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“Attention to detail is exceptional”
Review of Gili Lankanfushi

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Gili Lankanfushi
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lankanfushi
Reviewed 31 October 2013

From the moment you arrive to the end of your stay, this resort has thought of everything to make your stay a magical experience. The Mr Friday system is addictive and I must praise Gasim for his thoughtful and caring attitude to meeting our needs, often beyond the call of duty.
We spent 4 nights in the Robinson crusoe villa which was the best overwater villa we have stayed in (now 4 in different countries). The Japanese restaurant is also a must. Whilst the weather was very windy and irratic, it made no difference to our enjoyment. Well done Riaan the GM and his team.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank overlyfussy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Riaan_Drever, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 5 November 2013

Dear overlyfussy,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience on our magical island with other Trip Advisor readers. It is indeed a true pleasure to read that you appreciate our Mr. Friday concept that makes us unique from other resorts in the Maldives. The personalized service of Gasim, your Mr. Friday, has been always a pride as he made the guests experience a truly memorable one.

Once again, thank you so much for the wonderful review and we look forward to receiving you back soon!

With kind regards, Riaan

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Reviewed 30 October 2013

This was our 25th wedding anniversary and Gili Lankanfushi was the perfect place to spend it. We are very well traveled, spoiled you could say and this went beyond our expectations. Very romantic, peaceful, fun, exotic and delicious. The ten days that we spent flew by too fast and we left hungry for more. Everyone on the island is under that magic spell, overwhelmed by the serenity, beauty of this island resort. The staff made it over the top special, thank you Ahmed and Latheef. The diving center was wonderful and my husband had the best diving experience. We are looking forward to returning again and again, this is definitely our new favorite place to go.

Room Tip: The Robinson Crusoe water cabin
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Jenny236
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Riaan_Drever, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 14 November 2013

Dear Jenny236,

Thank you very much for posting an excellent review and strong recommendation on Gili Lankanfushi on Tripadvisor. I am so happy to read that you made a right choice by choosing our resort to celebrate your 25th year anniversary.

Gili Team is really grateful to know that we managed to exceed your expectations and created a wonderful memories for you and your husband. We appreciate all the comments you mentioned about the foods and the serenity of the island and glad that your husband had the best diving experience during your stay.

I have passed on your nice comments to Ahmed and Latheef who looked after you so well.

Thank you once again and we all look forward to welcoming you back in the future!

Kind regards, Riaan

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Reviewed 29 October 2013

This is a long-overdue review of Gili from the 6 nights my wife and I spent there on our honeymoon back in February. In short, it was absolutely amazing, and we are still talking about it to this day.

We chose Gili partially because of its proximity to the airport - we figured that after we'd flown all the way from the US, we wouldn't want to get on yet another plane to fly to a far-distant resort, and indeed, it was very nice to be a brief speedboat ride away from the resort.

We had a lovely villa towards the end of one of the jettys - this offered better privacy and views than some of the villas that were closer to the short, but obviously comes at the expense of being a longer walk. One tip: while they say "no shoes, no news", and while there are buckets of water placed at regular intervals along the pier/jetty with which to cool oneself, the wood gets very very hot during the day, and we found that we were better off throwing on a pair of sandals or shoes on to protect our feet.

The food and drink was excellent, but the real star is the breakfast buffet, which was not only delicious, but incredibly comprehensive, offering a variety of cuisines, and many many options, including an outstanding curry that changed daily and a variety of juices that we sampled. We found ourselves eating very large breakfasts in an attempt to try as many things as possible, and then having a light lunch in our villa via room service.

The alcohol is a little on the pricey side, but not as bad as I expected from some of the reviews on here. In general I would say that the prices for drinks and wine are roughly on par with the more expensive cities in the US and Europe, which I think explains the disconnect between some of the reviews - if you're used to paying London or New York prices, your martini at Gili won't be too shocking, but if you're from someplace more affordable, it will seem expensive.

The service is wonderful, and very much structured in such a way that they can handle all of your needs - if you want, you don't have to plan anything or try to schedule your days, they will handle it, which for us took a little getting used to. Our Mr. Friday was friendly and attentive, and looked after us with great care while not being obtrusive. Our waiter was downright engaging, taking the time to look up the weather in our hometown and reminding us how it was cold and snowy back home while we were enjoying the beach.

My wife and I got massages at the spa, which I found to be very good, but not anything remarkable (is there such a thing as a really incredible massage?). More impressive were the hair and skin treatments my wife got, which she loved and were one of her favorite parts of the trip.

