Rob and Antonia Bolton have just got back from a week at Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives. They are expecting their first baby in September and were looking for a final vacation of pure relaxation, lazy days and a bit of romance! Here they tell us about their very spoiling time away.
Pic: Rob sunning himself on our deck
We arrived in Male and were met by some extremely friendly and efficient Gili staff. They walked us to the boat (literally 50 meters from the terminal!) and transferred us over to the island in about 20 minutes. From the very beginning the service was amazing; there were always willing members of staff on-hand to offer anything from drinks and towels to private cruises and Male excursions. Nothing was too much trouble and having your own “Man Friday” at your beck and call was particularly spoiling.
The villas are huge and extremely comfortable with everything you could need for the week. The emphasis really is very much on total relaxation, which is exactly what we were looking for, although there are various activities available for the more adventurous.
The aim of our vacation was to really unwind and switch-off for a week… which we most definitely did! The weather was perfect – not too hot and pretty windy but we had no rain at all. We spent our days reading, swimming and playing some very competitive back gammon with “matches” going up to best of 9! And then finally in a last ditch attempt to win – “winner takes all”! (My attempts to argue as I was pregnant I should be allowed to win didn’t work!)
The bikes and trikes that they provided for each villa were invaluable, not only for getting around the island but also to avoid burning your feet on the jetties which get very hot! We named our trike ‘Trudy’ and Rob’s bike ‘Bryan’. I got very attached to Trudy but at night Rob rode her and I stood in the basket at the back.
Pic: Rob riding ‘Bryan’!
The food was absolutely delicious and very fresh. I loved the breakfasts with endless smoothies and fruit to choose from. We had a special smoothie made every morning (orange, pineapple & banana) and by the end of the week the staff were bringing our ‘usual’ in giant tumblers! My husband loved all the local fish; they have various themed nights with buffet style meals but set out on the beach more like a food market. There’s a huge choice with food to suit everyone and, with me pregnant, they adapted things for me if I couldn’t eat a certain ingredient
We also had an amazing and very romantic lantern lit 7 course supper on the other side of the island on a beach away from everyone else.
Pic: Rob enjoying the fabulous food
The sea swimming was fantastic but there’s also a pool if you prefer. Snorkelling was amazing with incredible colored fish and coral … Rob was terrified and swam for shore when he spotted “a giant sea snake” (a small, docile eel – what a hero!). You can play tennis in the evenings and there’s movie night twice a week set up at the ‘Jungle Cinema’.
Gili Lankanfushi is the most wonderful escape and perfect place to relax – I only wish the week hadn’t gone so quickly! The staff were completely charming – when we left they gave us a little bronze key ring of a fish which was special for us as we refer to the baby as “the little fish”.
Antonia Bolton, April 2013
From the moment we landed in Male we knew it was going to be a fantastic week. We boarded the boat to Gili with our freshly cut coconuts in our hands, cruising across the beautiful water with clear blue skies overhead. Our initial impressions once we landed were of a spread out desert island, with lovely palm trees and golden sand. We were greeted by the resort management who greet each arriving guest and our week in tropical paradise started!
Mr Friday (aka: Musto) was charming and interesting and made you feel he was always available, and the regular staff we came across (Zahir, Mustafa and Ali) were smiley and genuine. We saw Mustafa at most meals who quickly got used to Antonia’s smoothie addiction and her late breakfast times! I used this down time wisely by hitting the gym before breakfast, which was not Mustafa’s style who had a decent reputation as a footballer amongst the staff.
Going to the gym, in the morning and on vacation (!) sounds bizarre but the gym looks out onto a calm beach front and a small reef and is well kitted out and more or less empty…ideal! The gym also made having a beer or two in the evening worthwhile and you felt as if you’d earned it.
We were pretty self-contained throughout the week and spoke to very few people, other than those mentioned above, as you can be as isolated as you would like to be in the over water villas. This was not through our own design necessarily but we were very happy in and out of the water and on the sun decking around the villa and as we got more and more relaxed the later and later lunch got.
The decking walkways were a daily hazard as the temperatures soared and you simply couldn’t walk on it; but a great excuse to jump off into the gorgeous waters below. We tried to out-do each other by seeing who could walk the furthest of the hot jetties without wimping out… simple pleasures!
I became a little obsessed with the octopus in the main bar and went to check on it every day – it moves and changes color, I am already missing that guy!
Gili is as secluded and as relaxed as you would like it to be, and there’s as much or as little to do as you want, there’s everything you could want for a babymoon (did Antonia make that word up?!).
Rob Bolton, April 2013
Pic: The jetty
Pic: Antonia swimming