Hilton Conrad Maldives Review (Deluxe Beach Villa, Retreat Water Villa)

The Hilton Conrad Maldives is a dream redemption for many people and rightfully so.

A member of one of the top Hilton brands, it’s an extraordinary property located in one of the most stunning places on earth — the turquoise atolls of the Maldives. We stayed in a Retreat Water Villa and also got a taste of a Deluxe Beach Villa on our recent visit. We also tried out many of the restaurants and facilities and got to do some unforgettable diving and snorkeling.

It was all an over-the-top experience and here’s my detailed review of what you need to know about the Conrad Maldives. 

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Booking the Conrad Maldives

The Conrad Maldives is one of the most highly regarded Hilton properties in the world, especially for award travel. That’s because it’s a beautiful property but it’s also because the property offers great value for your points. Take a look at the example below for a peak-season water villas booking.

It shows that you could book a water villa for 95,000 Honors points per night and that the cash price for one night (with taxes) would be $3,283. So you’d be getting about 3.5 cents per point which is just insane for Hilton points. Prices are more reasonable during other times of the year but it’s still a great use of your points or your free night certificates.

(Water villas may not always be available to book with points.)

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The Conrad Maldives is a perfect destination to make a “base booking” with points and then upgrade with cash. If you’re interested in doing this then check out this very detailed and helpful thread on Flyertalk which breaks down the different prices you can expect to pay for the upgrades and contains a lot of helpful information. 

Here are some of the prices listed in that thread:

High & Festive Seasons (01 Oct through 11 May):
Beach Villa to Superior Water Villa – USD 73.92
Beach Villa to Deluxe Water Villa – USD 474.32
Beach Villa to Retreat Water Villa – USD 588.59
Beach Villa to Premier Water Villa – USD 1448.84

Water Villa to Superior Water Villa – USD 45 – 90
Water Villa to Deluxe Beach Villa – USD 122
Water Villa to Retreat Water Villa – USD 225 – 243
Water Villa to Deluxe Water Villa – USD 412.50 – 450
Water Villa to Family Water Villa – USD 730
Water Villa to Premier Water Villa – USD 937.50 – 1013
Water Villa to Sunset Water Villa – USD 1505 – 3200

Low & Shoulder Seasons (12 May through 30 Sep):
Water Villa to Superior Water Villa – USD 90
Water Villa to Deluxe Beach Villa – USD 90
Water Villa to Deluxe Water Villa – USD 200
Water Villa to Beach Suite – USD 1700
Water Villa to Premier Water Villa – USD 1000
Water Villa to Sunset Water Villa – USD 2300

Read more about the pros and cons of visiting during different times. 

Once you’re ready to book the upgrade, you can call up the Conrad Maldives and talk to them regarding upgrading. They’ll usually get back with you via email with the rates for your request within a day or so and then you can confirm your new booking via email. You can pay ahead of time or wait until check out to pay.

We initially booked a beach villa for three nights with 95,000 Hilton Honors points and paid to upgrade to a retreat water villa. But soon after that, Hilton opened up water villas for 95,000 points so we cancelled our initial booking and then re-booked the upgrade, which allowed us to save a few hundred bucks. The total for the upgrade from a water villa to a retreat water villa for three nights was $1,628 (including all taxes).

Getting to the Maldives

Our trip to the Maldives fell in the middle of our 2018 month-long round the world trip. After staying a night in London at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, we took the Eurostar to Paris where we stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme for two nights.

Our actual flight journey down to the Maldives began with visiting the Qatar Lounge at CDG which was a very nice business/first lounge. We then flew first class on the Qatar A380 from Paris to Doha and in Doha we got to experience the stunning Qatar Airways First Class Al Safwa First Lounge, which is one of my favorite lounges I’ve visited to date.

Qatar first class on the A380.

After that, we flew on a Qatar A350 in business class down to the Maldives. As you approach the Maldives, the views of the atolls are pretty phenomenal, so I highly suggest going with a window seat so you don’t miss out.

View flying into Male.

Sea plane transfer

After arriving in the Maldives we were ushered to the Conrad Lounge at Malé International Airport Seaplane Terminal (MLE), which is a lovely little lounge that was more impressive than I thought it would be. It’s free to experience before 5pm. After that, you’ll need to pay $50 per adult and $25 per child.

Conrad Lounge at Malé International Airport Seaplane Terminal (MLE).

After snacking for a little but at the lounge, it was time for the sea plane transfer. The sea plane transfer will now cost $590 per roundtrip per person (children aged between 2 and 11 receive a 50% discount). Infants below 2 years old travel for free.

For luggage they allow you 25kg per person + 5kg of hand luggage with a limit of 32kg (70.5 pounds) per piece of luggage. The excess baggage fees are charged at $5.00 + T-GST per kg. We ended up paying $212 total for our overweight luggage for two people roundtrip. 

We were able to take a direct, nonstop flight to the hotel but some flights may not be nonstop. The direct flight will take approximately 30 minutes.

