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“Beautiful, serene and perfect in almost every way”
Review of Gili Lankanfushi

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Gili Lankanfushi
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lankanfushi
Reviewed March 23, 2014

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.

Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank EREL131
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

May I wish a great afternoon from all at Gili Lankanfushi!

It was with pleasure that I was able to read out your TA review this morning at my Management Briefing. The team have asked me to pass on their thanks for the great and constructive comments. In particular Ahmad, Sam, Lina and Vidas were particularly pleased that you felt that they had stood out as performing exceptionally well.

It was also fantastic to see that you felt the hosts here were anticipating your every need. This is a very important part of our coaching process, but even more importantly, when we recruit new hosts, this factor is most seriously taken into consideration; attitude being as important actual skills.

We have taken careful note on the fact you felt we were expensive in some areas and although we did recently make adjustments on this subject, should similar comments be received, we will most certainly re-investigate.

Thank you once again for your comments and we very much hope that we will see you again on our Island

Best of regards

Steven

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Reviewed March 19, 2014

My wife and I have a (recent) yearly tradition of visiting Maldives. Having visited Baros (twice) and Four Seasons KH (once) in the past, we decided to give Gili Lankanfushi a try this time around. We were certainly not disappointed. I would say this resort with its no shoes policy, large and open layout villas, Mr./ Ms. Friday, cycles for every guest, and on-resort vegetable garden was the most unique of the ones we've been to. I've detailed what I thought was Great, Good, 'Perhaps not for everyone' at Gili Lankanfushi.

The Great

Every guest on the resort is assigned a Mr./ Ms. Friday. Whenever you need anything, you just press a button on the villa phone and it connects you directly to the Mr./ Ms. Friday. We were assigned a Ms. Friday (Olga) who was an absolute pleasure to deal with. Very attentive yet not imposing, she took really good care of us. She was there to welcome us to the resort, to see us off, make our restaurant reservations and on a very rainy day ferry us to our resort in a buggy. The rest of the staff, from the resort manager to the restaurant staff to the villa attendees, are all friendly and efficient too. (Hint: if you like the personal service touch, then Gili Lankanfushi does it better than Four Seasons KH/ Baros)

Transfer to/ from the airport was seamless. We were the only ones coming to the resort from airport and were at the resort 40mins after landing at the airport.

You get the feeling of the resort not being very crowded even though they were running at close to full capacity when we were there. Breakfast and Dinner time is probably when you see a lot of the other guests. For the rest of the time it’s fairly quiet.

Then there are the Crusoe Residences which are only accessible by boat. We didn’t stay in them but they looked really nice. For the high rollers/ big groups there is the Private Reserve which is again accessible only by boat and really huge.

Each room has 2 cycles and there are plenty of places around the island for you to park your bike. Honestly, the island is not that big that you need a cycle but I thought it was still a nice touch. There is also a pool table and a swimming pool should you want a break from being in the sea.

The Good

The resort spends a lot of effort on its F&B offerings. For example, they have an on-resort vegetable garden, and make their own jams which are served at breakfast. The vegetables are so fresh that you can taste the earth in them – they probably travelled a total of 100m from plant to my plate. Loved the jams they make too – apple vanilla was my personal favorite. The wife and I also went to a Mediterranean buffet dinner one night – it was done very nicely with a number of cooking stations serving up freshly made dishes. We ate at the Japanese restaurant one night – the sushi and job fish were definitely above average. That said, the ala-carte dining options at the main restaurant for breakfast/ dinner and ‘Over the Water’ for lunch are not extensive even if they’re adequate. While the resort scores very highly for effort on the dining experience, the end result while very good is not the best out there. (Hint: Four Seasons KH does dining a tad better)

One of my favourite activities in Maldives is to sit on the over-water porch/ balcony and scan the sea below for sealife – some reef fish to be seen there but didn’t spot any turtles and just two stingrays. On the flip side, they’re a number of unwelcome tiny crabs that crawl up on the over-water porch, and on the porch divans. So, best check those cushions before you park yourself on them! The seawater is clear blue as you’d expect in Maldives. You can see a number of black tip sharks near the ‘Over the Water’ bar/ restaurant. (Hint: In Baros you couldn’t eat your waffles without spotting a stingray)


‘Perhaps not for everyone’

The resort has a ‘No News No Shoes’ policy. They take your shoes on the boat and you’re expected to walk around barefoot while you’re at the resort. Some guests remain barefoot for the entire trip and some guests still wear flip flops.

The resort, probably due to its ecofriendly and energy saving policy, has minimal lighting and the whole place looks rather gloomy at night. It was close to pitch dark when we were trying to walk to the Japanese restaurant at night. But that’s a small niggle that I could live with.

