Best of the Maldives: Tibetan Singing Bowls – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - Tibetan Singing Bowls




And gong goes to…

The Grammy for ‘Best Meditative Inspiration’ goes to…[drumroll]…Gili Lankanfushi. Nominated by Sakis of ‘Dreaming of Maldives’. He featured these ambient instruments in a recent post complete with a video so you can enjoy their soothing tones.

Best of the Maldives: No Shoes – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - no shoes

All of the Maldives exemplifies ‘no shoes’ natural relaxation. Yes, some of the newer super premiums have introduced a little bit more formality with their posh luxury, but the best still maintain that informal and casual elegance. Dressing for dinner typically doesn’t mean footwear (though we like to freshen up after a day in the sun and salt and put on some of our more stylish attire for our Maldivian evenings).

The brochures and websites emphasize this barefoot ethos, but Gili Lankanfushi hits you over the head with it. The minute you step foot on their transfer boat, is the last step you will take in your shoes. Don your life jacket, grab your tropical refresher and then they hand you a canvas bag with the words on it “No News, No Shoes”. It is a shoe bag to put your shoes in immediately. They will take care of getting them to your room and then the idea is you don’t crack open that bag until you board the boat again on your departure.

I love this explicit approach. Not just because I come from America, the land of explicit directness, but because I think many people do need this direction and even prodding. The Maldives is so unlike any place on earth, many people have trouble accepting that it is actually as laid back and idyllic as it is. They think it is maybe a bit of marketing hyperbole and it takes them a few days for it to sink in that things truly as relaxed as promised. And it’s a shame that in those initial few days they’ve missed out on a degree of relaxation for fear that they were violating some decorum.

No confusion at Lankanfushi. They want their guests to start feeling the sand between their toes the minute they step off the boat.

Best of the Maldives: Personal Water Transport – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - motor boats



Personal butlers,, mini-bars and wedding coaches. So much in the Maldives is catered to each individual. At Gili Lankanfushi, you not only get your own bicycle for exploring the island, but the residents of the Residence villas, get their own motor boat. They can be driven to their villa in the middle of the lagoon by a member of staff. Or they have the option of driving themselves. They are given basic instruction in its operating and navigating the low powered boats.

Best of the Maldives: Honey – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - honey 1

Oh, bother. Empty again. Only the sticky part’s left.” – Winnie the Pooh

Today is Winnie the Pooh’s birthday. Well, A.A. Milne’s, Winnie’s creator. Winnie, of course, notorious for his never-ending search for more honey. If he’s looking for a Maldives holiday, then he should make Gili Lankanfushi his first stop.

Gili serves it both fresh from the honey comb (see below) as well as a range a varieties (photo above) for the most discerning of melicionados.

Honey is more than a tasty spread and for many has Pooh-like sacred properties. In Hinduism, honey (Madhu) is one of the five elixirs of immortality (Panchamrita). In temples, honey is poured over the deities in a ritual called Madhu abhisheka. The Vedas and other ancient literature mention the use of honey as a great medicinal and health food. In Islam, there is an entire Surah in the Qur’an called al-Nahl (the Honey Bee). According to hadith, Prophet Muhammad strongly recommended honey for healing purposes.  The Qur’an promotes honey as a nutritious and healthy food…

“And your Lord inspired the bee(s), saying: ‘Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you).’ There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for mankind. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think.”

Let’s hope that every ‘little black rain cloud’ hovering over Gili is just a hungry teddy bear in disguise.

Gili Lankanfushi - honey 2

Best of the Maldives: Long Stay – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - Private Reserve




If all you need to relax is one treatment…the Maldive environment around you and you want as much of it as possible, many of the super premium resorts feature the rather grand room (well, ‘suites’) of ‘Residence’. Gili Lankanfushi’s Private Reserve in its ‘Residence’ collection takes this moniker seriously though. It has had one guest stay there for 9 months!

Best of the Maldives: Private Ocean Swimming – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - private swimming area water villa


Like glass floors, private back areas are another prominently requested feature for Maldive villas. Especially for modest Middle Eastern women who prefer not to wear skimpy beach clothes in public view. Also, the numerous honeymooners that flock here like a little privacy to take the ‘P’ out of ‘PDA’.

Most villas in the Maldives have some sort of private back area, but they differ widely. From just enough space for an outdoor shower to expansive, walled gardens with private pools and other amenities. That is why I include a picture of the back areas in the Room Type Profiles.

Now water villas have the entire ocean for their ‘back area’. Great for sunsets, marine life watching, handy snorkelling, and lovely ocean views. Regardless of the screens, walls and configuration, not super for privacy (at least from the ocean side). But Gili Lankanfushi has private ocean swimming areas on its water villas. Areas of the sea walled off 360 degrees that you can swim or whatever in. Sort of its own version of private ‘water closet’ altogether where you don’t just see the lagoon, but you are in it.

