Hilton Maldives Rangali Island Ari Atoll
Rangali Island Po Box 2034, Ari Atoll, Maldives
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Hilton Maldives Rangali Island Ari Atoll Reviews
Pure Paradise Feb 27, 2008
Wow . What an amazing place this is. If you are thinking of going then STOP. Do not think twice, do not pass go and do not think you cannot afford it. Just book it, Now.
My wife and I had the absolute pleasure in staying there from the 04/10-17/10. It should have been from the 03/10 but Monarch Airlines put paid to that. More about that later though.
This was without doubt the best two weeks of my life. I will start from the moment we arrived at Male airport. We were greeted by our rep who took care of our cases then whisked us off to a brand new (air conditioned) Mercedes and were given bottled water and a mini fan and Bvlgari Perfumed face towels, then driven to the seaplane terminal and into the Hiltons own private lounge, which was also air conditioned with lots of fresh fruit/drinks and more cold face towels and even a shower room with Molten Brown products (which were also in our beach villa).
The seaplane flight was amazing, cameras ready for some outstanding Ariel shots of the numerous islands you fly over. Sit on the right of the plane for your first fantastic view of Rangali.
We arrived and were met by our island host who took us on a small tour of the island before taking us to our beach villa -118. It was a beautiful villa, lovely décor, a huge bed, a cool espresso machine with lots of different coffees. The bathroom area was gorgeous, with an outside shower and the biggest bath I’ve ever seen, very romantic on an evening with the mood lighting on (but you needed a degree to figure out how to work them properly). I think there was about 15-20 different light switches around the villa. It had floor to ceiling windows and doors which led out onto the outside patio area and a small garden path which led out onto the beach.
The beach on that side of the island was very narrow with just enough room for a sun lounger but had a great view of the W/V island and good snorkelling. We much preferred the beach around the other side of the island which was wider and had much better snorkelling and the view was simply breathtaking. I have to say that the one and only small and I mean small disappointment was. On both islands part of the beaches had quite rough sand, but your feet do soon get used to it. For the most part though the sand was very soft as you would expect in the Maldives.
I had pre booked by email some dinners and excursions which were as follows.-
Ithaa undersea restaurant.$540 with wine
Outstanding experience. You are given a refreshing cocktail on arrival while you wait for the rest of the diners to arrive and are then given a description of the restaurant, with the staff member obviously being very proud of the fact it is the only one of its kind in the world. You are then led down a spiral staircase to 5 meters below the surface. There are only 6 tables, each with a window seat , the staff feed all the sea life 30 minutes before you arrive so you have lots to look at , we saw 3 moray eels ,a sting ray, thousands of fish and even a shark swimming past then turning back constantly for about 30 minutes.
I was a bit concerned I might not eat all the food as I was aware it was 24 courses and even thought it would take hours to serve all the courses but they are divided into - cold starters, hot starters, mains and deserts, and 6 of each course all served together on a big plate. They all came with an explanation of each dish by the waiter, it was all delicious and a great night.
Private beach bbq. $530 with wine.
We chose the very tip of the W/V Island for our bbq.It started at 7pm and was just in time for the sun setting. We had the meat and poultry menu which was even more delicious than the Ithaa . You start by having a glass of champagne then your chosen bottle of wine. This meal Will very quickly fill you up though so go easy on the breads . We also had a great conversation with our waiter, who had pleasure in telling us his background and family life and future ambitions. A big tip was left that night….
Mandhoo Restaurant. Average $180 with drinks.
As previous reviewers have mentioned. Don’t think as this is a healthy restaurant that it will be bland and boring, it is not. It was possibly our favourite out of all of them, the food was exceptional and we both had ostrich for the first time and are now converted fans…You can finish off the meal with a pot of refreshing herbal tea from the large selection they have. We were told one night there , that Paul McCartney often stays at Rangali and also a lot of Italian footballers.
Sunset Grill. Average $200 with drinks.
Again it was a beautiful location and food.
I had the chef’s special of the day for starter which was tempura tiger prawns with a sweet/spicy mango sauce-delicious. Then had the surf and turf for main with half a huge lobster (though my wife’s was far bigger than mine. Very jealous) and a venison steak which was also very delicious.
There are lights under both of these restaurants which attract a lot of fish, sharks and rays etc...
An amazing breakfast buffet awaits you every morning. To avoid a heart attack don’t try to eat all the scrumptious pastries in one sitting. As previous reviewers have said, they have now stopped using small bottles of water and now have large bottles so you cannot take any away with you, (but your housekeeper may help you out on that front).
We had dinner a couple of times ($60) in Atoll Market and were very impressed with the selection and quality of the food , I would recommend the Chinese kitchen , it was on par with any Chinese restaurant I have dined at and the crispy duck was to die for.
Sunday lunch is also free if you take your seat before midday.
Food again was great, with the Hilton burger being my favourite and reasonably priced and it also has a great drinks menu, hazelnut iced coffee in particular was very refreshing.
