The Indian Ocean boasts some stunning islands and Kelly Landry headed to the beautiful Maldives
. Made up of a string of coral atolls straddling the equator, it's a magical escape.
There isn't much to do in the capital, Male, and most visitors land there and head off by boat or seaplane to another destination. That's what Kelly did and a 30-minute seaplane flight took her to Rangali Island.
It didn't take long to see why Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort was voted twice Best Hotel in the World and several times Best Resort. It was also awarded Best Worldwide Spa.
Spread across two private islands, the resort was designed to stretch between the two islands and is in a lagoon surrounded by coral islands. Most of it is on Rangalifinolhu, housing the main lobby, restaurants, bars, water sports, dive centres and 100 beach villas. Rangali has two restaurants, bar, reception area and 52 villas, each more private and more expensive than the others. A walkway connects the two islands.
Deluxe Beach Villas are around a fountain-filled courtyard, landscaped for seclusion. Each has a plunge pool, garden, sunken baths and outdoor showers.
Water Villas have wooden interiors and are built on stilts over the turquoise Indian Ocean. They have ocean-view baths and Philippe Stark fittings.
Two thatched roofed Sunset Villas are in a remote area of the lagoon and enjoy their own jetboat shuttle and walkway entrance. Marine life can be admired through glass living room floors! Circular beds rotate 180-degrees so you don't miss sunsets, sunrises and stars.
Conrad Maldives has made the most of the stunning turquoise water. You can swim in it, lie in luxury over it and dine under it in the only all-glass undersea restaurant in the world.
Thaa Undersea Restaurant serves a combination of western cuisine and Maldives-inspired flavours 5m below sea level.
Sunset Grill is in a hut on stilts above a coral reef. It offers open-air dining and in all the dining area you can choose from the resort's cellar of 800 types of wine in 3000 bottles, each selected by Dr Ron Georgiou, one of the world's 265 Masters of Wine.
Koko Grill is an outdoor teppanyaki restaurant and Atoll Market has eight kitchens serving Asian, Japanese, Italian, Indian, barbecue grill and a bakery serving great desserts.
Mandhoo Spa Restaurant complements the spa, and its aim is to show that healthy eating doesn't have to be boring. Ingredients are from organic or biodynamic producers and they have a range of juices, herbal teas, mineral waters and organic beers and wine.
Dinner on a secluded beach, on the deck of your villa on aboard a luxury yacht can easily be arranged.
Rangali Bar is outdoors with a sand floor and they mix some pretty exotic cocktails. Vilu Bar is the spot for champagne cocktails, martinis and tapas. Sit or lie on oversized day beds and enjoy the romantic lighting. The Wine Bar seats just 10 people. It has a black sand floor, designer lighting and lots of wine bottles line the walls. They have 101 of the world's best cheeses to match wines from the cellar.
The Spa Retreat has nine treatment suites and 21 water villas. Tailor-made programs are available and there are activity classes, detoxing and energising sessions.
For a change of scenery you can charter Conrad's private yacht and tour around the islands. Rangali Rani is a traditional Turkish yacht with carved wooden interiors. It has three air-conditioned cabins and you get to choose where you want to sail.
Rangali Island is a 30-minute seaplane flight from Male, capital of the Maldives.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island villas start at $496 a night. Breakfast is included.
For further information
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort
Ph: +960 668 0629
Fax: +960 668 0619
Visas: Valid passport and return ticket are required for entry. Thirty-day tourist visas will be issued on arrival.
Electricity: 230V at 50Hz.
Time zone: GMT +5.
Currency: Maldivian rufiya (MRf).
International dialling code: +960.
It is recommended travellers to the Maldives see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.