Many moons ago in November 2008, my wife and I experienced our first ever resort stay at Langkawi Lagoon Resort. We didn’t know what to expect, and what resort living is even supposed to be. We bought 5-dollars Malaysian Airlines tickets (excl. taxes) before we even decided where to stay 😉
Beach resorts. Pool villas. Spa suites. We have come really far since then! What better place than the beautiful country of Maldives to conquer next?!
For first timers to Maldives, choosing a resort can be a really tough decision! This is especially true if you are not used to the resort lifestyle. Coupled with budget considerations, it could be a really stressful decision.
Choosing A Maldives Resort
Luckily, my wife and I are on the same page when it comes to our addiction for the resort lifestyle as well as our preferences.
I’ll loosely described it as eco-luxury or rustic luxury. No need for senseless marble slabs or over-the-top modern technology. It’s all about the personal touch and what goes on behind the scene. This made it much easier to select a resort once we set set our eyes on one of the best resort in this world.
A common strategy for picking a Maldives resort is to select one that is fairly well-known in terms of branding. A word of caution on doing that – it might be the last thing you want to do. Famous brand names make people feel safe about choosing them. Famous brand names are what travel agencies would be marketing. Because, why would people pay for a resort that costs more than Four Seasons or St. Regis but nobody has heard of? Can’t even brag about it to families and friends, eh? Therefore, can you guess which resorts would people typically go for?
Just to illustrate, Club Med Kani received the scathing TripAdvisor review below. Remember, the internet is your best friend and there is always a resort that perfect for you. Don’t forget to do some research!
An interesting point to note is that all the staff at Gili Lankanfushi knew about their Singaporean owners, and this made for a convenient conversation starter when they knew where we were from. 🙂
Night Flight Into Maldives
Before I go into the really important details that you can hardly find anywhere on the internet, I’ll quickly touch on the pre-arrival part of our trip. Our flight into Malé was SQ452 which departs Singapore at 7:35pm (GMT+8) and arrives at Maldives at 10:10pm (GMT+5).
My reason for choosing a night flight is simple. The flight is cheaper, and we can maximize our time at the Gili Lankanfushi by first spending the night at Hulhumalé at the affordable Ocean Grand Hotel.
After a 10-minutes shared (6-pax) private car ride (complimentary of the hotel) from the airport, we checked in at the hotel around 11pm. The hotel already knew we are transferring to Gili Lankanfushi the next day, and informed us that arrangements have been made for us to move out at 8am. This was a pleasant surprise for us as we were hoping to catch a few more hours of sleep!
Slightly bothered by the light drizzle considering we had paid for peak season pricing. Tip : forget the balcony view and save the money.
Just grab the cheapest room and have a good sleep. The next day, we woke up to a drizzle again. Had a quick breakfast and headed back to the airport.
The thing about staying at a resort like Gili Lankanfushi is that they have simply taken care of every single detail for you. They have already contacted the hotel we’re staying at for the arrangement for the following morning. We would check out at 8am – we didn’t expect it to be that early!
After reaching the airport, we met with Gili Lankanfushi’s Team Airport Friday. I spotted this photo from Facebook – the first and third gentleman from the left helped us with the arrival and departure respectively.
Apparently, another couple would be joining us for the speedboat ride so a little wait was necessary. Our airport Mr. Friday tried his best to make us as comfortable as possible, bringing us bottles of water and a magazine as we waited.
Because there are simply too many resorts for the Maldivian market, they have little booths at the airport catering to each of the more popular resorts.
Welcome drink? Check. Took our shoes? Check. Countdown to paradise? Check.
After a short 15-minutes speedboat ride, we arrived at Gili Lankanfushi!
Map of Gili Lankanfushi
The top-half of the image shows the hand-drawn map of Gili Lankanfushi and I’ve used Google Earth to get an aerial shot of the island for the bottom-half.
The really close island on the right is Paradise Island Resort, whereas the bigger one of the left is Himmafushi. If you use Google Earth and zoom in sufficiently, you can see the exact layout of the jetties etc.
My wife and I are the type of travellers who do a ridiculous amount of research (rather obvious huh) before our vacation so we have gotten lots of useful information that is otherwise not easily available. If you want more insider tips and aren’t afraid of spoilers, read on!
