How cool is it to set your own time because you own the island so you can? Conrad Maldives is one hour ahead of Male so guests can enjoy more daylight and to align with the seaplane schedules. It’s just like how USA and many countries observed daylight saving time. Sunrise at Male was at 6:17 am which means for Conrad Maldives time, it was at 7:17 am. For a person who used to wake up at 5:15 am to go to work, 7:17 am sounded late to me! In the meantime waiting for sunrise, I did some work; the internet in the resort is fantastic by the way! Around 7 am, I walked out to photograph the sunrise while Jason was still rolling on the bed. The sun was rising behind the main island so I took photos of the colors changing on Rangali island. It was so quiet in the early morning that I was the only one out, that peacefulness finally made me feel that I am in paradise!
I walked past the Pool at the Quiet Zone, the bridge, then to the Deluxe Water Villas; I think the beach next to the Deluxe Water Villas is the best spot to photograph sunrise in Rangali Island.
After the sunrise, I walked back to our Superior Overwater Villa to get Jason to get ready and I checked out lighting on our deck; it was in shadow and the sun’s angle was still too low to bring out the turquoise and aquamarine colors of the sea.
Once Jason is ready, we grabbed our tripod and walked to the Pool at the Quiet Zone; we were the only ones there 🙂
Although the lighting wasn’t perfect since too early, that was the only time we can have the pool for ourselves. I think the Pool at the Quiet Zone is one of the most picturesque spots in Conrad Maldives 😉
After half an hour or so, people started to show up so it was time for us to leave and move on to another photo spot. The beach next to the Pool at the Quiet Zone, this beach would be very pretty for photos in the late morning or afternoon time for the water colors but there will be people around.
Everywhere in the resort, you’ll find those water buckets to rinse off the sand from your feet.
I guess this is where they have wedding ceremonies on the beach.
Afterward, we went back to our wonderful Superior Overwater Villa to enjoy our jacuzzi and the views on our deck. Although the deck was in shadow, the sun angle was high enough to light up the blue sea on the background.
We showered, changed, and then headed out for breakfast at Vilu at 9:30 am. There are two restaurants for breakfast which are free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. As like other islands in the middle of nowhere, food is expensive as they need to import everything. Thus, you can save a lot of money in Conrad Maldives by having a Hilton’s credit card that gives Gold status. The two restaurants are: Atoll Market located on the main island and buffet style while Vilu is located on Rangali Island and made to order style with a limited buffet. I chose Vilu because it is right next to the beach that offered great views to enjoy while having breakfast. Vilu is much smaller than Atoll Market which means less crowded. We arrived right on time to have a free table right next to the water!!! The view was amazing; I think it is the best views of all the restaurants in the resort 🙂
You can see the Dhoni and the overwater villas on the background 🙂
I don’t drink orange juice so I asked for mango smoothie and it was so good!
The waitress handed us an iPad which the menu is loaded on it. Even though it was high-tech, I found it to be not practical due to the glare of the bright morning light and the reflection that it was hard to read -.- Also, when scrolling through the pages of the menu, there were a few seconds lag to load the menu and photos…urg they loaded the menu from the internet it seemed! The items in the menu were a little bit different than the ones that I saw from other blogs.
I wanted to try everything that sounded good so I made a massive order haha! Here they are, my breakfast! The dish that I was holding was the Thai Omelette that was oil-fried eggs with some side dishes. The eggs were fluffy but oily was it was fried in oil so I added the Thai spicy sauce and the refreshing vegetables to help to reduce the oiliness. The long plate was the chawanmushi which was a Japanese dish with steamed egg with salmon on top and a rice roll with soy sauce for dipping. The steamed egg has no taste so you need to add soy sauce. I was a little bit disappointed by the Japanese dish. For dessert, I ordered the Thai mango sticky rice; the mango wasn’t as sweet and meaty compared to other tropical islands but it was overall a nice dessert.
Jason, on the other hand, ordered: the 6 Oyster Rockefeller were very good and fresh oysters, Maldivian Omelette that was our favorite with fish and curry so it was spicy, and also the Thai mango sticky rice. I asked for the Belgium waffle that bloggers recommended but they didn’t have it so I had mango sticky rice instead.
