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“No news but keep shoes please”

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Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lankanfushi
Certificate of Excellence
Warsaw, Poland
Level Contributor
31 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“No news but keep shoes please”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2009

We spent two nights prior to our come back at Soneva Fushi. Gili is total opposite of Fushi. Water villas, spa and one bar/restaurant are all you get. Honeymooners’ paradise. Quite, scenic, water so blue that all photos taken there look like Photoshop work and sand smooth like feather. On our arrival we were told to keep shoes, it was so hot during our stay that it was impossible to walk without them on jetties. We tried once; I do not recommend this adventure to anyone.
We were given Crusoe villa which was isolated from land and reachable only by boat. Actually you are given one which you can use during the day or you can call service to pick you up if you wish to go to the spa or bar. Villa is huge and water isolation works perfectly. On upper open deck with additional bed you have both sunrise and sunset view. We slept one night on this open bed, it sounds more romantic then it is, it was windy and full of mosquitoes, to me it seems that it works better for in villa barbecue which we didn’t have.
As we stayed during full moon morning tide was so low that you could not swim in the sea around villa. I thought it was low until I saw low tide around jetties 2 and 3, no more then 5-10 cm of sea level. Advice - do not go during full moon, although I doubt that in the morning sea level can be much higher. Probably this is the reason why you have pool area and proper beach here.
Service anf food were impeccable. One of the best I encountered around the world. Spa was great as in Fushi. Gili is much smaller resort then Fushi and if you looking for complete relaxation with person you love you are at the right place. If you wish just a little bit more action then this is not place for you.
Snorkeling is much better in Fushi. Here you can snorkel between two small islands in front of resort - One Palm island and Three palms island.
One more note, as resort is close to Male you can hear boats and sea planes coming and going around all day and night. Gili is also very close to two other resorts, you can easily see what is going on there from Gili. I wasn’t bothered with that.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank marr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Paris
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2009

Spent 11 nights in celebration of my wife's birthday. We LOVED everything about the place and were depressed to leave. Food, service, accomodation, etc., all excellent. Particularly liked that they have their own time-zone, one hour ahead of Male...Gave the impression of an extra hour of sunshine!!

Note: They are building a new restaurant which looks like it will be lovely.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank luvslux_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sydney
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Soneva Gili for our honeymoon last June and I must say I have been many places in the world but nowhere as beautiful as here. Have been meaning to write a review and finally have had the time. I researched on trip advisor extensively for my honeymoon and I was definitely not disappointed with the choice I made. I'll try to cover most areas below:

Arrival - You'll most likely fly into Male airport whereby you'll be met by your Guest relations officer and Soneva Gili's van. They then take you on a 20 min speedboat ride to the island. As soon as you get on the boat, your GRO gives you a cloth bag to put your shoes in since the island's motto is 'no news, no shoes.' The resort does not have a lobby. Rather you have a 'GRO' who is on your speed dial in you room who takes care of whatever you need. The restaurant manager and resort manager Kurt meet you on the jetty when you arrive which I thought was extremely personal and adds to making you feel like royalty when you're there! So we arrived and it truly was paradise. The water is exactly like in the pictures, the sand is so white and the scenery beautiful! Your GRO then gives you a tour around the island.

Rooms - stayed on Jetty 1 at water villa 21. There are 3 jettys of water villas in addition to the free-standing crusoe residences and I had read previous reviews that it was best to stay on either jetty 1 or 2 as the noise from any boats was much less. I requested specifically that I wanted to be on jetty 2 when I booked and they were happy to accommodate. The villa is spacious and there are so many little touches that make it feel so special. They are built so that you can see the open water from every room in the villa and it really does bring the outdoors in. There is a private sundeck that steps right out into the water, a massive bathroom (one sink each so no fighting!), an upstairs where you can sleep under the stars if you choose to, chess and checkers board, a water garden that you access through the bathroom. They also give you each a bicycle so you can get around the island.

Food - what can I say? It was divine. We were on half-board (b'fast and dinner) and the food was indeed five-star quality. Well done to Jerome and the team. There is also a sommelier if you like your wine. I suggest you get your food included when you book as otherwise it would be very expensive and you won't enjoy it as much thinking about how much you have to pay. Half board was plenty for me and my husband who is a big eater! You can choose to have b'fast on the beach or in the restaurant. You choose from the menu your main and in addition there is curries, pastries and other lovely things at the buffet. Dinner was exceptional. 5 course meal every night. We stayed for 7 days so got to taste everything. They have a seafood BBQ buffet on the beach on one night. Another buffet on another night (I can't remember which nights but I think it was sunday and friday?). On Tuesday nights, their is the manager's cocktail party held on palm beach (a long strip on the island with palm trees). They serve canapes, cocktails and had free chair massages. It was lovely. You also get to talk to the managers of the resort.

