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I was a guest of Gili Lankanfushi on a full board basis. This and all my reviews are always honest and my own.
Gili Lankanfushi Best Hotel In The World
Gili Lankanfushi reopened in late 2019 after a complete refresh following an accident that damaged several of the villas and the main restaurant, and I had the chance to return to this little piece of paradise for a second time, so this review of Gili Lankanfushi is done with the experience of two stays at the best resort in the Maldives (TripAdvisor’s choice).
At The Opulent Gili Lankanfushi Resort In The Maldives You Will Find Paradise
If you search on Booking.com you will notice that there are 196 five star hotels and resorts in the Maldives. This is perhaps the largest concentration of luxury hotels in the world. Choosing one is a tough task and you have to take my word for it, Gili is one of the best.
Differentiating between the great and the best luxury resorts in the Maldives is a very difficult task, especially if you do it based on online research.
All the resorts look amazing, the water in the Maldives is beautiful everywhere you look and on paper you can’t see what sets them apart.
Thanks to the recommendations of (very discerning) friends, as it has been awarded several accolades, such as twice voted the best resort in the Maldives by TripAdvisor or the best spa destination by the Conde Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence in 2018 .
The Best Luxury Hotels In The Maldives
But mostly because it had most of the elements that interest me in a luxury resort.
Read my Gili Lankanfushi review below to find out why I think it’s one of the best resorts in the country.
Gili Lankanfushi is owned by Singapore-based HPL Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality management group with 11 hotels and resorts across Asia that I am very familiar with and a fan of.
I have previously stayed at Casa del Mar, one of the best hotels in Langkawi, Malaysia, and The Boathouse Phuket in Thailand, both of which, although very different types of hotels, share the same commitment to service and long-term employee satisfaction. Gili Lankanfushi was no different.
The Best Hotels In The Maldives
Many of the staff I spoke to had been at the resort for years, despite the highly competitive Maldivian market, where dozens of luxury hotels open each year and try to source the best staff from acclaimed resorts such as Gili (Gili’s general manager, left at open Joali Maldives). ).
The hotel was previously part of the Six Senses/Soneva Group, which sold the property to HPL Hotels & Resorts in 2012.
After the takeover, rather than a complete restyle, most of the successful elements were retained, including the brand’s commitment to sustainability and much of the same look and feel and service standards.
The recently revamped brand has evolved some elements like the color palette, added some Maldivian must-haves like pools, but kept all parts of the resort’s philosophy.
Meet The Maldives’ Chicest, Sleekest Resort On Stilts
If you have visited or are familiar with the Six Senses brand (I have stayed at several Six Senses including Zighy Bay in Oman, Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam, Six Senses Singapore in Duxton and Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain near Chengdu) or with Soneva ( I’ve been to Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand), you will feel very much at home.
The same ‘No News, No Shoes’ barefoot luxury, use of sustainable and recycled materials to build the resort and Mr/Ms Friday personal butlers are shared elements between the brands.
Since the update, Gili Lankanfushi has further established its own identity, customizing the color palette and bringing unique reclaimed wood pieces into each of the rooms, such as the unique mirrors that are different in each villa.
What the resort still maintains and will continue to strengthen is its eco-friendly approach and commitment to sustainability. Protecting the sea, banning all plastic, using environmentally friendly equipment and products, serving from the garden to the table and many other things are part of the brand’s values.
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives @usd
Gili Lankanfushi is one of the few truly luxury resorts in the Maldives, located close to Male Airport. This means you don’t have to take a seaplane to get there, but rather a 20-30 minute boat ride, depending on the weather.
If you’re new to the Maldives, you might think you want to take a seaplane, and that’s probably true if you’ve never traveled in one before. But the downside is that you can waste a lot of time waiting at the airport, while the resorts located near Male are much more efficient. You can land and reach the resort within an hour.
In my case, both times I came to Gili from an overnight stay in Hulhumale. All hotels in the Maldives will call your accommodation in Hulhumale the night before to inform them of your departure time and pick up, in this case, the jetty outside the airport.
We were to leave at 09.00 and met the team from Gili at that time. As there were other guests disembarking from a plane at the same time, we waited for them.
Reasons Why You Need To Add Gili Lankanfushi Maldives To Your Bucket List
Gili Lankanfushi has its own fleet of luxury speedboats to pick up and drop off guests, making transfers as efficient as possible.
On the boat decked out in emerald green cushions, we were introduced to the crew, given life jackets, a cold lemongrass scented towel and a refreshing drink to accompany us on our short trip to the resort. Our shoes were also collected and stored in the canvas bag where they were to remain for the rest of our stay. In fact, I almost forgot about them.
The duration of the speedboat trip depends on the weather and the strength of the waves, but takes a maximum of 30 minutes. As we approached the resort, we immediately recognized its private water villas and docks.
Gili Lankanfushi is relatively close to other islands and in fact one of the local islands is very close and can be seen on the horizon.
Gili Lankanfushi Rooms: Pictures & Reviews
Its proximity to Malé also means you can see some of the local boats by the lagoon. If you want to feel like there is nothing around you, the sunrise view villas see almost no traffic.
As soon as we entered the main arrivals pier, we were greeted by the entire team including the General Manager, Resort Manager, Marketing Manager and Food & Beverage Manager. Our Mr. Friday was also there to escort us to the buggy room while we were given a tour of the island.
The luggage was taken straight to the room where we completed the check-in formalities. Even the credit card given as a guarantee was swiped directly onto a portable reader in the room.
We had a chilled bottle of Louis Roederer champagne to welcome us and a bottle of homemade iced tea, as well as a wide selection of canapés designed for a small meal, with starter, main course and dessert all neatly arranged on the bedroom cupboard.
The Private Reserve At Gili Lankanfushi Reopens Soon
An all-water villa resort, Gili Lankanfushi has a variety of villas spread over three piers, plus a few stand-alone Crusoe villas that are not connected to the main island and offer the full shipwreck experience.
In addition to the “ordinary” (if we can call them that) villas, the resort has the largest freestanding overwater villa in the world, the four-bedroom private reserve separated from the island and located 500 meters from the resort.
While there are many other overwater villas in Asia, and the Maldives is an overwater villa destination, Gili certainly has some of the most impressive.
All Gili’s cottages are built on planks, with environmentally friendly materials and recycled wood, and have thatched roofs and open floor plans with lots of light. They symbolize the concept of barefoot luxury like no other resort, Soneva bar and Six Senses.
This Is The Best Hotel In The World According To Tripadvisor
Each villa has a freestanding bath, an air-conditioned bedroom and a second floor upstairs with a sofa, table and the option of sleeping under the stars. You have direct access to the water from your villa as they all have small decks overlooking the lagoon.
Gili Lankanfushi has several categories of villas depending on the type of villa and the view. Sunset villas are more desirable, as are those that simply face the horizon (vs. those that face the island):
The entry level rooms, if we can call them that, the apartments in the 210 sq m villa are divided into 4 rooms, a bedroom, a large bathroom with a wardrobe, a living room with a table and a couch in the middle and an overwater platform with a catamaran net for relaxation, two deckchairs, umbrellas and soft furniture. There is also a glass bottom for viewing the lagoon.
Villas with apartments are located on all piers. These are spacious, rustic, elegant overwater villas with large bedrooms and bathrooms and direct access to the lagoon down stairs.
Find World’s Largest Overwater Villa In The Maldives
As the resort has been updated,