Soneva Gili by Six Senses
What We Love
- This award-winning resort was built for romance
- The lovely over-water spa
- A gracious staff
- Impressive eco credentials
- Proximity to Malé, where international flights arrive, means it’s easier to get here than you might think
What To Know
- Transfers from Male require a speedboat ride; the cost is about $165 per person round-trip
- The resort isn’t as secluded as others on the islands
If you’ve ever wondered about a hotel’s ability to change the landscape of a destination, look no further than Soneva Gili and its 45 over-water villas. These days, stilted bungalows set in the middle of turquoise waters are a fairly common sight in the Maldives (and in dreamy travel calendars everywhere). But in 2001, when Gili was built around a tiny coral island, the idea of over-water accommodations was relatively new. A true Maldivian classic, Gili remains one of the world’s best places for an exotic stay.
Most of the villas are connected to the tiny main island by a jetty; seven stand free in the water and are serviced by ferries (though more adventurous guests are welcome to use the provided rowboats). All are outfitted in Six Senses’ signature rustic-chic style: earth tones, indoor/outdoor spaces and romantic canopy beds. Suites and Residences have rooftop sundecks and chess tables,while palatial Crusoe Residences are more secluded and have kitchenettes.
The well-rounded selection of restaurants includes By the Sea, the resort’s take on Nobu with a Peruvian-Japanese menu (think soy-marinated tuna steak) and its own sushi bar. At the main restaurant, different cooking stations serve up a range of international dishes. Breakfast pairs curries from India, noodles from Japan and Chinese dim sum alongside Western dishes. Lunch at the overwater pavilion is similarly diverse, with Japanese pizzas and freshly caught fish.
Wellness is a core principle at Soneva Gili, as evidenced by the experts at the over-water spa. The rotating roster of visiting therapists includes everyone from stomach massage specialists from Thailand to yogis from India. The best bet is to stick with any of the Asian modalities, especially the ayurvedic and Thai offerings, like shiatsu and foot acupressure — a must if you’ll be taking the resort’s “No Shoes” policy to heart.
How to Get There
Our trip was fantastic. All the scenery was beautiful. I was happy with the dazzling La Gue and the pretty fish. Especially, snorkelling on onepalm was impressive. The food was delicious and the fruit was fresh. Above all, the friendly staff made the trip perfect.
The Villa's are magnificent and i loved the slide, and everything is attention to detail! An ideal hideaway in the beautiful Maldives! Cant wait to go back again! I specially loved the Wine Celler, and they make the best home made chocolates in the world! Everything is truly amazing!
Gili lankanfushi is just too beautiful! Excellent Food! Great Service! Wonderful hospitality from all the staffs. We came with our whole family of 6 people (3 villas). Our Ms.Friday, Nana, is great. She tried to assist us every way possible. Definitely will be coming back again in the near future.
We had a lovely stay. The rooms were very big and rustic it gives you an island life feel but in a luxurious way. The villas are widely spaced so you feel secluded, tranquil and away from the city. It was so beautiful waking up in the morning with an ocean view, there even were stingrays and baby sharks swimming around the villa. The only downside was that our Man Friday wasn't very warm and enthusiastic towards us, he was stiff and not very attentive.
I can't express enough how perfect our week at Gili was. It's truly an unspoilt paradise. Beautifully appointed and very natural villas, the spa and it's array of treatments were simply sublime and the food was just incredible. Super fresh, a very large selection of meals to cater for every palette, I particularly loved the Indian buffet, beautiful curries and sensational desserts, and always looked forward to our fresh juices and sumptuous breakfasts on the beach. Very passionate chefs and staff all willing to share their love of food meant a wonderful experience at every meal. Service at the resort was faultless, from ice creams to nurturing spa treatments, everything is covered to make your stay as relaxing and welcoming as possible. Very impressed with their eco-friendly conscience, I think Gili would have to be one of a kind. Our Mr Friday, Sameen, was fantastic. A good laugh and always available to us. Certainly a holiday to remember, thank you for making it so memorable. Would return in a heartbeat!