This is a wonderful hotel. We were in the "basic" luxury villas that are over water (all villas here are over water and some are only accessed by boat). The staff have been well trained and are friendly (perhaps this is a little too much at times since it was impossible to have a meal without your Friday or some other member of staff coming to chat which wasn't always wanted but it's a nice problem to have! To be fair, our Friday, Ahmed, was lovely and very helpful). The staff seem to have that knack of knowing what you need before you even ask for it (someone's definitely been to "The Oriental" in Bangkok or learnt something about their staff training). Gili is everything you would expect from a 5* luxury hotel in the Maldives insofar as the water is azure blue, the sand is white and the reef fish are as beautiful and colorful as you'd hope. What makes it a bit different is its Eco credentials. Gili was part of the Six Senses stable and although it's owned by a different company, it has retained the same Eco-chic style and sensibilities that all the Six Senses hotels have.
My only complaint is that some of the prices are outrageous but I think this is common to many Maldives 5* hotels. Once you add on all the taxes, It's over $7 for a can of Coke, most wines are at least $100 a bottle and even a small (and not terribly good) creme brûlée is over $25. The food is, in almost all cases, very good. The breakfast is superb. I resented the buffets when they were all that was available (there is a Japanese fusion restaurant open but I can't eat the food as I'm allergic to much of it). They were very expensive (well over $100 a head) and people often don't want to eat tones of food in the evening (especially when they've had as much breakfast as I managed to scoff!). If you had a small portion: you felt ripped off but if you went to town and ate $100 worth: you felt like a python after swallowing a cow. It wouldn't put me off coming again but do budget for very expensive extras. The cocktails were amazing and sipping one of those whilst watching the sun go down is a favourite memory of mine.
Finally, I thought I might mention the marine and diving centre. I am a very experienced diver but I haven't dived for years. The staff were lovely and very reassuring. Thanks to Sam and Lina for providing such an excellent and professional service. The resident marine biologist was as well informed as you'd expect and gave an excellent, informative and, at times, really funny talk on the reef. I'd recommend that if you stay at Gili and are interested in the reef life.
Overall...a wonderful hotel island but do budget for some very expensive extras although that most probably applies nationwide.
- 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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