Best of the Maldives: Gourmet Popsicles – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - popsicle

Gili Lankanfushi is concocting its own magical wands of tasty wizardry with its custom recipe Pool Pops.

  • “This is a popsicle from Fini Foni – our popsicle and ice cream bar at the pool side. Popsicles are chargeable, but during the afternoons we do offer it as a poolside Gili Refreshment. We do have different Gili Refreshment at the poolside available for guests throughout the day.”

The menu includes the following lollygagging lollies…

  • Non-alcoholic
    • Paleta Passion (photo above)
    • Gili Spa
    • Power Bar
    • Sun & Sea
    • Bodu Beru
  • Alcoholic
    • Pina Colada
    • Sangria Al Espagina
    • Fini Bubbly
    • Ghiaccioli Mojito
  • Weekly Special
    • Fini Green

Their icy assortment makes a double “Finally Seen”:

  1. Frozen Juice Pops (#6 from post #5)
  2. Poptails (#7 from post #5)

I’ve even added the new Tag “Frozen” hoping more will come out of the freezers.

Gili Lankanfushi - popsicles

Best of the Maldives: Biggest Water Villa – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi’s Private Residence    St Regis Vommulis John Jacob Astor Estate
Gili Lankanfushi Private Reserve                                                St. Regis Vommuli John Jacob Astor Estate

Sometimes the “Best” (and “Biggest”) of the Maldives can become an ever escalating arms race of hyperbolic luxury. One of the more curious bragging rights tussle is over the “Largest Water Villa in the Maldives

For years, the reigning champion was Gili Lankanfushi’s Private Residence.  I had it listed as 1400 sqm.  Then, a couple of years ago came along St. Regis Vommuli’s John Jacob Astor Estate listed as 1540 sqm, putting the voluminous into the Vommuli.  A YouTube video tour “Largest overwater villa in the Maldives” heralded it as the new crown holder in the outsize overwater villa league table. But then, I read this listicle piece by Lina Travel, “Largest Overwater Villas in the Maldives” which put Gili back on top listing the Private Residence at a larger 1700 sqm. I contacted the resort and they explained, “We had an extension of the Private Reserve in 2015, making the total area 1700 sqm.”

Gili Lankanfushi - private reserve

Best of the Maldives: Coral Lines – Gili Lankanfushi

Happy Australia Day, mate! While being only 12th in term of numbers of visitors to the Maldives, Australia is the 4th highest country in the fashionista database. Despite all its own sunshine and beach and even spectacular reefs (Great Barrier), the Maldives is still a distinctive beauty backdrop for the glitterati down under. Or maybe the depiction below of Australia’s own local offerings explains a bit of the exodus.

In honor of Australia Day today, I bring you something special from “down under”. In this case, under the sea with another reef regeneration initiative. Gili Lankanfushi’s coral lines project

  • “At Gili Lankanfushi resort in the Maldives, we are rehabilitating the coral reef by nursing coral on ropes (lines) (Levy et al., 2010) and later transplanting them onto degraded reef areas (Lindahl, 2003). Every rope is initially planted with 50 small, living coral fragments. We nurse the corals in the lagoon for 1 year and later transplant the ropes to the One Palm Island reef. Overtime we expect the corals get stronger, grow bigger and improve the health of the One Palm Island Reef. Our project is a research study on the subject of coral reef rehabilitation science, and 75% of the proceeds from every Coral Line donated will go to our Gili SEAS (Social & Environmental Awareness and Sustainability) fund, allowing our property to do more for the locals and more for the environment.”

Australia’s own reefs are suffering the stresses of the rise in ocean temperatures with extensive reports of bleaching.  I expect Australia and the Maldives will eco-allies in preserving their distinctive ecological heritages with initiatives like Gili’s

Ripper!

Australia destination map

Best of the Maldives: Map – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - birdseye map

Not quite the Edwardian “bird’s eye perspective” realism that I still haven’t seen, but Gili Lankanfushi’s is my favourite of all the resort maps. It has that pirate-chic treasure map vibe to it.

Gili’s map also veers a bit more toward the primitive art styling. It reminds me a bit of the historic Maokun” map which plotted the eastern trade route from China to the Red Sea. The excerpt below is tilted so that the north (India) is to the left, and the east (towards China) to the right. Smack in the middle, the sort of mitten-shaped mass before the map gets mostly white further right, is Sri Lanka. Obviously, the expanse of the Indian Ocean is collapsed completely! The little dots in the middle of the map represent the Maldives with the big “circle” being Male.

Chinese map

Best of the Maldives: Qigong – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - Qigong

Qigong Day Today. And before you ask…

  • Yes, that is a real day.
  • Yes, there is a day for almost everything.
  • And yes, a Maldives resort has a special Qigong offering

Gili Lankanfushi specifically…

“Sommai, the practitioner who visits Gili Lankanfushi a few times per year, learned Qigong while he studying in Institute of Physical Education in Thailand and gained more experience as the Qigong instructor while he was practicing it in Vietnam and Malaysia. All the Qigong sessions Sommai is conducting in our Yoga Champa upon the guests’ request and bookings. The free group sessions are conducted on Sundays. The private sessions are possible as well at the rate of USD 90 + taxes per hour.”

