It’s no secret that Hilton has a handful of ultra-high-end hotels. You’ll find these scattered all over the world, including such exotic locales as the Maldives and French Polynesia. Perhaps 2 of Hilton’s most exclusive — and most popular — properties include Conrad Bora Bora Nui and Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. These 2 hotels regularly charge upwards of $1,000 per night for a room but can be booked with Hilton Honors points.
Let’s take a look at an in-depth comparison between these 2 hotels, including service, elite benefits for members, and the properties themselves.
Earning Hilton Honors Points
The majority of Upgraded Points readers are likely looking at booking these hotels with points — which is one of our favorite ways to travel. Fortunately for those looking to travel either to Conrad Maldives or Conrad Bora Bora, earning Hilton Honors points is easy, thanks to a handful of co-branded credit cards and a transfer partner.
Hilton Co-branded Credit Cards
The simplest way to earn Hilton Honors points is by signing up for one of Hilton’s credit cards. There are a total of 4 cards from which to choose; each card offers varying levels of perks depending on its annual fee:
Hot Tip: The Hilton Aspire card offers complimentary elite status as long as you hold the card, which entitles you to benefits such as room upgrades, premium Wi-Fi, early check-in, late checkout, and free breakfast.
If you’d rather not get a Hilton credit card, you can also opt to transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. This means that 1 Amex point becomes 2 Hilton Honors points. Keep in mind, however, that Amex often has transfer bonuses by as much as 30% that can help bump up that ratio.
Earning Amex points is easy, too, with plenty of different credit card options for both consumers and small businesses:
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.
Earn by Staying
Of course, you can always earn Hilton Honors points the good old-fashioned way, which is to stay at a Hilton hotel. The number of points you’ll earn during your stay will depend on your elite status; those with top-tier status will earn a 100% bonus on points compared to regular members.
Bottom Line: There are plenty of ways to earn Hilton Honors points for your stay, including co-branded credit cards, transferring points over from Amex, and staying in a hotel.
Now that we’ve talked about how to go about earning Hilton Honors points, it’s time to talk about spending them. We’ll start off this comparison piece by talking about the price per night for each of these hotels. Spoiler alert: it’s rough.
Prior to March 2022, Conrad Maldives cost 95,000 points per night, while Conrad Bora Bora cost 89,000 points per night. Unfortunately, due to a no-notice devaluation, the price for both hotels has jumped significantly.
These days, you’ll pay 120,000 points per night for Conrad Maldives:
Including taxes, the rate for a 1-night stay jumps up to $1,700:
At this rate, you’re redeeming your points for a value of 1.44 cents each, which is nearly triple the value we give Hilton Honors points.
Conrad Bora Bora
Conrad Bora Bora also charges 120,000 points per night, but the hotel has been blocking out its standard rooms for both cash and points redemptions, meaning it’s not possible to find these rooms online.
There is word, however, that you can call the Hilton Honors line and have these rooms unblocked for you (your mileage may vary on this). Otherwise, cash rooms start at around $1,000 per night before taxes and fees.
It seems silly to mention award availability when only one of these hotels is offering standard-level rooms, but it’s worth noting. It’s unusually difficult to find award space at either of them right now.
Although Hilton Honors doesn’t have a published award chart, it generally tends to stick to a 120,000-point cap on its standard room redemptions. Premium room rewards, however, have no cap and can often exceed a million points per night.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island will usually have decent standard-level availability as 2 of its room types are considered base level. Overall, the hotel is larger and features 150 rooms.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui, meanwhile, only has a few rooms that price out at base level, which means it’s significantly more difficult to find reward space among its 116 rooms.
One of the reasons these hotels are so popular is because they feature far-flung idyllic locations on private islands. Despite this, they are located in wildly separate locales.
Conrad Maldives is located on its own island within the atolls of the Maldives. This is a very popular tourist destination, with over 1,400 hotels sprawled across its 26 atolls. Geographically speaking, the Maldives are located off the coast of India, meaning any flights from the U.S. will take upwards of 14 hours and include at least 1 layover.
Conrad Bora Bora
Conrad Bora Bora is also located on its own private island just off the coast of Bora Bora. Bora Bora is one of the islands located within the country of French Polynesia. French Polynesia as a whole is much more exclusive, with just a few hundred hotels located across Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Moorea. Geographically speaking, Bora Bora is located 8 hours west of Los Angeles in the middle of the ocean. Flights from the U.S. land in Tahiti, which means you’ll need to change planes for your puddle-jumper flight to the island of Bora Bora.
Bottom Line: Both hotels are located on remote islands, but it can be much faster to fly to Bora Bora than the Maldives.
While both of these hotels are located on their own private islands, the ease with which you can travel to them varies greatly.
