Go ahead, make a guess: What property out there is considered the Best Hotel in the World? If you look east – way east — to the Maldives archipelago in the Indian Ocean you would be warm. According to TripAdvisor, Gili Lankanfushi gets top honors as the Best Hotel in the World 2015 as tabbed by its Travelers’ Choice survey and the reasons will not surprise you.
Each of Gili Lankanfushi resort’s 45 villas is an overwater island unto itself. In the Maldives, it is said each resort is its own kingdom and at Gili Lankanfushi that land would be the Kingdom of Luxury. Each villa is completely private with a large open-air living space and 2,250 -15,000 square feet (depending on villa category) with aromatic hardwood interiors that include dining facilities, outdoor terrace with day bed, open-air private bathroom with separate glass walled shower area, and king bed, — all over open waters.
Villas to Palaces in the Maldives
But to command the kingdom, one must live like a royal and that would mean booking the Private Reserve, a 15,000 square foot palace on two tiers over the ocean. Accessed only by boat, indulgences include a private spa and gym, rooftop and terrace sundecks, an enchanting sea garden, a 1,000-square-foot open-air bathroom, a private wine cellar and a waterslide into the beckoning waters of a coral pool from the rooftop terrace. It can sleep up to six people in sublime comfort. Attendant Mr. & Mrs. Fridays come with every villa, but the Private Reserve comes with the attention of “a his” and “a hers.”
When you are considered the Best Hotel in the World, you get to make your own time. Gili Lankanfushi sets its clocks an hour later than the rest of the country, giving its guests more time in the day to spend in this magical and mythical Maldivian island kingdom.
Dining and Daytripping at Gili Lankanfushi
Dining is international here, with emphasis on Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The resort serves a creative array of cocktails and beer at the bar, and offers a wine cellar filled with award winning collections. Picnicking under sun or stars is always on the menu for those who want to add a little bit of heaven to the dining experience.
Activities onsite and on water keep boredom at bay: There’s sunrise yoga for starters, anything from windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, dolphin cruising, snorkeling and diving (the resort has its own fully-equipped PADI diving school) can follow. Grab a bike and seek out what secrets this remote island may harbor; play tennis, board games or take day trips to other islands – the Maldivian capital of Male is just 20 minutes away. Nights might include sunset cruises, jungle cinema or a Japanese fusion dinner at By the Sea.
And not forgetting spa time: Meera Spa with open walls over the ocean, lets in the breezes and the soothing ocean sounds while therapists chime in with local mastery in their facials and massage treatments.
The Maldives: for Un-Tourists
Maldives, a collection of some 19 atolls and 1,190 islands cropping out of the clearest and warmest waters on earth, receives less tourism than it deserves. Some 1.4 million tourists will visit this year (Las Vegas gets 40 million visitors a year as a point of perspective). The country recently joined neighboring Indian Ocean island destinations, such as Rodriguez and Mauritius, in creating a regional designation as the Vanilla Islands. But visitors heading to the Maldives might be attracted by the “un-tourist” quality of these islands, where quiet and privacy are paramount, purity is religion, and beauty is everywhere.
A visit to the Maldives is a visit to the lowest country on earth (not one of its coral islands is higher than six feet). Gili Lankanfushi’s theme: No Shoes, No News means expect to get your feet wet, and expect to not care.
Gili Lankanfushi: Getting There, Staying There
Rates: These start at around $1,100 a night with a complimentary night if a booking is four nights or longer. Early bookings (60 days in advance) are rewarded with complimentary half-board on meals. Rates and packages vary and may include full board, spa treatments, private residence discounts, spring water, Wi-Fi or return transfers from Male. A number of airlines serve Male from the U.S. A flight to Male is 10.5 hours from London, located just south of Sri Lanka.
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.
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