There was no rush in paradise so we took our time to enjoy our massive breakfast and the unbelievable views.
We even got a visit by George, he walked closer and closer to our table that looked like he was one of the guests haha! He was well behaved that he didn’t snap some food from our table 😉
We spent around 45 minutes at Vilu, we really enjoyed our breakfast except for when our mango smoothie ran out, I asked a waiter to order another one but that was never delivered grrrr!!!
After the late breakfast, the sunlight was perfect for photos so we had a little spare time to take some photos before heading over to Ithaa – the world’s 1st undersea restaurant to have the cocktail at 11:00 am.
On our Dhoni ride, the staff offered to take photos of us which was very nice of him to do so although he wasn’t a great photographer xD.
It was painful to walk on the beach leading to Ithaa but I wanted to photograph the leaning coconut tree so had to bare with the pain!
We checked in at Sunset Grill and the staff asked us to wait there until at 11:00 am. I guess they were cleaning up after breakfast since they recently opened Ithaa for breakfast so we couldn’t get in early. The views from the Sunset Grill were beautiful and I couldn’t have asked for better weather with blue sky and white clouds despite the fact that the weather forecasted to be overcast with 80% chance of rain!
The beach with the coarse sand that it was very painful to walk through so don’t get fooled by its white powdery sand look!
We waited for few minutes and another two couples arrived, then the staff lead us the way to Ithaa. I guess only 3 pairs? I was a bit surprised it wasn’t fully booked! We got into the hut where the stairs to go down to Ithaa is located, the staff gave a brief introduction and history of the world’s first undersea restaurant, took our order (champagne or mocktail), and then we took off our shoes before heading walk down.
The waiting room has this cool looking table with flowers floating on water:
The wooden spiral stairway down to Ithaa:
I was the first one to walk down so I get to snap some photos of the undersea restaurant without people!!!
I saw the school of fish on the right side table so I choose that table!
That big fish was constantly hanging out around our table 😀
Since there were only 6 of us, I made a recommendation to the other two pairs that we should take turn taking photos so we are not on each other’s photos. They agreed and that was how I managed to get photos without people….well except the old man sat on the first table next to us didn’t feel like to move out of the way so we had to crop a lot. I was glad at least that we had some good photos without other people in it. I was a bit surprised that the restaurant was not completely reserved and that no other Chinese couples from mainland China were there given that there were a lot of Chinese guests (not as much as I expected from reading other sites though) in the resort when we stayed from Jan 12-14. Our photos!
The mini-sized canapes arrived.
One was a fried dumpling kind which was tasty and the toast with some fish on top. My mocktail was gross; it was lukewarm felt like the leftover melted slushy that they served as welcome drink! I asked the waiter for some ice, it helped a little bit!
There were corals surrounding the undersea restaurant where I found Nemo!
And tons of tropical fishes! It was relaxing to see the fishes swimming around us without having to snorkel or dive!
It was bright down here that made it hard to have wide open eyes in photos 😛
The one-hour passed quickly and here is the bill, according to their breakdown, that small plate of canapes cost $32.50 and my gross mocktail cost $42.50 before taxes and service charge! Anyways, it was a once in a lifetime experience and the most “affordable” way to dine in the undersea restaurant (hey, only seven of those in the world so far)! Will I do it again? No! Was it worth the visit? I think so!
Ithaa from above the water:
A guest was having his Jet Pack session but he just kept going up and then down, guess he wasn’t experienced enough to maneuver like in promotional videos. I bet it wasn’t as easy as promoted 😉
We decided it was good timing, lighting-wise, to fly our Mavic Pro drone so we walked over to the security hut where the security has to supervise us and that was the only designated spot to fly the drone to protect the guest’s privacy. They received complaints from guests so they implemented the drone rule. Too bad we couldn’t get the overwater villas aerial photos 🙁
Here are some aerial photos, can you see Ithaa from the pic?
And I took a panorama:
Afterward, we continued on with photos around the resort. The cart in Ufaa where we had hot pot last night:
The painful beach in front of Sunset Grill, it was perfect timing that this massive school of fish swim very close to the beach!
We decided to head back to our room to have a break and while waiting for the Dhoni, a fishing boat just came back loaded with catches!
