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“Truly relaxing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

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Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   Lankanfushi Island, North Male Atoll, 08290 (Formerly Soneva Gili by Six Senses)   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Lankanfushi
california
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Truly relaxing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

This is the place to go if you want to truly relax and be surrounded by beauty, excellent service and amazing food. My husband and I tried to choose a place where we would not have to deal with families with small children running around which is virtually impossible to do and so we just hoped at the beginning of December we would be lucky. But, even with families resident we were able to find a place on the island where we were not disturbed by anything. Our water villa was rustic and very spacious with out door and indoor living areas. I was very pleased we had number 34 as we were not overlooked by any other villa which is the case if you are staying in the ones that run side by side. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was that you were given bicycles to ride around the island on, I loved cycling to breakfast and lunch. There is plenty to do if you like water sports and the spa is amazing. I had a wonderful yoga instructor too, the best yoga class I have ever had! The staff are super friendly and our man Friday, Shifaz was always there when we needed anything. I highly recommend this resort if what you are after is some peace and beauty.

Room Tip: Try and choose a room that is on the end of a jetty and not directly next to another villa for compl...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear Californiablue,

Thank you for posting an excellent review and strong recommendation on Gili Lankanfushi. I am delighted to read that you had a wonderful holiday experience with us. I also noted all the positive comments you had with my team and I have shared it with them which I know will continue to inspire them.

Once again, thank you so much for the review and we all look forward to welcoming you back to our little piece of paradise soon.

Kind regards, Iain
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (179)
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We stayed at Gili for 4 nights in November in a spa suite, and had an incredible time. I couldn't fault a single aspect of the hotel throughout our stay, and it is without doubt one of my favourite hotels in the world

Our suite was unbelievable, in terms of both size and amenities. It retained that Robinson Crusoe charm, while being equiped with state of the art amenities including the Bose sound system and TV (not that we felt the need to use the latter)

From the moment we arrived we felt completely relaxed, and the staff could not have done more to make our stay perfect. From our Mr Friday who was always on hand to attend to our every need, to the friendly and knowledgeable staff in the bar and restaurants, they could not be faulted - if only we got service like this at hotels in the UK

We dined in both the main restaurant and the 'By The Sea' restaurant and were delighted with the breadth of the food on offer. Two of our meals in the main restaurant came on themed nights, where there was a Mediterranean and Asian buffet. Don't let the word buffet put you off, this was unlike any buffet I've ever seen before! On both nights, there must have been at least a dozen different food stations where you could get whatever you wanted, cooked from fresh to your personal specification in front of your very eyes. There was something to suit everyone, no matter how picky their tastes, and we never left feeling hungry! The By The Sea restaurant was also excellent with the food being as good as, if not better than the best London has to offer. One afternoon we did the sushi making class, and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes Japanese food - great sushi, highly entertaining, beautiful setting and you get to eat the spoils of your labour at the end of it!

We also enjoyed spa treatments which were great, and incredibly relaxing in their over-water setting

Our only regret was that we only spent 4 nights there!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear Catherine K,

Thank you for taking the time to share your remarks on Gili Lankanfushi. It is indeed a true pleasure to read that you enjoyed the themed nights buffet in the main restaurant and really grateful to see your strong recommendation on Japanese foods and “sushi making class” that you had in the resort.

Gili is very unique in the way there is a sense of seclusion for guests’ relaxation and they are pampered into a pure state of bliss. This sense is created by the design of our villas, which give the utmost privacy and have many great features such as the state of the art entertainment system.

