In all my travels, I have never chosen a destination because of a hotel but when I saw pictures of the Soneva resorts in the Maldives online, I decided that it is time for another trip to the Maldives. Aside from seeing some pictures, I honestly didn’t know much about the Soneva brand, but after some reading in online, I just loved their philosophy of “intelligent luxury” and “slow life” and was really looking forward to seeing the implementation on the ground. For some background, the Soneva name is derived from the names of the founders, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani (#RelationshipGoals), and they currently run a total of three resorts, two in the Maldives and one in Thailand.
This review will be for the first hotel we stayed at, the Soneva Fushi.
Soneva Fushi is a family-oriented, 5-star resort which has several types of villas ranging from a one bedroom villa without a private pool to a mammoth 9-bedroom villa with a large pool and slide. There are no overwater villas here so if that is your thing, you are better off staying at Soneva Jani. Soneva Fushi is located on the island of Kunfunadhoo in Baa Atoll, one of the largest islands in the Maldives.
I won’t bore you with factual details about the hotel which you can find on their website, but I will list some of the the reasons that made our stay special:
1. Home away from home: The minute you set foot inside your villa, you will likely be taken aback by how the designers seem to have predicted your taste and perfected every corner of the villa. The tastefully decorated villa with its rustic wood and stone elements is the embodiment of the resort’s philosophy of “intelligent luxury” without being pretentious. To be honest we were just as happy being indoors as being outdoors. The fact that the swimming pool and the beach are a few footsteps away certainly helped.
2. Sustainable tourism: The Maldives is home to one of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems so many of the hotels over there have taken measures to minimize their carbon footprint. Soneva has taken it another step further by setting up a recycling center on the island where they’re able to recycle at least 80% of the trash that comes out. They also have a glass factory which turns unusable glass bottles into beautiful works of art. Soneva has also launched the Soneva Foundation which has projects around the world to provide fuel efficient solutions to locals. As tourists, it is important that we also contribute to this effort and ensure that we stay at hotels that are actively engaged in environment protection.
3. A haven for foodies: Food has got to be the main highlight of our trip — it was simply to die for! The breakfasts at Soneva Fushi feature separate corners for different kinds of food ranging from cheese to fresh fruits to greens that are homegrown on the island itself — it just can’t get fresher than this. We also had dinner at “Fresh in The Garden” which was also great particularly the fish cooked in banana leaves. Oh and did I mention that the hotel has a complimentary 24/7 ice cream parlor for these hot Maldivian days?! The flavors are succulent and we just loved the passion fruit and mango. And now is probably a good time for me to mention that the resort also has a dedicated chocolate room 🙂
4. Activities and entertainment: Soneva Fushi offers many of the experiences that are par for the course in the Maldives such snorkeling, scuba diving, dolphin watching, etc… Additionally, they offer some unique entertainment options such as the outdoor Cinema Paradiso movie theater where you can enjoy movies with the family while munching on the complimentary popcorn and ice cream (yes please!). Bluetooth headsets are provided so you can watch movies without disturbing the ocean life. Other unique experiences include the Astronomical Dinner Cruise with the resort’s resident astronomer, the Robinson Crusoe Castaway Picnic to one of the nearby uninhabited islands, and a glass blowing class which is part of the hotel’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
5. Soneva in Aqua: Anchored right off the shores of Soneva Fushi is a high-end, but vintage looking “boat villa” which has all of the resort’s luxury amenities and great food but is for those seeking a more private experience. The ultra-luxurious and highly refined yacht measures 19.25 metres in length and 6.40 metres wide with a cruising speed of 8 knots. In line with Soneva’s commitment to the environment, the yacht relies mostly on the wind to move. It has a maximum occupancy of four adults and two children to provide the ultimate sense of exclusivity and privacy. Many resort guests charter the yacht to go from Soneva Fushi to Soneva Jani while others spend their entire vacation onboard, which, judging from what I saw, is not a bad idea at all.
6. A dream place for kids: In case you are planning to visit the Maldives and worried about keeping your kids busy, then worry no more. Soneva Fushi has dedicated an entire section of the island for a kids club that literally has every toy a kid can ask for or dream of. They also have a large kids swimming pool and a slide in addition to nap rooms.