Soneva Jani is one of the most unique and most exclusive resorts in the world. Part of the Soneva group, the resort is famous for its sustainable luxury concept and incredible overwater villas. It is frequented by royalties and stars and a world on its own, a true fairy-tale resort. ‘Jani’ means wisdom in Sanskrit, and the resort encourages its guests to learn new skills and rethink their lifestyles with a focus on wellness. We can agree that there is no better place on earth to do this than at the outstanding Soneva Jani.
Soneva Jani is located in the Medhufaru lagoon in the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives. The resort comprises five islands and can be reached by a 40 minute seaplane flight from Malé International Airport or a 15 minute speedboat ride from Maafaru International Airport. It also accessible from its sister property Soneva Fushi with by a 60 minute speedboat ride.
Soneva Jani features a collection of some of the world’s largest and most exceptional overwater villas and island sanctuaries, located within a 5.6 kilometre lagoon of crystal clear waters, fringed by pristine beaches and accentuated by lush tropical greenery.
Most of the resort is built on meandering timber pathway over the lagoon and life here mainly takes place on and just above the water. The jetties at Soneva Jani are curved for a reason: the owners Eva and Sonu think that in the ‘normal’ life, people are living and heading in “straight lines”. Walking or cycling on these curved jetties, forces you to pay attention to the moment (and the surroundings), instead of focusing on the destination. Just like all Soneva Resorts, this is a ‘no news, no shoes’ resort.
Soneva is a combination of the owners Sonu’s and Eva’s names. Sonu had the means and the management expertise; Eva the style and design concepts. Together, the young couple wanted to develop resorts that would create a true dream destination, combined with their overwhelming desire to protect the environment. This resulted in a luxury experience that emphasises the feeling of sand between your toes and dinner under a canopy of a billion stars. The couple wants to provide real luxury and experiences that are both rare and captivating. With Soneva, they created what must be the most unique hotel brand in the world. It was the first barefoot luxury resort group, and still an innovator and a leader in the world of hospitality when it comes to both guest experiences and sustainability. The group now has three resorts: Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand.
Soneva Jani features some of the most iconic luxurious overwater and island villas in the world. They are designed to offer the ultimate room experience, combining a maximum space, privacy and unforgettable views. If there is one characteristic typical of the villas at Soneva Jani, it is wood. All villas are made entirely of wood and form an enchanting contrast to the bright blue ocean water. Most villas have a private slide.
The ‘smallest’ room measures more than 400 square meters, the largest no less than 1800 square meters. The interior of all of the villas blends natural, Scandinavian inspired design, with lots of wood and white and earthy tones. All imaginable luxury is present in the rooms, from a “private mini bar room” to state of the art sound systems.
Since 2020, the villas are split between Chapter One (the original offering) and the newly launched Chapter Two:
Soneva Jani Chapter One
The first Soneva Jani chapter features overwater and island retreats with one to four bedrooms, private pools, waterslides and a retractable roof over the master bedroom. All of the retreats have expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces; gigantic pools; open-air bathrooms and some even have a private gym and spa suites. The water retreat with the waterslide going into the lagoon is one of the most iconic social media hotel images.
Soneva Jani Chapter Two
In 2020, Soneva Jani opened its widely anticipated “Chapter Two” concept on the South side of the property. The concept exists out of 27 new water reserves, which are slightly larger than the original overwater villas, and 9 new island reserves. The villas are gigantic, with one up to four bedrooms, and boast panoramic views over the private lagoon, expansive terraces, freshwater swimming pools and curved water slides going straight into the ocean. They are amongst the most impressive holiday villas in the world.
When you stay in a Chapter Two Water or Island Reserve, you can opt for the Soneva Unlimited Experience, one of the most amazing all-in concepts on the planet. Unlimited world class dining, a premium wine list, around the clock experiences, unlimited spa therapies, and much more, all within the price of your villa. With Soneva Jani Chapter Two, Soneva wants to set a new benchmark for over-water luxury, innovative dining concepts and holistic wellbeing.
Soneva Jani is a luxurious island theme park for adults as well as children. The resort assets set a new standard in hospitality. The selection of experiences will impress the most demanding traveller and includes everything from an overwater, open air cinema to lunches on private islands. Some of the highlights:
Five islands, a private lagoon and private beaches guarantee plenty of ocean and beach fun. You can go on a dolphin safari, participate in guided snorkelling tours, go coral planting, or learn how to (eco-friendly) surf.
