The Maldives' much-loved eco-resort Gili Lankanfushi will once again open its doors on 1 December 2019 following an inspired renovation of the resort.
Honouring its laidback philosophy and rustic chic aesthetic, the island will remain an intimate and sustainable paradise for the barefoot luxury traveller, with a new design concept and wellness programmes to further enrich the guest experience.
Originally opened in 2012, Gili Lankanfushi was previously voted 'Best Hotel in the World' by TripAdvisor for its relaxed air and impeccable service. Located in the languid waters of the North Male Atoll, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Male, it is the ultimate place to get away from the world. The 45 refurbished villas will offer open-air living spaces, roof terraces and private decks with direct access to the lagoon below, and the revamped Residence and Villa suites will feature private pools, providing greater convenience for guests. The Family Villas with Pools are a new addition to the resort featuring two en suite bedrooms, a private swimming pool for children to splash in the sunshine, a rooftop terrace for additional space to dine and play, as well as a living room situated over the lagoon and accessible from a safe walkway. The vast 1,700m2 Private Reserve - the largest overwater villa in the world - is located 500m from the main island and offers four spacious bedrooms, a private open-air cinema, spoiling spa, air-conditioned gymnasium, infinity pool and a two-storey waterslide leading directly into the crystal clear lagoon.
The island's natural surroundings, culture, and sustainability are very much at the heart of the property's design to create synergy and cohesiveness between the external and internal environments. A warm, neutral palette is accented by colourful, locally sourced fabrics and every piece of furniture in the new villas and living areas are custom made by skilled local craftsmen using a variety of upcycled materials. These include charming recycled teakwood bed frames, lampshades handwoven from recycled wire mesh incorporating fish and sea turtles from the surrounding waters and cushion fabrics handprinted with coral patterns found on the reefs. The coffee tables have also been engraved with stars to reflect the clear night sky and hanging lamps are crafted from bamboo prawn catcher baskets. Guests will also have the option to set up luxurious rooftop daybeds for an atmospheric night's sleep beneath the stars and each villa has a dedicated butler service catering to guests' every wish.
Gili Lankanfushi will mark the re-opening of resort with a series of new educational and active wellness programmes that combine both the paradise that is the serene Meera Spa and the educational experience from the team of deeply knowledgeable experts at the Marine Biology Shack. Holistic Healing is a five-night programme for those seeking a soulful spa experience that nurtures the body and teaches natural beauty methods. The experience will include 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. 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. Start your days with sunrise yoga followed by surf lessons in the lagoon and guided tours to a nearby wake break accompanied by a resident marine biologist to learn about local marine life. For a relaxing end to an activity filled day, book in a reflexology session at the spa, guaranteed to ease aches and pains for a deep sleep.
Food and Beverage
Days of exploring and relaxing will be complemented with delicious, sustainably sourced modern Maldivian cuisine from new live stations at the resort's signature restaurant - Kashiveli located right on the beautiful, pristine beach. Helmed by Executive Chef Hari Govindaraj who has been with the resort for over 12 years, he is responsible for tending the organic Gili garden on the premises, growing organic herbs, vegetables and fruits for use in the various dishes. Guests will also have the chance to opt for one-on-one classes to learn the art of cooking with seasonal produce from Chef Hari who will also provide hand-written recipes for guests to take home as a memory of their stay.
Rates at Gili Lankanfushi start at $1,440 per night on a room-only basis, based on double occupancy. The new wellness programmes start from $1,443 per night.
Located in the North Male Atoll, Gili Lankanfushi opened in 2000 as the original over-water resort, Soneva Gili. In 2012, the island was acquired by HPL (Hotel Properties Limited), a Singapore-based company investing in hotels, lifestyle and properties around the world. Voted number one hotel in the world by TripAdvisor in 2015, Gili Lankanfushi is an easy 20-minute speedboat transfer from Male international airport. Set in the middle of its own lagoon, guests enjoy a barefoot existence with 360-degree views of the Indian Ocean. Gili Lankanfushi's 45 overwater villas, including the vast and secluded Private Reserve, offer unrivalled privacy. The wellbeing of the planet is at the heart of the Gili Lankanfushi, with each stay contributing towards preserving the natural environment, protecting the fragile marine ecosystem and treading lightly.