We saw George again and he was having his lunch….not hard when there was this massive school of fish that close 😉
When we got back to our room, there was “Happy Honeymoon” decors even though not our honeymoon LOL! Housekeeping really put work into making those doves and the “Happy Honeymoon” words from some type of leaves.
We couldn’t but to have some photos with it before we ruined it haha!
Since the resort was out of Shanghai Tang toiletries, I requested Tara Smith’s and they were there! I much preferred the lighter refreshing scent of Shanghai Tang.
After the break and drink lots of water to keep us hydrated from the burning sun, we went back out again for more photos. We went to the Maldivian swing and it wasn’t in shadow in the early afternoon so this was perfect timing!
The Dhoni jetty was a good photo spot as well! In the early afternoon, the sunlight was perfect to bring out the colors of the sea!
I was super happy that the weather was perfect and wasn’t as forecasted! I have very bad luck with weather, wherever I go, I tend to bring rain even it’s supposed to be the “dry season”!
Time went quickly and it was almost 4 PM so we went back to our room and called a buggy to bring us over to Mandhoo (on the main island all the way to the spa villas) to have the free afternoon tea for Hilton Gold and Diamond members. The buggy arrived in less than 10 minutes and it took probably 10 minutes to get there versus take the Dhoni and then walk, it will be a longggggg walk!
We got a table by the corner outside for good views.
Free afternoon tea included biscuits, cookies, scones, and cakes.
And tea of course but we opted for water (free)!
The cherry cake was the best, others were ehhhhh. No time to spare, we need to make it all the way back to Rangali Island for the Happy Hour at Vilu at 5 PM where once again free for Hilton Gold and Diamond members! We finished up the cakes, took some photos, and then have the staff to call a buggy for us. Oh boy this time was a long way for the buggy that some of the guests decided to walk. I think they were heading to Vilu as well! We waited and finally it came and we made it to Vilu few minutes after 5 PM but all the good tables were taken already 🙁
We had to sit “inside” but the coach was very comfortable! I ordered the mocktail of the day and it was much better than the $42.50 mocktail at Ithaa haha!
We were almost done with our mocktail and I was wondering if they’ll serve the canapes; that was what I saw from other sites! And finally, our dish came out and was bigger plate than the $32.50 canapes in Ithaa.
It was then I realized we didn’t even have lunch yet LOL, we completely skipped over and the Ithaa Cocktail and those free Afternoon Tea and Happy Hour kept us from feeling hungry. On the back of Vilu, there were tanks of Maldivian lobsters!
After the Happy Hour, the location and angle of the sun made it terrible for photos so it was time to take a good rest in our Superior Overwater Villa. Usually when we go on vacation, I always book the cheapest category of room in a beautiful hotel knowing that we don’t spend as much time in our room anyways. I did splurge to upgrade to the Superior Overwater Villa instead of Water Villa this time and it was worth it 🙂
We had an hour before sunset so we took a nap. I set the alarm to wake up 15 minutes before sunset for sunset photos. The clouds did roll during our nap so the sunset wasn’t as great as the previous evening. Although the sun was covered by the clouds, there was still some golden colors. The water access stairway is hidden on the back of the wooden panel.
And it got better!
After the sunset, I called for a buggy again to bring us to Atoll Market where we tried out the buffet there. We got a table outside on the sand so the atmosphere was much better than dining inside. The food selection was multi-cultural but the quality was a big disappointment!!!
The noodle station but the soup broth was just chicken stock so not tasty at all!
The seafood bar was descent with king prawns.
The salad bar…I am not a salad person so I passed on that.
Different types of breads….
There was also a selection of Indian food including Indian and Sri Lanka curry. The Sri Lanka curry was super spicy and it was the dish that filled me up!
The sushi station but the rolls were like the basic rolls you can get from grab and go sushi.
The only station that looked interesting was the dessert table:
And ice cream…they even have jackfruit and durian ice cream!
Besides the dessert, the food was like mass-production buffet style but for the price of $95 per person excluding tax and service charge, I expect better quality. Here is the bill and that dreadful $14 VOSS water, I swear that whenever I saw the VOSS water bottle in dramas, the $14 came to mind!
Lastly, our dessert continue in our room where we had the dragon fruit from the fruit plate. It was the first time where we had a red meat dragon fruit versus white meat!