The resort is very clearly set up as a "hang out and relax" place - there's not a laundry list of excursions and activities, and the island feels almost deserted a lot of the time. That was exactly what we were looking for, but I think someone who wanted a livelier scene might have been disappointed. We did a lot of swimming and relaxing and reading, and it's set up perfectly for that. We did do a snorkeling trip to a better/nicer reef, which was lovely, and requesting the marine biologist to guide us around was well worth the small additional fee - I would suggest anyone take advantage of that if possible.

Beyond that, the staff did a great job setting up a number of romantic outings - a picnic on one tree island, and a private screening of one of our favorite movies. One tip - since you spend almost all of your time on the shore of the island, you don't realize that the interior is much hotter and more humid. Our private screening at the outdoor movie theater was a ton of fun, but it was stuffy and a little uncomfortable without the shore breezes, so keep that in mind.

Overall, we had an amazing time. A week feels like probably the perfect time to stay at Gili - any less and you can't quite relax enough, and if we'd stayed much longer we both agreed that we would probably start to get restless.

A couple of things - they take customer service *seriously*. At the end of our stay, they asked if we would mind filling out a comment card. I gave top marks on everything except for one item, which I'll talk about in a second, and it was probably less than 48 hours before I had an email from the GM, Iain, asking if I could elaborate on my issue. I would wholeheartedly suggest that if you are unhappy with anything during your stay, speak up, and they will genuinely do their best to make it right.

The only negative I can bring up is pretty minor - when we arrived at the Male airport, we couldn't find anyone to meet us. Many of the resorts had kiosk-type stands for people to meet at, but Gili did not. We wandered around for 10 minutes or so, until one of the other resort attendants noticed us, and called the Gili representative for us. He arrived shortly afterwards and was very apologetic, saying that he hadn't expected us to get through customs so quickly. It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it would have been nice if there was even a sign or kiosk there to know where to wait, as opposed to wandering around looking for someone or some sign to know where to go.

Other than that, really flawless. For us, looking for quiet, romance, relaxation it was perfection. If you're really focused on having things to do or lots of energy and partying, it's probably not the right place for you.

The real shame is that living in the US, Gili is just too far for us to travel to on a regular basis, or we would be here at least once or twice a year.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank moohat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

Thanks to everyone that wrote a TripAdvisor review, as I read so many of them before deciding on booking Gili Lankanfushi. I must admit, after reading all the great reviews, I was thinking, "how could this resort be this good?". Well, I have to say that we are pleasantly surprised that the resort was even better than we thought. It took us 32 hours of travel from where we live in Hawaii, but we both agreed that we want to return again soon.

Like many others, we travel frequently and stay in the top hotels around the world. This resort ranks right up there, but we really enjoyed it due to the level of service, the excellent food and the size of the villas. We stayed 7 days at Gili, but think next time we will have to stay at least 10 days, as our stay went too quick.

First, we want to thank Ahmed for making our stay just wonderful. He provided just the right amount of service - was there when we needed anything and knew when we were fine enjoying our relaxation. He, along with the staff at Gili, provided exemplary service and were always helpful and friendly. The service really made the trip.

ROOM: I did a lot of research before our trip, so I had an idea of what to expect. But my husband didn't and it was so wonderful to see how much he loved the size and details of the room (of course I appreciated it, too). Thanks to Ahmed and the hotel who gave us Villa 31, which was perfect. It was on the quieter side of the island (less wind and boat traffic), had shallower waters and a great view. It was perfect!! We hardly left our villa!

I loved the pillow menu and the scented sachets they give you at night. Just be sure to fill out the little card next to your bed.

FOOD: If you can get half board, I would definitely recommend it. Food is not cheap, but we expected this. I'm not sure if it is always the same, but our half board plan included the awesome buffet breakfast (includes eggs to order, pancakes/crepes, and specialty drinks/smoothies off of the menu) and dinner. Dinner included either the ala carte special menu (it provides choices for the 4 courses) and their special buffets. During our stay there was a Asian Market buffet, Mediterranean buffet (our favorite) and a Tandoori buffet. The food was of the highest quality and a lot of thought put in by the Chef and his team. Outstanding job!

Also, you get assigned a waiter for most of your stay, too. Thanks to our waiter Lateef, who was pleasant and did a great job.

When we initially booked the hotel, we were a bit skeptical about the half board, thinking it may limit us on the quality of the food. In our opinion, in no way will it limit you and t it's definitely worth it. In case you don't want the ala carte menu, they gave us $97 credit per person (which we never used).

Reading the previous reviews, we weren't sure what to expect for the cost of wine, as we love a bottle with dinner. It wasn't bad at all. Yes, there were some bottles with crazy prices, but there were also $40 bottles.

GYM: We love to work out, but found on this trip that we just enjoyed lounging around. We used the gym once and it was fantastic. Above average for a hotel gym, with newer cardio equipment, free weights and machines. I also took part in the complimentary morning yoga, which was nice.

