Soneva Fushi is a stunning island resort in the Maldives. It was the first luxury resort in the country and the resort became famous with its “Intelligent Luxury” philosophy. Everything about this place feels magical, from the turquoise crystal-clear water and dolphins at sunset, to the delicious culinary options available at the resort’s multiple dining venues.
Soneva is a combination of the names of the owners, Sonu and Eva. Sonu had the means and the management expertise; Eva the style and design concepts. Together the couple wanted to develop a resort that would satisfy their desires for a dream destination. They both had an overwhelming desire to protect the environment as well. The couple wanted to create an ultimate luxurious hospitality experience, while respecting, and incorporating, the beauty of nature. Soneva was born.
Soneva Fushi was the first resort of the Soneva group and opened in 1995. It is located on the Kunfunadhoo island in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, on the west side of the Maldives atoll chain. This is one of the largest islands in the Maldives, around 1.5km (0,9 mi) long and 0,5 km (0,3 mi) wide. Guests are provided with bicycles to get around the island during their stay. Cycling through the dense jungle is an amazing experience and an excellent start of your stay. Upon arrival, guests are asked if they could remove their shoes – having no shoes on allows them really to feel and experience the ground of the island. Soneva’s ‘No News, No Shoes’ philosophy is all about disconnecting from daily life and truly embracing the luxury of time.
The Soneva brand is known for its rustic aesthetics, timless design and eco-aware philosophy. Soneva Fushi still is the mother resort and the famous design, featuring lots of wood, white washed walls and the yellow and orange lounge beds, has hardly changed in 25 years. After all these years, it still feels fresh, warm, luxurious and romantic.
There are 63 beachfront villas and eight Water Retreats at Soneva Fushi, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms. The sixtythree private beachfront villas have their own terrace and stretch of beach, and are hidden among dense vegetation within short distance of a pristine coral reef. All villas are very spacious and the Crusoe Villas have the living room and bedroom upstairs. Most villa suites have a private pool and all have an in-villa wine fridge and bar. Spontaneous and professional service is provided by Mr & Mrs Friday butlers. Bicycles are provided for all villas so you can explore the island at its best.
The new Water Retreats opened in 2020 are some of the most amazing holiday villas in the world. Accessed from the main island by a curved jetty, these water retreats are perched directly over the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. The enormous villas feature several indoor and outdoor areas and a water slide that goes straight into the ocean.
These villa’s feature a light-filled, spacious living area, a large master bedroom with king-sized bed and a retractable roof which offers an incredible view of the night sky. There is also a dressing room, en-suite bathroom and adjacent children’s sleeping area. Outdoors, there is a huge private infinity pool, direct beach access, several lounge areas and a sunken seating & dining area. The indoor/outdoor bathroom features an outdoor bath and shower, direct ocean access, an indoor shower and double vanity. There’s also a first level (where the ocean slide is found), which features a dining and relaxation are as well. These water retreats currently are the biggest water villa’s of this kind in the world.
The island/beach Villas are located on the sunset or sunrise side of the island. While both sides have the typical Maldives signature white-sand beaches and crystal-clear azure water, there are also few differences. The sunset side is perfect for snorkelers as it has three house reef access points and dolphins are more likely to be spotted here. The small downside at this side of the island is the populated island of Eydhafushi just in front. Guests who want more privacy may consider staying on the sunrise side of the island. This side is perfect for early risers who want to enjoy the morning tranquillity. The villa’s feature a timeless design that is one with nature. Lots of wood, earthy colours, huge outdoor bathroom areas and a relaxing island atmosphere are the main characteristics of these villa’s.
The largest Residence spans an impressive 5,540 square meters. This private reserve has 9 bedrooms and is the perfect family escape full of jungle fantasies. It includes a children’s room, nanny’s room, Mr./Ms. Friday’s room, spa with steam room, sauna and massage room, gym, lounge, TV lounge, study, private pool with large sunken dining area and much more. This is natural luxury at its best.
