Soneva Fushi is situated on the island of Kunfanadhoo in the Maldives. With its lush green tropical jungles and white sandy beaches, it is the perfect retreat from the flurry of our hectic lives. Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean which consists of a double chain of twenty-six atolls that lie between the Minicoy Island (Lakshwadeep) and the Chagos archipelago. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of all, with its fabulous locations and agreeable climate.
Kunfanadhoo is one of Maldives’ largest and most beautiful islands. Eva and Sonu Shivdasani (founders of Soneva Fushi Resorts) certainly sensed the potential this place could generate as far as tourism was concerned when they leased an island and set up home here in the early 90’s. Soneva Fushi opened in 1995, the first of their many eco-friendly resorts and hotels throughout the world. Soneva Fushi, being the first ‘castaway’ resort in the Maldives, initiated the trend of ‘back to nature’ luxury vacations. While Sonu has an important role as Chairman and CEO of Soneva Resorts, Eva has an equally challenging task of creating and supervising the interior design part of it. Together, this husband-wife team along with the rest of their staff strive to ensure that the Soneva experience is no ordinary one!
A thirty-minute sea-plane journey from Male International Airport will get you to the paradise called Soneva Fushi. At Soneva, they follow the ‘SLOW LIFE’ (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness-Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) philosophy. They believe in ‘responsible tourism’, whether it’s using sustainable materials, recycling waste materials or conserving water. And although this concept may seem a bit of a paradox as far as luxury holidays are concerned, the Soneva Fushi team has managed to achieve a healthy balance between the two, therefore guaranteeing their guests a superb holiday!
Head to the Bar(a)bara (the bar) to sample some of the finest cocktails and mocktails with some of the most scrumptious snacks while relaxing on a hammock or sitting at the tables at the edge of the jetty, overlooking the calm blue waters. Indulge in some of the finest wines and cognacs from Soneva Fushi’s enviable collection, while watching the dolphins dance into the breathtaking sunsets.The cool greys contrasted by the warm ochre furnishings on the over water net seating makes for a wonderfully soothing sit-out where you can simply unwind…….all evening!
Mihiree Mitha (meaning ‘here it is’) is the main restaurant at this tropical paradise. Here you’re sure to get almost any dish that you crave. Enjoy a hearty breakfast of fresh fruits, an endless variety of baked goodies, eggs, two dozen imported cheeses, smoothies, and a whole lot more.
The lunch menu is no less appetising with organic salads, sushi, grilled fish, Indian breads and meats from the ‘tandoor’ oven! In the evenings, you could ask for the chef’s special: modern Maldivian cuisine besides produce from the resort’s flourishing gardens and of course a wide range of the freshest of seafood possible. Ever had ice-creams and sorbets in flavours like honeycomb, rosemary and chocolate-lemongrass?! Well, if you haven’t you’ll find it here at Soneva Fushi where over sixty different types of homemade ice-creams and sorbets are available!
Set under the mighty banyan trees, the Down to Earth Restaurant serves up some amazing Mediterranean cuisine; the best possible ingredients are used to prepare light and healthy meals.The Fresh in the Garden restaurant is situated above the organic fruit and herb garden, on a platform in the trees, and overlooks the banana plantation. Enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding jungle while having fresh produce! The Beach Restaurant is Soneva Fushi’s newest restaurant which is sure to excite your palate, with its Peruvian and Japanese fusion culinary adventure!
You could opt to stay in any of their many villas: Crusoe Villa, Soneva Fushi Villa, Soneva Fushi Villa Suite with Pool, Soneva Fushi Villa Suite with Pool and Tree-house, or even the Two Bedroom Crusoe Villa with Pool.The Crusoe Villas are beach front duplex villas with a spacious bedroom upstairs along with en-suite bathrooms, and a living room downstairs.There are free standing bath tubs along with two separate showers in the garden (quite a novel concept).
The terrace has a dining table where you can enjoy your meals overlooking the beautiful surroundings and a large daybed to lounge around on and enjoy the sun!You even have your private little sit-out from where you have direct access to the beach.The Soneva Fushi Villas are also beachfront villas that are slightly larger, some with their own sea-water pools as well.These even have open air garden bathrooms with a bath tub, shower and double sink unit with a large over hanging mirror.The Soneva Fushi Villa Suites with pools, as the name suggests, come with their private swimming pools, besides all the other five star amenities. The Soneva Fushi Villa Suites with Pool and Tree house even have their own wine cellars and a walkway that leads to the tree-house which is equipped with beds, a small toilet and its own balcony!The Two Bedroom Crusoe Villas with Pool are duplex villas that are further equipped with an additional bedroom, besides the bedroom upstairs, en-suite toilet, living room, terrace dining set-upand open-air garden bathrooms. All the villas are cocooned by the lush green palm jungle.
The villas are all air-conditioned, and come with their own extensive mini-bars, phones, personal safes, binoculars, CD and DVD players. Wi-fi connection and televisions are provided in your villas on request.
The interiors are simple, snug and elegant. The bedrooms have a rustic charm about them with their high ceilings, four poster beds and canopies. The décor is primarily serene white and that contrasts beautifully against the wood and bamboo furniture.The living room is decorated in bright shades of red, orange and yellow which give the place a nice warm feel.
The big windows in all the rooms allow plenty of natural light to flood in during the day. Bicycles are provided to all guests staying in these villas to travel around the island. At Soneva Fushi, you even have your personal butler to make your stay all the more comfortable. Sonu and Eva do their best to take in local people as hosts so at to provide employment to the local community.
The Soneva Fushi experience would not be complete without their world-class spa facilities. Their award winning Six Senses Spa, housed in the main building of the Jungle Retreat, has a comprehensive spa menu ranging from Ayurvedic treatments to Swedish and Balinese massages to yoga. You can even take private sessions in personal health and healing arts.
Their signature massages and body polishes help remove toxins and improve circulation, while their beauty masks and wraps revive your natural glow! There’s more to the long list of pampering treatments — try the Tibetan hot stone healing massage or the Japanese ‘watsu’ treatment or even their Chinese acupressure that will help ease those tired soles. Those of you on a ‘Couple’s Journey’ can enjoy a private sixty minute signature massage with aphrodite oils and fragrances that are especially used to invigorate your senses!
There’s plenty to do at Soneva Fushi; you’re sure to get the thrill of your life with activities such as wind-surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, sailing, kite-surfing and so on! Go deep sea fishing with the experts, take a sunset cruise, learn about the constellations with an astronomy lesson in the observatory or enjoy a private screening at Cinema Paradiso!
In addition to dolphin safaris, Padi diving is also quite popular and indeed recommended around here— you get to see and learn about the soft corals and reef fish as well as the turtles, manta rays and whale sharks of this immensely beautiful biosphere reserve.If you choose to, the Soneva Fushi staff will help you organise your own picnic on a deserted island, or even take a dhoni(boat) ride to any of the other islands to mingle with the locals and learn more about Maldivian culture.
So whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway or a family looking for a fun vacation, Soneva Fushi is the place to go to!