Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Best Experience for: Water Villas, Honeymoon, Wellness, Beaches

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Updated Aug, 2022

No news, no shoes: this is the main rule in Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, where the only thing you worry about is whether the dolphins will appear when you go diving. Here the relaxation is taken very seriously: the magician "Friday", a quiet spa and delicious food. This is one of the main reasons why this place in the Maldives is the choice of many of the world of the rich and famous. In the Maldives there is no other such resort, and only a little in the world, I think, is better than Gili Lankanfushi.

The Maldives’ much-loved eco-getaway Gili Lankanfushi reopened 1st December 2019, following an inspired renovation of the resort. Honouring its laid-back philosophy and rustic chic aesthetic, the island remains an intimate and sustainable paradise for the barefoot luxury traveller, with a new design concept and wellness programmes to further enrich the soulful guest experience.

Gili Lankanfushi is widely rated the best resort in the Maldives, and not without reason. This stunning 45-villa, eco-friendly resort, just 20 minutes by boat from the international airport of Velana (Male), excels in providing a truly unpretentious, laid-back luxury. Bare foot are encouraged (shoes are removed as soon as guests enter the boat from the airport), and each guest is assigned a personal butler named Mr. Friday. The spacious, charmingly simple water bungalows consist of several types of wood and have open (and covered!) verandas/decks with views that can bring tears of joy. The beautiful interior of the island with 683 palm trees offers a wide range of entertainment and dining options. This rare diamond in the Maldives is more authentic than other branded luxury resorts of the same price category.

gili lankanfushi

The Island

The HPL Group from Singapore has adopted Soneva Gili. The early decision was to take 200 objects from the "No" list, which defines the Soneva concept. For example, now there are lobsters and cigars, and live music is only played on some evenings in the main restaurant / bar. There appeared small playful details, such as 2 mattresses under the straw in the middle of the pool and a hammock stretched between the pillars in the lagoon. The new in the lagoon is a fun floating bar. It is in a short swim from the beach, but is easily accessible by canoe or pontoon boat. These are just the changes necessary for rich clients to use their desires and aspirations.

Nevertheless, it can still be said that this dream hotel was created by a brilliant British-Indian and Swedish couple. Many other resorts are excellent in some key aspects of Maldives, but the absence of distractions, visually and mentally, combined with excellent design and exquisite cuisine make this place a bit of a paradise for all your senses. DOWNLOAD RESORT MAP

While other luxury hotels in the Maldives take away guests from the airport on smooth yachts or seaplanes, the Gili boat is more modest, but it tasteful. Friendly crew members offer homemade lemonade in nice glass bottles, and then ask guests to take off their shoes to encourage the spirit of "No news, no shoes" in the Maldives. This company ritual is optional, but sets the tone for the entire experience of staying at Gili. Many guests prefer to spend their entire vacation barefoot, and all we encountered seemed completely free from anxiety and stress (just do not forget to come with a large margin of financial strength on your bank card!). When the boat arrives at the pier, guests are given the opportunity to take a photo against the backdrop of the huge villas located above the magnificent turquoise lagoon. The general manager and an ordinary employee organizes a warm welcome together with Mr. (or Mrs.) Friday - the title for personal butlers here, named after a fictional character who served as Robinson Crusoe's personal assistant.

This small resort attracts mainly couples, as well as rare families. It belongs to HPL group from Singapore (formerly Six Senses), and many guests come from the UK, Russia and Asia, as well as from the US. Even when the resort is full - it is impossible to see crowds, although breakfast and dinner usually sees the total mass of guests. Every night has a special theme; Tuesday begins with the reception of managers with the participation of local drummers, followed by the Asian market of street food.

There are no straight lines on this island. The buildings have a rounded shape with stucco decorations. Use natural materials that are left unrefined. Gili Lankanfushi works hard to imitate nature, down to the details (cups with dimples, and jagged saucers). Overwater Meera Spa ("ocean" in sanskrit) is delicious, calm and serious. These little things never seem pretentious, but all this helps to distract your mind from straightness (and narrowness).

gili lankanfushi, beach swimming pool

Almost all residences and several villas have an uninterrupted view of the horizon, filled only with blue and turquoise (and white drifting clouds). The thunder of the ocean, breaking waves on a reef and the ripples around the villas are sounds that penetrate deep into your mind. The soundtrack of the entertainment system includes screams of whales and birds singing. But even with a rock-n-roll music, the whole place is so friendly and personal that you feel you really have to be naked.

gili lankanfushi, beach swimming pool

Only with sea views, all accommodation here are huge over-water villas, and most of these charming wooden bungalows (note the genuine smell of the villa) are located along one of the three separate jetties connected to the island. Meanwhile, the 7 Crusoe residences unrelated to each other offer more privacy and can only be achieved by boat on demand. Guests can call the boat through their Friday, which is connected to the phone around the clock for immediate assistance.