WATER SPORTS: Since we are from Hawaii, we didn't do many water sports here. We took out the stand up paddles one day (complimentary) and went on a snorkeling excursion. I would recommend the excursion, which takes you about 30 min out to a better reef. We saw quite a few fish, sharks, rays, but not a lot of color. If your used to Hawaii or the South Pacific, this particular resort did not have the same type of coral and water life. BUT, it was still beautiful. We snorkeled almost every day from our room. It was just fun to explore and enjoy the waters.

Overall, the hotel was OUTSTANDING. We loved everything and will plan on returning. Again, thanks to the staff and particularly Ahmed and the Chefs!

The negatives that I will mention are:
-The arrival at airport: We transferred from another hotel, so when we got to the airport we were told to go to a certain booth to find the Gili representative. Well there was no rep and when we finally found him walking around, he had us sit down in a bar to wait for a couple arriving on another flight. He said that that plane had already arrived and it wouldn't be long. Well he left us at that bar for about an hour. It did bother us because no one came around to check on us or give us an update. Plus, we just travelled half way around the world and paid to stay at a top notch resort, not to sit in a smoky bar. It was not a good way to start our vacation. It wasn't until the Gili boat came, that things changed for the better. By the time we got to the resort, all was fine. Although Gili may have another vendor take care of arrivals, they should improve this for the overall "experience"

-Please use caution on the stairs leading down from your deck to the ocean. We noticed that the stairs under water get very slippery and even if you are being careful and holding on to the rails, you will still slip. We both hit our shins a few times (imagine that feeling of stubbing your toe).

-shampoo/conditioner: we appreciate the eco consciousness and the glass containers they use. I have long hair and use conditioner. I had trouble getting the conditioner out of these particular containers and on one occasion it slipped out of my hand and the glass bottle broke. Maybe a different shape of glass bottle or having something affixed to the shower wall would help.

For the guests: please watch your kids and don't smoke in public areas. Most of us go to Gili for a relaxing holiday. The last thing we want is crying kids during a romantic dinner or somebody blowing smoke right in front of us. Horrible and ruins the romantic and natural mood of resort.

Aside from very few negatives, this resort is FANTASTIC. I would highly recommend Gili Lankanfushi. It's a short boat ride from the airport, the service is great, food amazing and the villas are a home away from home. MAHALO (Thank you) Gili. We will look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Room Tip: The rooms on the opposite side from the arrival are less windy. The waters are more shallow there...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank EB808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Riaan_Drever, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 31 October 2013

Dear EB808,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your holiday experience at Gili Lankanfushi with other Tripadvisor readers. It was really nice to know that after reading and considering all the reviews about Gili, you choose to come over and now it is your turn to write your own experience. While reading your detailed review, I am happy to know that we exceeded your expectation in terms of level of service, foods and the size of the villa.

Further, I have well noted your comments about the waiting time you had to experience during your arrival. Please accept my apology for this shortfall in service as during that time, there was another guest who encountered issues that needed the Airport Representative assistance longer than anticipated. This is not the usual standard we operate at our resort and I truly feel very saddened that you had such experience with us, I have however shared the concern with the team to ensure we address the matter.

With regard to your comment about the steps going down to the water, as the steps are soaked in sea water which makes it slippery, our Housekeeping team is tasked with ensuring the steps are scrub regularly. Also our Maintenance Team is looking for additional options to put some rough materials, which is safe on the feet yet will avoid this kind of issue in the future.

In addition, we have recently amended the smoking policy in Over Water Bar and Main Restaurant thus going forward smoking is only permissible on the beach side away from non smoking guests or the smoking area set up in case of rainy days.

I wish to thank you for the overall constructive feedback as we always strive to improve all facets of our resort thus love all the feedback from our guests.

Furthermore thank you for planning to return back again to our little paradise and we all look forward to welcoming you back soon!

With kind regards, Riaan

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Reviewed 20 October 2013

No news - no shoes! I don't think I have spent a whole week without shoes during the last 40 years. They took off our shoes on the speed boat from Male to the resort. Wow, it was a great start to what became our best beach and relaxation vacation EVER.

I don't want to repeat what you can read from the reviews below. It's all true! Maybe I emphasise a few points that we appreciated most.

- The service and friendliness of all staff was impeccable.
- The food about the best you can get. With lots of rafinesse and great taste
- The diving centre is run very professional and we enjoyed the time with Satoko and her team to complete a beginners diving course
- The water villa offering plenty of space and privacy
- Our Mr. Friday was a great help and support

If I could, I would give 10 points to this resort! I did read almost all review comments to find out which jetty to choose. You find recommendations for all of them. Really, there are only great places. We did not get any of the noises from the nearby island mentioned by some of the reviewers. We were in villa 21 and can fully recommend it.

