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“Most amazing hotel - pure excellence from start to finish”
Review of Gili Lankanfushi

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Gili Lankanfushi
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lankanfushi
Reviewed 4 December 2013

We've just returned from spending a week in Gili Lankanfushi and I really couldn't recommend highly enough. We did a lot of research before choosing a hotel for our week's holiday and given all the fantastic reviews on tripadvisor we went with very high expectations and it really didn't disappoint. Absolutely amazing experience - really can't fault it.

From the moment we arrived at the airport and were promptly met to an awaiting speedboat, the service was outstanding. When we arrived at the island we felt like we'd landed in paradise, it's absolutely stunning. If you look at the virtual tour on their website, it really does look exactly like that! Clear blue sea, amazing beaches and the villas were stunning, huge and every small detail considered. We loved their "no shoes, no news" policy, as while it's utter luxury, it really feels relaxed which is exactly what we were looking for.

Our Mr Friday (Atheef) was fantastic and made sure we were really well looked after during our stay. Nothing was too much trouble!

One of the best things about this hotel is the quality and range of activities. We loved paddleboarding, waterskiing, kayaking, guided reef tours with the resident marine biologist, dolphin cruises, wine and cheese tasting, cocktail hours, speed boat trips to the neighbouring Four Seasons (which in our opinion doesn't compare to Gili), guided snorkelling tours etc....all excellent. You can really do as much or as little as you like during your stay, and you'll never get bored here! The spa is also fantastic - clear glass floors so you can look at the fish while having your massage, and the beaches are stunning.

The other big plus about Gili is the quality of the food. When you're on a small island like this for a week - for us having top class food was a must and it really didn't disappoint. Craig and his team do an amazing job and everything from breakfast through to lunch and dinner was top class. The two sommeliers were also excellent and the selection of wine was great. You also get dedicated waiters for the week which makes it all the more relaxed and you really feel at home here.

Overall, we've travelled the world and Gili is by far the most amazing hotel we've every stayed in. Everything was top class - amazing facilities, atmosphere, food and top class service. We will most definitely be back, outstanding from start to finish.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DublinPinky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear DublinPinky,

We sincerely thank you for taking the time to write such an appreciative review of your recent holiday at Gili Lankanfushi. We are absolutely thrilled to see that you had the pleasure of enjoying all that our island has to offer.

Our team of Hosts made it their mission to ensure that all of your dreams and requests were met while striving to create many unforgettable memories.

Thank you for recognizing Craig and our team of culinary artists who strive diligently to provide our guests with an array of inspired menus daily.

I am delighted to see that your Mr. Friday, Atheef, and the team of Hosts have succeeded in providing you with the friendly and personalized service that Gili Lankanfushi is renowned for. I will ensure that your feedback is shared with them, which will only continue to inspire them.

On behalf of all the Hosts at Gili Lankanfushi, we look forward to having the privilege of welcoming you back again to our piece of paradise soon.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager

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Reviewed 1 December 2013

We had researched and researched and finally enlisted Lindsey Wallace from Linara Travel who found this GEM of a resort. From top to bottom (and we had a behind-the-scenes tour too) it was spectacular.