Don’t get too bold in the ostensibly private setting. The water is eztremely clear and people could probably see a bit of what is going on from the adjacent walkway at least some of whatever is under water.

Best of the Maldives: Bedroom a la Carte – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - bedroom a la carte




Coverings can be just as a creative at night as they as in the daytime, just as flexible inside as they are out. Gili Lankanfushi provides a complete a la carte service for your comfy bed coverings (see above) with a range of room accompaniments. I think I’ll have the Feather Duvet and side of Ylang Ylang.

Best of the Maldives: Fresh Air Villas – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - villa



It’s all about the fresh air. Breakfast by the water, morning snorkel/dive, lunch on the deck, lounging by the pool, stroll around the perimeter of the island, sunset pina colada, dinner on the beach, reading on the porch/deck, lying down on the sand for some star gazing.

We love spending as much time outside as possible on our trips. Dining al fresco is one of the great treats of the Maldives. One of my pet peeves at a resort is when I don’t have the option to dine out in the open air with the sand in my toes (ie. if I’m stuck to some enclosed, hard-floor restaurant).

Gili Lankanfushi extends the al fresco vibe to your villa when you finally do return to it. The whole villa – lounge area and bathroom – are completely open air.

On the particularly hot days, you can retreat to the bedroom which is the only part of the villa with air conditioning. But the even the doors are louvered so you can use natural sea-breeze AC in all but the most scorching days.


Best of the Maldives: Urinal – Gili Lankanfushi

  Gili Lankanfushi - urinal day



Downing glass after glass of refreshing iced tea on a hot, sunny day can only lead to one place. Resorts do their best to make every experience an exceptional one. Restaurants and hotels around the world have done creative things to make a man’s comfort break a bit more comfortable. Most usually, these are in the form of a bit of art, maybe a frame for the latest newspaper (typically sports page), or even adverts (to exploit the attention of this quite captive). But Gili Lankanfushi has created a luxury experience for gentlemen in the room that bears their name. A marble and stainless urinal mounted on a slight promontory into a lit reflecting pool with wall fountain. Relief never looked so resplendent.


Gili Lankanfushi - urinal

Best of the Maldives: Cocktail Compendium – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - cocktails

A refresher for the end of the day is a cocktail which can also sparkle, uplift, sooth or relax. The ‘Doctor of Mixology’ has to be Muthu Kumar, Head Bartender at Gili Lankanfushi’s their Overwater Bar. He trained for 6 months in cocktail mixing. And looking at the dissertation length bar cocktail menu, you can see why. Gili offers…

  • 24 Champagne Cocktails – including, “Sake – Cham” (Japanese junmai daiginjo sake, syrup and Champagne) and “Royal Lime Sorbet” (Fresh lime, syrup, Champagne mixed with lime sorbet)
  • 19 Martinis – including, “Apple and Cinnamon Martini” (Organic apple juice, lime juice, syrup, cinnamon vodka, muddled with fresh apple and cinnamon), “Cardamom and Pineapple Martini” (Cardamom vodka, syrup and fresh pineapple juice)
  • 12 “Herb Cocktails”
  • 11 “Limbo” (Lime in Maldivian) cocktails
  • 12 Vodka cocktails
  • 6 Wine cocktails
  • 9 Gin cocktails
  • 10 Rum cocktails
  • 9 Tequila cocktails
  • 9 Brandy cocktails
  • 8 Whiskey cocktails
  • 10 coffee cocktails (5 hot versions and 5 cold ones)
  • 6 “Signature Cocktails”

They also have 6 ‘Shooter’ cocktails crowned by the house specialty the ‘7 Layer Shooter’ – Muthu Kumar (With the W Retreat’s signature ‘7 Layer Chocolate Cake’ I am wondering if there is some sort of culinary law od physics that says you can pile up an ingredient on top of itself a number of times, but it is absolutely limited ‘7’. Sort of like the number of times you can fold a piece of paper in half).

It’s not just the recipes that have variety, but the ingredients themselves. They stock 21 types of Vodka, 19 types of gin, 15 brands of Rum, 8 Tequillas, 29 liqueurs, 38 whiskies, 13 Apperitifs and 8 Digestifs, 18 Cognacs, 9 Grappas, 9 ports/sherries, 10 soft drinks, 11 juices, 7 smoothies, 7 lassis, 12 beers, 14 mocktails, 25 ‘spa’ cocktails (eg. Ayurveda elixirs), 20 types of teas.

In short, 151 types of cocktail made from 248 types of drinks (and of course, you could have any of the latter straight up).

Stay tuned for Muthu’s latest innovation as he is soon to introduce ‘Smoky’ cocktails to the already encyclopaedic mix.


Gili Lankanfushi - Muthu cocktails