Thank you once again for the wonderful review and on behalf of the Gili team, we look forward to having the privilege of welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards, Iain
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melbourne
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Gili for 6 nights over New Years and what an amazing holiday it was.
Absolute 5 star food/dining, some of the best food we have ever had. Compliments to Chef John!
I miss having my mango and strawberry smoothies for breakfast.
My husband and I took a cooking class with Chef John which was just amazing. The chef cooked up a feast whilst the rest of us watched and drank wine.
The sunset Dolphin cruise was just amazing too, we were lucky enough to see a number of baby Dolphin pods put on a spectaculr show for us. Gasim sang and danced on the boat which entertained us as well. What a great guy.
Our Mr Friday (Gasim) was excellent, as well as Prasana who worked in the beach resturant. They were both always happy to help with anything and always did it with a smile.
The beds were sooo comfortable, I've never slept so well in a resort/hotel before. It was like sleeping on clouds. The room cleaners were fabulous too. They would literally wait at the end of the jetty on their bikes every morning, waiting for us to leave our room and they'd be in there straight away whilst we had breakfast, so by the time we finished breakfast our room was already clean when we got back to it. The service was incredible. 5 star.

A special thanks to Iian, Chef John, Gasim and Prasana for fulfilling our special requests and making our stay so wonderful.
We cannot wait to come back in the near future.

Only thing I would recommend is paying for meals/expenses on a daily basis (at the end of each day) so you don't forget what you ordered. A number of items popped up on our bill when we went to pay our final bill upon checking out. Items which we didn't order or had already been paid for in the package deal with the travel agent. I'm sure they were simple mistakes which were deducted off the bill when I questioned them.
Otherwise complete luxury, I can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 16, 2013
Dear xxx_282,

Thank you for posting your holiday experience at Gili Lankanfushi. I am delighted to read that our services and facilities exceeded all your expectations and we made your stay special.

I also noted that you enjoyed the cooking class with Chef John and the extra miles that Gasim did during your cruise. I have shared all your comments with my team which I know will continue to inspire them.

Your recommendation is highly appreciated and I have addressed this to relevant Department Head to ensure a consistent service standard will be in place. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Thank you once again and on behalf of the Gili Lankanfushi team, we look forward to having the privilege of welcoming you back to our little piece of paradise soon.

Kind regards, Iain
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

I can't begin to say enough wonderful things about this resort!

Upon arrival my husband and I were very ill (unrelated to the Gili Resort). The hotel could not be more accomodating, kind and worried about us the entire stay. Our "Mr.Friday" (his name was Shifaz- HIGHLY recommend requesting him if you plan to stay at this resort) was very attentive and constantly checked in on us, brought us medicine from the mainland in Male and ensured we were provided with the best level of service throughout our stay.

The "No Shoes No News" policy of the hotel made for a relaxing experience during our honeymoon. Our over the water villa was upgraded, at no fee, to include a private gym, steam room, jacuzzi and 2 sun deck- upstairs and downstairs. The sea life that we saw was out of this world! There was no need to even snorkle based on the sea life thatw as basically at our front "porch" every morning and night.

The over the water villa set-up...
The bathroom was detached from the bedroom which was a nice touch. The bedroom was very spacious, as well as the bathroom. This is indeed a honeymoon or family resort. However, i would highly recommed it for anyone considering vacationing in the Maldives try this very authentic bare foot resort.

Room Tip: all rooms available are over the water villas
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 14, 2013
Dear Suzee2980,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience at Gili Lankanfushi. It is a pleasure to read that my team succeeded in their mission to create many wonderful memories on your honeymoon.

Also thank you for your strong recommendation on our resort to other TripAdvisor readers. I am proud to share with you that it is our passionate and dedicated hosts who continuously strive to deliver our guests dreams that makes Gili unique and special. I gladly share all of your wonderful comments with my team, which I know will only continue to inspire them.
On behalf of the Gili team, we all look forward to welcoming you and any members of your friends and family to our little paradise soon.

Kind regards, Iain
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London
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Peace, quiet, luxury, excellent standards, excellent service, excellent accommodation, beautiful beaches. Everyone knows what to expect in the Maldives – and this resort offers all of the above and bit more too.

The best way to describe Gilli is “understated luxury”. Absolute perfection of service, food, facilities and accommodation without the stuffiness and dressiness of other top class resorts. They take your shoes when you arrive. There is no front desk – you have your own “Mr Friday” who is on call (ours was called Atheef and was superb). It doesn’t take long for the staff to know you by name but it’s also easy to keep your anonymity if you want. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable attire at any time, anywhere on the island. Everyone is so friendly and genuinely wants to help and make sure you have a great experience, all under the watchful, attentive and superb eye of the Resort Manager - the wonderful Alec!

