It’s not hard to see why Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives keep winning Travellers Choice awards for luxury hotels
My shoes were collected and stowed away the moment I stepped into the luxurious speed boat that came to pick me up at the airport. Gili Lankanfushi has a ‘No News No Shoes,’ policy. They were returned to me only when I left the resort for my flight back to India!
The 45 over-the-water suites and villas at Gili are built off wooden walkways that stand above the shallow lagoon.
Each has its own private water garden for slipping into the sea, a sun deck, as well as a separate shower linked to the bathroom by a semi open air walkway that allows you to live right by the water’s edge. The views are consistently spectacular and the villas offer complete solitude with the exception of the occasional starfish gliding in the shallow water and the song of the sea. Out of season you can even have the beach to yourself, save a few surfers who brave the brisk sea all year round.
At Gili, you’ll get as much (or as little) attention as you want from the staff. Each villa is allotted a Mr/Ms Friday who is at your service 24/7. Should you need a nudge to get out of your luxurious private den there are some nice dining options with freshly-caught cuisine and an intangible romantic appeal. The kitchen gets it daily fresh supply of herbs and salad leaves from the organic garden nestled in the heart of the resort.
Another experience not to be missed is the chocolate and wine pairing in the underground cellar. Slip on a jacket, place your feet over hot water bottles and explore wines from more than 30 regions around the world with handmade chocolates and artisanal cheese.
When you are tired of the aqua blue waters and lying out in the sun (unlikely, but still) you could take a kayak out to see the sun set, lounge in your very own over water hammock or better still explore the marvels that lie below the surface of the turquoise waters with the resort’s snorkeling and scuba excursions. The thrill of surfing and flying down the line of a wave with the wind singing in your ears is simply incontestable. If adrenaline is not your thing watch a movie on the beach under the stars at the outdoor movie theatre. The cinema shows films twice a week.
You could spend an entire vacation just lazing around but to do so would mean sacrificing a trip to the spa that overlooks the sea. The glass floor panels strategically built under the massage table give you a glimpse of the sea while the masseur kneads your tired muscles.
Cost: 1 lakh onwards for a day
How to get there: Lankanfushi Island, North Male Atoll, Republic of Maldives.
Gili is just twenty minutes by speedboat from Malé international airport.