In striking contrast to the norm, Gili Lankanfushi's 45 water bungalows are a series of rooms, decks, stairs and roofs that are literally born from each other. Some spaces relax under the straw, some under the open sky, some open to the water below, and some can be used for air conditioning. Wooden boards and posts are not decorated, straw is not hidden, handmade wooden furniture, cotton fabrics - in earth or solar colors. At the same time, each element of luxury is included in the exclusive resort. It's rustic chic: rustic that brings you back to a simpler time, chic because it provides modernity.

gili lankanfushi, breakfast


Gili Lankanfushi is located on a private island in North Male atoll which is part of Kaafu Atoll, near the less luxurious (and sometimes a little cheaper) Paradise Island Resort & Spa which is sometimes audible and visible from some villas. After passing through customs at Velana International airport, guests are greeted by a friendly representative at a numbered kiosk, and assisted with luggage to transfer by speedboat to the resort. The whole process is fast and efficient and the trip takes less than 30 minutes. Guests are offered bottled water or a lemon drink, as well as to remove and deposit shoes - tourist slogan Maldives - "No news, no shoes". Upon arrival, luggage is getting to the villa, which makes the meeting process easy and carefree.

Maldives is a distinctive nation in the Indian ocean consisting of 26 atolls and more than 1,190 Islands. Each resort (more than 120 of them) is located on a separate private island, and most guests come to enjoy the incredible marine life, using diving and snorkeling. One of the best surfing spots in the country is not far from Gili Lankanfushi and white sand beaches surround the whole island for those who just want to relax. While many parts of the resort feel incredibly calm, this is the centerpiece of the atoll, so you can hear the noise of a boat or plane from time to time.

Villas and Residences

In this private island resort there are only 45 water villas in different areas of the resort: either along one of the three jetties, or scattered over the turquoise lagoon. All spacious - as big as at home! - and built mainly from teak wood, cedar, pine, bamboo, eucalyptus and acacia.

All refurbished villas offer open-air living spaces, roof terraces and private decks with direct access to the lagoon below, and there is the addition of new private pools to the enhanced Residence and Villa suites for extra seclusion.

The design of the structures includes skylights and natural ventilation systems, so there is less electricity and air conditioning (besides, guests are asked if they want to donate money to neutralize their effect on carbon). The furniture is upscale, but not ostentatious - everything has a beach look, clean lines, and bright fabric accents (often the color of a sunset, such as yellow, orange and red, or turquoise, to match the water).

The design of the structures includes skylights and natural ventilation systems, so there is less electricity and air conditioning (besides, guests are asked if they want to donate money to neutralize their effect on carbon). The furniture is upscale, but not ostentatious - everything has a beach look, clean lines, and bright fabric accents (often the color of a sunset, such as yellow, orange and red, or turquoise, to match the water).

The warm, neutral colour palette is inspired by the island’s natural surroundings for a calming effect, whilst locally sourced turquoise fabrics add flashes of colour to the new design.

Sustainability is at the heart of the island’s vision, and every piece of furniture in the new villas and living areas has been custom made by skilled craftsman using upcycled materials. The bed frames have been made from recycled teakwood, and lampshades handwoven with recycled wire mesh twist to feature fish and sea turtles from the surrounding sea.

The coffee tables are engraved with stars to reflect the clear night sky and hanging lamps crafted from bamboo prawn catcher baskets. Rooftop daybeds are made up with luxurious linens so guests have the option of an atmospheric night sleep beneath the stars, and cushion fabrics custom print with coral patterns found on the reefs below.

All comfortable king size beds with romantic white canopies, but there are accommodation options and with two beds. The mini-bar is packed with wine, beer and snacks, coffee and drinking water. The living quarters are equipped with CDs and DVD players, Bose and iPod stereos with a wide selection of music. The huge bathrooms have two sinks, a whirlpool bath next to the window, large wardrobes and a shower of glass cube, accessible through a walkway under the open sky. A nice bonus - generous toiletries, including SPF and mosquito spray (all for free). The living room leads to an open sun deck with two sun beds, two hammocks and two daybeds. Each villa has a separate deck on the roof with another dining table and a couch under a shaded palapa. There is also a place for yoga and two yoga mats (in addition, classes are offered on the island every morning). Upon arrival of the newcomers, each villa sees a bottle of champagne and snacks.

