‘No news, no shoes’ is the relaxed philosophy of this barefoot luxury island. Gili Lankanfushi, originally known as Soneva Gili, was the Maldives’ first all over-water villa island.
When Sonu and Eva Shivdasani (the genius team behind Six Senses hotels) sold Soneva Gili, there was much uncertainty as to whether or not the island could continue to offer the incredible quality and service levels it had become so famous for. Thankfully, if anything, the island has gone from strength to strength, and it still has some of the most spacious, rustic, over-water villas in the world.
Gili’s close proximity to Male by speedboat means that you arrive at your Maldivian paradise in a flash, day or night. As a result, the island can suffer from noise from both passing boat traffic and an adjacent party island and, therefore, isn’t as quiet and tranquil as other islands further out.
But it’s certainly beautiful. The extensive turquoise lagoon and powder-white sand beaches are as inviting as they sound. So’s the food, where the offerings and the service are second to none, with the ‘By the Sea’ Japanese Fusion restaurant winning hands down for its good value and tongue-tingling cuisine.
The house reef is some distance from the mainland and hence best accessed by kayak or paddleboard—on loan from the helpful watersports team. By all standards, it is a good house reef but the drawback is that you have to indulge in some exercise to reach it.
An adult crowd reflects the absence of beach villas or a kids’ club on Gili’s small island. Children are of course welcome and the butlers are brilliant at entertaining/babysitting. Plus, the Residence living rooms have a/c so can easily be converted into a second bedroom.
In a nutshell, Gili Lankanfushi is hard to beat for its romantic Robinson Crusoe design, unfaultable service, mouth-watering cuisine and striking accommodation.
Alex Wix |
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