Time passed so quickly that we were already halfway through our honeymoon after saying goodbye reluctantly to Cocoa Island. Fortunately, the best is yet to come and we were heading to another little tranquil gem, Gili Lankanfushi Maldives (fomerly Soneva Gili By Six Senses).
Transport Between Two Different Resorts
I guess it is not common to stay in two Maldives resorts in one single trip due to the transport issue. There is no direct transport between two different resorts (unless they belong to the same hotel group) or it will be extremely expensive. The only silly way is to go back to Male airport from the first resort and then take the scheduled boat to the second resort. As you know, all the Maldives resorts are so expensive and we actually didn’t want to waste a whole day on transport. Surprisingly, the transfer turned out to be so smooth and it only took around 2 hours thanks to the great coordination between the staffs from both Cocoa Island and Gili Lankanfushi Maldives.
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives is just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Male airport. On the boat, after serving us very nice mixed fruit juice, the staff introduced us the “no shoes, no news” policy and handed us bags so that we could get rid of our shoes. (Don’t worry as you will find your shoes waiting for you in your room as soon as you get there.) The policy intends to have you slowing down your pace and taking the time to appreciate the gifts of nature. Although it emphasizes “no shoes”, you can still wear shoes or slippers at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives. Yet, most people were barefoot on the island and I did follow the “no shoes” policy the first day as well. But then I figured out that my feet were pricked with many wooden splinters and so I finally gave up. But I still thought the barefoot concept was great. Also, each guest is given a bike to pedal around as well.
From the moment we stepped off the boat onto this island, we were so into the sheer beauty of Gili Lankanfushi Maldives. It’s so unreal! The many shades of blue in the water, the palm-fringed island, the glistening white sands and the jaw-droppingly castle-like villas. It literally takes your breath away. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives was even more beautiful than Cocoa Island and the other two Four Seasons resorts in Maldives.
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives features its butler concept. Each villa is assigned a Mr./Ms. Friday who will take care of you during your whole stay. When we arrived, we were greeted by our Ms Friday, Nikki. Then we were immediately taken to our water villa without the hassle of checking in as the whole process was conducted in the comfort of our temporary home. Nikki was very attentive without being intrusive. In fact, most of the staff here were very helpful and nice.
At Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, all the over water villas are located on three jetties on different sides of the island. Jetty 3 is the only jetty within swimming distance to One Palm Island and Three Palm Island. With these two tiny islands decorating the sea line, the view from the sundeck is simply picture perfect. Also, jetty 3 is surrounded by deeper water which is great for swimming. Jetties 1 and 2 are in the lagoon, which seems quieter and more sheltered from the wind than jetty 3.
We originally requested for the villas on Jetty 3 facing the One Palm Island as many others suggested it’s better for snorkeling. Villas at the far end of jetty 1 and jetty 2 were our second choice. After arriving at the island and seeing all the jetties, we were so glad that we were assigned to villa #19 on jetty 1. Although the water is too shallow for swimming, snorkeling is great as many corals are scattered over the lagoon and you can easily see fish. On the other hand, it was just too windy at jetty 3 and the sea was so rough. During our stay, we liked to have our dinner at the beach area of the main restaurant, which is facing the same direction as jetty 3. One night the wind was so scary that we had to move indoors to have our dinner. So you can imagine how windy it was on jetty 3 at that time.
Also, avoid villa #35, #36 and #37 on jetty 3 because their sundecks are directly facing the much bigger Paradise Island, which impair the view.
This enormous villa was where we stayed! I felt like I was dreaming when I first saw this villa. It’s extremely spacious with 210 sqm. Yet it’s just the entry level villa suite in Gili Lankanfushi Maldives.
There is plenty of wonderful outdoor space in the villa. The generous living area is open air and is a great place to retreat to when the sun gets too hot. Not only is there a waterside deck with sunbeds and hammocks that overlooks the lagoon, there’s an upstairs sundeck perfect for stargazing also. The bathroom is very spacious with a bridge leading to an outdoor shower, which stretched over a section of the lagoon that is walled off for privacy.
We especially loved the Bose system linking the whole of the ground floor and the bed with the Sealy Posturepedic mattress was just so comfortable.