Best of the Maldives: Wood Use – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - knotted wood seating

The eco-chic natural look is becoming more and more in vogue in the Maldives. Especially with the recent launches of resorts like AaaVee and Drift Thelu Veliga. Maldives resort styling has gone through a number of style periods from the initial Spartan simplicity, to the more colonial rococo, to the modernistic swank, and now the artisanal natural look. Long before it became trendy, “Soneva” had embraced the aboriginal rustic vibe in its original properties – Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili (now re-launched as Gili Lankanfush).

Lori and I are big fans of natural wood. Our 18th century barn is packed with exposed ancient timbers and our furniture from our baby grand to our custom doll cabinet is made from burr wood. While Soneva Fushi is duly packed with natural design features, we were particularly captivated by Gili Lankanfushi’s. From artisan coat hangers to a bamboo bike and the drift wood furniture shown here (with Lori doing a bit of her own ex-tree hugging).

Gili Lankanfushi - seating 2

Gili Lankanfushi - seating

Best of the Maldives: Aqua-Solar Power – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - floating solar panels

Earth Hour today.

“As the world stands at a climate crossroads, it is powerful yet humbling to think that our actions today will decide what tomorrow will look like for generations to come. This Earth Hour, ​switch on your social power​ to shine a light on climate action. This is our time to #ChangeClimateChange…our future starts today.”

One of my favourite Earth-friendly initiatives in the Maldives is Gili Lankanfushi’s floating solar panels. One of the challenges to solar power is finding a place to put the surface-area driven collectors. Not a problem in the middle of a desert. But in a densely populated location a bit tricky. Some have tried putting them on roofs. What the Maldives do have is lots of water. And so Gili’s solution is so fitting. It’s sort of a floating solar lilo.

“Gili Lankanfushi is happy to announce its partnership with Swimsol, an Austrian company that specializes in groundbreaking floating solar power solutions. Their idea is to bring green power to parts of the World, like the Maldives, where land space is limited. We are lucky enough to have Swimsol’s largest product so far; a 15 x 15 metre floating solar power platform. The platform itself is an engineering marvel; an innovative floating structure that is designed to survive waves and water turbulence. It consists of glass fibre tubes, aluminum frames and 112 solar panels. Weighing over 5 tonnes, it took nearly one third of Gili Lankanfushi’s hosts to push it into the water. Today after more than two weeks of hard work in the blistering heat of the dry season, the Swimsol team have plugged the largest floating solar platform in the Maldives into Gili Lankanfushi’s power grid. Swimsol’s platform has a nominal capacity of 28 KW and on sunny days it will produce up to 200 kWh, which is enough to power the equivalent of all our pathway and jetty lights, as well as the Front Office lighting for 12 hours! The platform will reduce our carbon footprint by 35 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of 30 return flights from Europe to Maldives per person!””

(thanks Paola)

8 Out-Standing Dining Rooms

NIYAMA - Subsix

One of my favourite dining themes is over the water (if not IN the water). The Maldives offers diver menu of in-ocean dining.  Now, I’m not talking about mere “over water” dining.  Just about every self-respective 5-star resort has one of those.  I’m talking about surrounded-by-water dining.  In fact, NIYAMA’s “Subsix” (see above) goes so far as to be both in the ocean and “IN” the ocean with its underwater dining room.

For an outstanding meal out standing in the middle of the ocean, here’s the full list…

1. NIYAMASubsix

2. TAJ EXOTICAOcean Pavilion
Taj Exotica - Ocean Pavillion

3. BAREFOOTBlack Pearl
Barefoot - Black Pearl

4. JUMEIRAH DHEVANAFUSHIJohara
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - Johara 

5. BAROSPiano Bar
Baros - Piano Bar

6. ANGSANA VELAVARUAzzurro
Angsana Velavaru - Azzurro 

7. KANDOLHUSunset Pavilion
Kandolhu - Sunset Pavillion

8. GILI LANKANFUSHIWedding Pavilion
Gili Lankanfushi - Wedding Pavillion

7 Out-Standing Maldives Water Villas

Gili Lankanfushi water villas

 

The Maldives are renowned for diminutive islands (a plot of sand and a palm tree). But at some resorts, the “island” has diminished to nothing at all. Don’t worry…it’s not the often reported “sinking of the Maldives”. It’s just resorts bringing their guests closer to the alluring seascape and more remote from the rest of the world.

Gili Lankanfushi (above) was the one who started it all with their lagoon villas (and dedicated boats to ferry guests to and from their villas). And it still commands the destination topping, paragon of the concept, their Private Reserve.

Jumeirah then took the concept to a whole new level by making a stand-alone neighbourhood of water villas.

Now a small collection of room types not so much “marooned” as “maritime”. I excluded the “yachts” even the semi-permanent moored one (eg. The Rania Experience, Huvafenfushi’s Dhoni Suites) because it’s not quite the same even though they too are places to stay out in the middle of the water.

Thanks – again – Paola (who prompted the list and initiated the research).

  

1. Gili LankanfushiCrusoe Residence [above]

2. VelaaRomantic Pool Residence

Velaa - Romantic Pool Residence

 

3. Jumeirah DhevanafushiOcean Pearls

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - Ocean Pearls

 

4. Jumeirah VittaveliOcean Suite with Pool

Jumeirah Vittaveli - Ocean Suite with Pool

  

5. MedhufushiLagoon Suite

Medhufushi - Lagoon Suite

 

6. Angsana VelavaruIn Ocean Pool Villa

Angsana Velavaru - In Ocean Pool Villa

 

7. MeeruHoneymoon Suites

Meeru - Honeymoon Suites