The Maldives is considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world, with its stunning white-sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, unparalleled snorkelling, stunning over-water villas and fine dining. It’s no wonder that The Maldives frequently tops the world’s favourite destinations to honeymoon. But what about within The Maldives? A quick Google search for ‘most romantic place in the Maldives’ and you’ll find Gili Lankanfushi at the top of the list – and for good reason.
Known as the best hotel in the world (it’s been voted the number one hotel in the world on TripAdvisor, and keeps making the Conde Nast Traveller Gold Lists year after year), Gili Lankanfushi is not your standard copy-and-paste over-water villa resort. Because aside from the 45 impressively large water villas (ranging in size from huge to ridiculous, including the largest water villa in the world) the island has plenty more to offer; an outdoor cinema, rooftop beds for nights under the stars, a complimentary personal butler service and water taxi service, and more than 7 private dining spots with breath-taking sunsets (to name just a few).
It’s hard to top Gili Lankanfushi for romance.
And unlike other resorts where you’ll need to add a couple of hours onto an already exhaustingly long journey just to get to the islands, Gili Lankanfushi is a convenient 20 minute speedboat ride (with cocktails on board) from Male airport, ensuring your honeymoon (or babymoon) starts from the moment you land.
Here are 10 of Hero & Leander’s favourite things Gili Lankanfushi has to offer:
- Total privacy
The gorgeous rustic wooden villas are all over water, with direct access to the turquoise Indian Ocean, and are as big as houses. Some of them are so private that they can only be accessed by boat, giving couples as much privacy and uninterrupted alone time as they could desire.
Although the villas feel open in their design (open air showers with a view, bathtubs surrounded by glass windows that opened right up, steps that lead into the sea, and a glass floor through which you can see the colourful fish below), the villas are all built facing the open sea so you can’t see anyone else, and no-one can see you. It’s a sense of total privacy that you can rarely achieve on holiday.
- Personal butler
There’ll be no arguing over whose turn it is to pick up snorkels, snacks or DVDs, as each couple is assigned their own private butler, Mr. Friday, who is on call 24/7 and will arrange everything you need, whether that’s room service, a new snorkel (they come free of charge), or babysitting service.
From the moment you arrive at the island, Mr Friday (named after Robinson Crusoe’s loyal assistant and dear friend) is just a press of a button away. For couples with kids in tow, Mr (or Ms) Friday will also look after little ones and offer activities tailored for them, so you can have as much romantic alone time as you like.
- Sleep under the stars
What could be more romantic than sleeping in a four poster bed in your private over-water villa in The Maldives? Sleeping under the stars on the roof of your over-water villa in The Maldives.
If you ask your Mr.Friday, he’ll transform the daybed on your private roof terrace with luxurious linens, perfect for a romantic night spent sleeping under the stars (and this you must do at least once). Your regular room will also be made up as normal, in case you change your mind.
- Watch a movie under the stars
The island’s secluded outdoor cinema features a large cinema screen with approx 15 – 20 comfortable deckchairs, from which you can order dinner, popcorn and champagne. The cinema shows films twice a week but is also available for private viewings the rest of the week.
- Dolphin watching
Sign up for a dolphin watching excursion – this is not something you’ll want to miss! Join other guests or ask for a private excursion, and enjoy champagne at sunset whilst wild dolphins weave in and out of the waves around you. Although they are wild, they are naturally inquisitive and playful animals, and tend to spend some time dancing around you.
- Room service
Skip the (ridiculously impressive) breakfast buffet and call your Mr. Friday instead for a lazy and leisurely in-villa breakfast. Enjoy your coffee, fruit and croissants whilst dangling your feet above the water from your over-water hammock (or just stay in bed).
- Romantic private dining
Aside from the three main restaurants, the resort can also arrange memorable private or destination dining experiences. There’s the 360 table which is on a circular wooden elevated platform in between palm trees, with panoramic views and incredible sunsets. Or you can ask to dine on the beach surrounded by lanterns. There’s also an underground one cellar for a memorable and atmospheric wine and cheese or wine and chocolate tasting. Located under the sand, the underground wine cave contains 600 varieties of wine from more than 30 regions around the world, plus chocolate and cheese rooms.
- Romantic scenery
With their strong environmental commitment, Gili Lankanfushi is kept spotlessly clean, with powder soft and sugar white sand that’s raked every day and feels like it’s been sieved, and there’s not a leaf out of place. The sea is an impossibly clear turquoise filled with marine life, and the resort employs full-time marine biologists to help marine species thrive. There’s an abundance of coral, colourful fish, reef sharks and manta rays. The stunning infinity pool with its luxurious loungers almost melts into the ocean, meanwhile there are leaning palm trees with swooping hammocks that are begging to be climbed into. In other words, there’s no shortage of secured romantic spots to enjoy a quiet moment together.
- Travel in style
Although the island is small and you could easily walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes, each guest is given their own bicycle (labelled with their room number) for the duration of their stay. The bikes come with a handy basket to put your things in, and the peddles have a soft padding to them which makes it comfortable to cycle around barefoot. Explore the island together by bicycle (also a great photo opportunity if ever we saw one), or take the complimentary golf buggy or water taxi service.
- Romantic activities
There are countless activities on offer, from tennis, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, regular surfing and scuba diving to sunrise yoga on the beach, kayaking, fishing (including big game fishing), snorkelling excursions, cooking classes, sushi making classes and wine tasting
(should you have the desire to leave your ocean hammock – which you won’t). There’s also in-room board games and DVDs for cosy nights in.
Then, for those who don’t feel like being active but don’t want to do nothing, there’s the fabulous overwater Meera Spa with couple’s treatment rooms where you can enjoy a massage side-by-side, whilst looking down at the tropical fish and (harmless) reef sharks grazing on the coral below.
For more information or to book please visit www.gili-lankanfushi.com/