Conrad Maldives is located on a series of far-flung islands off the coast of India. Despite its remote location, you can find plenty of service here from a variety of airlines, which makes finding award space to Malé (MLE) easy. A number of notable airlines flying to the Maldives include:
- Air France
- Qatar Airways
- Turkish Airlines
As you can see, there is representation from all 3 major airline alliances, including Star Alliance, Oneworld, and SkyTeam. There aren’t any direct flights from the U.S. to Malé, which means you’ll need to have at least 1 stopover. Big hubs for this route include Dubai (DXB), Doha (DOH), and Istanbul (IST).
Once you’ve landed in the Maldives, you’ll still need to get to your resort. The cost for this will depend on how remote the property is; many require a seaplane, while others can be reached by speedboat.
The cost of the seaplane can range anywhere from $360 to $1,000 per person roundtrip. Speedboat transfers, meanwhile, are much cheaper and can be as low as $100 per person. Conrad Maldives charges ~$800 roundtrip for its seaplane transfers.
All this travel comes at the cost of time — a journey from Los Angeles (LAX) to Malé (MLE) rings in at 24+ hours of travel.
Conrad Bora Bora
French Polynesia is a small cluster of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Located 6 hours south of Hawaii and closer to New Zealand than anywhere else, you’ll find far less service here than than to the Maldives:
- Air France
- Air Tahiti Nui
- French Bee
- United Airlines
Despite the relative lack of carriers, you’ll still find representation with the 3 major alliances; although Air Tahiti Nui is not part of an alliance, you can book flights with Oneworld carriers American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
Like the Maldives, you’ll need to board an additional flight once you’ve reached Papeete (PPT), French Polynesia’s international airport. This flight will be operated by Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui) and must be paid in cash. Rates tend to hover around $400 roundtrip.
Fortunately for U.S. travelers, there are nonstop options from both San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT). These flights take just 8.5 hours, while the hop over to Bora Bora (BOB) takes a further 40 minutes. All in, your total travel time can be fewer than 10 hours, making Bora Bora much more accessible for Americans (though certainly far superior for those who are West Coast-based).
However, once you’ve landed at Bora Bora you’ll also need to take a speedboat to the hotel. The cost for this is around $150 per person roundtrip.
Hot Tip: Looking to fly to Bora Bora? Check out our handy guide on the best ways to fly to Bora Bora with points and miles.
Both of these resorts offer amazing amenities. As they are both located on their own private islands, each is fully self-sufficient. You’ll find similar amenities at both locations, including top-tier restaurants, infinity pools, and excellent snorkeling. There are a few differences between these properties, however.
Conrad Maldives is a standout when it comes to snorkeling. The house reef is well-developed and features a variety of marine life, including turtles, octopuses, and even reef sharks.
Although Conrad Bora Bora also has some reef development, it is nowhere near the same scope as Conrad Maldives. Snorkels, fins, and other non-motorized water activities are included in your room rate at both properties.
Of course, one can’t mention Conrad Maldives without mentioning Ithaa, its underwater restaurant. Although it’s no longer the only underwater restaurant in the world, it does feature an absolutely spectacular view while dining.
Conrad Bora Bora, meanwhile, has the luxury of being near the main island of Bora Bora, which means a $15 transfer can get you into town for sightseeing and cheaper food.
When it comes to affordability, Conrad Bora Bora beats Conrad Maldives. Although both are located on remote islands, Bora Bora still manages to keep prices lower than the Maldives, perhaps because of its larger resident population.
There isn’t a huge difference overall in pricing when it comes to activities — you can expect to pay upwards of $70 for a snorkeling tour, for example. However, you will see some notable differences when it comes to dining, especially in the evening.
For example, the cost of a sirloin steak at Sunset Grill, the more casual dinner option within Conrad Maldives, will run you $68. At Iriatai, the upscale French restaurant located within Conrad Bora Bora, you can order the filet mignon for $62.
Hot Tip: Most everything charged to your room will earn you Hilton Honors points — and when paying with the Hilton Aspire card, you’ll earn an additional 14x points per dollar spent.
Both hotels include a service charge on all your bills, but this, too, is different. The total service charge at Conrad Maldives is 10%; the service charge at Conrad Bora Bora is 5%.
Anecdotally, after having visited both of these locations, we’ve found the tipping culture to be very different between the pair.
While tips (in addition to the 10%) at Conrad Maldives were frequent and pretty universally expected, tips at Conrad Bora Bora were not. In fact, an employee actually refuse a tip, explaining that it was not culturally appropriate.
In practice, this meant that most food and activities were significantly cheaper in Bora Bora compared to the Maldives, with a 15% to 20% difference based on the cheaper pricing and lack of tipping culture.
Standard Award Rooms
Conrad Maldives handily wins this comparison with the ability to book directly into an overwater villa using your points. Let’s take a look.