Seaplane transfer at MLE.

The sea planes are small but not as tiny as some puddle jumpers I’ve flown in before. I’m pretty claustrophobic and didn’t really have an issue on the sea plane.

An inside look at the sea plane.

I suggest trying to get a window seat because the views are breathtaking and you can spot wildlife like rays and sharks from the sky if you have a good eye.

View from the seaplane.

You can also get to the hotel by taking a short domestic flight plus a speed boat or even a yacht. Note that the last flight operates at 6:30pm resort time which is 5:30pm Male time (it’s a weird time difference, I know). So if you are arriving after that time, you’ll need to look into the speed boat route or stay a night in Male. Read more about how the scheduling for the flights work here.

The Conrad Maldives Resort Map

The Conrad Maldives is located on the South Ari Atoll Atoll and consists of two islands (and an additional island for the staff). The smaller island is Rangali and the larger island is Rangali Finolhu Island but collectively they are known as “Rangali Island.”

The larger island is the main island which houses most of the facilities like the reception desk, main pool area, the gym, dive center, and a number of restaurants including the famous underwater restaurant. Connected to this island are the Spa Villas (or retreat water villas).

The smaller island is home to most of the water villas including the standard water villas, superior water villas, deluxe water villas, premier water villas, and sunset water villas. It also has a number of restaurants and a spa.

Conrad Maldives map.
Conrad Maldives map.

You can also check out an interactive map here.

Conrad Maldives check-in

After our sea plane touched down they ushered us into the arrival/departure lounge, which is a small building connected to the sea plane platform with some seating to relax on.

The arrival lounge at the sea plane platform.

They offered us a slushy type drink and took our luggage and loaded it up for us.

Brad enjoying a welcome beverage.

We then made our way from the arrival lounge via golf-cart to the check-in area over the narrow bridge that connects the islands. Two golf carts cannot fit on this path and sometimes it even feels close when walking as a pedestrian, so keep an eye out for golf carts while on this bridge.

Speaking of golf carts, you can call for a golf cart to pick you up from pretty much anywhere. They were usually very prompt and would show up fifteen minutes after we made the call almost every time, though one time we had to wait over half an hour for them to show.

The bridge connecting the two islands.
The reception area.

The check-in area is in a large open area with sandy floors, which forces you to stop and remember to relax when you arrive. Your luggage will all be handled by the staff and at this point you’ll be greeted by a staff member who will sit down with you and give you an in-depth overview of the property.

Conrad Maldives check-in desk.

While the resort is mostly cashless, you can withdraw cash with your credit card through the hotel. While I didn’t try it, I think you might be able to get that to show up as a charge on your bill which could mean that you could earn Hilton points on that withdraw which could actually be lucrative with a card like the Hilton Aspire.

Conrad Maldives reception area.

Retreat Water Villa

After the introduction, we were given a ride to our retreat water villa, which was 419 and at the very end of the pier. This meant we had optimal privacy at all times which was fantastic and added a whole new element to the experience. But it also meant that there was a long walk to get back to the island from our villa (we usually just called for a golf cart).

The retreat water villas at the Conrad Maldives.
The retreat water villas at the Conrad Maldives.
The retreat water villas at the Conrad Maldives.

The retreat water villas are huge and simply stunning. I’ll just go over some of the highlights here but if you want a more in-depth review of the retreat water villas then check out my full review of them here

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa.

The villas have great air conditioning so you’ll never have to worry about it getting hot inside. Just do your best to wash your feet off with the buckets of water because your floor will get sandy very quickly. 

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa.

The bathroom is divided up into three areas with the toilet, shower/tub, and sink area all in different areas.

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa.

The tubs are absolutely huge and take close to an hour to fill up. You can open up the windows all around the tub to admire the views and allow a breeze to blow through. It does feel a bit exposed but since we were at the end of the pier, it still feel pretty private. The shower is right next to the tub so you can easily hop in or out as needed.

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa tub.

There’s also the spa room which is its own little villa connected to yours and it offers fantastic views. If you want a massage you’ll have to pay a service fee in addition to the cost of the massage so keep that in mind. We were quoted at $520 for a 60 minute couple’s massage but that didn’t include the additional fee, which I believe was around $100.

Conrad Maldives retreat water spa room.

The highlight of the room is the deck which is pretty spacious and comes with a relaxing area to sit in the shade as well as a hot tub.

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa deck.

From suite 419, you have a direct view of the sunset which is pretty amazing.

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa deck at sunset.

The stairs from the deck will lead you directly into the ocean where you can encounter some wildlife. While there’s no major coral reef nearby, we still caught some marine life coming through, including sharks.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa

We requested late check-out since our flight was departing a little late but they weren’t able to offer us that. Instead, they offered to allow us to check in to a Deluxe Beach Villa and spend a few hours in that room while we awaited our flight. I thought it’d be cool to experience a beach villa so I agreed to move in temporarily.

