Following up on my review of Soneva Fushi, this is my review of Soneva Jani, the brand’s second and newest Maldives property, which we got to experience earlier this year.
Soneva Jani is accessible by seaplane from Male Airport (40 minute flight), but if you are coming from Soneva Fushi like we did, it is almost an hour away by speedboat.
So what exactly differentiates the two resorts? Think of Soneva Jani as the flashy, risqué brother of the more reserved, family-oriented Soneva Fushi, and unsurprisingly, they perfectly complement each other.
Soneva Jani’s 25 villas are situated over water, and not just any water. The private lagoon in which Soneva Jani is located is large enough to fit 7,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, so divide that over the 25 villas, and you will have one of the lowest-density resorts in the world.
And just like that this isn’t any lagoon, Soneva Jani’s villas are out of this world; quite literally if you see how they look like space ships in the drone shot below. Even the one bedroom villa starts at 400 square meters making it the largest entry-level villas in the Maldives at the moment. I would be hard pressed to think of a place that is decorated more tastefully than the villas here: from the sunken dining room with the glass floor so you could see the water under you to the beautifully appointed “work space”, not to mention your very own wine cellar and massive dressing rooms. A beautiful plunge pool covers the entire length of the villa, which means that you could technically jump into the water from any room inside the villa.
An unusually quirky addition to the villa is the convertible roof – yes you read that correctly. With the single press of the button (you can say open sesame along with that too), the roof opens and on a clear night, you’d see thousands of stars. Want to sleep under the stars? No worries, the roof has rain sensors and will automatically close as soon as it starts raining just in case you fall asleep while star gazing. Want to star gaze some more? Soneva Jani got you covered with its state of the art telescope, which happens to be the largest and first overwater telescope in the country.
In addition to the retractable roof, most villas have a curved slide just in case regular jumping in the water is too mainstream for you.
As with Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani is highly committed to environment protection and safety and not just by asking you to reuse your towels and bed sheets. Installed here are a highly sophisticated water purification system, a solar power plant, an environmental waste treatment plant and a recycling facility. Many of the glass items you will see in the rooms and the common areas came from Soneva Fushi’s glass factory which basically reuses and recycles every glass bottle used on the resort and turns it into pieces of art.
Food wise, I wasn’t sure Soneva Jani was going to beat the divine culinary experience we had at Soneva Fushi, considering it was only a few months old. But, a seafood night at Soneva Jani was enough to make me forget everything I have ever tasted, as in ever. From delicious lobsters, prawns, and fish to salads and Asian dishes, everything tasted so fresh and cooked to perfection. The lobster in particular was too succulent to ever forget. Oh, and while we are on the topic of food, Soneva Jani also has a complementary 24/7 ice cream parlor – you know, tough life and all that.
Last but not least, Soneva Jani has added another “first” to its belt with the opening of the Maldives’ first open-air, overwater cinema. And because we all love Mother Nature so much, you will listen to the movies via a Bluetooth headset so that the noise doesn’t disturb the island’s nesting wildlife.
To be honest, the Maldives has got to be one of the toughest markets for hotels because it is really difficult to for them to distinguish themselves in terms of amenities and service offering. But Soneva with both of its Maldives properties is a true trailblazer — an authentically eco-friendly trailblazer though – that thinks outside the box and has somehow managed to build two amazing, dreamy resorts that feel just like home.
Check out this video I created of our stay at both resorts to get a feel of what to expect!