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“A Magical Experience”
Review of Gili Lankanfushi

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Gili Lankanfushi
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lankanfushi
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A Magical Experience”
Reviewed December 23, 2013

My wife and I just returned from our honeymoon in Gili. I invested a huge amount of time and effort researching the right hotel in the Maldives for us to stay in as there really are so many to choose from. I can honestly say that my effort was not in vain. We have both traveled to five star hotels all over the world and this is one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in and by far the best hotel in the beach/relaxation category that we have ever been to. We stayed in Huvafen Fushi for 5 nights and Gili for 7 nights and Gili is by far the better hotel. This place truly is magical. This is the first time I have written a review on Trip Advisor, which should convey to you how much this hotel had an impact on us.

Room – We stayed in Residence 17 on Jetty 2. The rooms are stunning in every way. The hotel has managed to achieve the perfect balance of sophistication and Maldivian authenticity. There was an abundance of space and the most incredible panoramic views. I highly recommend staying in a Residence or a Crusoe Villa. The water was pretty shallow by our villa so I recommend requesting jetty 3 whether you are in a Villa or Residence. Our Villa contained every amenity and more that you could possibly want and there are many surprises to discover. Wherever you are staying you will not be disappointed.

Food – After the accommodation, the food is the most important part of the holiday. From day one, John Bakker, The Executive Chef, superseded our expectations in every way. The food is a non-stop, glorious celebration of global cuisine using only the finest ingredients sourced from the four corners of the world. John, who is extremely personable and exudes charisma, has previously worked at the Ritz in London, as well as being a senior tutor at Cordon Bleu. What this man does not know about food you can fit on a postage stamp. John manages to inspire his army of chefs to produce a non-stop lip-licking repertoire of dishes and if it is not on the menu, he will go out of his way to make it for you. John is truly the Willy Wonka of the culinary world, laying on the most mesmerising buffets and meals. What other hotel in the world has a direct call button to the head chef on the room phone? This man’s passion and love of food is reflected in everything that he touches. Don't forget to get a tour of the organic garden and sample his ice cream sundae that will evoke all the best edible memories of your childhood.

My wife and I had six massages in the Mera Spa and enjoyed every minute of them. It is so much fun looking through the window in the floor at the reef below during the treatments.

The hotel offers a large range of activities that gives you the option to be constantly occupied or just relax in the number of hammocks dotted around the island. A special mention needs to go to the complementary yoga and tennis court (all equipment provided), the gym, the jungle cinema, the dolphin cruise and the biggest DVD collection I have ever seen.

Waheed, our Mr Friday (butler) was always on hand to ensure that everything was organised and that we never had any problems. He arranged all of our activities and ensured that everything went smoothly. Craig, who is head of food and beverage, deserves a huge amount of credit for being outstanding front of house. One can see that he invests a huge amount of time and effort into interacting with the guests and constantly strives to improve the hotel, while remaining extremely approachable, laid back and friendly. This does not go unnoticed.

It is extremely hard to convey in words how special this place is. You will read many reviews on Trip Advisor all singing the praises of various hotel establishments in the Maldives. All I can say is, trust me, you won’t be disappointed. You will look back on your experience at Gili and you will realise that you had a very special and unforgettable experience.

Room Tip: The water is much deeper around jetty 3. This is the best place to be located if you want to swim fr...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Daniel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 26, 2013
Dear Daniel

We truly thank you for taking the time to share your experience with fellow Trip Advisor readers, and for giving Gili Lankanfushi such a glowing review. We are truly humbled by your comments.

Your kind words will be most appreciated by our Executive Chef, John Bakker and his team of Culinary Artists who work tirelessly to provide an array of international cuisine each day. We are so pleased to hear that you experienced so many of the activities that our small island has to offer and promise there are many more to be had.

I will personally pass on your appreciation to the team of Hosts who cared for you during your stay, with special mention to your Mr. Friday Wahid, and our Food and Beverage Manager, Craig.

On behalf of all the Hosts at Gili Lanakanfushi, we all look forward to having the privilege of welcoming you back again soon.

