What would you take to a desert island? I can tell you a few things that you can leave behind…forget about your stresses and worries, you don’t even need to bring your shoes…Because at Gili Lankanfushi in The Maldives you’ll be living in total barefoot luxury away from all your troubles…but don’t worry…this desert island does has wifi, champagne and plenty of amazing food.
After our three and a half hour flight from Dubai we touched down in Malé airport and from there is was an absolutely seamless transfer. We climbed into Gili Lankanfushi’s private boat, a fresh juice was pressed into our hands and all there was for us to do was enjoy the ride!
Oh…and you won’t be needing those! As one of the hotel’s team held up canvas bags for our flip flops. At this resort there’s a no shoes ‘rule’ working almost as a metaphor for casting aside the shackles of city life. Here you’re free to simply feel the sand beneath your toes and the warm ocean lap at your ankles. You can turn your clocks forward too…you’re on resort time now meaning an extra hour of sunshine!
The beautiful overwater villas soon came into sight as Gili Lankanfushi is only around twenty minutes from the airport on the North Malé Atoll. This means avoiding costs of the seaplanes associated with going to islands further away and if you’re worried about noise from the main island or airport…don’t be we were totally marooned on our perfect desert island, though unlike Robinson Crusoe, we never wanted to leave.
Actually literary castaway, Robinson Crusoe is a theme at Gili Lankanfushi and just like the character of Defoe’s novel, everyone is assigned a Man Friday as their butler. Our Friday, who confusingly had the nickname Monday, greeted us as soon as we got off the boat and it was straight into the hotel buggy for a quick tour of the island. The tour didn’t take too long as Gili Lankanfushi is a small and intimate place, taking only around 20 minutes to walk around the island, it’s the perfect private hideaway.
We soon arrived at the boardwalk to our room, I took a sharp intake of breath. I’d alway dreamed of visited The Maldives and seeing one of those famous boardwalks with the villas branching off was quite a moment for me.
There are 45 villas in Gili Lankanfushi and most of them are spread across three boardwalks, meaning they’re spaced quite far apart and incredibly private. Now are you ready to see this stunning sanctuary up close?
Gili Lankanfushi was one of the first hotels in The Maldives, and one of the first to be comprised of only overwater villas. They’re also some of the most spacious – in fact our villa was so big I couldn’t go back far enough to take a picture.
But here’s the villa at the end of boardwalk so that you can get an idea of the scale.
Each room comes with a set of bikes but we loved walking through the shady paths of the island without any wheels. Plus, I’m not exactly a skilled cyclist!
Made from all natural materials, the villas at Gili Lankanfushi are pure rustic luxury. Entering from the boardwalk, the outdoor living room is crafted entirely of wood with sunny yellow loungers.
With a beautifully made chess set.
And outdoor fridge and array of drinks and nibbles so that you never need to stray too far from the sun for a snack!
Completing the pavilion is a dining area for two reaching out to uninterrupted views of the sea…
Bubbles, of course and a delicious home made tea with home grown herbs…a taste of what was to come.
The raised deck extends to a lower deck where you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to somewhere to sit and enjoy the sun…perhaps fall asleep on lounger, sit and read a book on the sofa or simply lie back on a hammock.
Of course I got Mr S to go into the water to take pictures from the other side but it’s actually very shallow and you can easily spy the fish below. And sometimes even the odd shark…
Many hotels in The Maldives have developed a more ‘posh’ look but Gili Lankanfushi remains true to it’s roots and all architecture here is Maldivian. The best way to describe it is rustic luxury.
Back inside, the bedroom is also wooden and natural fabrics with a beautiful high straw ceiling. On that note, living in harmony with nature is one of the key ideologies at Gili Lankanfushi and care of the environment, eco-friendly practices and sustainability are at the very heart of the resort.
Despite the open-plan nature of the room, the bedroom is inside, meaning we could enjoy cool air while we slept and my susceptible skin was safe from mozzie bites.
Though everything was natural we weren’t too far from modern technology, with a big screen TV still in reach and an iPod in the room. The TV could easily be concealed by a curtain so you could still imagine the modern world didn’t exist.
Isn’t this quite the perfect desk to work from? With no distractions other than the soft sound of the sound of the sea and vision of brightly coloured fish.
Across the other side from the living area is the indoor / outdoor bathroom.
Double sinks with hanging mirrors and open walls mean that views are never too far away while you’re brushing your teeth…
And in the floor there’s a glass window with a direct view into the sea…
But why just look when there’s a staircase with direct access to the water from the bathroom.
A boardwalk leads to an outdoor shower whose, shimmering glass wall added glamour to our rustic-luxe abode. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to shower there every morning feeling the warmth from outside and the sea just below.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite such an incredible view from a tub, and taking a bath felt like floating on the ocean. That’s the thing about this place all your senses are heightened, the air smells sweeter, the ocean appears more blue and all you can hear is the soft lapping of waves on the sand or the breeze through the palm trees.
There’s plenty of storage and at Gili Lankanfushi they’ve taken care of the practicalities by providing every room with a beach bags, sun lotion and insect repellant. I told you that you didn’t need to worry about anything! Now if you thought that was it, you’d be wrong…yes there’s more.
Up a spiral staircase there’s a separate terrace with a sitting area shaded by a straw roof and separate dining table.
From here we could get a great view of the Crusoe residences, the seven rooms are the ultimate in privacy and are accessible only by boat. Each is provided with their own motorised private boat or guests can call up their man Friday for a ride to breakfast!
These rooms are slightly bigger than our own villa suite and also come with an over water hammock and mini wine cellar. What a place to be marooned! Now we were on resort time it was getting quite late for lunch so we thought we’d order a few nibbles to our room to enjoy with that bottle of champagne!
If you never want to leave your beautiful room, there’s an extensive room service menu reflecting many of the options offered throughout the island. I’m going to go into detail about the food on the island in an upcoming post, but spoiler alert…it’s all amazing.
For now some sashimi, Vietnamese summer rolls and a club sandwich for Mr S, washed down with bubbly would tide us over before dinner.
The taste of that delicious local tuna simply enhanced by the incredible view before us. Finishing up our food we had a little time to relax before getting ready for dinner which would be at the resort’s Japanese restaurant. There was no need for extravagant blow dries, a face full of make up and high heels, I put on a new play suit and Mr S was in shorts and T-shirt, ready just in time to take a moment to enjoy the beautiful sunset from our room.
As we left our room the sky was tinged with pink, which as we soon to discovered was typical of a Maldivian evening.
And we headed down the boardwalk towards the By the Sea Japanese restaurant…
And the walk home wasn’t too bad either…
I could already see why this beautiful property with perfect service and exquisite food had been voted No.1 luxury hotel in the world on Trip Advisor but our stay was only just the beginning and I can’t wait to tell you more!
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Our stay at Gili Lankanfushi was complimentary on a full board basis