We had booked the Koko Grill but reluctantly cancelled due to an ever expanding bill.
This was easily one the most memorable days of my life. You are taken to a stunning deserted Island about a 30 minute boat drive away and are left on your own along with a huge picnic, lots of drinks, some beach mats, an umbrella and a first aid kit and mobile phone, just in case. The Dhoni drops anchor on the horizon on the other side of the Island so you have complete privacy, just you and your loved one. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear as it was great, the fish will not leave you alone for one second while your swimming. We did the afternoon/early evening trip and left the Island kicking and screaming at 7pm as the sun was setting, sitting on the top deck of the Dhoni watching the Island and the sunset behind it was magical.
Very highly recommended, we couldn’t stop going back after our first massage and again was very fairly priced, I would recommend the men’s facial. Pure indulgence. My wife always loves the head massage and pedicure and considers these as the best she has had. I would consider having your treatments in the early evening though as the midday sun is very hot shining through the windows and no blinds…
The dive centre was by far the best we have ever used. The staff literally do everything for you. On previous dive centres we have used, you have to assemble your own kit then carry it onto the boat, then once the dive is finished you have to wash all the kit and hang it up. We thought that was the norm everywhere. Not here, you do an orientation dive where you get fitted up and prove you can, if you need to, assemble your own kit and dive around and under the Ithaa restaurant. All your kit then stays in a numbered box for you to use personally. Then on every new dive the boat collects you and your kit is all already assembled waiting for you on the boat, you have a description of the dive and split into teams of 4 max and enjoy some fabulous diving. We did 5 dives and each one was varied. We saw some giant moray eels, a giant honeycomb moray eel, several turtles, sharks, sting rays, and of course thousands of colourful fish. Once you were back on the boat you got a cup of tea/coffee and some fresh watermelon then dropped off back on Rangali.
As I mentioned previously, we preferred the DBV side of the Island for snorkelling, it was incredible and a must for any non scuba divers. I took along my underwater camera and got some great photos and videos. On one particular swim I was all by myself snorkelling, enjoying myself and suddenly a 5-6 ft shark appears right beside me, I instantly forgot that these sharks are harmless and did get a little nervous shall we say, but quickly regained my composure and got a great video of the shark for about 60 seconds until it eventually swam off into the deep blue. I then quickly swam to the beach to tell my disbelieving wife my story and had to use the video evidence to prove it.
While on the beach sunbathing , a man would walk the beach offering to clean your sunglasses, now that’s service.
Talking about service, I have to say that all the bars, restaurants, spa, dive centre. In fact all the staff, were extremely professional, courteous, and friendly and would rate them as on a par if not better than some of the top class hotels and restaurants in London, Paris etc… On one night in particular summed it all up. We had some food in the Rangali bar and a few cocktails and were waiting for our next round of drinks to be delivered when I casually asked the waiter if they were ready, he asked how long I had been waiting which was by this time about 30 minutes, he seemed shocked and couldn’t apologise enough, he then rushed back with the manager who again wouldn’t stop apologising and within 30 seconds our drinks arrived with yet more apologies , we had been in the bar earlier that day and I had forgot to sign for the bill, so when we finished the drinks this night I asked for the bill and when it came it was for only $12 , I spoke to the waiter about this and said he must have forgotten to put on tonight’s food and drinks which must have come to about $90 at least and he refused to allow me to pay for them as we had waited so long for our drinks. 30 minutes ! Hardly worth kicking up a fuss, but he insisted the evening was complimentary . Top marks for that one…
As I previously mentioned, we arrived at Gatwick Airport at about 4.30pm and the flight was due to leave at 9.40pm, we checked in immediately and were asked by a very rude man at the desk if we were aware that the flight had been delayed, we replied with a worried No. He then gave us a sheet of paper and said this will explain it. Upon reading it we saw it said , we are sorry about the delay, blah blah blah, some technical problem , blah blah blah but your flight is now leaving at 8pm, strange I thought, as this is bringing the flight forward not backwards. Then I read on. 8pm tomorrow night… We were absolutely devastated, we had been looking forward to this holiday for well over 1 year then Monarch delivers a blow like that. We then had to wait at Gatwick until after midnight and then got a plane to Manchester and finally arrived at a hotel at 3.30am. 5 Coach loads all checking in at a hotel at 3.30 am. I have to say the hotel, The Palace I think it was called, was really nice and we had a beautiful room, but I obviously would still rather have been in the Maldives than Manchester. We then finally took of from Manchester at 8.00pm.We later found out that Monarch knew about the delay the day before but still didn’t phone anyone to tell us what was happening?
Please if you are going to the Maldives DO NOT FLY WITH MONARCH……
I know you are probably bored by now so I will sum it all up for you.
As the resort itself says .
One Resort. Two Islands. Three Luxurious Experiences.
I would imagine heaven to be Rangali.
I think Paradise is a much over used word these days but I now know where the word comes from. Rangali Hilton Maldives.
Stunning absolutely Stunning…
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