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Conrad Maldives Rangali Spa Village

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is actually set on two islands, Rangali Finolhu and Rangali, connected by a 984-foot walkway. Each has its own spa.

On Rangali, the smaller of the two, are water villas that primarily house couples, mostly newlyweds. To accommodate their needs is The Overwater Spa featuring four treatment rooms with glass-bottom floors and a relaxation lounge built on stilts over the azure Indian Ocean (photo above).

Treatments here are designed with couples in mind and tout names like “aphrodisia,” which uses rose, black pepper and jasmine scents, “tantalize,” using coconut and frangipani, “entice,” with lime and ginger, “tempt,” using coffee and vanilla, and “tease,” using peppermint and spearmint.

Afterward, you can use the Serenity Spa Deck that features ocean views and an open-air jacuzzi.

On Rangali Finolhu is the heart of the resort – the check-in desk, main pool, dive center and shopping, and at the far end is the Maldives’ only true destination spa, The Spa Retreat, built totally on stilts over the water. In addition to the spa complex and separate restaurant, there are 21 overwater Spa Water Villas (shown above), each with its own treatment room with his-and-hers massage tables, mood lighting, and exercise equipment. Like all the others, ours had a shower with a huge, adjacent tile tub in a separate room whose windows could be opened for a delightful open-air bath — a great way to watch the sunset. Our deck had steps leading to the water and some great snorkeling on the “house reef,” and we were visited by the “house” heron who gave us quite a show of how he consumes his evening meal – a hand-sized fish which he swallowed whole.

The spa itself is massive, with 20-some treatment rooms, all overwater.

The Spa Retreat can be a totally wholistic stay combining therapies, lifestyle and fitness classes, and spa cuisine. The outstanding Mandhoo Restaurant is highly entertaining at night when fish and small sharks compete for your attention. The Spa’s philosophy is centered on the four elements of life: Earth, Fire, Water and Air, and the signature treatments are patterned after them. (Even the Mandhoo menu follows the approach.)

The Earth treatment is designed to ground and balance the body. Fire will stimulate you and work to detoxify the body. Water focuses on serenity and hydrating the body. Air, which we chose, is an hour-and-a-half treatment that starts with a body scrub using sea salts combined with spearmint and lime essential oils. That was followed by an outdoor shower for two and a massage using a lime, spearmint and grapefruit oil blend that was both energizing and refreshing.

The spa features nine treatment rooms accessed down a long, quiet, darkened hallway with the light and blue Indian Ocean water beckoning at the end. It was reminiscent of a Japanese tea house. The smell of incense greeted us in our couple’s treatment room. One therapist rang a little bell to signal both the beginning and end of the treatment, and three-quarters of the way through, Kathy realized she was so deeply relaxed that she hadn’t even heard the soothing music playing in the background. That relaxation came in part from the hot towel to the feet to start the treatment, and another hot towel to the back near the end.

Afterward we were offered refreshing tea. The best part? Our quick walk back to our villa where yet another spectacular sunset awaited.

The Spa Retreat, or spa village, a true spa oasis and the Maldives’ only true destination spa.

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