Kind Regards
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Paris, France
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

We stayed for 7 nights in September 2012. Since we got back, we are thinking about the day that we will be back. We have nothing to complain about, everything was perfect as a dream. We thought we were in the heaven. Service is perfect, food is amazing and we also had a romantic diner, a dolphin cruise and so many other things. Unforgettable moments. Hopefully we can be back in a time soon. Thanks all...

Room Tip: We had a room in jet 2, without reefs.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gustavo P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 26, 2013
Dear Gustavo

Thank you for taking the time to write such a blissful review of your stay at Gili Lankanfushi.
We are so pleased to hear that your experience was “perfect as a dream”.

I am proud to share with you that it is our passionate and dedicated Hosts who continuously strive to deliver the dreams of our guests, which makes a stay at Gili Lankanfushi uniquely special.

Our team of Hosts eagerly await your return and rest assured we have many more unforgettable moments to create for you both.

Kind Regards
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2013

My husband and I stayed for 10 nights from 2nd Dec The holiday was everything that we had hoped it would be. The villa was very large and comfortable with so many areas to sit, lie and relax. There is nothing that I can think of that you could possibly need that isn't already there. The bed and pillows, which we always find a challenge to suit us were very comfortable and the air-con very welcome. A few steps down and you are in the lovely warm lagoon where you can safely snorkel with plenty of fish to swim with or just to watch, including reef sharks and manta rays.
The staff are consistently lovely, friendly, caring and always ready for a chat. The ethos is calm, casual, but professional.
We consider ourselves to be foodies and the food is truly fabulous. It is of the highest standard of quality, imagination and variety. On 3 nights of the week there is a Buffet that is an epic event, with many chefs manning stations and cooking fresh specialities. The other nights have a Gourmet Dinner with several choices of courses and A La Carte. Breakfasts were similarly spectacular though having been once to check out the choices we enjoyed our breakfast being delivered and served at our chosen time, in our pyjamas or swimming things on our deck.
In advance, I was unsure of no shoes for dinner but it is a great to not have to pack a load of shoes and as no one wears shoes and dinner is mostly set up on the sandy beach shoes would not work ( flip-flops are handy when the decks get very hot in mid-day sun ).
We had gone for relaxation and had the perfect break. We did go on a great snorkelling trip and a dolphin cruise which we enjoyed. Watched a film in the open air cinema, had treatments in the spa and some gentle exercise in the gym. Read, chatted and snorkled. Aka the bar manager and cocktails were also great as was the Management Cocktail party.
Many thanks to Craig who sent me a bottle of Pumpkin Oil after I had chatted to him about it. Many thanks also to all the staff who made our holiday perfect.

Room Tip: We enjoyed room 24 as that side of the island was more sheltered and had great snorkeling
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chris_and_Toni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 21, 2013
Dear Chris and Toni

It was true pleasure to read your review, and to know that you embraced so many of experiences that we offer our guests.

Our team of Hosts and Culinary Artists are most grateful that their efforts were so greatly appreciated. I will personally pass on your recognition of Aka and Craig and we trust you enjoyed our signature pumpkin oil.

We look forward to having the opportunity to welcome you once again to this island paradise known as Gili Lankanfushi.

Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
Reviewed December 14, 2013

We are huge lovers of the Maldives. We travel at least twice a year and were absolutely blown away by Gili during our stay. Previously having been guests at Baros, Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Kivah, Huvafen Fushi, I will go back to Gili in a heartbeat.

Gili has the the most spectacular villas and is surrounded by a huge lagoon. This means that the aqua blue water around your villa extends far out in front of you before it meets the deep blue ocean water. It makes the resort look as though you are in the middle of the worlds largest aqua blue lagoon. In contrast with other islands that have only a small lagoon or only on one side, Gili is completely surrounded by it.

As far as the rooms are concerned,the value here compared to other over water villas is incredible. The rooms are huge, in fact they are more then rooms. You have your own living area, separate bedroom and a huge bathroom. There is top level terrace that is also included. We loved the natural eco concept and thought that this was a highlight of the resort. Unique in design with a bridge leading to your shower and having fish swim under you is an experience to soak in and enjoy. The bedroom has floor to ceiling windows that look out to the lagoon and it truly is spectacular in every way. I don't think I will ever forget sitting on the overwater hammock attached to our villa and seeing turtles, manta rays and reef sharks swim under me while drinking a cocktail.