Perfection in: Barefoot luxury - No New No Shoes - Travel by Bike - Mr. Friday - Breakfast Buffet - Themed Dinners - Late Night Bon Fires - Snorkeling - Swimming - Laying in the Hammock - Sunrises and Sunsets... I could go on and on but
The best parts are:
- It's a small resort: if you are looking for a special spot with that special someone and want to focus on just that, this is a great place. Not too many people - only 45 villas, all over the H20 that is as blue as blue gets.
- The Mr. Friday concept is the ultimate in guest service: only one contact person from arrival to departure to ordering a bucket of Ice.
- Servers assigned for your trip are special and well paired.
- Even the cooks we encountered and the guy who fills the jetty jars of water to wash your feet with: the whole staff was phenomenal.
Favs:
- I would highly recommend Jetty three facing Palm Island - the best snorkeling and the best views.
- The Mera Spa is to die for: awesome couples embrace massage with views of coral and fish through the floor and a plunge tub for two sprinkled with flower petals.
- Yoga with Deve every morning was perfect: a Hatha style with plenty of space to ramp up or modify down: "Be There"
- Riding the bikes to and fro is a lovely way to get around and they have three wheelers for anyone challenged with balance.
- Cocktails overlooking the Ocean were well made
- Our Mr. Friday let me look behind the scenes and we saw great accommodations for the staff; well kept go rungs; nice looking cafeteria for them; incredible desalination facility; power plant was immaculate and a real village for the workers to relax.
- Enjoyed early morning runs up and down each Jetty=3.3 miles if you work it :-)
Issues:
It was hard to find ANY issue with this property. I guess we were slightly annoyed by a small family who popped up every now and again, mainly because of the woman's whiny voice :-p ... but we could easily avoid that happenstance if we wanted.
We will be back!!!

Room Tip: Room 43 on Jetty 3 facing Palm Island was our fav but they are ALL awesome
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank christopheraboettche
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear Christopher Aboettche,

Thank you so much for posting such a wonderful review and strong recommendation for Gili Lankanfushi. I am delighted to know that you enjoyed every minute of your stay and that our team of Hosts exceeded your expectation with their personalized service.

We all look forward to welcoming you back again on your next visit to our little paradise soon.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager

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Reviewed 29 November 2013

I am working in the travel industry so I have very high expectations for a place where I will be spending my honeymoon at.... and Gilli Lankanfushi exceeded my sky-high expectations by a thousand miles.

All guests are provided complimentary speedboat transfers (20mins ride from Male Airport) and on the way there we were given refreshments, cold towels and a lovely canvas bag to put our shoes in as the resort has a "No News No Shoes" policy. We felt the warmth and hospitality the moment we were greeted at the airport!

Upon arrival at the resort, all the guests were greeted by the General Manager and our Ms Friday, Momoko-san (from Japan!) drove us to our villa in a buggy. On the way to the villa she will stop at various location to introduce the resort and also familiarize us with the layout of the place. This is really useful as we instantly know where the restaurant was, where the spa was, etc.

Every villa has a dedicated butler, a Mr Friday or Ms Friday who will take care of your every needs during the stay. We did not have to check-in at the front desk like other conventional hotel, all the documents have been prepared in the villa itself.

Your butler will plan your itinerary for you according to your wishes and make all the reservations for you. We highly recommend the dolphin cruise! :)

We enjoyed the spa tremendously at Meera Spa and had 2 sessions there during our 5 days stay.

Breakfast is a sumptuous and wonderful affair! Remember to head downstairs to the Wine Cellar for the cheese, cured meats & chocolates! All the chocolate pralines are kept in the cupboards and you can eat as many as you like! (Usually they charge a couple of USD for each pralines).

I've stayed in many 5 stars properties around the world and Gili Lankanfushi is easily the top 3, if not the best property I've stayed at before. Their attention to details never cease to amaze me and they are really committed to be eco-friendly in every ways possible!

It seems that the staff are elves (like in Harry Potter) and appear at times when you don't see them to make the resort as comfortable as possible in it's natural state. That means twice a day fogging to rid the mosquitoes (we did not notice the fogging and only knew when we asked Momoko on the lack of mosquitoes as during the city tour on another island, we were heavily bitten), smooth paths for our bicycles with no leaves (they sweep and pick up all fallen leaves and twigs several times a day), cute porcupine sand sweepers at every entrance of all buildings at the resort so you can sweep your feet (cute & ticklish!) before heading in.. there are just so many to name!

Words cannot describe how wonderful the resort & the staff are.. I have not started on the gorgeous villa and the meals.. you just have to go and experience it for yourself!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Room Tip: Jetty 1 & 2 have calmer waters and more fishes swimming around. Jetty 3 has a sunset view but sk...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank JasmineTay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear Jasmine Tay,

Thank you so much for being a guest of and Ambassador for Gili Lankanfushi and for recommending us to other Trip Advisor readers.

