Looking for a vegan vacation? It doesn’t get better than Powered by Plants at Gili Lankanfushi!
By Chere Di Boscio
The truth is, it can be hard for vegans to take holidays that align with their values.
We’re often welcomed to a hotel with a cocktail that may involve non-vegan friendly mixes and alcohols; we’re shown to our room, which may feature wool carpets and blankets and down-filled pillows and duvets, and there may be leather furnishings, too.
And let’s not even get started on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus…
That’s a shame, not only for vegans, but for the planet, too. Is there really a need to kill animals to make a hotel stay cozy?
Much-loved Maldivian eco-resort Gili Lankanfushi thinks not.
They’ve recently introduced a new ‘Powered by Plants’ package. This involves a series of plant-based offerings and nature-based experiences that continue to reduce the resort’s impact on the Earth, and which cater to responsible travellers’ requests for the resort to honour their natural surroundings even more.
It’s not just vegans that desire more ethical travel, though. A recent survey from Original Travel on post-Coronavirus travel showed that 30% of respondents want to travel more sustainably once restrictions are lifted, and a McKinsey report on luxury consumption post-crisis anticipates an intensified desire for more responsible consumption amongst luxury consumers.
It seems Gili Lankanfushi’s move to go vegan is truly reflecting the zeitgeist.
A Vegan Vacation
Located in the languid waters of the North Malé Atoll, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Malé, the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives’ 45 villas offer open-air living spaces crafted from natural materials, roof terraces and private decks with direct access to the lagoon below.
For those who deeply value their privacy, the resort offers seven Crusoe Residences that are only accessible by personal boat. The interiors of all the villas all feature sustainable woods and traditional fabrics, whilst still offering all the modern amenities and creature comforts that denote true luxury.
Its furnishings were inspired by the natural beauty of the island, and were made by skilled local artisans. Upcycled materials such as recycled teak beams were transformed into bed frames, and old wire mesh was remodelled into lampshades that feature fish and sea turtles.
Powered by Plants at Gili Lankanfushi
Upon arriving to the resort, guests are welcomed into a vegan vacation with an array of sweet vegan treats and a complimentary bottle of reef-safe Australian gold botanical sunscreen, so they can take a dip in the crystal clear ocean safe in the knowledge that they are protecting the surrounding ecosystem. When they arrive to their villas, they’ll be delighted to see that all bedding and decor is 100% feather and wool-free.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, guests are treated to colourful and balanced plant-based menus every day, that draw inspiration from Maldivian culinary traditions. Menus are carefully crafted by Gili Lankanfushi’s executive chef Hari Govindaraj using organic herbs, vegetables and fruits, all lovingly grown in the resort’s very own organic garden.
Wondering what’s on the menu? How about Aloe Vera & Beetroot Tartar with Arugula, followed by Seared Radish & Spinach Cannelloni. Or perhaps you’d prefer a traditional Maldivian Vegetable Curry, followed by a Passionfruit Mousse for dessert? We’re pretty sure you’ll be wanting to lick every morsel from the plate, but you’ll be happy to know that all of the resort’s food waste is composted so it can nurture the island’s extensive organic gardens.
If you really love the food at the resort and would like to try making it for yourself at home, there’s the opportunity to learn plant-based tricks of the trade from Chef Hari in a private Gili Vegan Cooking Class. Guests can prepare Maldivian curries, juices and smoothies using fresh ingredients plucked from the gardens. But there’s much more to do here, too.
Be Blissfully Busy
The Maldives is a paradise for snorkeling and diving, and so of course the resort has its own fully equipped PADI diving school. They also offer a wide variety of other water sports, from paddling to kayaking.
The island’s dedicated marine biology team constantly monitor the health and biodiversity of the ecosystems. They measure light intensity and sea temperature, and track and identify manta ray and turtle populations. Animal loving guests are invited to learn more about the underwater world through guided trips, and listen to lectures on marine life at the resort’s dedicated research centre, Gili Veshi.
Alternatively, you can join a local marine biologist on a guided snorkelling session, where you’ll learn about Gili Lankanfushi’s pioneering Coral Lines Project, which provides a nursery environment for new corals to grow, bolstering the house reef and monitoring survival types across coral genotypes.
If you prefer to stay on land, why not begin your day with intention and enjoy a private vinyasa flow yoga class on the beach before breakfast? Follow that up with a retreat to the blissfully secluded Meera Spa and enjoy a holistic and healing treatment using 100% cruelty-free vegan products, such as Voya’s ‘Serenergise’ body oil and ‘Feel the Heat’ warming gel to rejuvenate the body.
After dinner in the evening, the resort offers a cinema under the stars. Lie back in your deck chair with a drink and some snacks, and watch one of your favourite movies, with the sound of gentle waves lapping the shore in the background.
As you can imagine from their dedication to veganism, organic gardening and the use of local materials in their decor and construction, the resort is very sensitive to the environment. And that’s essential, given that the Maldives is highly vulnerable to climate change.
This is the perfect resort for animal-and-nature lovers to not only retreat and relax, but to learn more about the wonders of the incredible marine world that comprises much of our planet.
How To Get There
How to book a vegan vacation in the Maldives: Powered by Plants at Gili Lankanfushi starts from $4285 (approx. £3,416) for five nights’ accommodation. The price includes all meals during guests’ stay from Chef Hari’s plant based menus, plant-based in-room amenities, a Gili Vegan Cooking Class, a private dinner under the stars, a 60-minute treatment of your choice, a private vinyasa flow yoga class, a guided snorkel with a marine biologist, and all domestic transfers.