Food at Gili is incredible. High quality, fresh and made to your liking. The real highlight is the weekly buffet. To us it wasn't a buffet, a buffet sounds like a smorgasbord and so I hate to call it a buffet. To accurately describe it I would say it is more like an exquisite feast by top chefs. Do not rule out going to this because it is called a buffet, it truly was amazing.

Overall the service at Gili was fantastic, staff were attentive, friendly and didn't disappoint. However to really make your trip amazing you need to be lucky enough to have one of the more senior butlers, and also one that has good English skills. Having the right butler could be the difference between having your needs accommodated for with minimal effort as opposed to it feeling as though it is a hassle at times.

Gili is by far our favourite Maldives destination and as simply cannot wait to go again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TheGattino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 21, 2013
Dear The Gattino

Thank you for your glowing review of our resort. To be able to enjoy the array of sea life on our lagoon from the comfort of your personal overwater hammock is indeed one of the unique experiences that Gili Lankanfushi offers.

I will personally pass on your recognition of our exquisite chefs who will be delighted to know that their efforts were appreciated. I wish to advise you that we have recently acquired the services of an English teacher, who is based on the island and is working daily with our team of Hosts to improve their English skills.

We are truly appreciative of your comments and your positive recommendation of our resort. We would be delighted to have the privilege of welcoming you back to our resort, and do hope you will visit us again soon.

Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed December 5, 2013

We have stayed in Gili for 5 nights in villa 27 jetti no 2, and our experience has been amazing.. The place is ultimate relaxing and luxuries, very beautiful villa with all the facilities and best thing is Mr Friday,, your own reception..we have got amazing mr Friday Atheef, which made our stay even better..
Other services also were fantastic all the staff was so kind and always ready to help..more the place we felt the people working were nice, which makes this place even more beautiful..
Restaurant manager Zaheer, other people in restaurant and bar Adam, shaan, latheef, and faya specially in bar..were all fantastic., we would like to specially thank Chillai chef who has always prepared amazing food for us, as we both were vegetarian..
Final words are we will be back soon...:-)

Room Tip: Jetty 2 is very secluded for honeymooners
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gaba21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 18, 2013
Dear Gaba21

Thank you very much for posting your wonderful experience at Gili Lankanfushi.

Your kind words will be most appreciated by your Mr.Friday and the team of Hosts that strived to provide you with the perfect resort experience. Rest assured I will personally recognize Chilliah the Chef for his efforts to provide you with amazing vegetarian cuisine.

On behalf of all the Hosts at Gili Lankanfushi, we truly look forward to welcoming you back and creating another unforgettable stay.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2013

We've just returned from spending a week in Gili Lankanfushi and I really couldn't recommend highly enough. We did a lot of research before choosing a hotel for our week's holiday and given all the fantastic reviews on tripadvisor we went with very high expectations and it really didn't disappoint. Absolutely amazing experience - really can't fault it.

From the moment we arrived at the airport and were promptly met to an awaiting speedboat, the service was outstanding. When we arrived at the island we felt like we'd landed in paradise, it's absolutely stunning. If you look at the virtual tour on their website, it really does look exactly like that! Clear blue sea, amazing beaches and the villas were stunning, huge and every small detail considered. We loved their "no shoes, no news" policy, as while it's utter luxury, it really feels relaxed which is exactly what we were looking for.

Our Mr Friday (Atheef) was fantastic and made sure we were really well looked after during our stay. Nothing was too much trouble!

One of the best things about this hotel is the quality and range of activities. We loved paddleboarding, waterskiing, kayaking, guided reef tours with the resident marine biologist, dolphin cruises, wine and cheese tasting, cocktail hours, speed boat trips to the neighbouring Four Seasons (which in our opinion doesn't compare to Gili), guided snorkelling tours etc....all excellent. You can really do as much or as little as you like during your stay, and you'll never get bored here! The spa is also fantastic - clear glass floors so you can look at the fish while having your massage, and the beaches are stunning.