The villas have a mini sandy court yard when you first enter with a huge door for the suite.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.

There are floor to ceiling windows that make up most of the walls, allowing for you to really soak in the lush, tropical paradise while letting in plenty of natural light.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.
Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.
Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.

The villas also have almost everything outdoors for the bathroom like this shower. Personally, I think it’s a pretty amazing shower myself though I wonder what happens when it rains?

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa shower.

The tub is also one of the cooler looking tubs I’ve seen.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa bathroom.

I can deal with the novelty of an outdoor shower, but my only issue with these villas is that the sink area is outdoors. I don’t how people could stand to get fixed up outside in the humidity like that. I was told that they are renovating these and putting the bathrooms back indoors so that was good to know.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa bathroom.

There’s a nice outdoor patio that’s also covered. It would be a great place to relax during a rain shower.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.

There’s also your own little pool in the back as well. The water color honestly reminded me of a pool in need of some cleaning though.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.

The beach villas have these picturesque walkways that lead down to the beach via a sandy path surrounded by lush vegetation, which I loved.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa.

The pathway then pops out right on the beach where you have your own chairs and umbrella to relax on. It’s a beautiful set up although there’s no privacy for your beach experience. I think it’d be much better if they had cabanas set out.

Conrad Maldives Deluxe Beach Villa beach area.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Deluxe Beach Villa. Aside from the bathroom being outdoors, I think I would love to stay in one for a couple of nights and then stay in a water villa for the remaining nights. It seems pretty common for people to split up their visits at the Conrad between different suites so that’s something to consider for your visit.

The service and staff

The service at the hotel was some of the best I think I’ve received. Everyone we encountered was very warm and inviting and very helpful. They definitely make you feel right at home. I also really loved their stylish white outfits.

Also, I thought I’d point out that the workers really seem to be efficient out there. I hope they’re getting compensated well because they were out for hours in the hot sun digging trenches and fixing roofs nonstop.

Conrad Maldives workers.

I was amazed at how quickly they were accomplishing some of their tasks and they really seemed to have the concept of teamwork down.

Conrad Maldives workers.

Diving and snorkeling

One thing that needs to be worked on is how they organize the diving trips. When diving at the Maldives you have to do a mandatory orientation unless you’ve gone on a dive recently. This is a essentially a standard intro to scuba course except on the shorter side (thankfully). That course takes place in the morning and then you can make a mid-afternoon dive that day.

Well, I’d contacted the hotel to schedule this course and dive for the second day we arrived but they said I would just need to schedule it when we arrived. So once we arrived I mentioned this to the staff and we realized that the dive shop was closing in 15 minutes.

We had to scramble to make it happen the next day and luckily it did, but I felt like the Conrad could avoid issues like this by allowing guests to schedule dives in advance via email like pretty much every other hotel/dive company does. I guess because people (especially divers) tend to stay at the Maldives longer than we did they don’t see an issue with it?

Conrad Maldives dive center.

Scuba diving at Manta point

Our lone dive was out to Manta Point and it was a fantastic dive. They ran everything very smoothly and the reef was teeming with fish and vibrant coral. We also encountered manta rays (up close) which was a bucket-list moment for me. You can read more about the scuba diving experience here. 

Getting ready to head out on the scuba trip.
Scuba diving in the Maldives
Encounter with a manta ray.


The snorkeling at the Conrad Maldives is fantastic for marine life. While snorkeling we saw a lot of different animals including: an eagle ray, manta ray, eel, clown fish, parrot fish, sea cucumber, and many others. You can read about our full snorkeling experience here.

A clown fish at the Conrad Maldives house reef.

The only issue with the reef is that thanks to El Nino from 2016, many of the shallow-water reefs in the Maldives were bleached and the coral killed. Unfortunately, the house reef was affected by this. This means that the coral reef is not going to be vibrant and you’ll see a lot of dead coral. Still, for a bleached reef, I thought the wildlife was still very good.

Conrad Maldives Spas

the Hilton Conrad Maldives has two main spas: the Overwater Spa and the Retreat Spa.

The Overwater Spa is one the smaller island while the Retreat Spa is one the main island. I’m a big spa person now but when we visited I wasn’t into them so I didn’t given them a try (which I now am kicking myself for). You can find out more information about the spas here.

Also, we were given a complimentary 15 minute massage that could be added on to standard massage as Diamond members, so if you have Hilton elite status you might be able to get a free massage.


The Conrad Maldives has some solid restaurants. You can see a list of all of the Hilton restaurants and bars here


Ithaa is the fine diamond at the Conrad Maldives. It was the world’s first undersea restaurant and you can have lunch or dinner there (I think they also have some sort of cocktail hour) but we chose to try it our for lunch, which you can read more about here. The total for lunch for two people came out to $566, so be prepared to drop some cash.

