[i]Here is a report I did on Rangali a few years ago. Since then they have built a new pool on the smaller island but kept it (and that particular part of the resort) mainly adult only. It may have a few more adult visitors from the main island but nothing (I hope) to damage the 'peace' of this particular place. They have also put up prices hugely since they changed it from a Hilton to a Conrad (same company).
[b]Counting this trip I we have spent 42 days at this resort in 13 months.
Surely the love affair must have faded and usual wanderlust restored?
The answer is no and no as this place is the closest to perfection I can find. It is not just the special location, Rangali Island itself or even the Vilu Bar it goes deeper than that. I think it is a blend of many things that I guess I must need like peace, tranquility, the occasional Tiger beer (joke??) but mainly it is being surrounded by the really nice people who work there. I am an old sceptic but I am absolutely certain these people were personally pleased to see us and the welcome went beyond just hotel efficiency. If they were to say "missing you already" they would actually mean it.
Rangali Island became my permanent camp. It fits my comfort zone like a pair of well worn slippers. The other island of the resort is not for me personally but that is more down to me and what I need than anything else because it is simply magnificently put together. The Spa hanging off the end of it is definately not for me. Carrot juice in the mini bar, minimalist breakfasts and some well meaning Thai lady beating the hell out of my muscles does not meet my holiday needs. HOWEVER the great thing is that Hilton has provided three distinct first class resorts in one that you can mix and match as you choose. For example you can sit on the deck of your water villa on Rangali seeing no one and nothing but fish in the morning, go and have a first class spa treatment in the afternoon and THEN spend the evening in a buzzing main island bar talking football to the barman before dining under the stars or under the water in the Sunset or Ithia restaurant. WOW what a tough life!!
So what did I do/learn during my sojurn on the chilled out peaceful Rangali Water Villa Island? Very little except 1/ Morning, sit on deck and watch fish followed by quick swim and late breakfast at the Vilu 2/ Park on favourite part of the beach, accept water, cold towels and fruit and see next to no one for a few hours. 3/ Retire to the Vilu bar for free drinks and bites at 5 p.m. happy hour, meet a few other guest and flop out on a day bed and read a book. 4/ Go back to the room, chat to the cleaner, put on some flip flops and off to dinner. 5/ Back to room, late night swim under the spotlight, bottle of wine and sleep.
What else? Snorkelling (great organised trips), Big Game fishing (two 90lb Yellowfin Tuna) and very little else. Oh by the way, If you walk on the bridge at night you may see Manta rays directly below you and if you are really luck like me then go late at night to the sandspit and watch a giant turtle come out of the sea and lay her eggs.
Should you go there? Probably my opinion is obvious however you really need to decide what you individually want out of a holiday. I would say that if you want desert island chill out but with luxury take a Rangali water villa. If that would be too much isolation and you want a bit more life and the best spec beach villas you have ever seen then go for the main island. Finally, if you are the health worshipper type the spa and its water villas have to be seen to be believed. And if you simply cannot decide just go for your favourite and then ask to be upgraded/downgrade for a few of the days when you get there or simply just visit the other places as , after all, it is only 5 minutes across the lagoon on a regular Dhoni ferry.
Going back to my begining statement I now have a problem. what do you do when you find the perfect place? I know, be boring, go back again !