Sublime underwater spaces at Conrad Maldives Rangali
Words by Yvonne C Mtengwa
Nothing could have prepared us for the blissful moments spent in the Maldivian Islands during our summer family vacation. In the heart of the mesmerizing Maldives, where clear waters stretch to the horizon, there exists a remarkable oasis that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, an iconic luxury resort, is also home to a hidden gem that has redefined opulence in the world of travel – The Muraka Villa – the Maldives’ first underwater luxury villa.
Tucked away beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean, The Muraka Villa is an architectural marvel that offers an unparalleled immersive experience in marine luxury. As the first of its kind, this two-level villa is not only a haven for those seeking the ultimate in privacy and extravagance but also an engineering wonder that will leave you bewildered by its splendour.
Stepping into The Muraka is like entering a world of enchantment, as it offers a perfect blend between over water and underwater living. The upper level is a sun-soaked paradise, with sprawling living spaces, a stunning infinity pool, and an overwater bedroom that offers panoramic views of the surrounding azure waters. With interiors that seamlessly blend modern design, characterised by clean lines, hues of white, silver accents and natural elements, it’s a haven of tranquillity and elegance, made for those carrying an inherent penchant for the finer side of life.
But it’s when you descend the spiral staircase or take the elevator (yes, elevator!) to the lower level that The Muraka reveals its true magic. Here you will find the underwater primary suite, submerged five meters below the surface, and boasting a surreal window into the mesmerizing underwater world for which the Maldives Islands has garnered acclaim. Imagine waking up to the gentle swaying of colourful fish and intricately textured corals, the graceful dance of manta rays right outside your bedroom window as the sun’s rays penetrate the surface of the azure ocean for spectacular visual effect.
The Muraka doesn’t just provide a front-row seat to this aquatic spectacle; it offers a complete immersion into a world of mystery below the sea and a perfect respite for the wanderlust that resides within. What also makes your stay that much more special the exclusivity of the experience, should you prefer to enjoy your own spot in paradise, carved out for your total indulgence.
Guests can enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by a personal chef while surrounded by the vibrant marine life or sip champagne in the bathtub with uninterrupted views of the ocean. The curved acrylic walls ensure that you are at one with the marine environment, with only a few inches of glass separating you from the wonders of the deep.
The experience is not only luxurious but also sustainable. The villa has been designed with environmental preservation in mind, incorporating technologies such as solar panels and a desalination system, reducing its carbon footprint while maintaining uncompromised comfort.
Beyond the villa and connected by a bridge that stretches from the main island to your private retreat at The Muraka, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island also offers a wealth of activities to further elevate your stay. From going snorkelling, to coral planting, riding out to into the deep onboard jet skis, to indulging in a spa treatment over the water, the resort caters to every whim and thirst for opulence. And when the day ends, you can unwind with a cocktail at the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, Ithaa, where the aquatic views are as breathtaking as the cuisine.
The “Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Experience: A Culinary Dive into the Depths of Fine Dining “
As if the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort couldn’t further elevate your experience, this remarkably picturesque destination reveals Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, an aquatic haven that redefines fine dining against a backdrop of marine splendour.
The submerged jewel and showstopping restaurant Ithaa, which means ‘mother of pearl’ in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, is aptly named for its jewel-like presence beneath the ocean’s surface. The restaurant’s architectural appeal lies in its curved, all-glass structure, which unveils an unobstructed 180-degree view of the vibrant aquatic world that surrounds it. Ithaa, also the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, is not just a culinary experience; it’s a journey into an aquatic wonderland that will remain forever etched in your memory bank.
Arrival at the Ithaa experience is signalled by glass of champagne in hand, before you descend a spiral staircase, which transitions you from the sunny shores above to the cool, submerged interior beneath the ocean’s surface. You’ll find the dining room to be quite intimate, seating comfortably only about 12-14 lucky guests and ensuring an exclusive and personalized experience.
A fusion of Maldivian and Western flavours is plated by the resident chefs from a menu curated to tantalize the taste buds. From freshly caught seafood to gourmet dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients, each plate is a work of culinary art, and a gastronomic adventure where every bite is paired with breathtaking views of vibrant coral gardens and the enchanting dance of marine life.
Become mesmerised by a sunset unlike any other.
While Ithaa is known for its spectacular daytime views, it transforms into an even more enchanting destination at sunset. As the sun dips below the ocean’s horizon, the underwater world takes on a mesmerizing quality as the glass walls frame a canvas painted with the colours of twilight, and the restaurant’s lighting enhances the beauty of the aquatic life outside. It’s a romantic setting like no other, making Ithaa a prime spot for unforgettable proposals, anniversary celebrations, and intimate gatherings with friends, family, or both.
Ithaa doesn’t just dazzle with its aesthetics and flavours; it also highlights Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s commitment to sustainability. The resort places a strong emphasis on responsible tourism, and Ithaa is no exception. From locally sourced ingredients to eco-friendly practices in the kitchen, sustainability is woven into every aspect of the dining experience.
While dining at Ithaa is an experience to cherish, it’s also an exclusive one. Due to limited seating and high demand, reservations are essential. The restaurant is accessible to all guests of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, as well as visitors from neighbouring sister resorts.
In a world where luxury meets nature, Ithaa Undersea Restaurant stands as a testament to the extraordinary. It is where culinary artistry intertwines with the beauty of the ocean’s depths, where fine dining transcends tradition and ventures into uncharted waters. For those fortunate enough to savour its delights, Ithaa is more than a restaurant; it’s a journey into the heart of the Maldives’ aquatic soul.