The villa is probably the main reason for me going 4-stars instead of 5-stars on this review, and it comes down purely to personal preference. As you enter the villa, you enter the dining and living area which is completely open air. The living area houses the fridge, coffee machine, some utensils and just down from it is the over-water porch. On one side of the living area is your bedroom, and on the other side is a gigantic restroom with closets for your clothes. Outside the restroom is an open air over-water walkway that leads you to the shower area. The shower area is covered but without a door. During the day and when it’s not raining, this layout is nice, well lit and you smell the lovely ocean breeze. However, on one of the days we were there, it rained pretty heavily, and there were just buckets of water pouring into the living area. Needless to say you can’t use the upstairs area either when it’s raining. Similarly, at night you miss having easy access to your clothes and the restroom/ shower.

Closing thoughts

Overall I would say it was a very good trip to Gili Lankanfushi. While I wasn’t a big fan of the villa itself, the great staff (thanks again, Olga), good food and clear blue seas make it a beautiful and peaceful corner of the earth to relax in.

Room Tip: We were allocated a villa with a sunrise view. On hindsight, should have asked for a room with a su...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank Lord F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Hello there!

Many thanks indeed for completing your TA review after your recent stay with us. Reviews really do give us a great idea as to where we are performing very well and also, when we note a trend, help us to develop our product and services when it appears that guests are informing us that we need to do so.

It was fantastic to read that overall you enjoyed your stay at Gili Lankanfushi and Olga in particular was very pleased that you felt that she looked after you very well.

It was also good to read that you overall enjoyed our dining options and we have taken note that you felt that the offering was not extensive enough for you. You may be pleased to hear that last Monday, we revised our Main Restaurant A la carte menu and to date it has gone down very well with all our guests. We are also planning a couple of more initiatives over the course of the year and we are sure that this will only add to the guests dining experiences.

Thanks for your constructive comments on our Suite Villas which as you say are open to the normally sunny weather that we have in the Maldives. I will need to check why the blinds were not pulled down around this area as this would normally suffice in preventing the rain from coming in. Fortunately rain is a very infrequent part of our weather here, but we do normally plan for all actualities.

Many thanks once again for taking the time to let us know your thoughts on your stay with us. It is much appreciated.

Myself and the team very hope hope that you will visit us again and we look forward to that, should the occasion arise.

Warm regards

Steven

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Reviewed March 16, 2014

My husband and I had no doubts about Gili as the destination of choice for our 10 year wedding anniversary. Having travelled to the Maldives previously we knew we were in for something special. We stayed in late January and the weather was warm and sunny with a consistent breeze coming from the sunrise side of the island.

Gili is paradise. From the moment your feet land on the jetty you are greeted with warm smiles and an assurance that your stay will be nothing less than perfect. No need to worry about organising your day activities....just leave it to your Mr Friday, a personable and reliable service with full attention to meeting the needs of its guests. Thank you Abu for being a wonderful Mr Friday.

We stayed in villa 28 (sunrise side of the island). Beautifully appointed bedrooms and bathrooms with maximum use of deck space to soak in the sun and the exquisite lagoon. Housekeeping staff provide an exceptional daily service. Our gratitude to you for ensuring our comfort.

Food and cocktails were sublime. We are not regular buffet diners but oh how that changed while we were on Gili. The on-the-beach buffet breakfast and dinners were exceptional. So beautifully balanced, diverse and gastronomic. Many thanks to Shawaf from F&B for your great sense of humour, your attention to detail and for surprising us with our daily "prescription" tonic (a health and energy booster). And to Siyam we thank you for your radiant smile, a pleasure to see at breakfast daily.

Lunch in the overwater restaurant is incredibly relaxing. Large comfy booths, beautiful colour tones and spectacular views of the lagoon on the sunset side of the island. To Alif our gratitude to you for being so attentive during meal times and for delivering our daily sunset cocktail whilst captivating us with your amazing knowledge on marine life.

If you love a good drop of wine then please make use of the island's Sommelier. His suggestions always hit the mark!

Don't forgt to book your divine pamper session at the island day spa and soak in the invigorating yet soothing experience of yoga or Qi Gong by the lagoon. And for a wonderful night be sure to book the outdoor jungle cinema followed by a night sleeping under the stars in the comfort of your rooftop villa.

So, what are you waiting for? Leave your worries behind and let the island of Gili make your holiday an unforgettable one too.

Room Tip: ocean breeze to villas on the sunrise side of the island
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ves K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear Ves
It was a great pleasure to see your comprehensive review subsequent to your stay at Gili Lankanfushi. Myself and the team read it with great pleasure.

Abu and the hosts that you specifically mentioned are always over the moon to see that they have been picked out as performing particularly well and have asked me to pass on their thanks to you.

Dining at Gili has nearly always been to the very highest of standards and it it also great that you have taken the time to pick this area as being of a particular highlight. The same can be said for our Meera Spa which is enjoying a fantastic reputation.