Jetty 1 – Shallow Waters With Coral Reefs
This triangle-shape jetty was our top choice, and we’re happy to report that we absolutely love our water villa #19. We had emailed to request for a couple of preferred villas on this side of the jetty before our trip, and we got one! How could one not love this view?!
Villa #19 is near to one end of the triangle which means there is minimal human traffic. This might be important to you because buggy rides does create a bit of noise on the wooden planks. If you ask me, water villa #18 (the right most villa in my panaroma shot) has the most privacy because it is located at the corner.
The waters here are mostly shallow and therefore not suitable for swimming. Great jetty if you have kids.
Even though shallow waters aren’t as pretty as the deeper waters, and you can see the coral reefs sticking out of the water, that also means that it is a bonus to us as the small fishes pretty much live right beside our villa.
We feed them bread every day, and they’re always excited to see us LOL.
From this side of the island, you get the sunrise view. That’s water villa #18 in my picture.
From the aerial shot, you can see that Jetty #1 is really far from both Paradise Island and Himmafushi so there is nothing to spoil the perfect view from our villa. Also, it is really far from the deep waters so they is no boat traffic at all.
Of course, the unique triangle-shape jetty means one side is going to be less optimal as you are directly facing the Robinson Crusoe Villas.
Jetty 2 – Close To Paradise Island
This photo was taken on the beach near the spa, and you can see how close the Paradise Island villas (the tiny ones in the image) are to Gili Lankanfushi. Practically just a swim away.
Jetty #2 is really close to Paradise Island, and that’s probably why the line of water villas are mostly facing towards the direction of Jetty #1. I haven’t been to jetty #2 at night so I couldn’t tell whether there is potentially any significant noise or light pollution. From our villa, I do feel that there is some light pollution from Paradise Island as the sky above it is really bright at night.
Looks like really shallow waters as well so it should be great for families with kids.
Jetty 3 – Deep Waters For Swimming
Jetty #3 is near the the main restaurant and overwater bar – just a short walk away! This makes very convenient for meal times. If you love swimming, this jetty would be great for you. Waters are deeper here (chest level) with no coral reefs as far as I can tell.
See how the colour of the here is much darker than jetty #1 and jetty #2? The deeper waters also mean that there might be higher chances of spotting larger fishes here. Think small sharks and perhaps, manta rays!
Jetty #3 is fairly close to the deep oceans which means there is much more boat traffic in the area. Of course, jetty #3 is just as close to Paradise Island so that’s one thing to take note of.
Crusoe Residences & The Private Reserve
While Gili Lankanfushi comprises of 100% water villas, there are some that as more extreme than others. If you look at the map near to jetty #1, there are 7 water villas laid out in the semi-circle.
These Crusoe Residences stand alone in the Indian Ocean and are secluded for great privacy. They are not connected to the main island in any way. You get your own private motorized boat or resort pontoon that you can use to get around. Love it or hate it? Entirely up to you 😉
I took the resort pontoon to the Private Reserve and passed by these Crusoe Residences along the way.
The Private Reserve is reputed to be the largest water villa in the world and occupies a total area 1,700 sqm. Pretty much the stuff that dreams are made of. Yeah, really expensive dreams.
No matter which jetty you choose, one thing to highlight is that the length of each water villa is pretty substantial, and the villas are laid out along the jetties that maximizes the space between each villa for as much privacy as possible.
Plus the fact that there are less than 40 water villas on the entire island, that is a lot of space for very few people. If you have checked out the size and layout of other resorts in Maldives, you would recognize how much of a luxury this is.
Did I mention every villa has an upper deck? Yup, that’s pretty much the only place you can sunbathe naked if you’re the shy type. If there are no drones nearby.
This blog post is what I would have loved to see before we went to the Maldives. It would have made our lives so much easier when it comes to selecting to stay at Gili Lankanfushi. There is still a lot more details to cover on the water villa as well as the island which I’ll save for subsequent blog posts.
Feel free to drop me any questions either in the comments or via the contact form and I’ll be happy to answer them. Writing about Gili Lankanfushi makes me miss the island life sooooooooo much.
Craving For Maldives? Read More Below :
Gili Lankanfushi : A Sneak Preview
Gili Lankanfushi : Choosing Your Maldives Resort. And Jetty. And Villa.
Going To Maldives (Part 1) : Maldives Trilogy Special Feature
Going To Maldives (Part 2) : Maldives Trilogy Special Feature
Going To Maldives (Part 3) : Maldives Trilogy Special Feature