.  Beach villas come with direct access to the beach with reserved chairs.  Avoid lower numbered rooms located near the restaurants which can be noisy.

Entrance to Beach Villa

Beach Villa Beach Access

Spa Villa

The spa villas are insanely large with gigantic private decks.  If you have a budget set aside for upgrades, spend it all on upgrading to the spa villa and then stay in the basic water villa the rest of the time.  The size of these villas is unbelievable and well worth the upgrade.  Request rooms 419, 420, or 421 towards the end of the pier for the best views.  Room 421 is the last villa on the pier and has the best unobstructed views.

Over Water Spa Villa

Gigantic deck on the over water spa villa

Night time spot light on over spa villa attracted much sea life including sting rays and reef sharks

Food (4/5)

The resort has 12 award-winning restaurants and bars including the world’s first undersea restaurant.  However, dining experiences are some of the most expensive around, so be prepared to spend a lot on food.

The good thing is, Gold and Diamond members get free breakfast which helps reduce costs significantly.

Rangali Bar

Atoll Market Buffet Restaurant

Mandhoo Spa Restaurant

Mandhoo Spa Restaurant

Vilu Restaurant

Wedding Reception on the Beach

Service (5/5)

Staff is well trained, very professional, friendly, and accommodating.  The logistics of running a resort of this type are complex with many things that can go wrong at any moment.

Despite this, the operations on the resort run like a while oiled machine.  For such a large resort, the staff still made guests feel special by paying attention to the little things that matter.

Business Center

Upgrades

After bookings are made, the hotel usually contacts guests a few weeks out to offer paid upgrades to villas that are still available.  You can upgrade the entire stay or only part of your stay.  Moving from one villa to the next is easy and staff will move all your luggage to the next villa seamlessly.

The water villa is just fine but the spa villa is epic and certainly worth the cost to upgrade.  For recent information on upgrade experiences and costs, read up on the Conrad Maldives flyertalk thread.

Diamond Status Perks

Diamond status perks at the Conrad Maldives are among the most generous in the Hilton portfolio.  While free villa upgrades are not offered, diamond status guests receive free full breakfast, tea time, and happy hour daily.

Food costs can be reduced by enjoying a large late breakfast and by eating the free snacks offered at tea time.   This saves money on breakfast and lunch which can be better used towards villas upgrades or other activities.

The American Express Aspire Card comes with complementary Diamond Status which upgrades your Hilton account shortly after approval.

Breakfast at Vilu Restaurant

Tea Time Snacks at Mandhoo Spa Restaurant

How to Get Hilton Points

American Express currently is offering 4 separate Hilton credit cards offering signup bonuses ranging from 75,000 to 125,000 points.  If your goal is acquire enough points for a week long stay the Conrad Maldives, the best option is to sign up for both the Hilton Honors Aspire Card and the Hilton Honors Business Card.

Assuming you are not traveling alone, your travel partner could also sign up for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card and the Hilton Honors Business Card which would amount to 450,000 Hilton Honors points combined.

The Hilton Honors program now allows points pooling between separate accounts for the purposes of award booking.  Conrad Maldives also allows paying the final bill with multiple cards, so both members with Aspire cards can receive the $250 resort credit benefit that comes with the card.

American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card:

  • 100,000 Points signup bonus
  • $4,000 Required spending in first 3 months to qualify for bonus
  • $450 Annual fee
  • Complimentary Diamond Status
  • $250 Hilton Resort Credit (Can be used at Conrad Maldives)
  • $250 Airline Credit
  • One Weekend Night Reward on account renewal
  • Earn 14x for Spend at participating Hilton properties
  • Earn 7x on flight booked directly with airlines, car rentals, dining
  • Earn 3x on all other eligible purchases

American Express Hilton Honors Ascend Card:

  • 100,000 Points signup bonus
  • $2,000 Required spending within first 3 months to qualify for 75,000 bonus points
  • Additional $1,000 required spending in within first 6 months for additional 25,000 bonus points
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Complimentary Gold Status
  • Weekend night award after $15,000 in spend in a calendar year
  • Earn 12x for Spend at participating Hilton properties
  • Earn 6x on Restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
  • Earn 3x on all other eligible purchases

American Express Hilton Honors Business Card:

  • 125,000 Points signup bonus
  • $5,000 Required spending within first 3 months to qualify for 125,000 bonus points
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Complimentary Gold Status
  • Weekend night award after $15,000 in spend in a calendar year
  • 10 Free Priority Pass Visits to Airport Lounges
  • Earn 12x for Spend at participating Hilton properties
  • Earn 6x on US wireless telephone providers, shipping costs, gas stations, US restaurants, car rentals and flights books directly with airlines
  • Earn 3x on all other eligible purchases

American Express Hilton Honors Card:

  • 75,000 Points signup bonus
  • $1,000 Required spending within first 3 months to qualify for 75,000 bonus points
  • Earn 7x for Spend at participating Hilton properties
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 5x on Restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
  • Earn 3x on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Silver Status

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Conrad Maldives is an amazing resort and one of the top aspirational award bookings in the Hilton portfolio.  Despite the long travel time, the experience is well worth the journey.  Best of all, award redemptions are well within reach due to frequent award availability and multiple credit card signup bonuses currently being offered.

Seaplane ride home