As soon as you walk in to the restaurant, the scenery is mesmerizing. It’s located right by a reef, so you’ll see a lot of different marine life make appearances including sharks, puffer fish, clown fish, and many more.

Ithaa undersea restaurant.

The cuisine is also very fine as well. Brad went with the charcoaled reef lobster.

The lobster dish.

I went with the “Sous vide bresse chicken with chanterelle mushroom risotto and blue stilton froth.” A mouthful for sure but delicious. 

The chicken dish.

And if you’re in the mood to splurge, there’s Dom Perignon waiting for you.


Mandhoo was our favorite spot to grab breakfast. It’s a beautiful restaurant situated right over the water and in the same areas as the retreat water villas so it makes sense to choose this place when staying in a retreat water villa.


It’s a beautiful place with the walls opened up.

Conrad Maldives Mandhoo restaurant.

The popular spot to sit is this little section the protrudes over the water. If you’re not staying in an overwater villa, this is a great place to get that “over water experience” as you dine.

The best place to site at the Mandhoo restaurant.

We stuck with western breakfast items which were very tasty.

Mandhoo pancake breakfast.
Mandhoo breakfast waffles.

The fruit was extremely fresh and I really liked the passion fruit. They serve a dish with french toast and passion fruit and it really hit the spot.

Mandhoo breakfast fruit.

In addition to the fruit, Mandhoo has some amazing pastries that you can pull from the buffet.

Mandhoo breakfast pastries.

Every pastry I tried was great and I tried quite a few of them, since I couldn’t resist.

Mandhoo breakfast pastries.

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Quite Zone Lounge Bar

The Hilton Gold and Diamond happy hour was held at the Quite Zone Lounge Bar. It’s a beautiful open-area bar that’s right on the beach of the smaller island on Rangali Island. We stuck with the Hilton Honors menu while there but they’ve got a lot of different items to choose from.

The Quite Zone Lounge Bar at the Conrad Maldives.
The Quite Zone Lounge Bar at the Conrad Maldives.

There are some day beds you can relax on in the shade just yards away from the ocean.

The Quite Zone Lounge Bar at the Conrad Maldives.

Overall, the Quite Zone is a great place to have a happy hour.

The Quite Zone Lounge Bar at the Conrad Maldives.

Atoll Market

Atoll Market felt a bit overrated to me. We tried it at breakfast and then one night for dinner and it was probably my least favorite place that we ate at. However, it wasn’t bad for breakfast (though I did prefer Mandhoo).

But for dinner, it felt overpriced and I just wasn’t really feeling the “global” buffet which consisted of the following:

  • Asian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • The Grill
  • The Deli
  • The Bakery
  • Desserts

It’s not that the food was that bad, it’s just that I didn’t feel like the quality lived up to the price. For $263 for two people, I just expected better.

Here’s a look at what the breakfast looked like.

Atoll Market breakfast.
Atoll Market breakfast.
Atoll Market breakfast.
Atoll Market breakfast.
Atoll Market breakfast.
Atoll Market breakfast.

Rangali Bar

Rangali Bar is a great place to grab lunch.  It’s a pretty spacious area with both indoor and outdoor seating and they have a pretty wide range of selections — I was a big fan of their club sandwich and wraps. They also have a very extensive menu selection for drinks as well. 

Rangali Bar at the Conrad Maldives.
Rangali Bar at the Conrad Maldives.
Rangali Bar at the Conrad Maldives.
Rangali Bar at the Conrad Maldives.

The Sunset Grill

We didn’t eat at the Sunset Grill but you pass through it on your way to Ithaa so we got a good look at it. It looked like a great place for a bite to eat and I loved the tables set out on the decks overlooking the water.

The Sunset Grill.

I loved the chairs.

The Sunset Grill.

Koko Grill

Out of all of the restaurants we didn’t try, I think Koko Grill would have been the one I’d be most interested in trying. They serve up a 10-course Japanese dinner right in front of you in an outdoor restaurant it looks like a great dinner experience.


Vilu is yet another open-air bar and restaurant reportedly known for its wine pairings. They also serve breakfast but I’m not sure if they open up breakfast for Gold and Diamond members.

Other venues you might want to check out include: the Cheese and Wine Bar and the Wine Cellar.

Conrad Maldives pools

The Conrad Maldives has two pool areas. The main pool is located on the main island. It’s a beautiful area with lots of day beds lining the pool. During the day it was pretty active with families.

Conrad Maldives main pool.
Conrad Maldives main pool.

There’s also a pool for small kids, too.

Conrad Maldives main pool.

Then there’s the Quiet Zone pool which is the adult-only pool. This pool is much smaller but it’s a pretty striking pool, located right over the water.

The Quiet Zone pool.

There are only about three sets of chairs to relax on so this pool is best to visit when there aren’t many people, or better yet, when you can have it all to yourself.

The Quiet Zone pool.
The Quiet Zone pool.

Conrad Maldives Gym

The gym at the Conrad Maldives is located in the heart of the main island. It’s also where you can find the Tsunami assembly point.