Hotel Assets And Experiences
Soneva’s core purpose is SLOWLIFE, and LIFE is here the acronym for Learning, Inspiring, Fun & Experiences. A stay at Soneva Fushi has lots of possibilities and is filled with the most amazing experiences on land as well as on the water. Highlights include the open air Cinema Paradiso, guided snorkeling or snorkeling with Manta rays, dolphin tours, counting Saturn’s rings in the high tech Observatory, the homemade chocolate and ice cream rooms or cocktails on the Sandbank. For children there is the treasure trove The Den, a unique playground where they can explore different thematic rooms including a cinema, a music room and two swimming pools, all guided by the animation team. In the peaceful enclave of the Six Senses Spa guests experience a sensory journey of authentic treatments and choose from a variety of wellness therapies and body treatments.
At Soneva Fushi, eco-friendliness is part of the resort’s DNA. The Eco Centro ‘waste to wealth’ facility uses permaculture principles and evolved into a waste recycling and food production centre. It is the base for the organic vegetable gardens on the island. The resort follows the three R principles: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle, not only on paper but in reality, and very effective. The Soneva Glass Studio uses recycled bottles and converts it into own artworks. Guests can book a private tour of the studio or even experience a glassblowing class.
Gastronomy is extremely important at Soneva Fushi. Soneva was the first luxury resort to offer complimentary chocolate rooms filled with chocolates made by in-house chocolatiers, which are open every day and complimentary for all guests. But there is much more as Soneva Fushi’s dining options are amongst the very best in the world. There are nine dining options to choose from:
MIHIREE MITHAA : Enjoy this amazing buffet restaurant with several separate serving rooms, offering à la minute cut fruits, fresh fish, a salad room, wood-fired pizzas, and Soneva’s ice cream and chocolate rooms. This restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there are several buffet theme nights every week.
OUT OF THE BLUE: The incredible two-storey overwater structure houses 5 brand-new dining experiences. The à la carte restaurant ‘So hot’ includes the Tandoor Oven, Robata Grill, Josper Grill, Pizza Oven and impressive ocean views. Other features are ‘So Guilty’ – the chocolate and ice cream parlour; and ‘So Cheesy’ – the top quality cheese room.
SO HANDS ON : The intimate five-seater sushi counter to experience chef Akira Koba sushi skills up close.
SO BESPOKE: open-air Teppanyaki table with eight seats.
ONCE UPON A TABLE: A culinary theatre showcasing some of the biggest names in fine dining. On special event days, guests enjoy culinary excellence in an outstanding environment. Amongst the guest chefs for example: Gert de Mangeleer – Hertog Jan(3*); Tim Raue (2*); Tom Aikens – Toms Kitchen (2*); Syrco Bakker – Pure C (2*); Guillaume Bracaval – Michel Troisgros (2*); Maxime Meilleur – La Bouitte (3*) or Bart De Pooter – Pastorale (2*).
FRESH IN THE GARDEN: A very unique restaurant located high above the gardens, where the aromas of the herbs and vegetables are part of the experience. There’s a central open kitchen with front-row seats to the chef’s action. Highlights of the menu include the Confit Duck wtih citrus carrot purée, beetroot fondue and red wine syrup, or the tempura of mushroom with cannelloni & mushroom broth.
DOWN TO EARTH BY RAVI: A sharing food concept located at the main entrance of the resort serving International and South Asian cuisine.
SHADES OF GREEN: For this restaurant, located inside one of the herb and vegetable resort’s gardens, Chef Carsten Kyster created a five-course menu based on plant-based Maldivian and Southeast Asian cuisine with Nordic cooking techniques. The experience starts with a tour of the garden. Pick several hidden appetizers in the garden, taste and smell the produce and enjoy a fully vegetarian & vegan menu in a romantic setting.
The award-winning resort Soneva Fushi serves the essence of sustainable pleasure and barefoot luxury at its very best. Soneva is like a dream coming true. From the moment you take of your shoes and enter the resort, you will be immersed in an inspiring place full, which combines a deep respect for nature with some of the world’s best resort food. The definition of intelligent luxury.
TRAVEL IN STYLE WITH ETIHAD
Flying to the Maldives? Choose well and travel in style with Etihad. We flew from Brussels to Malé with a stopover in Abu Dhabi. Fares start as low as € 650 for a round trip from Brussels to Malé in Economy Class or € 2.500 in Business class. Their business class offer is one of the best in the world, with a ‘dine anytime’ concept, Acqua Di Parma amenity kits and a state-of-the-art Inflight Entertainment System.