Service - The service for the most was excellent. You get the same person looking after you at dinner every night. Thank you to Siyam who looked after us well. You also get the one person who acts like a 'butler' who cleans your room everyday twice. Thank you to Mohamed who did his job very well. It was the little touches that made the service excellent. For example, we liked to make ice cofee with milk so he would put extra milk and ice in the fridge for us and he noticed that I was using cotton tips a lot and he would put extra ones at my sink for me. I thought the attention to detail was amazing. He also turned down the bed every night and would make a different display every night (you can see an example in my pics). Our GRO was Shiyam who for the most part did a great job. They were certain things that he did that annoyed me but I'll report below under criticisms. Special mention goes out to the restaurant manager and the bar staff (esp Naoko) who were very attentive. Just beware drinks are not included in half board and you will have to pay for these.

Sea life: There were plenty of fish to see (esp the type you see in nemo.. sorry don't know their names!). There was an interesting square fish that would come to visit my water garden every morning without fail (see my pics). There are little sharks around as well but they're harmless. I was dying to see a sting-ray and one night 3 came by our villa at night. It was amazing. You can get snorkel gear for free from the dive centre and keep it for the duration of your trip. Went snorkeling every day however be careful of the coral when the tide is low. If you want to see bigger fish you can borrow a kayak from the dive centre (free) and paddle out to one tree island. It's a bit rocky there so we sort of just tied the kayak to a floating seat thing that is out in the middle of the lagoon and went from there. You can also hire windsurfers for free at dive centre. We were going to go diving but had to cancel for reasons below.

Criticisms: Be careful of the floorboards. A large nail was sticking out of the floorboard on the top deck of our villa. My husband's toe got caught on it unknowingly and it ripped open quite deeply his big toes. He was bleeding a lot and it was very painful for him and a big hassle. We had to go to the neighbouring island to get a tetanus shot for him and every time we went swimming he had to wrap it up in plastic to try not to get it wet. That's why we had to cancel the diving as well. There is an island doctor that we called and he bandaged up his toe for him. Now I don't tend to be too fussy. Even after that happening and putting a dampener on our honeymoon we decided we were still going to do everything we could to enjoy our time there. However, I must say I was annoyed at the way that they handled it. We called our GRO and told him what happened and he was very blaze about it all at first. We requested that someone get down there to knock the nail back in and that didn't happen for almost 24 hrs which I think is unacceptable for the price we were paying a night to stay there. We also called the resort manager but got no response from him either till we actually bumped into him at the resort a couple of days later. We had taken pictures of the nail and how far it was out of the floorboard and it was only after we showed him how deep the nail had gone into my husband's toe that they started to show concern. They said that the heat might have caused the nail to come out of the floorboard. They did sort of make up for it by organising a free sunset cruise by dhoni one evening.

The other small thing that annoyed me was that we had to fill in a form regarding the services and our stay where you also write down who gave exceptional service. I was happy to fill in the form, that's not what annoyed me. I gave it to my GRO and he opened it and checked if his name had been written down in front of me (which of course I has not written down due to the nail incident). It's just a minor thing but maybe management could tell their GROs not to do that as it's unprofessional and uncomfortable.

That said, you could have a different GRO and you probably won't step on a nail while you're there and so this most likely will not be an issue for most ppl.

Other stuff: The island is built to wear no shoes. We didn't wear shoes for the whole time. If you are lucky, you can ask your GRO to take you out to the massive villa in the middle of the lagoon. It has 4 bedrooms, and outdoor spa and even a waterslide! There is a library where you can borrow books, free internet access in the library, a DVD library you can borrow from and a bar you can hang out in. Oh and the massages are great. The in-house doctor is also lovely and looked after us well. Thank you Dr Prem!

Finally, despite the nail drama, I had an absolutely wonderful time and an awesome honeymoon at soneva gili and would go back in a heartbeat. The pros outweighed those two criticisms and that says a lot considering that my husband was in pain half the time! I went in 'monsoon season' but I would not worry. It only rained for 1 day of the 7 days we were there and was still 25 degrees all the time. Also, if you go in low season, the island is not fully occupied, you get more privacy and they have time to make 'special dinners' for you (they dug out a hole in the beach one night, stuck a table in, set up cushions and candles and we had dinner there.. it was divine).

