Gilli Lankanfushi offers a romantic castaway experience in the Indian Ocean. A private island; its secluded setting and sense of exclusivity are what make it such a special place to enjoy the beauty of the Maldives.
The dream for Gilli Lankanfushi was to share a natural paradise with guests, with a focus on sustainable initiatives, and adopting a way of life that nurtures and protects the island. Gilli Lankanfushi is a destination to relax and rejuvenate, through the restorative powers of nature at its most pristine, undisturbed by the distractions of modern-life.
For a small island, the interior is wonderfully tropical and lush, stretching out to meet pristine white-sand beaches. The island is surrounded by lagoons, where you can swim and enjoy complimentary watersports such as canoeing, paddle-boarding and windsurfing. The marine biodiversity is extraordinary, and spending time diving or snorkelling with a guide is encouraged to explore the incredible underwater world surrounding the island, including stunning coral gardens frequented by turtles, manta rays and reef sharks, and to learn about the important work being done to protect it.
Personalised experiences are hosted by ‘Mr. Fridays’ – a dedicated ‘butler’, who will host you to ensure your stay is memorable and enjoyable in every way. The pace of life is slow and savoured - over-water hammocks are slung between trees so that you can read or siesta to the sounds of the ocean. No request is too great and your Mr Friday will organising everything from private dining experiences to dolphin cruises, fishing trips, cooking classes, setting up a bed under the stars, and taking care of the children so that parents can enjoy some time alone. Classes can be arranged for watersports such as wakeboarding, waterskiing, jet skiing and catamaran sailing, or a short boat ride away, there are amazing surfing opportunities.
Enjoying the Meera Spa is a must. Set overwater off a secluded bay, there are six spacious treatment rooms with incredible ocean views and private decks with deep bathtubs. The spa includes a steam room and sauna, and there is a yoga and meditation champa nearby. Guests can choose from a varied list of treatments, includes personalised ayurvedic treatments and massages, and each treatment begins with a sea salt foot rub.
When it comes to dining, even for this tiny island, there is plenty of choice. Beach restaurant Kashiveli, with an overwater bar (picture seafood platters and Champagne), serves locally sourced dishes, such as breakfast fruit platters and fresh juices, and in the evenings turns into a food market experience, with various nights including Asian street Market, Mediterranean Spice Souk, Passage to India and Maldivian Seafood Grill. By the Sea is a sophisticated Japanese fine-dining experience specialising in sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki. Of course, special private dinners can be arranged around the island; under the stars on the beach, in the stunning underground wine cellar, or in the gorgeous organic garden.
Wooden pontoons stretch away from the island, leading to over-water villas, which are eco-friendly private homes, constructed using natural materials, and designed with the environment in mind. For families, there are family villas with pools, then there are island residences and lagoon villas with pools. All of the villas are rustic in style, with thatch roofs, luxurious white linens, bespoke wooden furniture, and staircases that lead straight into the ocean. Spacious decks are complete with comfortable sun-loungers shaded by parasols, and each villa comes with a pantry and wine chiller.
The resort features a spectacular ‘private reserve’ that stands alone in the middle of a lagoon. It’s the largest overwater villa in the world, raised above the water on multi-tiered levels, including master suites and gorgeous bedrooms, a rustic-chic style, open-plan living and dining areas, spacious decks, an infinity pool, spa pavilion, cinema, bar, and water slide that leads you straight into the Indian Ocean. Guests staying at the Private Reserve enjoy the use of a private boat for exploring and enjoying watersports.
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...