I will pass on your appreciation to the team of Hosts who looked after you so well, with special mention to your Japanese Ms. Friday Momoko and to our team of culinary artists.
I am proud to share with you that it is our passionate and dedicated Hosts who continuously strive to deliver our guests dreams that makes Gili Lankanfushi uniquely special.

On behalf of all the Hosts at Gili Lankanfushi, we all look forward to having the privilege of welcoming you back again to our piece of paradise soon.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager

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Reviewed 27 November 2013

Gili is a very special place, and working hard to keep it's place amongst the top spots in the Maldives. It goes without saying that the place is well looked after, facilities are great and service is close to perfect.

Choice of where to stay: when choosing a place to stay, think about the pros and cons of the detached villas surrounded by water (the "Crusoe" villas at Gili). The feeling of isolation is amazing - knowing that to get anywhere, you have to get a boat and waking up every morning surrounded on all sides by the light blue marine of the lagoon is a unique experience. Having said that, being unable just to walk to the gym or breakfast can be a little bit of a hassle after a few days. They give you a little boat to use but in rough seas you probably want the pontoon. If you are there for a longer trip, you could always consider a week in a regular villa (connected via walkways to the island) and move into a Crusoe villa for a special 2-3 days at the end.

At the Gili, things are generally well-maintained, though there are a few things showing their age: our aircon kept switching itself off after 5-10 minutes, and it took the resort staff two attempts to fix it. Similarly, the engine on the little boat they gave us kept breaking down.

Two more helpful tips: they may tell you mosquitos are not a problem (we were told they were not a problem), but I got bitten 5 times over the first breakfast. After that, I wore mosquito repellent and had no more problems. I don't think mosquitos are a big problem, but if you tend to attract them, as I do, then do be careful.

Another tip: Gili is a 'no shoes' resort. It's a great liberating feeling not wearing shoes for a week, but beware the long wooden walkways - they can get very hot during the day. I burnt the soles of my feet a little on day 2, which made walking for the next few days quite uncomfortable. I only learnt later that this is not an uncommon problem and they've had injuries in the past. I suggested they should exercise caution with guests on the longer walkways.

Finally, our two highlights - activities that are not so well advertised: they have an outdoor cinema, the 'jungle cinema'. I strongly recommend a private viewing. You can even bring your own DVDs or get one from their collection. We watched 'Life of Pi', under the stars - starting with a 4 course dinner, then reclining on the lounges. Our own private cinema, surrounded by palm trees, lit only by candles, brought a whole new element to this magical movie.

The second highlight, a private BBQ. They set up a table outdoors on the sundeck of your private villa, surround it by candles and BBQ your chosen menu to perfection, served by your dedicated waiter. Again, a unique experience - under the stars, the only sounds the water lapping around the edges of the villa.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank T1ggerTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear T1ggerTraveller

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at Gili Lankanfushi with our Trip Advisor readers. I am delighted that our team of Hosts at Gili Lankanfushi managed to succeed in creating a wonderful holiday experience during your stay.

Please be advised that all wooden Jetty’s are fitted with terracotta foot baths every 15 meters to allow you to cool your feet with water. We apologize sincerely if this feature was not highlighted to you but are also pleased to hear that you embraced our “No News, No Shoes” policy with such enthusiasm.
I have noted the list of other comments that you have mentioned and we highly value the constructive feedback of our guests as we continuously strive to improve all facets of our resort experience.
I am delighted to see that your Mr. Friday, Atheef succeeded in providing you with the friendly and personalized service that Gili Lankanfushi is renowned for. I will personally ensure that your kind comments are shared with him, which will only continue to inspire him.
We at Gili Lankanfushi are very grateful to see all the wonderful comments that you shared and all our Hosts look forward to welcoming you back again to our little piece of paradise soon.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager

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Reviewed 24 November 2013

I don't think I've ever stayed at a place, and there have been many, that claim to be 5 star that not only meet that but beat it. There are touches here that only very detailed people notice, but everyone would love, like the soft covers on the bike pedals (as everyone is just in barefeet), or the small touches in the suites, and just the warmth of the people.