Gili has a reputation amongst locals as the ‘one to work for’ because staff are valued and cared for. This is probably the ‘secret sauce’ that makes for a very genuine and enjoyable environment. That, and the fact that the owners injected significant amounts to improve back-of-house facilities. Note that there are 300 staff for a maximum of 100 guests.

Things to try are: a massage (ask for Tree), morning yoga with Dave (although I’m sure he’s not really called Dave), wine tasting with Rohan (what a great guy), Dolphin spotting (hope you get lucky – we did and it was amazing), snorkelling (wow)!

When it comes to food, the breakfast is superb (from sushi to congee to bacon to curry to porridge to croissant to (lots of) fresh fruit...you get the picture). Everything is fresh and prepared on site from top quality ingredients. I recommend the wholemeal pan au chocolate. There are two evening buffets each week: the Mediterranean and the Asian. I never thought I’d actually enjoy kebabs as much as I did at the Mediterranean buffet – you have to try the schwarma. The Asian buffet, however, deserves a special mention. Chefs are invited to represent their home country’s cuisine or one they particularly love. The buffet is set up as a street market with food from The Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan etc. The chefs pour their hearts into the cooking and are delighted when guests want to learn more about their dishes – the origins, ingredients, how is it cooked, why it was chosen. In that brief moment, the chefs are at the centre of the magic of Gilli – it is their moment. Under candle light and to the sound of the gently lapping waves in the background, guests are merely bystanders in the wonder of this culinary expression of national pride and tradition.

Room Tip: Top of jetty 2!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 12, 2013
Dear Mr & Mrs Samaki,

Thank you for posting an amazing review on Gili Lankanfushi highlighting each and every aspect of our resort. We are all absolutely thrilled to see that you had the pleasure of enjoying all our island has to offer.

Our team ensure that all of our guest’s expectations are met while creating unforgettable memories. I am delighted to see that our team members have succeeded in providing you the personalized service that Gili is renowned for. I have shared your comment with all the hosts mentioned on your review and they are happy to read your comments as well.

We all look forward to welcoming you back to our little piece of paradise soon.

Warm regards, Iain
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Jersey City, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

I would have to say that this is the best resort that I have ever stayed at. That is a difficult title to bestow, as so many different things factor into your total experience, but at Gili, everything came out tops! From the initial welcome at the island to our last few minutes at the airport, service was seamless. One thing that made our stay so amazing was our villa - the standard overwater bungalow at Gili. It was huge and beautifully laid out, and the decor blended into the surroundings, making our stay relaxing and enjoyable. I believe the villas at Gili are some of the largest over water bungalows in the Maldives - with a bedroom, living room, patio, rooftop terrace and huge open air bathroom. Superb snorkeling just off our patio - huge amounts of beautiful fish, giant clams, turtles, eels, manta rays - even sharks! We never wanted to leave our villa and had dinner there many nights. The food was awesome - so many different cuisines are available and they are all great due to their team of international chefs. Indian, Italian, Japanese, Thai food were all fantastic - rarely is one place able to provide such a wide array of cuisines and execute them all well. My husband and I are vegetarian and we were well catered to with many options - they were pretty much able to make anything we wanted! :-) The food & wine was actually not as expensive as we had feared - about the same as you would pay in NYC. The breakfast buffet is fantastic with so many options we never got bored, which is pretty rare for us. Spa was fantastic, but obviously not cheap. There is glass flooring below the massage tables so you can watch all the beautiful fish while getting a massage - I thought that was pretty cool! Complimentary morning yoga sessions were awesome - how great is it to do yoga on the beach as the sun rises - instructor was top notch too. Husband and I loved the fact that everything was luxurious, yet relaxed, and you were encouraged to follow the "no shoes, no news" mantra. The only drawback to such a resort is that we stayed here at the beginning of our 2 week vacation - everywhere else was such a letdown. I will be begging my husband to take me back here very soon!

