The Maldives has been on my bucket list for a while so when I received an invite to visit not one, but two prestigious resorts in the heart of the Indian Ocean, I jumped at the chance.  It didn’t disappoint, it’s one endless picture postcard with dusky pink and peach hazed sunsets, overwater hammocks and endless blue skies.  What I didn’t expect was for the place to touch my soul and stir up so many emotions. With its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, it’s not just a vacation destination but a soul-soothing haven for resetting and recharging.

From the moment I arrived at Gili Lankanfushi I felt a mental shift.  This award-winning eco-resort is a destination within a destination.  With just 45 sumptuous overwater villas, including seven Crusoe Residences and The Private Reserve, it feels intimate and exclusive.    Their Robinson Crusoe, barefoot luxury philosophy extends to all guests having a dedicated Mr or Ms Friday butler service, ensuring you have everything you need.  The service here is immaculate, it’s so discreet it’s invisible.  At one point during my stay, I did wonder if the staff had been given ninja research training because the personal touch is second to none, from the bar tender knowing your favourite drink to a personalised breakfast menu.

Post 16 hours of travel I needed a boost, and an Integrative Massage with visiting wellness practitioner, Virginie Claret was welcomed.  Virginie is a Reiki Master with over 15 years’ experience in massage, specialising in energy healing.  I’m well versed when it comes to massages having been fortunate as Wellness Editor, to road test many, so I don’t say this lightly when I say it was the best massage I have had.  Virginie has healing hands.  Focussing on the meridian lines of the body she works on balancing your energy, any blockages and restoring peace.   Within minutes I had dissolved into the bed, any post flight tension was lifted as I went into a deep state of relaxation.  Six weeks prior to traveling I had suffered a bout of Covid and as a result had ongoing chest pains and a persistent cough.  I was astounded when following my treatment with Virginie the cough stopped and I no longer had chest pains.  It may have been a coincidence, or the sunshine and the break I needed, either way I felt a lot better.

Meera spa is a holistic haven set on a secluded bay away from the villas. Over-water treatment rooms are airy and light, with expansive views and sea breezes.  Glass bottom floors allow you to catch views of the marine life while experiencing a relaxing massage.

The spa offers a selection of Ayruvedic treatments. This 5,000-year-old alternative medicine system is designed to correct imbalances in the mind and body. With a dedicated champa for Ayruvedic treatments, that use local herbs you can go on a one-day personalised Ayurvedic wellness journey or let the therapists recommend something bespoke to restore your body, mind and spirit.  I experienced a full body massage using a warm herbal poultice massage, this hits different to a regular massage and quickly soothes any aches.  The warm oils and herbs penetrate the skin to help increase blood circulation and detoxification.  The therapist works her magic and I float out of the spa and back to my villa.

What sets Gili Lankanfushi apart is not just the breathtaking scenery but the curated wellness experiences that cater to the body, mind, and soul. As the day unfolds you might find yourself participating in mindfulness workshops, guided meditation sessions, or even indulging in a moment of peace, barefoot in the soft white sand, soaking up the unparalleled views.  One of the standout features is the presence of visiting practitioners. These experts in holistic wellbeing are renowned in their field and host curated programmes providing guests with the opportunity to design their own wellness plan. Gili is a stunning, serene sanctuary that scoops you up and envelopes you in tranquillity and love.  You arrive a guest and leave as family.

Just a 45-minute sea plane ride from Male is Six Senses, Laamu.  Here wellbeing takes centre stage and is integrated into your overall stay from the food you eat, to your sleep hygiene and activities you experience. My wellness journey started a few weeks prior to travel when I received a digital package with a complimentary jet lag plan, journal and a questionnaire on my preferences for room scents, pillows and the option to request additional toiletries, yoga mat and eye mask.

On arrival you receive a warm welcome on the jetty from the team and your very own Guest Experience Maker or GEM.  Hamza, my GEM was on hand the whole stay, assisting with dinner reservations and experiences.  Laamu is a big, spacious resort offering plenty of choice for food and drink as well as activities, so you’ll never be bored. 

I checked into one of the over water villas with large split-level decks, an infinity pool and roof terrace, perfect for yoga and stretching.  From the decking you can access the ocean, where avid snorkellers can spot black tipped sharks, turtles, mantas, and some of the prettiest marine life.  Inside, the spacious interior has been designed to bring the outside in, using natural fabrics and lots of wood.  There’s an outdoor shower that looks over the ocean, but the show piece is the glass bottom bathtub.  Indulge in the views and watch the fish swim below while you soak in the tub.

Six Senses is synonymous with wellbeing and the resort offers a layered approach to wellness, combining some of the best holistic treatments, with the healing benefits of the environment and expert knowledge of their spa team to create a bespoke programme.  I started with a non-invasive health screening, which measures your key physiological biomarkers. I was strapped to a couple of machines and within 15 minutes, following some simple exercises and instructions I had my results.  The screening highlighted high dopamine and endorphin levels and low serotonin which reflects my lifestyle.  As a regular gym goer, I wasn’t surprised my endorphins were high.  Tech overload and my ongoing need to hit targets and results exposed the high dopamine levels and a bout of poor sleep coupled with a busy period at work was no doubt a factor in my low serotonin.  It was an opportunity to step back and make a few changes.  The Maldives is the ideal destination to do this, and I spent the next couple of days thinking of small adjustments I could make to be a little gentler with myself. The great thing about Six Senses is they can design a wellness program based on your results and goals. My wellness therapist recommended some dietary adjustments to boost my serotonin and ideas to support my sleep and switch off.

After a restful sleep, I start my day with a Pilates class surrounded by the soothing sounds of the ocean.  There are various classes available at the resort including Aerial Yoga, Yoga Nidra meditation and Thai Chi, all gentle and restorative. 

My GEM booked me into the resort’s award-winning spa for a tailor-made, therapeutic full body and scalp massage including face reflexology. The spa makes full use of the outdoor space with uniquely designed treatment ‘nests’ dotted along the beach or among the lush landscape.  Once I was ensconced in my nest, sound bowls and aromatherapy scents helped me tune out.  Around 15 minutes into my massage I had fallen asleep, a sign I am calm and at peace.  Following 60 minutes of utter bliss, I retreat to the juice bar for a gut soothing shot and views of the beach. 

There’s a unique energy at Six Senses, that resonates with the rhythm of the ocean and the pulse of nature. It’s a place where time seems to stand still, allowing you to press pause on the chaos of everyday life and focus on the simple joy of being. With its powder white beaches and crystal-clear ocean, It’s canvas for self-discovery and renewal.

Nightly rates at Gili Lankanfushi start from £1,397/$1,722 based on two adults sharing a Villa Suite with breakfast included. For more information or to book please visit Gili Lankanfushi

For more information on bookings at Six Senses, Laamu please contact or visit the website

House of Coco travelled to the Maldives via Dubai with Emirates.  London Heathrow to Male return is £1,749. This is based on Premium Economy from London Heathrow to Dubai and then Economy from Dubai to Male. Prices subject to change. 

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