Each villa has a dedicated butler service catering to guests’ every wish.

gili lankanfushi

Most of them (24) - Villa Suites (210 sqm) are located along one of the three jetties surrounding the island. This is the smallest accommodation and the most affordable, although inexpensive. The living room is open-air and leads directly to the solarium. The only room that has air conditioning is the bedroom. Residences, however, are larger in size and are located at the end of jetty to provide 100% confidentiality. They have a spacious living room and an adjoining dining room with air conditioning, a kitchenette and a mini wine fridge.

gili lankanfushi

Two exclusive family villa with pool facing the Eastern side of the island. A great accomodation to wake up to that spectacular sunrise view at water’s edge each morning. Set at the end of the jetty, this one of a kind villa features a spacious en suite master bedroom, an en suite guest room, an L-shaped swimming pool, a private rooftop terrace and a family room at the far end of the villa, which offers endless views of the Indian Ocean.

gili lankanfushi

To find solitude and seclusion you can at Crusoe Residences - only seven stand-alone villas, similar to residences, but accessible only by boat. Transportation includes a short trip from the island on a pontoon boat, which is always ready to pick up guests in the backyard. Each of these rooms also has a free private boat (if guests prefer) with bizarre names, such as "Cruise Wherever." Villas offer super privacy, but at a distance the neighbors look, especially from the veranda. In the bathrooms next to the shower there is also another exit and a staircase for direct access to the lagoon. These luxury cocoons are also equipped with a self-contained hammock in the water a few feet from the sun deck - a truly excellent feature that will undoubtedly be a terrific and delightful plus. Between the hammock and the added space, and the seclusion of the Crusoe Residences are at prices a few steps from Villa Suites and perhaps worth it.

Two spa suites come with two bedrooms each, a spa room for couples, a private gym and an open jacuzzi on the second floor terrace. One of these villas has private access to Three Palm Island, which was admired by many famous guests; Novak Djokovic stopped here twice. Private Reserve in a massive five-section water villa (it is considered to be the largest in the world!) Is equipped with three bedrooms, a private cinema on the second floor, a fully equipped kitchen, a private spa with indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, and a large central living room for entertainment.

With 5 separate structures and 6 times more the residences the huge 1,700m2 Gili Private Reserve – the largest overwater villa in the world – is located 500m from the main island 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. Usually it comes alive with the arrival of two complete families.

Turndown service for all villas is made by your "Friday" when guests are at dinner. Curtains are lowered, the bed is ready for sleep, and air conditioning is on.

Service at Gili Lankanfushi is exclusive (the hotel employs 290 staff!), And each villa is under the care of Mr. (or Mrs.) Friday, including excursions, spa visits, sunset cruises and restaurant reservations. For Crusoe Residences, the butlers are also the point of contact for transporting go and back to the island.

gili lankanfushi


The resort is surrounded by a lagoon, and each villa has direct access to the water from its own terrace. The island boasts beautiful beaches with white sand, as well as shady palms (they all count!). Next to the main restaurant is an open infinity swimming pool overlooking the ocean. In the pool there are shallow places for swimming so here you can sometimes find several families. This beach area is also the only area that is regularly filled with sun loungers and umbrellas.

gili lankanfushi beach


The food here has always been very good, now it is often sublime. Four restaurants are run by a Canadian chef, and there are also some private dining rooms for cocktails and special events. New By The Sea restaurant, raised above the beach vegetation, has a delightful night atmosphere and serves delicious Japanese cuisine. In the cool cellar, guests can wine tasting, and dinners are accompanied by sommeliers, and occasionally visiting the island of winemakers and famous chefs. Also in the basement is a great deli store with cold cuts and cheese.

Located directly on the beach and open for breakfast and dinner, Kashiveli that means ‘coral sands’ in Dhivehi – embodies locally-sourced, nutritious ingredients and vibrant flavours through a marriage of land and ocean. Breakfast served on the beach is an important event in Gili. You can start with herbal infusions from Sri Lanka, a drink from wheat sprouts and extraordinarily fresh fruit juices, and also Barton & Geustier champagne on the list. Depending on the day of the week, you can try different Asian dishes, homemade cereals and grinolos, 12 kinds of honey and fresh pastries, including whole-wheat chocolate croissants. On the tables there is always an a la carte menu with spa juices, smoothies and 13 custom-made egg dishes that go well with French coffee.