Room Tip: Get a villa on jetty #3 facing the reef - water is the deepest here and you can swim right over to t...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear Chillertracks,

Thanks indeed for posting an excellent review on Gili Lankanfushi and for considering us the "best resort" in the Maldives. I am really delighted to read that you had a perfect holidays with us and we exceeded your expectations. It was indeed a pleasure reading your comments of appreciation with regards to villa set up, foods and services which I shared with my team. We really look forward to welcoming you back again to our little piece of paradise.

Kind regards, Iain
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

Overall
Best resort hotel I have ever stayed at. Truly magnificent on every level if you are looking for a relaxing holiday, in a very private setting, want to feel like you are the only ones on the island and are happy to have low-key luxury, dont want to get dressed up at night, and don’t need to party all night long. It is unsurprising they just one the award for best resort and spa globally in the World Travel awards. It’s also worthy of note that this hotel is very eco friendly. Really make an effort to cut down on waste and use recycled materials and educate guests on marine life and how to protect the reef.
Rooms
Very large and private. Expansive seating are both in the sun, by the water, in the shade, on lounger chairs, sun beds and hammock style seating. Makes it very easy to spend the whole day relaxing in your room and then just jump into the sea for a cool off or snorkel. Huge bathroom with lovely bath and shower facilities as well as private ocean swimming area. Nice air conditioned bedroom (only the bedroom) with corner windows and magnificent views of the sea. Four different Jetties to choose from, each with different benefits.
Food
Fantastic food. Great breakfast buffet on the beach with anything you could want include 15 jams, 15 honeys, wonderful cheese, meats and chocolates (yes for breakfast!), crepes, French toast, eggs etc etc. Great lunch choices in over water bar and various dinner options including themed nights (we had Mediterranean and Asian buffet nights) and Over the Sea, Japanese sushi restaurant is good too. Excellent food but very expensive (everything needs to be imported to Maldives) and worth getting the half board package. Only slight disappointment was the speed of service in the restaurants – dont wait until you are hungry to go for dinner – usually takes 30 mins to get your first course. When the food arrives however it is worth the wait as everything is delicious !
Service
300 staff serving 85 guests. They go above and beyond. Same person cleans you room every day, same people serve you at meals, Mr Friday caters to your every need personally as though he is your personal concierge. Just when you think you need him, he is magically there. Big thanks to Waheed who was great and managed to get “Out of Africa”, my wife’s favourite movie to be shown in the Jungle Cinema even though they did not have it and also put it on an ipad for us so we could finish watching it the next night. Management were very attentive and checked in to see everything was going well. Special thanks to Alex (Resort Manager) during our stay and to Iain (General Manager) for getting us onto the Jetty we preferred.
Activities
Anything you want to do can be arranged (fishing, scuba, snorkelling, canoeing, wind surfing, water skiing etc). Dolphin cruise was a highlight for us. Lagoon is very large and protected from the winds so ideal for swimming and snorkelling – basically a big, clear swimming pool. Basically go to relax rather than exhaust yourself !

Location
Very convenient from the airport, only 15 mins by speedboat. Makes the most of the time you have in Maldives. Downside is you are nearer to boat traffic into the neighbouring port island and get some flyovers by seaplane and jets as they come in to land or take off from Male aiport. Thankfully there are not that many flights though each day

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IainMccormack, Manager at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear Robert S,

Thank you very much for posting such a wonderful review on Gili Lankanfushi. It is really nice to read your detailed comments from rooms to foods down to service and activities we had in the resort. It will surely help our future guests as to what they can expect from us. I have shared your comments with Waheed and Alec and they are happy to read your fantastic experience as well. We all look forward to welcoming you back to the island soon.

Kind regards, Iain
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Additional Information about Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Address: Lankanfushi Island, North Male Atoll, 08290 (Formerly Soneva Gili by Six Senses)
Location: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Lankanfushi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service 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*
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 roof-top 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 in the know. ... more   less 
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