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Barefoot, eco-chic, relaxed, unpretentious.
Gili Lankanfushi exudes luxury in a way that defies traditional standards. It is unpretentious but extravagant, rustic but glamorous, sustainable but still decadent, and has the friendliest staff but with incredible service to back it up. Be prepared to forget how to wear shoes by the end of your stay!
There are no rooms at Gili. There are Villas…and they are HUGE. Every single one of the 45 rustic-chic thatched villas are made entirely from sustainable materials. This means no carpets, no plastic, and no chemicals. What it does mean is the villas are all made out of beautiful weathered wood, that truly blends the boundaries of outside and inside.
Every villa has an air-conditioned master bedroom, open-air living space which extends over the water into a private deck with lounge chairs, umbrella, and daybeds, a massive indoor-outdoor bathroom space that still manages to be incredibly private, and a roof deck with day bed where you can sleep under the stars if you so choose.
Other than a few small differences, the villas at Gili are all fairly similar in terms of size, of course with the exception of the Private Reserve, the largest over-water accommodation in the Maldives, which has 4 bedrooms (and a water slide!) and can sleep up to 12. Most villas are connected to wooden jetties, which thread out on the east and west sides of the island, but a few stand alone in the sea. For prime sunset views and your own private hammock in the sea, book one of the 5 Gili Lagoon Villas.
While the crystal clear blue waters that surround the island on all sides are perfect for swimming, the resort also features a beautiful pool along the main beach so guests can enjoy both a dip in the sea and the pool, only a few steps away. I loved the heavy wooden lounge chairs with the coziest pads, and wood and canvas umbrellas, with rope hammocks in between every few chairs.
The air-conditioned gym features all the latest equipment including cardio machines, weights, etc. The resort also hosts complimentary daily sunrise yoga classes at 8am on the beach!
Meera Spa sits over the bay and includes six over-water treatment rooms, an Ayurvedic Treatment Champa, steam and sauna rooms and an open-air relaxation area. I loved the Jet Lag Recovery Massage which helps acclimate you to “Gili Time” when you first arrive!
For such a small resort, there are extensive F&B offerings. The Main Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, By The Sea offers Japanese fine dining. The Overwater Bar serves lunch, snacks, cocktails, and certain themed dinners, and Fini Foni offers poolside ice cream, popsicles, and refreshments, all homemade. Finally, Gili offers Destination Dinners which gives guests the opportunity to dine at unique locations around the island, such as the organic garden, underground wine cellar, or in a private area of the beach under the stars.
We loved having sunset cocktails each evening at the Overwater Bar! Tons of creative cocktails, international wines and beers as well as Cigar and Shisha menus!
While it may not be good for toddlers since all of the accommodations are overwater, the resort seems very friendly for babies and kids who are old enough to swim. While there is no kids club, all the kids we saw (and there were quite a few) seemed very happy playing in the pool, playing ping-pong on the beach, and enjoying the excursions.
Gili is probably the closest luxury resort in the Maldives to the airport. From plane to beach, it took us about 45 minutes. While some may prefer a resort that is more remote, it was so nice to be able to be ushered off the plane, into a gorgeous boat (literally IN the airport), and 20 minutes later to be in our villa. Yes, you do see some far off lights from the resort, and there is the occasional plane and boat passing by, but it definitely didn’t take away at all from the experience and the convenience was well worth it.
North Male Atoll, Maldives