Gili Lankanfushi – Maldives
Hotel Type: A 5 star private island retreat with luxurious overwater villas and a uniquely laid-back philosophy.
Location: In the North Malé Atoll, Gili Lankanfushi is a stones throw away from Velana International Airport and 20 minutes away by speedboat from Male. On arrival, you will be greeted by a member of the team who will escort you to the jetty.
Style: Rustic, barefoot luxury.
Rooms: Dip your toes straight into the ocean, sleep under the stars in one of 45 luxurious over water villas.
Favourite Room: Philippa’s favourite villa is the incredible Family Villa Number 38. Located at the end of the Jetty it is beautifully stylish with 2 bedrooms, sunset views and its own private island.
Ideal For: Feeling you’re in paradise.
Swimming: Jump off your villa terrace into the clear blue lagoon or in the hotels infinity pool or perhaps your own private villa pool.
Dining: The ethos is ocean to plate alongside carefully sourced seasonal ingredients, much of which is grown in the organic garden. There are three restaurants; ‘Kashiveli’ on the beach for breakfast or dinner, ‘By the sea’ offering delicious Japanese fusion dishes, or try the ‘Overthewater Bar’, the ideal spot for lunch, a seafood plater or a cocktail. Pick up something sweet poolside at Fini Foni or head to the Underground Wine Cellar. In-villa dining is also an option.
Children: A haven for families.
Activities: Do as much or as little as you wish here. There is an extensive activities program including complimentary sunrise yoga, surfing (lessons are on offer for all levels), diving, snorkelling at the house reef or with manta rays, as well as big game fishing trips. You can also play tennis on the tennis court, take a cooking lesson or relax in the Jungle Cinema. Climb on board their 14-metre Riviera yacht for a whale shark watching trip or sunset dolphin cruise.
Spa: An overwater Meera Spa with treatment rooms featuring glass floors, steam room, sauna and relaxation terraces. There is also a Fitness Centre with panoramic views.
Accessibility: Yes! Although not a specifically designed villa wheelchair users, some of the villas provide the accessibility you would need, just let us know any requirements and we will look after the rest.
Low season Price From: £916 per night in a Villa Suite including breakfast. Minimum 2 night stay.
High Season Price From: £1,115 per night in a Villa Suite including breakfast. Minimum 2 night stay.
Open From: All year round.
Close your eyes and think of lying on the deck of your private lagoon villa, completely surrounded by jade blue waters, and your very own Friday bringing you fresh slices of chilled watermelon. We really have found Paradise at Gili Lankanfushi – a private island resort, where guests have their own man (or woman Friday) and the splendour of the Indian Ocean is all around. The ethos at the heart of this laid back private island resort, is eco friendly luxury, and its inspiration is taken from the natural surroundings. Built from sustainable coconut palm, bamboo and teak, and with its own marine conservation programme which guests can become involved with, the resort uses no plastic and recycles most other materials. This is about as pristine as it gets. So take off your shoes, switch off your phone and soak it up.
There’s no other word to use for the villas, other than idyllic. The thatched huts, with their roof terraces for private dining, or sleeping under the equatorial canopy of stars; ladders down into the lagoon, and floor to ceiling windows and glass floors taking in the panorama of the ocean, are the stuff that dreams are made of. With many on stilted jetties, others are stand alone, reachable only by boat. The furniture is handcrafted by Maldivian artisans, using upcycled wood and local, handwoven materials. The two floor, one bedroom Villa Suites have spacious open air living spaces and bathrooms with private water gardens, and some come with a private pool. With sun decks over the water’s edge and catamaran nets to lounge on, they are perfect hideaways. The Gili Lagoon Villas feature the added luxury of overwater hammocks – an afternoon snooze will never be the same again. At the end of the jetties, the enormous Residences promise total privacy, where the living areas can be converted into second bedrooms for families, whilst the Gili Lagoon Residence boasts a very seductive lagoon hammock. The Family Villas are even larger, with two of them having a private pool. They all boast access to their own private island, with two bedrooms and bathrooms and exceptionally spacious living areas, outdoor baths and roof terraces. For total privacy, the Crusoe Residences stand alone in the lagoon, and can only be reached by boat. You even get your own private coral garden! Your Friday can be summonsed at a moment’s notice to bring you back and forth, or you can drive the boat yourself. These villas are perfect romantic havens and can be adapted to accommodate families. Gili Lankanfushi has the largest overwater villa in the world, in the form of the Private Reserve. A 1700sqm haven, it stands alone, 500m away from the main resort. Seclusion and luxury don’t get much better, and uninterrupted ocean views don’t get more beautiful.
The bounty of the ocean, together with fresh, seasonal ingredients from the island’s organic gardens, are served in the Gili Lankanfushi’s three restaurants. Gastronomic influences from around the world – from Asian street markets to Moroccan souks and from traditional Indonesian cuisine to Mediterranean favourites, deliver incredible flavours and so much choice, you’ll never eat the same thing twice. Kashiveli is on the beach – breakfasts here are a dazzling array of tropical fruits, whilst the dinners have a vibrant market atmosphere. Watch rays and reef sharks over lunch at the Overwater Bar, with an ever changing menu and salad bar. As the sun sets, this is the place for cocktails and kicking back. By the Sea serves Japanese fusion cusine, with fish fresh from the ocean. Ask your Friday to organise private dining in your villa, or for your dinner to be served in a secluded spot on the island. We rather like the Underground Wine Cellar and its special tasting menu.
Few places in the world are more relaxing for families. With calm waters, spacious accommodation and unbelievably efficient staff, the Maldives has all the ingredients for a holiday with children. Add the jungle cinema, the marine biology shack, babysitting and kids menus – everyone will be happy.
The Maldives has some of the most diverse and beautiful marine life in the world. At Gili Lankanfushi, the PADI dive centre’s expert instructors run day and night dives for all levels, and beginners can take a Discover Scuba session in just three hours. If you’re happy just floating, you can see schools of neon coloured fish and wonderfully textured corals with a snorkel. The resort has resident marine biologists who’ll take you out on guided trips – it’s like swimming in an aquarium. Above the water line, you can paddleboard, water ski and wakeboard, or learn to sail a catamaran or windsurf. Venture further into the ocean with a big game fishing excursion or a whale and dolphin watching cruise, or just for a picnic on a secluded island. Gili Lankanfushi has a tennis coach who can teach all levels; yoga and meditation sessions, and one of the most beautiful Spas we’ve seen. The holistic overwater treatments here can’t fail to leave you more relaxed than you’ve felt in a long time.