It is a place like paradise and run with a lot of understatement!

You won't be disappointed and hopefully meet us there when we go back :)

Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
2  Thank LoveDeepSnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2013

We have just returned from a seven night stay at Gili Lankanfushi. It was the most incredible holiday we have ever had. We went with our three children 12,10,8, for my husbands 50th birthday so he and the boys could surf and the girls could relax. It was so much more than that. The island itself is beyond beautiful, abundant fish, incredible snorkelling, the villa we stayed in was heaven. Undoubtedly the highlight to this holiday was our Mr Friday, Shifaz. Nothing was a problem ( not even a left bag on a carousel in Singapore... found and delivered to my villa the next day) he oversaw to the very minute detail everything that we required to make it the perfect holiday. We also renewed our wedding vows whilst we were there and the attention to every detail to make the day magical was executed perfectly. In fact all the staff were amazing so friendly. Sam our waiter at breakfast remembered each persons juice preference and they were there when we sat down! The food was mouthwatering and the election and themed nights were sublime.
Thank you to all at Gili for spoiling us rotten and making it impossible for us to even try and top that holiday... we'll be back.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank nickigk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IainMccormack, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 24 October 2013

Dear Nickigk,

Thank you very much for posting your wonderful experience at Gili Lankanfushi. It is a pleasure to read that we managed to exceed your expectations and make each day “magical” during your 7 nights stay with us.

I have shared your comments with Shifaz and Sam who made your stay special and they are very happy to read your experience.

We at Gili look forward to welcoming you and your family back soon!

With kind regards, Iain

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Reviewed 15 October 2013

We have recently spent one week at Gili on honeymoon and this was truly one of the best weeks of our lives. We researched various resorts in the Maldives before booking and our expectations were high for this resort but Gili went beyond our expectations. From arrival to departure, the whole experience here was beautiful, delightful and first class. Gili is in a class of its own, offering discreet luxury in a fabulous setting on glorious white sand in the Indian Ocean, everything being of high quality but rustic at the same time. We stayed in a Crusoe Villa which offered a little more space and privacy than the standard Gili Villas but the standard villas were incredible too. Waheed, our Man Friday was delightful, along with all the other members of staff, always delivering a friendly first class service with a smile. Much praise should also be given to Iain McCormack, the General Manager and his management team, nothing has been overlooked at Gili. Must mention the food - WOW! Breakfast and dinner were both of the highest quality and there are lots of options for private dining. We thoroughly enjoyed our Maldivian curry cookery lesson on the beach with private dining to follow.

We can only echo everything that has been said on previous reviews, the whole experience was beautiful; the location, the villa, the staff, the food, the spa, the glorious weather, all made our honeymoon a truly memorable week for us and we are looking to find a good excuse to return to Paradise hopefully very soon!!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Deborah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IainMccormack, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 24 October 2013

Dear Deborah C,

Thank you for sharing your holiday experience with other Trip Advisor readers. We are delighted that you and your husband had a wonderful moment with us and that all our facilities and services exceeded your expectations.

I have shared your wonderful comments with my Team and they are really grateful that we succeeded in creating your whole honeymoon experience a lifetime memories.

On behalf of the entire Gili team, we look forward to welcoming you back and creating another unforgettable Maldivian experience on your next visit.

With kind regards, Iain

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Additional Information about Gili Lankanfushi

Address: 08290
Region: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Lankanfushi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lankanfushi
Price Range: £909 - £3,155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Gili Lankanfushi 5*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives is a short 20 minute boat ride from Male, the capital of the Maldives. It is a tiny coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties threading across the water out to spacious villas. The forty four stilted villas plus the vast Private Reserve are crafted in a traditional style from natural materials and offer rooftop and over-water sundecks, featuring open air bathrooms, sumptuous daybeds and a personal entertainment center. For ultimate privacy, we have seven Crusoe Residences that are only accessible by personal boat. Come ashore for some great dining and equally great wines or perhaps a romantic moonlit dinner delivered right to the villa. The possibilities are endless. The interior decoration has been devised to recreate a natural habitat, using sustainable woods, natural materials and traditional fabrics, whilst still offering all the modern day amenities and creature comforts of true luxury. At Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives we are very sensitive to the environment. The utmost care has been taken in developing the island with respect to its ecological balance. The Maldives is a paradise for snorkeling and diving and the resort has its own fully equipped PADI diving school plus a variety of water sports. This place tops the list of must-do destinations for those seeking the aquatic paradise. ... more   less 
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