We look forward to seeing you back on our Island in the near future and in the meantime if myself or any member of my team can be of further help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Withe the best of regards

Steven

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Reviewed March 16, 2014

The hotel has something magic.
It's an amazing location, beautiful and peaceful surrounding, so relaxing and confortable. The vilas are perfect, big and cozy.
We had great time, and the kids really enjoyed the hotel and all the activities offered like scubba diving, tubbing, water skiing, ....
The staff is very helpful and discret.
We're looking forward to going back!

Room Tip: All villas are big and beautiful, but I would recommend the ones you can use the bicycle
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Esther L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2014

Dear Esther
It was wonderful to read your TA review after your visit to our Island and in particular to see that your children had a particularly great time.

When families come to Gili Lankanfushi, it is a priority of the whole team to ensure that the younger members of the party are well cared for and enjoy the experience, because in this way the adults can relax from their daily schedule and leave feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.

We very much hope to see you all back at Gili Lankanfushi and in the meantime assure you of our very best of intentions at all times.

With kind regards

Steven

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Reviewed March 16, 2014

This was, without any exception, the most wonderful en beautiful expericience my life.
People are so kind and the place was beyond imagine. This is the most beautiful place on earth word every penny I spend. I will come back. The food was excellent. We made some very nice trips for fishing and diving.

Room Tip: All rooms where super, Big, privacy, clean.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank will7268
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2014

Dear Will

Many thanks indeed for such a glowing review subsequent to your recent stay with us at Gili Lankanfushi. With the very busy life's that we all read, when guests take the time to complete a review, it shows that their feelings are strong enough to break from their schedules to do so.

The team here are fantastic and a pleasure to work with. They make my life easier and make the stays of all our guests sublime in nearly every aspect. They will be very please to read your comments when I next communicate to them.

Thank you also for your kind comments on the food. The team in the kitchen work extremely hard and it is great when guests show their appreciation. At the moment they are working particularly hard as we have just introduced a new menu on the main restaurant and you may be pleased to read that it is going down very well.

Our fishing excursion has just been re-introduced and the Water sports team and myself were pleased to read that you enjoyed this activity.

Many thanks once again for your review and we very much looking forward to seeing you back on Gili Lankanfushi.

With the best of regards

Steven

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Reviewed March 15, 2014

Two weeks do not go by without either my husband or I remarking something like "(sigh)....remember the Maldives..." I am a travel snob, and I did an insane amount of research. So, let me save you some time....just go to Gili Lankanfushi. It is superb. Of course, it is expensive, but it exceeded our expectations even at the high cost. (For the underwater explorers....My husband - who scuba dives - continues to note that the snorkeling was better than most dives he has experienced.)

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank ScottandVickiNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2014

Dear Vicki

It was with great pleasure that I read your review of your recent stay at Gili Lankanfushi and myself and the team were over the moon to see that you and your husband enjoyed your stay with us.

It was also great to read that you husband particularly enjoyed the diving. We have some very good dive and snorkeling sites only a short distance by boat from the resort and these activities are always very popular and well received.

We very much hope that we have the opportunity to welcome you back to our Island and in the meantime assure you of our very best of intentions at all times.

Warmest of regards

Steven.

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Reviewed March 15, 2014

The minute you are picked up from the airport, you are aware of the amazing hospitality of the staff. But this is only the beginning.... We've stayed in a number of first class hotels worldwide, but never did we encounter such high standards in EVERY respect. Even the tiniest details are being thought of, the villas are gorgeous and leave no wish open: welcome nibbles with champagne on arrival, sun hats, terrific sound system, everything is unbelievably comfortable, it feels simple but in fact it is all there - just cleverly hidden away.
On the beach or by the pool, wonderfully attentive pool boy, iced water the minute you settle down, fresh fruit and iced coffee in the afternoon, etcetc
Amazing breakfasts, super theme buffet nights and à la carte also great. The very best thing about the place, apart from its natural beauty are the staff - we've never yet been treated so well, honest and with true interest but without intrusion! Bravo to everybody who works there.

Room Tip: Definitely jetty 3, if possible on the right side, but left is fine too. Avoid the back, as the vie...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bueffbueff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven-Philips, General Manager at Gili Lankanfushi, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2014

Dear bueffbueff

Thank you for your sharing your Gili Lankanfushi experience with fellow Trip Advisor readers.

We are all delighted that our attention to detail did not go unnoticed.

I personally shared your review with all our team at our Host’s afternoon tea and our team of Hosts were most appreciative of your recognition. It is their genuine enjoyment of their work day in and day out that makes for such sincere service.

We do trust we will have the opportunity to welcome you once again to this beautiful island paradise of ours.

Kind Regards,
Brad Calder
Resort Manager

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Additional Information about 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: $1,221 - $4,240 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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