Review: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives

Introduction: A Trip to the Conrad Maldives
Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX
Star Alliance Business Class Lounge at LAX
Asiana A380 First Class Los Angeles to Seoul
Asiana Business Class Lounge in Seoul
Thai Airways 777-300 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong
Conrad Hong Kong
Qantas Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Sri Lankan A321 Business Class Hong Kong to Colombo
Serendiva Colombo Airside Transit Hotel
Serendib Lounge
SriLankan Airways A330-300 Business Class Colombo to Male
Conrad Maldives:
– Seaplane Ride, Male Airport Lounge, and Arrival
– Beach Villa
– Deluxe Beach Villa
Superior Water Villa
– Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Cocktails
– Activities
Etihad A320 Business Class Male to Abu Dhabi
First Class Etihad Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is possibly the most famous feature of the Conrad Maldives.  The “coolness” factor of dining in an underwater restaurant was something we couldn’t pass up – even if we weren’t sure if it would be for us. That being said, like many things at the Conrad Maldives, it came with a hefty price tag.

Before going I made sure to research the Ithaa options as well as do some photo research. I had to wonder if the reality would stack up to the Conrad’s photo however:

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Maldives
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant stock photo. Courtesy of Conrad Maldives

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Dining Options

The Ithaa underwater restaurant has multiple dining options for varying budgets. A very basic breakdown is as follows:

  • Cocktails:
    A glass of champagne, or mocktail, and canapes. Children are welcome. US$75 + 22% in service charges and taxes. 
  • Lunch:
    A four course lunch with a set menu (sample menu here). Children are welcome. US$220 + 22% in service charges and taxes.
  • Dinner:
    A seven course dinner with a set menu (sample menu here). Children are not welcome. Amuse bouche and palate cleanser are part of the seven courses. US$325 + 22% in service charges and taxes. 

Based on the above options I did quite a bit of research and we decided to just do the cocktail option. It really came down to us not seeing much of a value in the options for how interested we were, but feeling like we “had” to do it. The factors that contributed to that, were as follows:

  1. My husband and I are very into food and the lunch and dinner options seemed uninspired
  2. When in Hong Kong we picked a 3 Michelin star restaurant that for both of us, including drinks, was less than Ithaa for one
  3. We were concerned that Ithaa would just seem like a glorified aquarium to us
  4. Many reviews cited loud kids at lunch and cocktails, guests being very loud, interrupting the whole dinner with flash photography, etc.

Overall, even though I have certainly spent a lot of money on decadent meals before, not the sort of experience that I thought would ever make $915 including tax and service charge, before drinks, worth it.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Cocktails

So cocktails it was! I made a reservation with the Conrad ahead of time to do Ithaa on our first full day there.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant - Entrance
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant – Entrance

There were some employees doing maintenance work around the outside as we approached, but we had arrived about 15 minutes early to try to snag some good pictures of the waiting area. Unfortunately, I underestimated how excited the other guests were for the experience and there was already a family of 5 waiting inside as well, snapping selfies like they were going out of style.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Cocktails
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Cocktails

We were quickly greeted in the above water area with the option of a glass of champagne or a mocktail. It’s worth noting if you go: this is your one glass of anything, so sip it slowly!

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Champagne

After waiting until 11:00am on the dot there was a mad rush down the stairs to reach Ithaa:

Ithaa Underwater Restaurant Entrance to Downstairs

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Crowds

My husband and I grabbed a table towards the end of the restaurant and waited for the action to settle down a bit. Even though there were only about 15 total people I’m sure there were at least a thousand pictures taken.

Of course we did take a few pictures ourselves! But the second there was anything of interest, even if it was just another fish, it was like bees to honey. The Conrad does put food in the water to make sure you do see wildlife while in Ithaa.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant - Sea Turtle

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Fish Ithaa Underwater Restaurant Wildlife

After about 15 minutes the picture taking did calm down a bit and we were served our canapes. So if you’re wondering what the $75++ gets you beyond the ambiance, it’s this:

Ithaa Underwater Restaurant Hors d'Oeuvres
Ithaa Underwater Restaurant Hors d’oeuvres and Champagne

Another couple items of note: we didn’t luck out our particular day as the water was very cloudy. At the same time it was sunny out so bring sunglasses down there!

We ended up staying about 40 minutes total. After the server took a few pictures of us around 25 minutes in we twiddled our thumbs, debated whether it was a waste of money to leave early, then took off.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Worth it?

Well, I don’t mince words in my reviews. I’m sure you can tell by now I was as underwhelmed as feared by the Ithaa underwater restaurant. I just felt like I was in an aquarium frankly. I very much enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling though, so for me, I just wanted to be IN the water experiencing and seeing the wildlife. As far as my husband, I’d say he’s the not easily impressed type already and shrugged, said he was glad we did it, but not going to go back.

Perhaps we aren’t the right audience for Ithaa. Plenty of people enjoy Ithaa, according to TripAdvisor, I guess we just aren’t two of those people.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives

  1. You’re in an underwater restaurant and it feels like being in an aquarium? I’m not sure what else you were expecting.

    1. Aaron, I 100% agree…as I mentioned in the article, I was apprehensive beforehand, and unfortunately the experience matched up to my concerns. But it was so hyped I guess we just thought/hoped something about it being in actual nature would make it more interesting?

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