Overwater bungalows and water villas are known for being expensive, but at least they are also known for being larger than a typical hotel room, especially when you include the private decks. There are over 110 resorts in the world offering these over-the-water rooms, and almost all of them are over 500 square feet, and usually around 1,000 square feet. This makes those about 2 to 3 times larger than a typical city hotel room.

At the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, (formerly known as Soneva Gili by Six Senses) they have 44 Villa Suites and Residences that range from 2,260 to 2,691 square feet, making them among the largest in the Maldives. But one – known as the Private Reserve – measures in at an astounding 15,069 square feet (1400 m²)!!! It's arguably the finest overwater resort in the Maldives, and the Private Reserve is BY FAR the largest overwater villa in the world.

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Like a bit of privacy? You got it

The Private Reserve is the most remote of the 8 water villas that are only accessible by boat at the
Gili Lankanfushi Resort. You can get to the island in your own private motor boat, or you can have “Mr. Friday” (one of your two 24-hour private staff) pilot you back and forth.


This degree of privacy is one of the reasons that many celebrities prefer to stay at the
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives when they holiday in the Maldives.

Extreme luxury or not?

One interesting aspect of all the Six Senses resorts is that they don’t actually claim to be “luxury” properties, as they are more focused on comfort. By this they appear to mean that you won’t find a solid-gold minibar or a piano made of diamonds in the rooms. In fact, the decor is what they call “rustic chic” and it looks much more like Gilligan’s Island than it does the Burj al Arab Hotel.


They are just being modest. In reality, this is the highest-rated of all resorts in the Maldives by TripAdvisor and by nearly any other measure. The rooms range from huge to ridiculous, and the staff get universal raves from anyone who comes near the place.

Key features of the Private Reserve

  • Area: 15,069 sq ft (1,400 m²)
  • Resident Mr & Mrs Friday (Personal Butlers) on call 24 hours
  • Luxuriously appointed living space in the middle of a turquoise blue lagoon
  • Situated 500 metres from Gili Lankanfushi and 300 metres from the closest villa, accessible only by boat
  • Uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean
  • 5 separate buildings designed in rustic chic style
  • 2 master suites, each with ceiling to floor windows on 3 sides
  • Private indoor and outdoor relaxation areas and sundecks
  • A large central open plan living area with sea garden, natural
  • coral pool, surrounding viewing/sun decks, dining area, writing desk and daybeds
  • Unique open-air 100sqm private bathroom with separate glass walled shower enclosure
  • Each master suite has a relaxing horizon style plus a 2 person bathtub built over coral gardens
  • Private spa facility with sauna, steam room, indoor and outdoor treatment pavilion and upstairs air-conditioned gymnasium
  • Entertainment/library suite with the latest in plasma and audiovisual technology
  • Individually controlled music throughout the villa, including the underwater coral pool
  • Fully equipped gourmet kitchen available for private dining, snacks, healthy drinks or coffee and tea
  • Residents will be invited to design their own cellar selection from our list of 300 wines
  • A deep water coral pool is situated next to the central living area
  • For the light hearted, a waterslide is installed from the top deck into the coral pool
  • Roof-top sun deck with daybed and two outdoor dining pavilions
  • Personal, easy to use motorised transfer boats exclusive to guests
  • Alternatively Mr Friday will captain and transport residents
  • A private 400hp, 36 foot speedboat with crew on call at all times

Price of the Private Reserve

US$8,750 per night for up to 6 guests during low season
US$15,000 per night in high season


The above rates are just for the “room” as it were. You can also get packages that include all meals (including soft drinks) and one massage per day for an extra fee.


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