Conrad Maldives has 2 different room types you can book with points. This makes it much easier to find reward availability overall. The first room type you’ll find is the 1,600-square-foot beach villa, which can accommodate up to 4 adults:
The second room type you’ll find is the overwater villa, which is much smaller at just 925 square feet. However, the room includes a private whirlpool on the deck and stunning views. Note that the water villa is located on the adults-only island at Conrad Maldives, which means guests must be older than 16. This room accommodates up to 2 adults:
Both of these options can be booked using 120,000 Hilton Honors points per night, which leads to much greater flexibility depending on how you travel. Notably, the overwater villa at Conrad Maldives is one of a handful of properties that can be booked as a base room — most other locations will require more points or a cash copay.
Conrad Bora Bora
Conrad Bora Bora is a smaller resort than Conrad Maldives. Unfortunately for those looking to head to Bora Bora, just 1 type of room here qualifies for a standard room reward. You can book a king lagoon view suite using 120,000 points per night. This room is 1,087 square feet and can sleep either 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children:
Elite Status Benefits
The competition between the 2 properties heats up when it comes to elite benefits. Why? Because the offerings for both resorts vary greatly — and can make or break your experience (though you’ll never feel left out as an elite member!).
Conrad Maldives is one of very few hotels that will not grant complimentary room upgrades to its elite members. This means that if you book a garden villa, you’ll be staying in the garden villa unless you’re willing to shell out cash for an upgrade.
In terms of other elite benefits for members, you’ll receive a free buffet breakfast each morning, which includes Champagne. There is also a daily afternoon tea from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a happy hour at the pool bar. Both of these feature free food and drinks for those with Hilton Gold or Diamond elite status. Theoretically, if you’re looking to save as much money as possible, you could fill up at breakfast, have a small lunch, and then take advantage of the afternoon tea for more snacks.
Hot Tip: Looking to earn Hilton elite status? It’s easy — check out our guide on how to get Hilton Honors elite status!
In practice, while the buffet breakfast is massive and excellent, the afternoon tea is a sad affair — although there were finger foods set out, hordes of hungry elite members gobbled up each refill. It’s not a pleasant experience.
Finally, Conrad Maldives offers a welcome amenity of sparkling wine, fresh fruit, and chocolate. Also of note: we traveled while celebrating a birthday and were pleased to find a complimentary chocolate cake in the room.
Conrad Bora Bora
Unlike Conrad Maldives, Conrad Bora Bora will offer complimentary upgrades to its elite members. When we booked the lagoon view king suite for a 7-night stay, we were upgraded 6 categories to a deluxe overwater villa. Of course, room upgrades are not guaranteed; you’ll have the best success when occupancy is low.
However, a 6-category jump on such a long stay represents a very significant financial benefit — the deluxe overwater villa costs more than twice as much as the standard king suite at $2,000+ per night.
Elite status at the resort is denoted by colored wristbands guests wear (that also function as room keys). In addition to a breakfast buffet (without alcohol), elite members at Conrad Bora Bora also have their own dedicated beach.
You’ll also receive a welcome amenity as an elite member that includes fresh fruit juice and chocolate.
Hot Tip: Check out our in-depth review of Conrad Bora Bora Nui Hotel detailing the room, amenities, food and beverage, and more!
Friendliness to Families
There is a fairly large difference when it comes to how families are treated between Conrad Bora Bora and Conrad Maldives. Although both resorts feature a kids’ club, only Conrad Bora Bora is completely open to children. This means the overwater villas, restaurants, and pools are all family-friendly. In practice, this means you’ll likely see quite a few children splashing around the infinity pool.
While Conrad Maldives also allows children, they’re restricted to just 1 of the resort’s 2 islands. Rangali Island is devoted exclusively to adults, which means that no one under 16 is permitted access. Instead, children must stay at the family-friendly Rangali-Finolhu island.
Note: The overwater villas that are considered standard room rewards at Conrad Maldives are located on Rangali Island, which means no children are allowed. Although there are some overwater villas that provide access to children, they’ll charge you premium room reward prices, which can cost upwards of a million points per night.
Both of these hotels are spectacular options for those looking to use their Hilton Honors points. Before the Hilton devaluation, there was a price difference to redeem points at each resort, but now both will run you 120,000 points per night. Despite both being located on remote islands, the overall feel and amenities of these properties are very different.
Conrad Maldives costs more and can be much less accessible for U.S. travelers, but there’s no denying the allure of a guaranteed water villa and fabulous snorkeling. Conrad Bora Bora, meanwhile, is much smaller and feels more exclusive. However, reward availability can be more difficult to find and it doesn’t offer free drinks or an underwater restaurant.
Wherever you choose to redeem your points, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking ocean views and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re staying at one of the most fabulous resort properties around.
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