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Tax season travel splurge: Vacationing at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Modern Nomad is a weekly column dedicated to mobile gear, must-see world destinations, tips for life on the road, and traveling better through technology.

The bad news is that tax season is upon us. The good news is, with any luck, you’re looking at a sizable return. You could squirrel that money away for a rainy day, or splurge on a ridiculously over the top luxury vacation. We’re all for the latter. After all, you can’t take it with you, right?

Few destinations offer more picture perfect beach luxury than Maldives – a 600-mile long island nation that’s home to some of the world’s most staggering natural beauty. Gili Lankanfushi is consistently ranked as TripAdvisor’s #1 hotel in Maldives and it epitomizes the country’s idyllic ocean setting. In a nation that itself embodies the quintessential luxury beach vacation, that’s saying something.

Guests of the resort stay in large, overwater bungalows built atop the clear, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Private ocean pools below each villa offer an intimate opportunity to swim with native fish, rays, and reef sharks. Two private sundecks, an outdoor shower, and an open floorplan all combine to bring as much of the stunning outdoor beauty in as possible.

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Frankly, there’s no reason to ever leave your bungalow. But, just a short walk away, the resort grounds offer a wide array of activities. An on-site dive shop provides guided trips to nearby reefs, which are consistently ranked among the best in the world. Sea turtles, giant rays, sharks, whales, and bright, beautiful coral species are all common sites while diving Maldives. Gili Lankanfushi also offers a unique night snorkeling opportunity where each guest is equipped with a special mask and CSI-style black light to witness the area’s bioluminescent coral and marine life.

The resort features a one-of-a-kind underground wine cave and chocolate bar – a particularly unique feature for an island resort. Here, gourmet chefs routinely offer exclusive tastings, multi-course meals, and sushi-making classes. The hotel can also arrange a romantic dinner for two on your own private island. So, if you’ve ever wanted serious bonus anniversary or honeymoon points, there’s that.

The list of additional amenities reads like every ambitious traveler’s bucket list. Guests can sleep under the stars on their own rooftop moondeck; watch a first-run movie at the resort’s outdoor theater; take a sunset cruise to see the Indian Ocean’s famous spinner dolphins; get a oceanfront massage in a private villa; and even tour the area’s coral reefs by submarine.

Every bungalow on the property is reachable on foot, except one. The Private Reserve at Gili Lankanfushi offers accommodations fit for Richard Branson and Saudi princes. Accessible only by private boat, this massive 1,400 square meter compound is the largest overwater villa in the world. Dual master suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, each with a 2-person bathtub built over a coral garden. An on-site couple’s spa includes a sauna, steam room, indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, and a private gym on the second floor. A water slide leads down from the top deck, past multiple sea level sundecks, down into a private lagoon. On-site butlers (affectionately “Mr./Ms. Friday”) are available 24 hours a day to prepare meals in the villa’s private kitchen or provide transport via private yacht back to the main island.

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Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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