This trip was to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. What a truly incredible place to stay. We are lucky enough to travel quite a lot, however this is the only place I have felt motivated enough to review. It was our first trip to the Maldives and choosing a resort was quite daunting. We wanted something smallish, personal, great food, luxuriously rustic & eco conscious - Gili is all these things and more. From the moment we were met at the airport (10:30pm at night) the service was extraordinary. Shoes come off on the boat transfer and that is the last time you will need them. The special touches (ice bucket of champagne & gourmet snacks laid out in our room on arrival was just one) continue throughout your stay. The island has all its villas over water so only the other facilities are actually on the land. They have designed it all so beautifully that the buildings seem to almost melt into the vegetation giving the sense that it is all really natural and untouched. We stayed in a Crusoe Villa that has only boat access. Apparently all the villas are the same, just jetty or boat access is the difference. We loved our little boat and the independence it gave us. The Villa was simply gorgeous. The bathroom is enormous and stunning. I sat in the bath the one evening with the windows pulled open watching a storm roll in and blanket us in cloud and rain, only to pass on and clear almost as quickly as it had come. Everything takes the environment into account. The toiletries, the drinking water, packaging, towel service. We did not turn on the TV during our stay, but the Bose speakers & iPod are a nice touch with music all the way through to the bathroom. Free in-villa Wi-fi was also appreciated. Also a big plus was the Nespresso machine in the villa. You see a lot of sea-life from the villa and we swam in both the private swimming area off the bathroom and around the villa. The food at Gili is a highlight. Their organic gardens are worth a visit & something to be proud of. Breakfast is the best we have ever had. We dined in-room, at By The Sea, in the Over Water Bar, had a sandbank picnic (highly recommend this!) and had a private beach dinner. Every meal was fantastic and the service is always 5*. This is one of the few holidays where we have not come home dying for fresh fruit, salad and veggies. They are in abundance and you can eat till you want to pop, but keep it healthy at the same time - perfection :-). The Meera Spa adds to your relaxation and my massage and facial were both highlights of our stay. We snorkelled on the house-reef and while the coral is not great, the fish life was abundant. We also snorkelled at the sandbank and there the coral was breathtaking. We also visited a couple of local islands and really enjoyed seeing the other side of life there. 5 nights was simply not enough - we could have stayed 2 weeks :-). This is not a destination to go if you are worried about cost. It is not cheap, although I suspect that it is similar to other 5* resorts in the Maldives. What you do get is a resort that is a little bit different & has that something extra that sets them apart, you get what you pay for. The management and staff is happy, knowledgeable, efficient, friendly and they seem to know your needs before you do. To Atheef, our Mr Friday, thank you! You made it special & we will think of you every time we see your painting on our wall. Your Mr Friday is central to making everything happen for you and WOW do they do their job well! The Maldives is simply stunningly beautiful & we could not recommend Gili Lankanfusi more highly. Hopefully we can go back for our 30th anniversary!
- 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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