Located in the languid waters of the North Malé Atoll, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Malé, Gili Lankanfushi is an intimate and sustainable island paradise existing in harmony with the natural surroundings. Previously voted ‘Best Hotel in the World’ by TripAdvisor, Gili offers a uniquely laidback air and impeccable service ethic.
The 45 villas — all overwater — provide a secluded retreat from the world, with a rustic design aesthetic which belies the luxurious open-air living spaces, roof terraces and decks leading directly into the lagoon below. The calming wood surrounds are enlivened with flashes of bright turquoise and terracotta fabrics, whilst the bathrooms boast hammered copper sinks and bathtubs with panoramic lagoon views.
The vast 1,700sqm Private reserve — the largest overwater villa in the Maldives — is located 500m from the main island for the ultimate seclusion and offers four vast bedrooms in addition to a private open-air cinema, spoiling spa, air-conditioned gymnasium, infinity pool and two-storey waterslide, directly into the lagoon.
Dining at Gili Lankanfushi focuses on fresh and sustainable ingredients; the bounteous surrounding waters form the basis for the resort’s unique Modern European-Maldivian cuisine.
Sustainability is at the heart of the island’s vision. Accredited to silver standard by EarthCheck, Gili emphasises preserving the natural environment, protecting the fragile marine ecosystem and treading lightly. The island’s resident Marine Biologists work to protect the reef, track and identify marine life and educate guests about the underwater world, whilst regular visiting academics bolster the resort’s reputation as one of the strongest in the Maldives for marine biology research.
The overwater Meera Spa — meaning ‘ocean’ — is a mecca of wellness, offering holistic healing and pampering spa treatments in a blissful setting. The range of global therapies, drawing on age old cultures and healing knowledge, use locally sourced plants and botanicals to revitalise and restore.
Divers can explore the vast and vibrant underwater world with the dedicated Ocean Paradise dive centre, with the opportunity to spot white- and black-tipped reef sharks, eagle rays, manta rays, hawksbill turtles and more. Surf lovers can ride the world-famous breaks at Cokes and Honkies, whilst adventure seekers can take a seaplane out to the most distant and far-flung breaks in the archipelago with the island’s resident Surf Shack.
This place stands out, because it’s about as perfect as it gets. The hotel is barefoot elegance at its best.
Tatler Travel Guide 2018
…your shoes will be whipped away as soon as you arrive. And once you sink your toes into the baby-powder sand, you realise that’s just fine. Guests pedal lazily on bamboo-frame bicycles (the resort is big on sustainability, with a rocket composter for food waste and toiletries in refillable earthenware containers) and sleep in sprawling Robinson Crusoe-esque overwater villas.
Country and Town House
Built almost entirely of reclaimed and well weathered local timber, the suites have a ramshackle look that disguises the level of considered detail. It’s the perfect natural camouflaged look for this sensitive ocean environment.