The other big plus about Gili is the quality of the food. When you're on a small island like this for a week - for us having top class food was a must and it really didn't disappoint. Craig and his team do an amazing job and everything from breakfast through to lunch and dinner was top class. The two sommeliers were also excellent and the selection of wine was great. You also get dedicated waiters for the week which makes it all the more relaxed and you really feel at home here.

Overall, we've travelled the world and Gili is by far the most amazing hotel we've every stayed in. Everything was top class - amazing facilities, atmosphere, food and top class service. We will most definitely be back, outstanding from start to finish.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DublinPinky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 18, 2013
Dear DublinPinky,

We sincerely thank you for taking the time to write such an appreciative review of your recent holiday at Gili Lankanfushi. We are absolutely thrilled to see that you had the pleasure of enjoying all that our island has to offer.

Our team of Hosts made it their mission to ensure that all of your dreams and requests were met while striving to create many unforgettable memories.

Thank you for recognizing Craig and our team of culinary artists who strive diligently to provide our guests with an array of inspired menus daily.

I am delighted to see that your Mr. Friday, Atheef, and the team of Hosts have succeeded in providing you with the friendly and personalized service that Gili Lankanfushi is renowned for. I will ensure that your feedback is shared with them, which will only continue to inspire them.

On behalf of all the Hosts at Gili Lankanfushi, we look forward to having the privilege of welcoming you back again to our piece of paradise soon.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We had researched and researched and finally enlisted Lindsey Wallace from Linara Travel who found this GEM of a resort. From top to bottom (and we had a behind-the-scenes tour too) it was spectacular.

Perfection in: Barefoot luxury - No New No Shoes - Travel by Bike - Mr. Friday - Breakfast Buffet - Themed Dinners - Late Night Bon Fires - Snorkeling - Swimming - Laying in the Hammock - Sunrises and Sunsets... I could go on and on but
The best parts are:
- It's a small resort: if you are looking for a special spot with that special someone and want to focus on just that, this is a great place. Not too many people - only 45 villas, all over the H20 that is as blue as blue gets.
- The Mr. Friday concept is the ultimate in guest service: only one contact person from arrival to departure to ordering a bucket of Ice.
- Servers assigned for your trip are special and well paired.
- Even the cooks we encountered and the guy who fills the jetty jars of water to wash your feet with: the whole staff was phenomenal.
Favs:
- I would highly recommend Jetty three facing Palm Island - the best snorkeling and the best views.
- The Mera Spa is to die for: awesome couples embrace massage with views of coral and fish through the floor and a plunge tub for two sprinkled with flower petals.
- Yoga with Deve every morning was perfect: a Hatha style with plenty of space to ramp up or modify down: "Be There"
- Riding the bikes to and fro is a lovely way to get around and they have three wheelers for anyone challenged with balance.
- Cocktails overlooking the Ocean were well made
- Our Mr. Friday let me look behind the scenes and we saw great accommodations for the staff; well kept go rungs; nice looking cafeteria for them; incredible desalination facility; power plant was immaculate and a real village for the workers to relax.
- Enjoyed early morning runs up and down each Jetty=3.3 miles if you work it :-)
Issues:
It was hard to find ANY issue with this property. I guess we were slightly annoyed by a small family who popped up every now and again, mainly because of the woman's whiny voice :-p ... but we could easily avoid that happenstance if we wanted.
We will be back!!!

Room Tip: Room 43 on Jetty 3 facing Palm Island was our fav but they are ALL awesome
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank christopheraboettche
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brad_J_Calder, Resort Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this review, December 18, 2013
Dear Christopher Aboettche,

Thank you so much for posting such a wonderful review and strong recommendation for Gili Lankanfushi. I am delighted to know that you enjoyed every minute of your stay and that our team of Hosts exceeded your expectation with their personalized service.

We all look forward to welcoming you back again on your next visit to our little paradise soon.

With Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gili Lankanfushi

Property: Gili Lankanfushi
Address: 08290
Location: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Lankanfushi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center 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 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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