There were many box fishes of different sizes and different colors in the lagoon area near jetties 1 and 2. They looked just so cute with their small mouths and they were definitely not good swimmers as they swam even slower than me!
Although the water is shallow, the lagoon area near jetty 1 is full of surprises. Other than the lovely box fishes, we also saw an eagle ray, a titan trigger fish, a trumpet fish and many small fishes.
Six Senses Spa is one of the most renowned international spa chains in the world and it was one of the reasons we picked this resort. (During our stay, the resort was still managed by Six Senses Resorts & Spas under the Soneva brand. Due to the sale of Soneva Gili in June 2012, the resort has been rebranded to Gili Lankanfushi Maldives and the spa has become Meera Spa.) We had the complimentary 50-minute aromatherapy massage for honeymooners and it was second to none. One of the highlights was that there was a piece of glass panel right underneath the massage table, allowing me to see fishes swim by during the massage. The therapist was very sophisticated and her technique was so good that I fell asleep during the second half of the massage. Upstairs there’s a lovely enclosed deck looking out to sea where you can sip some ginger tea and relax post-treatment. Although it’s expensive, it’s worth the money for sure and we had another 90-minute aromatherapy massage the day after.
Guess what it is? It’s a porcupine-like shoe brush to help you wipe the sand off your shoes before you get into your villa. What an intimate design!
Feel scared? No worry, they were just two little black-tip baby sharks swimming near the shore and no harm at all. If you like to watch the baby sharks, be sure to go to the main bar. Schools of baby sharks can be seen there.
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives displays a high level of care and attention to the environment. Numerous lizards were still living in the island.
If I was to be overly critical I would say that snorkeling around Gili Lankanfushi Maldives was not as brilliant as in Cocoa Island. (But it’s unfair for this comparison as Cocoa Island is renowned its abundance of marine life.) We did listen to the advice of the staff to snorkel from One Palm Island to Three Palm Island but it’s a bit disappointed and the sea was so rough at that side.
About One Palm Island, last time we borrowed a canoe to get there but it was so exhausting. Actually you can just call up your Mr./Ms. Friday and have him/her arrange a boat to ferry you out to the island and come back to pick you up a couple of hours later.
If you want a more relaxing snorkeling experience, go to the lagoon side near jetties 1 and 2 as the water there is shallowest and calmest with the most visible coral and fish. You can see lots of box fishes and I am sure you will love them.
If you want to see a more variety of fishes, I highly recommend you to join the snorkeling trip. We did join one and it was definitely the best snorkeling experience we ever had. After a 20-minute ride, the speedboat stopped at a drop-off near another resort (forgets its name but definitely not in the same league as Gili Lankanfushi Maldives in terms of luxury). We then followed the staff and jumped off the boat into the ocean. This drop-off looked very alike to Cocoa Island’s one. But this time we were lucky enough to be guided by the staff during the whole trip. He spotted and showed us many marine lives, which were hardly perceptible to our untrained eyes. We saw a one-meter long black-tip shark, a sea turtle, stingrays, lobsters, titan trigger fish, puffer fish, nemo fish, and many different kinds of fish. It’s the first time we saw sea turtle and my wife was so excited that she almost pulled my head off!
The weekly cocktail party on the One Palm Island is something you should not miss, with nice Maldivian music and dance, complimentary cocktails and snacks, and it gives you a chance to meet the staff and other guests whilst watching the sunset.
Don’t forget to look at the starry sky at night. It’s absolutely stunning!
You can see the sunrise in jetties 1 and 2 while jetty 3 gets the sunset. It’s so beautiful! You will regret if you miss it.
The food was simply superb and of very high standard. (Again, we found Cocoa Island hard to beat in terms of food.) Breakfast was great. You can choose from some twenty ways to prepare eggs and tens of freshly made juices. The rest is buffet style. As for dinner, we had one candle light dinner on the second floor deck in our villa one night, which was so romantic. The Tuesday buffet night right after the cocktail party was fantastic, which was organized as a food market with different cuisine stands. As we went half board, we could only dine in the main restaurant and hadn’t a chance to try the Japanese restaurant, By the Sea, which was highly recommended by other travelers. Some even suggested that the sushi offered was some of the best in the world.
Again, my research paid off. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives is perfect. Words can’t say it all. Come and feel it!
Resort Website: www.gili-lankanfushi.com