It’s a pretty nice gym with a floor where you can practice your hopscotch skills

Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.

There’s a lot of cardio equipment so regardless of what type of machine you prefer, you should be able to find something here.

Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.
Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.
Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.

The collection of weight machines was a bit more limited but you should still be able to put a decent workout together.

Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.
Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.
Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.
Conrad Maldives Fitness Center.

Apparently both islands make up a jogging route (with recommended directions to jog in). As tempting as it looked to run around these islands, we opted to just stick with the golf cart rides.

Who is ready for a run? (Not me.)

Conrad Maldives shopping piazza

The shopping piazza has three shops: Italian designer wear, jewelery, and a gift shop. We checked out the gift shop and it had some interesting souvenir items. We didn’t purchase anything from the shop but there’s a good variety there with a very wide price range.

Conrad Maldives gift shop.
Conrad Maldives gift shop.
Conrad Maldives gift shop.
Conrad Maldives gift shop.

Hilton Conrad Maldives FAQ

How many points are needed for a free stay at Hilton Conrad Maldives?

Prices may vary based on the type of room and season but you can find standard room redemptions for as low as 95,000 points.

What restaurants are at Hilton Conrad Maldives?

You can find the following restaurants:

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
UFAA by Jereme Leung
Sunset Grill
Mandhoo Spa Restaurant
Koko Grill
Vilu Restaurant & Bar
The Quiet Zone
Rangali Bar
Cheese & Wine bar
Wine Cellar
Atoll Market
Beach Dining Events

What time is the gym open?

The gym is open 24 hours.

What is the phone number for Hilton Conrad Maldives?

The phone number for Hilton Conrad Maldives is +9606680629.

Final word

The Conrad Maldives is a special place. The scenery is just as stunning as you would imagine it to be and the service is great. There’s some really cool dining experiences available like dining underwater and if you’re a Hilton Gold or Diamond member, there are some extra perks for you. I really want to try out some other Maldives resorts but I’d still be 100% okay with returning to the Conrad Maldives.

When Is The Best Time of Year to Visit The Maldives? (Weather & Diving)

The Maldives is a dream destination for many people. It’s one of the most mesmerizing destinations with its beautiful white sands, turquoise atolls, and blue lagoons. But many people wonder “what is the best time of year to visit the Maldives?” 

While the temperatures are relatively stable year round, there are multiple rainy seasons to contend with. In this article, I will talk about the pros and cons of visiting at different times of the year and give some insight into things like weather, snorkeling, and diving.

When is the best time of year to visit the Maldives?

The best time to visit the Maldives is from January through mid-April. However, these are also peak times and other months of the year might also be good. Keep reading below for more pros and cons about the different times to visit the Maldives.

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Maldives geography

The islands of the Maldives are found in the Indian Ocean, about 310 miles southwest of India. The islands practically sit on the equator and are very flat (the Maldives has the lowest elevation of any country in the world). 

World map
Image via Wiki.

The country is made up of 22 atolls and about 1,200 islands that extend about 400 miles from north to south, making the Maldives one of the world’s most dispersed countries.

Map of Maldives
Image via Wiki.

The variety of islands and different geographical positions means that the experience can be slightly different when it comes to things like marine life and even climate to an extent. For this reason, you should always do research for these questions in this article based on your specific resort in island that you will be visiting.

Maldives from plane
Islands of the Maldives.

The Maldives rainy season

The biggest consideration you will probably have when visiting the Maldives is whether or not you should visit during the rainy season. But in order to make an educated decision on this you need to know what the rainy season actually consists of.

First, it is important to note that the rainy season can fluctuate slightly from year-to-year. Sometimes a rainy season might get started late or early so use the following as general guidelines for your planning, and always remember that mother nature cannot always be predicted with 100% accuracy. 

In addition, different sources define the rainy seasons differently and may include different months (though they are in agreement on the general time frames). There are two rainy seasons you need to be aware of. 

Northeast Monsoon season

There is something known as the Northeast Monsoon season. This occurs between October/November and March/April.  This technically is the “dry season” of the Maldives, though it depends on where you are situated within the Maldives. 

During the northeast monsoon season, you might experience some showers here and there but they will be short-lived and not very constant since this monsoon season is very mild compared to the main monsoon of the summer. If you want to maximize your odds of getting sunshine on your honeymoon then visiting between January and March is a good idea. 

Map of Indian Ocean
Image via chennaiweather1.wordpress.com.

Southwest Monsoon season

Then there is the main rainy season of the Maldives. This is known as the Southwest Monsoon season. This lasts between June/July and September/October. 

The rain showers in the Maldives during the rainy season don’t need to be feared. Like many other tropical areas, many of these rainstorms come quickly and leave just as quickly.

You might be able to enjoy a nice sunny day and just have to worry about heavy rain for a couple of hours and then get on with a clear night. Relaxing in a villa while a storm blows in can be a pretty relaxing experience. So don’t think that your trip will be ruined if you end up visiting during the rainy season, even on a honeymoon. 

