PARADISE IN THE MALDIVES
For my honeymoon, I was lucky enough to spend a week in the beautiful paradise that is the Maldives.
The Maldives is a group of coral islands located in the Indian Ocean below Sri Lanka. Of the 1192 islands, 80 of these are private islands utilised by tourist resorts. Our honeymoon was at the stunning Gili Lankanfushi Resortthat's won Trip Advisors 'World's Best Hotel' award for the last three years in a row!
Gili Lankanfushi is located on Lankanfushi Island in the North Male Atoll on a tiny coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties stretching across the crystal water out to each of the overwater villas. We flew with Singapore Airlines from Christchurch to Singapore and then with only a 3 hour lay over in Singapore, continued on to the Maldives which is only four hours from Singapore.
When you step onto the speed boat at Male Airport to take you to Gili Lankanfushi, you're given a small bag with the words “no news no shoes” on it. While this is voluntary, we did place our shoes in this bag and were barefoot for the remainder of our holiday. As we stepped onto that soft white sand for the first time, we immediately felt relaxed and knew that we were never going to want to leave.
The blue of the water is unlike anything I have ever seen and the perfect white sand and calm waters were so inviting. We were greeted at the boat dock by our Mr. Friday who acted as our personal butler during our stay and was available 24/7 for anything we required. Mr. Friday (whose real name is Aboo), drove us via golf cart to our overwater villa which was to be our home for the week. The villas are huge - in fact, ours was bigger than my whole house! They're all set over two stories and include a lounge area, upstairs balcony with a day bed, a separate bedroom and a huge bathroom with glass viewing to the ocean below. From the outdoor deck, we were able to leap right into the warm ocean for a swim and off the bathroom there is a private swimming area which is fully secluded from the open ocean.
Since you are without shoes during your stay, the resort provides each villa with cruiser bicycles which you can ride around the resort. They have hard packed sand trails which make riding on the sand easy and it was a great way to get around the various restaurants and other facilities on the island.
We spent the majority of our days in the warm water, waking up and leaping right in for a swim. Interestingly enough, although the resort has 45 overwater villas and was apparently quite full during our stay, we never saw more than 3 couples at any one time. It really is lovely and quiet. In fact, the villas are so nice that some people simply don’t feel the need to leave their rooms for their entire stay. The dining options here are so varied that you could in fact do this as the chef will come to your room and cook for you either from the menu or create a meal that suits you... whether that's a fresh fish BBQ, sushi dinner or breakfast on the outdoor terrace.
We ate a magnificent Maldivian Fisherman’s Grill dinner at the Overwater Restaurant and the food was so wonderfully fresh and beautifully presented. The main restaurant has both an a la carte menu and themed dining four nights of the week. While we were there, dining options included a Thai inspired menu, a Full Moon dinner on Palm Beach under the light of the moon, a Mediterranean spice souk and other luxury street food markets set up on the beach, plus a degustation menu in the wine bar. 'By the Sea' offers Japanese cuisine including a teppanyaki experience and the freshest sushi and sashimi around. Breakfast is nothing short of a banquet with an extensive menu of fresh smoothies and juices and a huge variety of both hot and cold dishes.
If you want to do something a little more active during your stay, there's a range of free non-motorised water sports to choose from as well as wonderful snorkeling opportunities. Each room is provided with their own set of snorkeling gear on arrival and we were able to snorkel right in front of our room. We also made use of the free boat transfer to One Palm Island for further snorkeling and the opportunity to spot sea turtles and manta rays. There is also a huge range of excursions that the resort would be more than happy to organise for you.
Perhaps one of the more unique aspects of this resort is their strong focus on the environment and reducing waste on the island. They have their own water distilling plant on the island that they use to convert the sea water into safe drinking mineral water which is placed in your room in glass bottles. They also have their own organic vegetable garden that the restaurants source their produce from.
Every moment we spent on Gili Lankanfushi was amazing! The staff went above and beyond to make our stay extra special and we felt so privileged to be staying in such a stunning part of the world. If you’re contemplating a trip to Asia, the Maldives can make a wonderful stop over destination, or as we found - a wonderful holiday destination in its own right.
We can’t wait to go back again!