For land lovers, there are lush jungle paths, gardens with a labyrinth, a gym, a tennis court, an ice cream, chocolate and cheese room, a shopping boutique and a library. You can also participate in a tour in the garden with the in-house Horticulturist. During the tour, you can pick the ingredients for your garden lunch and plant a tree sapling.
For world explorers, there is an overwater observatory and resident astronomer. Or participate in the astronomy cruise, an unforgettable adventure deep in the Indian Ocean.
Movie lovers will adore the overwater silent ’Cinema Paradiso’. Here, guests can watch favourite movies beneath the stars, while enjoying refreshing cocktails, popcorn and ice creams.
Most villas feature water slides, but there are slides in the communal areas as well. Of course, other watersports are on offer and there is a dive centre as well
The Soneva Spa is inspired by the resort’s name Jani. In-house experts offer healing and wellness treatments, complemented by a gym, yoga pavilion, outdoor spa champas, and sauna and steam rooms.
The culinary experiences at Soneva Jani are something else. Not only is the food exceptional, the dining experience itself is otherworldly. Whether you are feasting on seafood barefoot in the beach shack or having breakfast on a private island – Soneva Jani takes everything to a higher level. Sustainability and healthy food are not only important but at the core of the culinary philosophy. Again, some of the highlights:
The Gathering is the main building of the resort, a three-storey overwater structure where guests can find various dining outlets, the spa, the library, shopping center, The Den and the wine cellar.
Overseas by Mathias Dahlgren is one of the newest restaurants at Soneva Jani, from famous Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren. The menu is based on organic produce and the best from the ocean. Vegetarian and plant-based dishes are the stars here.
The Crab Shack is the resort’s feed-in-the-sand beach shack. It’s a place to feast on Sri Lankan Mud Crab curry, Alaskan crabs or other amazing seafood. The fiery chilli crab, spicy Sri Lankan crab curry and black pepper crab are must-tries. The Crab Shack was recently voted as the world’s most romantic restaurant by CNN.com. There is an upstairs deck, too – an amazing place to watch the sun set with a chilled glass of Rosé.
So Wild by Diana Von Cranach is the resort’s health-conscious plant-based restaurant, designed by the innovative raw food chef Diana Von Cranach. Ninety percent of the ingredients come from Soneva Jani’s own organic garden and most of the dishes are served raw. Herbs and exotic spices elevate the dishes and sharpen the taste buds.
So Primitive goes back to the roots of dining and emphasis the element of fire. The big fire pit is where the cooking takes place and the freshest seafood, juiciest pieces of meat and plants are roasted, grilled, seared or kettle-cooked on the fire.
So Imaginative is Soneva’s experimental tasting room. Seating up to 20 guests, it is a perfect place for wine dinners for groups
Down to Earth is the resort’s all day dining restaurant. Start your perfect day with one of the most amazing breakfasts you have ever seen. Roll into the lunch or dinner service and discover the colourful buffet of organic garden salads or indulge in a pizza from the wood pizza oven, or perfectly grilled fish.
So Cool is the resort’s amazing complimentary ice cream parlour and gourmet charcuterie, cheese and preserves outlet
So guilty is a second complimentary outlet, a chocolate room filled with handmade chocolates, macaroons, truffles, bonbons and pralines.
So Starstruck is a unique dining concept. Four dining tables are centred around “The observatory’s” telescope (the first overwater observatory in the Maldives) and offer the possibility to gaze towards the heavens while enjoying delicious cuisine.
Director’s Cut by Chef Nikki is located at the overwater open-air cinema and features eight tables where guests indulge in modern Japanese restaurant food.
Guess Who’s Cooking offers diners the possibility to explore a secret menu by a mystery chef. At the end of the meal, the chef will reveal themselves and explain their concept and inspiration.
Other dining options include private lunches and dinners at the Medhufaru lagoon, North Island, North Beach and South Beach.
Soneva Jani is often regarded as the best resort in the world. It is easy to understand why. This resort sets a new standard of hospitality. The palatial villas, often with their own water slide and retractable ceilings, combine ultra-luxury and sustainability in an exceptional way. The activities and culinary offerings are unseen and defy all imagination. This is a place where dreams become reality.
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.