This is the only resort where room service is not just fabulous, but its cheaper than dining out...and much much better. Highly recommended.

The kids loved every moment in our Crusue Suite. Lots to do, and see, fish everywhere, crabs, and beautiful ocean warm water, waist deep making the biggest swimming pool in the world. Snorkling, biking, the spa, diving, you name it, but sitting and just looking at the most beautiful ocen in the world is the best. Sand is so white you can think your walking on clouds.

We live in Singapore, and for an extra 2 hours, this beats anything imaginable in Thailand, Bali or otherwise.

And..if your concerned with money, this is not your place. It will set you back around US$2,500-$3,000 a day, but if you have the money, this is an amazing value. My 3 boys smiled non-stop, and had very full days. I hadn't slept so well in months, and the 5 days seemed to last forever.....we can't wait to return

Special thanks to all staff, but especially to Atiffe, our personal concierge.

Room Tip: If a family, you have to book the Crusoe suites...in fact, any size ...book it, well worth it. Stay...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank gregblakney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear Mr. Blakney,

Thank you for posting your holiday experience at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives. It is indeed a true pleasure to read that your expectations were exceeded.

I will pass on your appreciation to the team of Hosts who looked after you and your family so well, with special mention to your Mr. Friday Atheef.

We all look forward to welcoming you back again in our little paradise and thank you once again for posting your holiday experience as this really does mean a lot for the team.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager

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Reviewed 17 November 2013

We had high expectations when we booked our trip to Gili Lankanfushi. However, they weren't high enough. Not only is this an extremely well run resort that should meet anyone's realistic expectations for a five-star resort, but it exceeded our hopes in so many ways. Instead of re-iterating what is in many other reviews, I'm hopefully just going to mention some areas that were above and beyond anything we expected.

1) The people who work there are genuinely friendly, interesting, and interested. I'm listing this first because it is the crux of what I believe sets Gili Lankanfushi apart from similar other places around the world we've experienced (Fiji, Hawaii, Greek Islands, Galapagos, etc.). ALL of the people we met that work at the resort were so friendly and genuine. Everyone from our Mr. Friday, to the Wait Staff, the Dive Masters, the Executive Chef and all of his staff, the Manager of the resort (Ian), etc. The Executive Chef exemplified this several times in particular, giving us a tour of the Mediterranean feast they had prepared as well as providing us with a couple recipes. There are MANY more examples like that.

We enjoyed their company immensely and when they asked what we did that day or what we would be doing, they also shared their own experiences and insights. It's hard to convey, but it's relatively easy to tell the difference between someone who is an excellent service provider and someone who exceeds that by being sincere and making friends with the people they are aiding. We have many examples of this, which I'm happy to reply to this review with if folks are interested, but I'll move on to keep this review from being pages and pages of stories.

2) The accommodations have so many special touches that did not go unnoticed. The Villas themselves are really special. They are spacious and decorated very nicely, but it's much more than that. They are put together to feel like a home away from home with everything you might need or want. Many other resorts that we considered had luxurious rooms that looked like hotel rooms decorated with an island feel. The Crusoe Villas felt naturally a part of the islands. They are unique as far as we're aware. However, there were so many small touches that took it even beyond those expectations. Everything from an ipod specifically for our villa with music and movies that we'd enjoy, to the little cloth and wooden coverings to hide the outlets, remote control, etc. to the fan mounted in the bathroom that my wife loved to use while blow drying her hair. There were amenities that we didn't know we'd need, but when we did they were already there. Things like aloe vera, an extra electrical transformer, etc. Needless to say, we were extremely happy with the accommodations and particularly all of the little details that went into the room.