Following days of exploring and relaxing, guests will enjoy fresh and sustainably sourced dishes at the restaurant where the surrounding waters form the basis of the resort’s modern Maldivian fusion cuisine served from new live cooking stations. Executive Chef Hari Govindaraj is responsible for growing organic herbs, vegetables and fruits in the organic Gili garden and will offer guests one-on-one classes to learn the art of cooking with seasonal produce, providing hand-written recipes for guests to take home as a memory of their stay. In the evenings expect themed dinners, in particular: the Mediterranean market for spices on Fridays, the Asian street market on Tuesdays and the menu from the chef on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Underground wine cellar and chocolate cave gives a good chance to eat handicraft cheeses and chocolate delicacies (for breakfast!).

The bar and restaurant over the lagoon offers individual lunches from the chef: you choose the ingredients that are located on the presentation plates at the table. Stand out healthy food and fresh produce from the hotel's own garden. The main restaurant of the island fine cuisine for breakfast and dinner, if you prefer a more luxorious experience.

For dinner, the attractive Over Water Bar offers healthy salads, sushi, fish dishes and live cooking stations, as well as a sufficient number of tables, overlooking the delightful lagoon. For dinner, in addition to the main restaurant menu and themed evenings, guests can make a reservation at the By the Sea Japanese restaurant for Japanese fusion cuisine and sake. This restaurant is located above the beach with a small dining area, for a total of 26 guests at a time. The underground wine cellar and Chocolate Cave also have generous dining tables and a cellar packed with over 400 labels of wines from the old and new worlds, and guests can make reservations for special dinners and degustations from the sommelier.

Fini Foni in Dhivehi means Cold Sweet, suggests a place where you can have some cold sweet fun. Savour unique homemade flavours of Popsicle and Ice Cream by the poolside and a stone throw from the Tennis Court, an enhancement to the Gili Wine & Dine experience during the day while you bask under the sun for that glowing tan. Mouthwatering snacks and delicious cocktails are also made available for you upon request.

In addition, there is a possibility to order food and drinks for the villa, or try one of more than seven private dining places around the island, such as One Palm Island, with stunning sunset views.

Activities & Pampering

Snorkeling is not so much to post about it in social media, that can not be said about the beach. The lagoon is shallow (villas west side, overlooking the lagoon, and the ocean side is deeper). But still there is some good sea life that can be seen at the end of the jetty number three around the uninhabited islet and in the deep channel separating Paradise Island and Lankanfushi. Two snorkeling trips a day by a very comfortable dhony will take you to the nearby coral reefs for wonderful snorkeling. Nearby there are no large inhabited or uninhabited islands. These are significant disadvantages, but I would prefer a vacation here, than anywhere else, especially for a romantic getaway, and just to avoid city life, again feel free and pampered with something fun.

Meera Spa is another overwater wooden structure with six treatment rooms and complex treatments. In one section there is a yoga and meditation zone, and the other is for lovers of baths and saunas. On the second floor there is a sitting area with a view of the lagoon. In the menu: 90-minute packages for facial, massages, reflexology, scrubs and nail care. Nearby, on the beach, hidden between vegetation and thatched roof, is a yoga and taichi pavilion that offers spiritual practices in the early morning or evening classes. The spa boutique features beautiful sarongs and jewelry, as well as an exclusive selection of Voya Organics and Sodashi spa products, an assortment of seaweed, also used for most procedures.

The resort also has a large fitness center located in a bright space with ocean views, an iPod connection and an acoustic music system. In the center of the island there is a tennis court (world celebrities played here!), A beach volleyball court and table tennis. Sustainable modern bamboo bicycles from Singapore - 150 of them - for free.

Non-motorized water sports are free of charge and include the use of catamarans, kayaks, windsurfing, canoes and Hobie Cat sailboats. The Ocean Paradise Dive Center employs multilingual PADI instructors and in the menu: trips to the best dive sites of Kaafu atoll. It is always possible to organize a number of other excursions, such as deep-sea fishing and snorkeling. In the evenings, the latest movies are played at open air Jungle Cinemа, supplemented with comfortable sun loungers, popcorn and soft drinks. The hotel also has a library, with one desktop computer and a printer.