Best of luck with your planning! That's half the fun. I'll be back at soneva gili someday!

  • Liked — the attention to detail, the food!
  • Disliked — The nail incident
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Jezz3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oslo
Level Contributor
130 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 February 2009

Stayed there 10 days during our honeymoon combined with 7 days in Dubai.
Booked an overwater Villa. Service, food, facilities and the location was just a dream. We are already planning going back, cant forget our 10 days.

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Frequenttraveller125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
south west
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 December 2008

The Gili is a more contemporary version of soneva fushi. More easy to use, stylish and still a joy as it is a bit different than the average hotel on an island.

The food may be not as good as the soneva fushi or as good as you would expect in Asia...but then it is an isolated island in the middle of nowhere and everything is flown in. The service was warm and relaxed yet efficient.

A hotel to highly recommend

  • Stayed April 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank hd-travelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
95 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2008

We stayed in this Resort for 5nights for our honeymoon. All the villas are "water bungalow" out here. This resort has a "No Shoe No News" policy, and trust me on that, it feels much better moving around on the atoll without them! There r 3 jetty in all, our villa was located on jetty 1 which is the largest jetty and it is over looking the Indian ocean, the beach and the crusoe residences. Jetty 2 has lesser villas and has an open view of the ocean and sky, and located beside the spa. Jetty 3 is on the opposite side of the atoll and is standing on deep waters, hence recomended for divers and snorkeling.

We were in water villa no 13, the villas are massive in size, the living room is very spacious equipped with a day bed, chess/checker board, dining table, along with a water deck. where u can sun bathe and take a dip in the open ocean. The bathroom was perfect for honeymooners, it had a walk in open air shower, bathtub over looking the ocean and a stairway that leads down to a mini sea water plunge pool (u can also use it to feed fish). The bedroom has a King sized, comfortable bed with large glass windows overlooking the open sea. Tv with dvd player (u can borrow dvd`s) A rooftop terrace, with a bed, ideal to sit down for breakfast... ..


Every villa is appointed with a personnel butler, who is at your service 24x7. (though they expect big tips at the end of your stay!!) A bicycle is provided to every guest which you can use to move around and explore the atoll. The Atoll has plenty of beach sports and you can spot quiet a few marine life.

The food was Delicious!! but very expensive if you don`t have a meal plan included in your package. Fortunately we had a half board plan(breakfast and dinner) in which we were able to order unlimited quantity of food. You can choose in room dinning or buffet by the beach, which ever suits u best.

Our only complain was that sometimes there were noisy boats belonging to the hotel passing by even at night.

Overall we had an amazing time and a flawless honeymoon!!! Breath taking views and a wonderful experience. We highly recommend this hotel for anyone looking out for a perfect honeymoon destination.

  • Liked — The beach, The water, The villa, Spa, Food
  • Disliked — CRABS!!!
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank walkingtheearth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 October 2008

We stayed at Soneva Gili for the last 4 nights of our honeymoon after 7 nights at another resort. We absolutely loved it. It is like going to another world. The villas are amazing--2 or 3 levels and huge. They seemed to have thought of everything at this resort to make sure that the guests are comfortable and stay in absolute luxury. For divers, it is also very close to Manta Ray point, and for the first time in my life I saw these majestic under-water creatures. To get around the island, they give you your own bikes. They were very proactive about making sure we got the honeymoon package, which included massages for the both of us and a dinner. Such care of taken for the dinner, it was quite sweet. My husband and I are also both vegetarians and we felt like we had our own personal chef on the island to make sure our dietary needs were met.

There were a few minor things that I would say weren't perfect--we stayed in a villa off the jetty, and at times the golf cars were a bit loud. Also, we found it strange that we were never asked to sign a bill after ordering room service or any type of service. It was a bit disconcerting as it is always good to know how much you are paying for something in case you don't have an unlimited budget and care about maybe spending too much.

Otherwise, we completely recommend this resort. They will take care of your every need and you will go away with a big smile on your face and dreaming of coming back one day!

  • Liked — the luxurious villas and personalized attention
  • Disliked — the noise from the golf cart on the jetty
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank worldyone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Property: Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
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 (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Gili Lankanfushi Maldives 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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