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Gili Lankanfushi Maldives – A Sanctuary Hidden From the World
Travel
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives – A Sanctuary Hidden From the World
WRITER: Elwin Chan PHOTOS BY: Alvin Toh
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives – A Sanctuary Hidden From the World 30. October 2017, by Elwin Chan, Photos by Alvin Toh
Reconnect with nature, people, and self at Gili Lankanfushi, a private resort paradise in the Maldives teeming with rich and wonderful marine life.

Nestled on a private coral island, in a glistening turquoise lagoon is Gili Lankanfushi, voted Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice No. 1 Luxury Hotel in Maldives and Asia 2017, and World Travel Awards’ Indian Ocean’s Leading Resort 2017. The eco resort, with 45 overwater villas, is set within the North Malé Atoll, on the island of Lankanfushi, one of about only 200 inhabited islands out of 1,192 in the Maldives. Just a short 20-minute boat ride from Malé International Airport, Gili Lankanfushi is a sanctuary hidden from the world, a private paradise teeming with rich and colourful marine life.

The Gili Lankanfushi experience begins at the airport, where guests are ushered to a private speed boat. Once on board, they are invited to remove their footwear, to be kept in a bag that says “No News, No Shoes”. This is the first introduction to what the resort proudly calls Barefoot Luxury.

David Stepetic, the General Manager of Gili Lankanfushi, who had spent 19 years at the Four Seasons, explains, “In an increasingly saturated luxury market, we recognise that our guests are looking for more than just luxurious accommodation and a beautiful beach. At Gili Lankanfushi, we make our guests feel truly at home, offering them an opportunity to redefine the meaning of luxury and discover their own private sanctuary. Barefoot Luxury is such an example. Guests can literally kick off their shoes and just enjoy being casual and comfortable, in a setting that is elegant and sophisticated. Their feet caressed by soft, powdery sand, our guests are free to let go of their worries and stress.”

David Stepetic, General Manager of Gili Lankanfushi, and Roberto Arganese, Director of Sales & Marketing, work to offer guests a more discerning level of luxury

Leaving the cares of the world behind, an opportunity to connect with other aspects of life presents itself. The atmosphere at Gili Lankanfushi is at once inviting and idyllic. Palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters, the gentle sea breeze. This is the chance to reconnect with nature, people, self, and life.

“At Gili Lankanfushi, guests experience a more discerning level of luxury. The true luxury of privacy, exclusivity, and both the freedom and absence of time. The resort is small in terms of the numbers of villas, yet the property is large and spread out. Combined with dedicated service from our staff, the experience here is exceptional and highly personalised. Every detail is taken care of, so guests can enjoy the ultimate relaxation,” David says.

Roberto Arganese, the resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing, adds, “When you disconnect from the outside world, and allow the natural beauty of the Maldives to take you away, that is paradise.”

And year after year, guests have returned to this paradise. “The resort is beautiful, but more than that, it is the connection that guests have made with the hosts and staff that brings them back. These connections are sincere, genuine, and emotional. They are also long-lasting, wherever our guests are in the world. For these reasons and more, Gili Lankanfushi has become their home away from home,” David says with a smile.

“Mr Friday, All Day, Every Day”

Guests at Gili Lankanfushi are served personally by an impressive and attentive group of hosts called Mr Friday, aptly named after Robinson Crusoe’s loyal assistant and beloved friend. This dedicated bevy of Mr Fridays and Ms Fridays, whose training can take up to three months, look after the needs of guests from the time they step foot on the resort to the time they leave. Mr and Ms Fridays help to arrange excursions, spa appointments, sunset cruises, and even keep the little ones entertained with storytelling and craft sessions. Aboo, who has been a Mr Friday for almost five years, says, “My biggest satisfaction is knowing that my guests have had an enjoyable and unforgettable stay here. Some of these guests have even become my friends.”

Dedicated Mr Fridays attend to guests 24/7.
Aboo, a Mr Friday, takes pride in the fact that some of his guests have become his friends.

Beyond the sun and sea, there is always time for guests to indulge in a culinary experience, learn something new or learn a little more about how the resort plays a part in sustainable and responsible tourism. A continuous effort on marine conservation led to the opening of a marine biology centre where guests can be involved in the resort’s environmental sustainability programmes.

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