Gili Lankanfushi is located in North Malé atoll and is ideal for fans of surfing. Some of the best breaks in the country lie on our doorstep, with three just a five-minute boat ride away and several waves are within 20 minutes. Gili have teamed up with luxury surfing company Tropicsurf and their experienced instructors offer an array of activities available for beginners learning in our lagoon, intermediate surfers and expert wave warriors looking for a challenge.

Gili Veshi, which translates as Gili Environment in the local Dhivehi language, is the island's primary marine research facility and the central hub for all sustainability and conservation issues, as well as offering a host of new guest experiences.

There is also a boutique where you will find souvenirs, trendy beachwear and accessories; Newly arrived guests usually get good discounts. Wi-Fi is free.

After reopening a new guest experiences were added.

A paradise for enriching spa sessions at the serene Meera Spa and educational exploration with the team of deeply knowledgeable experts at the Marine Biology Shack, Gili Lankanfushi marks the reopening of resort with a series of new educational and active wellness programmes that combine the two.

Holistic Healing is a five-night programme for those seeking a soulful spa experience that nurtures the body and teaches natural beauty methods including: a one-on-one consultation on arrival, daily yoga classes, guided breath-work sessions, bespoke treatments and an essential oil making workshop to create remedies to take home.

To ease aching muscles, reflexology is available at the spa.

Dive & Discover is a five-night programme for budding divers with a passion for marine conservation including: daily diving expeditions, guided night time snorkelling, a coral planting experience with a marine biologist to support The Coral Lines Project and a deep muscle massage to rejuvenate at the spa.

Surf & Spa is a four-night programme for the eco-conscious sportsman in search of active exploration: days will start with sunrise yoga followed by surf lessons on the lagoon and guided tours to nearby wake break where guests can be accompanied by a resident marine biologist to learn about local marine life.

gili lankanfushi - scuba diving


All the reviews are exceptional and almost 100% delight about every aspect of the resort. The rooms are huge, the service is fantastic, the food is delicious and varied, and the location is one of the best. Honestly, you will have to look for some less wonderful reviews about this place, which makes this luxury resort ideal for a honeymoon or any other secluded holiday.

The next is probably the usual phenomenon, but I heard it here: the couple ordered an excursion, they looked at each other and could not remember the date, and then laughed. They were both completely lost in time.

Pros: What the Guests Like

  • Close to Velana Int. airport (Male)
  • The rustic elegance and relaxed, romantic atmosphere of a beautiful island
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Free bottle of bubbles and canapé on arrival
  • Huge water villas with spacious verandas
  • Butler "Friday"
  • A sense of privacy and tranquility
  • Outstanding restaurants and private dining areas. A hearty breakfast includes homemade cheeses and chocolate truffles. Underground wine cellar, equipped with 400-plus labels
  • Free yoga (daily), water sports and bicycle use
  • a landscape swimming pool on the beach, a tennis court and a fitness center
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property
gili lankanfushi, water villa with ocean view

What You Need to Know

  • For more information, click here to read more on the safety and hygiene measures taken at the resort.
  • With effect from 27th December 2020, all guests arriving from another tourist facility within the Maldives, will be required to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test 48 hours prior to arriving at Gili resort.
  • From 1st June, 2021 Nicolas Khairallah is a new General Manager of Gili Lankanfushi
  • The hotel is located on a private island in North Male Atoll (Kaafu atoll) and is 20 minutes by speedboat from Male airport
  • Check-in from 14:00 - 23:00, Check-out from 11:00 - 12:00
  • Expect to spend a small opulence in a lifetime!
  • The location is not as far as other top luxury hotels in the Maldives (for some)
  • Interiors are rustic luxury, rather than generous (for most)
  • Some rooms have slightly hampered views
  • Food options do not include alcohol
  • For those looking to experience all the resort has to offer, here are top unique experiences not to be missed at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives.
  • No rooms with private pools, with the exception of Private Reserve
  • All children are welcome
  • A new package for solo travellers. Launching in January 2019 and eschewing the traditional single supplement, the package will offer those in search of a solo travel adventure a 25% discount on room rate alongside a combination of rejuvenating individual downtime and immersive group activities
  • Originally opened in 2012, Gili Lankanfushi was previously voted ‘Best Hotel in the World’ by TripAdvisor for its uniquely laidback air and impeccable service ethic.
  • As a safety measure for Scuba Diving, a self-declaration medical questionnaire is required before participating in activity. Click here to download questionnaire.
gili lankanfushi, bedroom interior

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