Gili Lankanfushi has announced the appointment of David Stepetic as General Manager. Over the past five years, the resort has set the benchmark for barefoot and understated luxury in the Maldives, with 45 sophisticated over-water villas and a serious commitment to sustainability.
David Stepetic joins Gili Lankanfushi from Jumeirah Dhevanafushi in the Maldives, where he held the position of General Manager for three years. Within the role, he became an expert on the country and brings with him an abundance of local knowledge to make sure that Gili Lankanfushi will always be an island that stands apart, offering its guests a truly authentic and intimate experience.
Prior to that, David was the General Manager of Laucala Island Resort, an exclusive 25 room resort in Fiji.
A U.S. National, David has more than 25 years of luxury hospitality management experience, and spent 19 of those years with the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in various Food and Beverage and senior management capacities. His experience has taken him from roles in America and Asia, to the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
David is an avid naturalist and feels most at home in an island setting. He has a keen interest in ornithology and looks forward to getting to know the island’s wildlife and further developing the recently unveiled marine biology centre, Gili Veshi.
“Gili Lankanfushi is a name that is renowned the world over for its passionate approach to creating a guest experience that goes beyond just luxury accommodation and a beautiful beach. I truly believe it is an island for all the senses and I am looking forward to working with the team to keep developing unforgettable and bespoke experiences for both our new and longstanding guests” said David.
Stephen Lau, Chairman of HPL Hotels & Resorts says “We are very excited for David to be joining the Gili Lankanfushi family. He brings with him a wealth of experience both from his early years with Four Seasons, a brand synonymous with seamless service and refined hospitality, and his many years as a General Manager of island resort properties. David understands, more than most, the importance of a personal and inclusive approach while making sure guests are enjoying nothing but unrivalled privacy, in the beautiful settings of our secluded island sanctuary.”
Rates at Gili Lankanfushi start at $1,440 per night on a room-only basis, based on double occupancy in a Villa suite. Rates are subject to taxes.
Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two men to walk on the moon in 1969, was the first guest to stay at Gili Lankanfushi’s newly upgraded Private Reserve, the largest overwater villa in the world, when he visited with his family last month. A big fan of space, the sprawling 1,700 square meter villa was the perfect choice for the Aldrin clan, offering a vast all-natural, luxury hideaway, surrounded by the Indian Ocean.
“Everyone needs space! Having ample space is important to me. And I value my privacy too! The Private Reserve is so big you can probably even see it from space!” said Buzz.
Standing alone in the middle of the sparkling lagoon, 500 metres from the resort and accessible only by boat, the Private Reserve offers total privacy for those seeking respite from the limelight. The nearest villas are 300 metres away, guaranteeing total seclusion, while the incredible master suite offers guests further privacy within the villa itself. Built of wood and glass and sleeping up to 12 people, the three-bedroom Private Reserve is cleverly designed to give families and groups of friends ample indoor and outdoor living space to relax and share quality time together in idyllic surrounds. A new 63-metre freshwater swimming pool overlooks the lagoon, with jacuzzi and sun-decks, while a water slide from the top deck into the lagoon adds to the fun.
“This resort is the perfect family setting. You’re far away from distractions and you get to enjoy this beautiful place. I especially like to bring my family here as it’s a unique place to build long lasting memories. Within the Private Reserve, we still don’t crowd each other out, but we dine together a lot, it’s perfect.”
To ensure guests’ every need is met, the Private Reserve has two personal Mr Friday butlers on hand 24/7 (who can live-in if required). Meals are created to specific tastes by a personal chef using the very freshest ingredients and produce from the resort’s organic vegetable and herb gardens and fish caught daily by pole and line in the lagoon and all washed down with the vast selection of organic wines. A private spa with sauna and steam room, gym and state-of-the-art cinema save guests from needing to venture out if desired. For those wanting to explore beyond the villa, some of the best diving in the world is literally lapping at your toes and the resort’s Ocean Paradise Dive Centre offers unforgettable underwater experiences with expert instructors. According to Buzz, scuba diving is the closest thing to being in space.
“Scuba diving in the ocean has a similar freedom to being in space,” said Buzz. “Particularly when you’re upside down! I tend to spend most of my time underwater upside down. There are many, many more large schools of fish here than I’ve seen in many places. You get to see mantas and sharks and don’t have to go down deep.”
While the facilities of the resort – named the Best Hotel in the World by TripAdvisor in the Traveller’s Choice Awards 2015 – are just a short boat-ride away, the Private Reserve offers the ultimate in privacy and luxury. A truly special place that no guest wants to leave. Buzz was photographed by French photographer Cyril Mason, renowned for taking iconic photos of the world’s greatest sports people and adventurers.
Privacy. Exclusively. Yours.
Private Reserve Rates / night range from $11,000-$23,630. Plus local government taxes. Room-only basis. The Reserve sleeps up to twelve people.
We are proud to announce that Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives has won the 2016 Condé Nast Johansens Spa Awards for Excellence in the Best Newcomer category – Africa, Indian Ocean and Middle East.
“The Eden of the Indian Ocean, Gili Lankanfushi is a favourite with spa aficionados and stressed-out professionals seeking pampered solace. With sunrise yoga, on-site Chocolatiers, world-class diving and a “Mr/Ms Friday” (butler) service, experiences at this extraordinary resort range from the exceptional to out-of-this-world with a firm focus on indulgent relaxation” – Conde Nast Johansens.
Created to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across the featured spas in their Luxury Spas Guide, the annual Conde Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence are a trusted mark of quality, recognised by luxury consumers and travel professionals alike.
Gili Lankanfushi™, Maldives is an intimate coral island in a sparkling lagoon, with jetties threading across the water out to spacious villa accommodations. Gili Lankanfushi™ is set on the private island of Lankanfushi in the North Malé Atoll. This luxury resort is just a 20-minute speedboat ride from the International Airport at Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. This 5-star resort is set on the private tropical island of Lankanfushi in the Malé Atoll, one of the 19 atolls that stretch over 800 kilometres through the Indian Ocean. It is one of the 1190 islands that make up the Maldives.
Ultimate privacy can be found at Gili Lankanfushi. With just 45 sumptuous overwater villas, including Crusoe Residences and The Private Reserve reached only by boat, you’ll have a piece of paradise all to yourself.
Each villa is designed with the utmost attention to detail, and built to be environmentally friendly. Your own private water garden and sun deck, as well as a separate shower linked to your bathroom by an open-air walkway allow you to live right by the water’s edge.