With that said, sometimes heavier storms can roll in during the rainy season. When they roll in there can be multiple days of heavy rains and high winds so there is a chance that it could happen. Also, at many resorts you have to do a fair amount of walking so trying to get around in the rain could be a problem (some resorts will take you around in a golf cart). 

And of course there always could be typhoons though those are not super common given the geography of the Maldives. Because the Maldives is such a flat country and floods can be a real issue if there are major typhoons you might be evacuated. 

Rainfall graph for Maldives
Image via holiday-weather.com.

Maldives temperatures

The temperatures in the Maldives are very constant year-round. Highs will generally range from 84°F to 88°F (29°C 31°C) and lows 75°F to 81° (24°C 27°C). In other words, this is a very warm place all times of the year and you can count on it being in the lower 80s pretty much all the time.

When the sun is constantly shining it can get pretty hot but one great thing about the Maldives is that it receives some pretty nice ocean winds. If you book a water villa you will find that sitting out on the deck can be a very breezy experience. 

In fact, the breezes were so strong when we visited that we were able to enjoy the hot tub out on the deck (which I initially thought would be way too uncomfortable given the hot temperatures). 

It is also a very humid place as you would expect with it being located so close to the equator. The high-level of humidity and moisture in the air can be an issue for some electronics. When I visited the Maldives my DSL camera (Canon 6D) actually stopped functioning for a couple of days because it got too much moisture from the humidity alone. So this is something that you want to be careful of year round. 

The sea temperatures are also very stable. They range from 82ºF to 86°F (28°C to 30°C), so you can expect warm water, even in the middle of winter (a wet suit will not always be needed). 

Hot tub overwater villa Maldives

Maldives coral reefs

Extreme temperatures from El Nino in 2016 bleached and killed 73% of shallow-water corals within the Maldives. This means that many coral reefs will not be super vibrant when you go snorkeling (when you go diving it is a different story). With that said, I was still pretty happy with the amount of marine life that inhabited the bleached coral reefs. You can read about our snorkeling experience here.  

Fish and coral Maldives

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Best times of year to visit the Maldives

January, February, and March

January, February, and March are the best times to visit the Maldives in my opinion. This is because the rain is at bay and you will be able to enjoy many nice sunny days. In addition, the water is very clear at these times so visibility is fantastic for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The drawback of visiting at this time of year is that the peak season is upon you. Prices at some resorts can skyrocket during holidays so you need to be careful about which specific days you’re visiting. 


April is a great time to visit the Maldives as it is the very beginning of the rainy season and the end of peak season. The prices and availability should be much better beginning in April versus peak times during the winter.

Visibility for snorkeling and scuba diving should still be pretty great in April. I believe the spring is the mating season for Titan Triggerfish. These fish are extremely territorial during mating season and so if you are snorkeling for scuba diving during the spring be on the lookout for them.  


May is when the rainfall really starts to pick up. In fact, May can be one of the wettest months of the year in the Maldives. Visibility in the ocean also begins to drop a bit. That is not to say that you can’t still have fantastic dives during May it is just not going to be quite as clear.

April and May is also the time of Ramadan. The Maldives is a pretty liberal Muslim country whenever it comes to things like tourists at resorts eating pork, consuming alcohol, etc.

However, during Ramadan things could be a little bit different at some places (especially Malé). In many cases, though, you may not even notice a difference at resorts but just be prepared to be flexible with things like meal times. 

June July, August

During the months of June and July the rain can continue on to the summer. The rain does tend to calm down in July so it is not quite as wet as June. Keep in mind that even during the rainy season you are still getting an average of seven hours (or more) of sunshine during the summer months.

Visibility is not the greatest but this can also be a fantastic time to swim with whale sharks and manta rays. July can be a good time for surfing in the Maldives at certain islands. Once August arrives the rain will kick back up and the month will be much wetter. 

September and October

September and October have the potential to be the wettest months in the Maldives. So if you are trying to avoid the largest monsoons then I would avoid visiting during these times. The plus side is that this is whenever you might be able to find some of the cheapest hotel prices and there’s still a lot of sunshine. Also, this continues to be a good time to see large marine life like manta rays and whale sharks. 

November and December

November is the end of the rainy season and his when things start to calm down. You will still experience some showers but they are usually pretty manageable. 

Prices and availability can get difficult to find during the holidays such as on Christmas or New Year’s so you need to be mindful of that. It’s not uncommon for prices to triple or for there to be certain minimum stay requirements for booking during peak times like that. 

Whale shark and diver

Best time of year for whale sharks and manta rays

In some places in the Maldives you can find manta rays and whale sharks year-round. But remember, we are talking about over 1,000 islands spread out across many atolls so the times of year that are best suited for seeing them is going to differ.

Also, sometimes you can see both whale sharks and manta rays at the same time of year but in some locations you may only see one or the other.