3) The dive shop was excellent. I've been diving for over 20 years and have been to many different types of dive shops. This was the best that I've experienced in many ways. They covered all the things you would expect with quality equipment that was well prepared, knowledgeable staff, safe procedures, good dive site picks, etc. However, they were safe and respectful while still being very fun and friendly. Every dive we had a great experience (6 dives while we were there). Every dive we had confidence in the dive masters. They made the environment relaxing even when there were challenges like drifts/currents. While on the boat to and from the dive sites or on the resort, they were genuinely friendly and helpful as well as encouraging.

4) I would be remiss without specifically mentioning the food. The presentation, variety, and quality was exceptional. Everything was very fresh, even things that were challenging to get on the island, like fresh octopus or smoked salmon. The Chefs and in particular the Executive Chef do an amazing job to keep every meal interesting. Instead of getting into all of the examples of great food, I'll provide one that was unexpected. We went to the over the water bar just to grab a drink and snack (where I subsequently met the Executive Chef who was very friendly). We ordered the gazpacho to share and it was the best we've ever had. There were similar small experiences, like the iced tea they brought us to the room as a welcome, was the best we've ever had. So many small things like that surprised us it was wonderful.

5) We try to be eco-friendly when we can, but it isn't something we valued as highly as we do now. I was very impressed that the resort has it's own marine biologist. He had very informative classes about the marine life in the area and discussed how the resort makes all of the best efforts to be as eco-friendly as possible. It is also possible to go on a snorkeling trip with him to learn even more about the underwater ecosystem in the Maldives and around the immediate islands. He also raised my awareness of resorts that are responsible and many ways that we can specifically be more eco-friendly in our daily lives.

6) Lastly, our Mr. Friday rounded everything out in an amazing trip of a lifetime. He was attentive, but not push. He was always helpful (for example, he booked Yoga for my wife before I even had to ask, anticipating what we'd want based on a peripheral conversation). Really, more than anything, he made us feel like we were never inconvenienced or inconveniencing him. This level of service was very much appreciated.


So, I could probably go on and on about many other things at the resort, but I'll leave it at this. It's been a few months since we left, but a week doesn't go by when I think of the next time I could possibly go back. I hope it is soon!

Room Tip: We preferred Jetty 3 since it had an amazing sunset and a bit less boat traffic. However, I think a...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank shappysfunland
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 22 November 2013

Dear shappysfunland,

Thank you so much for posting an amazing review on Gili Lankanfushi highlighting each and every aspect of our resort. This will certainly give an insight to our future guests as to what they can expect from us.

I have also shared your comment with the Management Team and they so happy that we managed to exceed your expectations and created a wonderful memories during your stay.

Thank you once again for a very nice review and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

With kind regards, Riaan

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Reviewed 12 November 2013

My wife and I are incredibly fortunate and have had the chance to see the world. This includes 3 visits to the amazing Maldives, heaven on earth.

In addition to Gili, we've stayed at Huvafen and the W. All three are hotels that are hard to explain on a website as all are remarkable in their own right. Gili was something I will never forget and if you can afford it.... DO IT.

My 5 step program:

Step 1: dont think about the money. Yes, your room is over $1,000 US a night and yes you will spend $100 a day in alcohol. Dont think, just do it as in your lifetime, you will be lucky to be there ONCE.
Step 2: all of the rooms are over the top and ridiculous. And I do mean RIDICULOUS. However, if you can, do the Crusoe suite. We did the Crusoe suite 2 nights and the regular suite the other nights. It helps by having the variety and I HIGHLY recommend you do this. Dont worry about the pack and move of rooms as Mr Friday can help you.
Step 3: Breakfast...dont miss it, and trust me on this one.
Step 4: make sure there is air in the tires on your bike.
Step 5: relax. its what you are here for. This includes Maldivian night which is great fun.

Enjoy! There is nothing like Gili!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank D M
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 D M,

Thank you so much for being a great supporters and ambassadors for Gili and recommending us to Tripadvisor readers.

We look forward to welcoming you back again in our little paradise and thank you once again for posting your holiday experience as this really does mean a lot for the team.

With kind regards, Riaan

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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: £956 - £2,485 (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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