For example, we visited the South Ari Atoll, which has whale sharks year-round and manta rays October through May. When we visited in February we had an amazing encounter with manta rays on a scuba dive. It truly was a magical experience. However, we did not see any whale sharks during our time underwater or when snorkeling. 

So if you really want to see whale sharks or mantas I would suggest that you contact the resort that you want to stay at and ask them about the peak times for that specific marine animal.

For example, while you can find whale sharks year-round, August to November might be the peak time for seeing whale sharks at the South Ari Atoll. 

Just remember, we are talking about mother nature here. Patterns can change and fluctuate from year to year so in some cases the peak season can change a little bit. That is why I would always make sure to contact the resort to try to get the most updated information (in fact, I would contact multiple resorts in the same area just to see if I can get corroboration on the data).

Manta ray

Final word

The Maldives is one of those destinations that really doesn’t have a bad time to visit. Even if you visit during the rainy season, it’s not that bad. The storms may not last that long and in some cases can be a beautiful sight to watch form out over the ocean. Plus, you can take advantage of the discounted hotel stays. 

If you visit during peak time, you will have to deal with peak prices but you also will get the best weather and fantastic diving and snorkeling conditions.  

The Conrad Maldives Underwater Restaurant Ithaa Review: Worth It?

On our recent stay at the Hilton Conrad Maldives we decided to splurge one meal and try out the famous Maldives underwater restaurant known as “Ithaa.” Ithaa means “mother of pearl” in Maldivian and it’s known for being the first underwater restaurant in the world (although now there are others). Here’s what it was like to go for lunch at this Maldives underwater restaurant.

Where is the Maldives underwater restaurant Ithaa located?

The Ithaa restaurant is located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. The restaurant is actually located at Rangalifinolhu Island, which is one of the other islands of Alif Dhaal Atoll that along with Rangali Island make up the Conrad Maldives.

Don’t get Ithaa confused with Hurawalhi, which recently built an even bigger undersea restaurant called 5.8.

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Booking reservations at Ithaa

We emailed the Conrad about a month prior to our visit and made reservations for two people. I’d read that you can request reservations 2 weeks prior to your visit, but I highly suggest that you contact the Conrad before that to ensure that you’ll have a spot reserved for your desired date.

How much does the Maldives underwater restaurant Ithaa cost?

We were informed that it would cost $210 USD + taxes per person for lunch and the final check came out to $566.72.

I used the American Express Hilton Aspire $250 Hilton resort credit and a $200 Hilton gift card I’d received to knock the effective cost down to around $116 so that made me feel a little better about the splurge.

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Ithaa restaurant (located in the middle of the photo) seen from above.

In addition to lunch, you can also visit Ithaa for cocktails from 11am to noon for $75 plus taxes (I believe that only covers one glass of champagne). Dinner starts at $325 per person plus taxes and kids are not allowed for dinner. The dress code is smart casual but you can wear shorts like we did (though for dinner I believe they request that men wear pants.)

I actually don’t mind splurging on some experiences like private helicopter tours or diving excursions but I’ve never cared to splurge on dining. But this meal had enough of an “experiential element” to it that I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, Brad had really wanted to try it out so we went ahead and booked the lunch.

Entering the underwater restaurant

Ithaa is about 5 meters under the sea and the entrance is located at the end of a pier, near the Conrad’s main pool area. It’s also on the same pier as the Sunset Grill, which is another beautiful restaurant at the Conrad. You actually have to walk through the Sunset Grill to get to Ithaa.

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The entrance to Ithaa.
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Walking to the entrance of the restaurant.
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The entrance to Ithaa.

We walked down the pier and made our way into the small building that housed the entrance to Ithaa. From the deck, you can look down and see the underwater restaurant from above.

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The Maldives underwater restaurant from above the water.

The inside of the entrance has a mini-lounge which looks like an area you can rest up in while waiting for the restaurant to open. (We were admitted early to get photos.)

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The entrance to Ithaa.

Once inside, you’re directed to take your shoes off, so be sure to have presentable feet/socks. You then make your way down a staircase, and within seconds, you’ll walk right into one of the most stunning restaurants on the planet.

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Maldives underwater restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

It truly is a beautiful sight to behold when you first walk in. Soothing music plays in the background. Fish start popping up all over the place. Dom Perignon bottles tempt you from afar. The entire scene is a bit surreal.

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Don’t be fooled — the bottles are empty!

Like many other people, we’ve walked through aquarium tunnels before but it’s quite another experience to be walking in the midst of real marine life darting in and out of a real coral reef in the middle of the Maldives!

The first thing I noticed were the black tip reef sharks circling the tunnel. We counted at least five different black tip sharks though there could have been more. These were the same reef sharks that we often saw swimming near our overwater villa.

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Black tip shark.

They feed the fish just as lunch is beginning so I’d say there’s a high likelihood that you’ll also see the sharks and many other marine animals if you visit. They actually go into a bit of a feeding frenzy around feeding time so have your camera ready for that.

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More sharks.

There are many other fish to check out including many pufferfish, angel fish, parrot fish, and plenty of others.

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Fish at the Maldives underwater restaurant.
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Fish at the Maldives underwater restaurant.
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Puffer fish.

And for those Finding Nemo fans, you’ll be happy to see there are a few sea anemones housing clown fish.

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Clown fish!

If you love the ocean and especially if you enjoy snorkeling and/or scuba diving, this place is made just for you. In fact, it was difficult to focus on enjoying the meal sometimes because I was completely fixated on all of the different marine life that were making special appearances.

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“Let me snap this pufferfish real quick.”

There are only seven tables in the restaurant but that makes the setting all the more enjoyable and intimate.

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Once the meal begins, you can choose any unoccupied table you’d like. During our lunch, there were three other couples attending so there were a few open tables.

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We chose a table in the corner.

The tables come with aquatic-inspired plates and uniquely shaped cutlery. The brown tables and wood flooring contrast brilliantly with the surrounding blue water. It’s also a cool and soothing sight to see the sunlight casting wobbly reflections inside the restaurant.

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Check out the design of those knives.

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The lunch experience

We were first brought out a selection of breads which were very fresh and tasty.

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Fresh bread.
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Fresh bread.

For the first course — the appetizer — we were given butter poached lobster and white peach salad, served with Madlivian tuna and viniagrette. The salad had a nice balance of sweet and savory and was very fresh. I also dug the presentation.

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Butter poached lobster and white peach salad.

The second course was the entree that consisted of artichoke and roasted garlic veloute, served with caviar, five spiced foam, and toasted brioche. The soup was heavy in texture but light on the flavor. The caviar and bread (which was slightly sweet) provided a nice touch, though.

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Artichoke and roasted garlic veloute.

We decided to upgrade Brad’s dish for the main dish (for $40) so he went with the charcoaled reef lobster gratinated with saffron and espelette chili hollandaise and served with avocado mash, corn tiles, and beetroot tortellinili. Brad loved the lobster and the sauce served up with it, especially after squeezing some fresh lemon on it.

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Charcoaled reef lobster.

For the main dish, I decided not to upgrade so I could try out the other main dish option. So I went with the sous vide bresse chicken with chanterelle mushroom risotto and blue stilton froth. This was actually stepping out of my comfort zone since I always avoid mushrooms but I’ve learned that gets very hard to do when traveling a lot and eating at nice establishments. The dish was excellent, though.

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Sous vide bresse chicken with chanterelle mushroom risotto and blue stilton froth.

Finally for dessert we were served the honey roasted pumpkin cheesecake. I didn’t taste a whole lot of pumpkin with the cheesecake but it was still a very sweet and delicious dessert.

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Honey roasted pumpkin cheesecake.

And as a final treat, we were given two small handmade chocolates, which were nice and wafery.

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Homemade chocolates.

Overall, I didn’t really have any complaints about the food. The only complaint was that no champagne was included with a $560 lunch. I didn’t exactly expect free flowing Dom Perignon, but you would think paying that much could at least get you a single glass of bubbly to kick things off (only the dinner gets that).

Maldives underwater restaurant Ithaa menu

You can check the lunch and dinner menu online by using these links. Note that our lunch menu was a little different. Here is the menu we received for lunch:

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Maldives underwater restaurant menu.

Three things to note about your underwater experience

It’s bright

The underwater restaurant is very bright and reflective (at least it was for lunch). I would highly recommend to bring your sunglasses because you will probably be wishing you had them if you failed to bring them.

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Sunglasses are needed down there.

It’s warm

The second thing to note is that the restaurant is quite warm. While there are AC units built into panels running alongside Ithaa, it still gets pretty warm down there. So bring clothes that will keep you cool. My guess is that it might have to stay warm down there given the temperature of the water so I’m not sure there’s too much they can do about the temperature but you could always ask if it gets bad.

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The AC vents only do so much.

It could use some scrubbin’

And finally, as one downside to the experience, the acrylic walls of the tunnel did show their age. I know that they clean the glass often but I couldn’t help but notice some major nicks and debris collecting on the outside of the tunnel. In fact, a lot of my footage didn’t look very appealing because of this. I understand it’s probably impossible to keep everything spotless but it wasn’t in as good of shape as I thought it would be.

Was it worth it?

As someone who doesn’t care to splurge on meals, I found the $560 bill a bit challenging to justify. Had champagne been included in that bill, I think I would’ve felt differently. It was still a very memorable experience and it’s such a unique environment to enjoy a meal in that I didn’t feel like I got ripped off or anything. But like many things in the Maldives, the prices can leave you questioning, “was that really worth what I just paid?”

So was it worth it? I’d say it was worth it to experience it all one time for the novelty and for the views but it’s not something that I’m in a rush to spend several hundred dollars on again.