Soneva Fushi – Maldives
Hotel Type: A five star barefoot luxury private island resort.
Location: In the Baa Atoll, Kunfunadhoo Island is one of the largest islands in the Maldives. The resort can be reached by a 30 minute scenic private seaplane ride from Malé, then a five minute speed boat ride. International flights land at Male’s Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. A member of the hotel team will meet you and take you to the seaplane.
Style: Understated Indian Ocean chic.
Rooms: 63 completely secluded one to nine bedroom uber luxurious beach villas, each with their own private stretch of pristine beach and 8 one and two bedroom overwater villas.
Favourite Room: Philippa’s favourite is Villa 15. It’s a one off but it’s perfect for a family. It has 4-bedrooms, enormous pool with slide, a gym & sauna, nanny’s room and very generous outside areas for dining and relaxing.
Ideal For: Getting up close and personal with some of the most beautiful marine life on the planet.
Swimming: In the turquoise ocean or in your own private villa pool.
Dining: A tropical culinary heaven. Dine high above the gardens at ‘Fresh In The Gardens’ or out on an overwater structure at ‘Out of the Blue’. Head to the intimate culinary theatre ‘Once Upon A Table’ or the sushi counter ‘So hands on’ or for some flames and smoke go to ‘So bespoke’. Try ‘Down to Earth’ for delicious dishes designed for sharing, or if you like a plant based affair head to the ‘Shades of Green’. At the culinary heart of the island you have ‘Mihiree Mitha’ featuring an endless spread of freshness. For those with a sweet tooth you won’t want to miss ‘So Guilty & So Cool’ serving handmade treats and over 60 flavours of ice cream.
Children: An exotic playground like no other.
Activities: Choose from nature walks or jogs, spa treatments, water sports and bicycling along the island’s many trails. Snorkelling is a must (the house reef is incredible) but you can also go diving, freediving, and eco-surfing. Learn to glass blow or go fishing or play tennis on their flood lit court or perhaps head to the observatory. Relax at the open air cinema or go on one of the many excursions from Astronomical Dinner Cruises, to Dolphin Cruises, or Castaway picnics.
Spa: A Six Senses Spa & Wellness centre complete with a long list of treatments. The spa is complemented by a fully-equipped gym and yoga pavilion.
Accessibility: Soneva Fushi doesn’t have any villas specifically designed with disabled access however their sister hotel Soneva Jani does have.
Low Season Price From: £1,082 per night in a Soneva Fushi Villa Suite with Pool and includes breakfast.
High Season Price From: £1,370 per night in a Soneva Fushi Villa Suite with Pool and includes breakfast.
Open From: All year round.
Arriving at Soneva Fushi is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful journeys you’ll ever take. Flying low across the Indian Ocean and over countless powder white beached islands set in sapphire blue lagoons, you arrive at the heart of the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and one of the largest reefs in this island nation. What we love about it most is its strong eco principles, aiming to minimize its impact on the planet. The resort set the standard for Maldivian luxury, whose mantra is “inspiring a lifetime of rare experiences”. And that is exactly what you’ll find. Guests have bicycles to explore the island, and each villa comes with a butler to look after your every need. Barefoot luxury with impeccable service and cuisine that is truly astounding, it’s an island paradise like no other.
The palm thatched villas are tucked away amongst lush vegetation, just steps from the shore line, many with a saltwater pool and all with their own tropical garden and stretch of powder white sand. Luxurious and secluded, they are also some of the largest suites and villas you’ll ever stay in and come in a wide variety of options. Choose the sunrise side of the island for privacy, or the sunset side for romantic views and snorkeling and expect a castaway experience from all of them.
The Soneva Fushi Family Villa Suite has a master bedroom, with a large observation deck and children’s bedroom on the first floor, with plenty of outside space and direct access to the beach. Some of these villa suites also come with a private pool. The One Bedroom Soneva Fushi Villa Suites with Pool are low level single floor accommodation and equally spacious. The Two Bedroom Soneva Fushi Villa Suites are rambling and rustically luxurious, complete with their own fitness room, and can sleep a family of six. For families of up to nine, the Three Bedroom Soneva Fushi Villa Suites with Pool sprawl out in large grounds and are a playground for families. Go one step further for the Four Bedroom Soneva Fushi Villa Suites with Pool, and it’s like living in your own piece of jungle! They sleep up to 12 and have everything you could possible imagine. For understated luxury, the Two Bedroom Soneva Fushi Villas with Pool, are quiet and well laid out, sleeping up to six. The Crusoe with Pool sleeps a family of three, and sits in its own verdant space with a fabulous terrace overlooking the ocean, just steps away from the water’s edge. The very airy Two Bedroom Crusoe with Pool can sleep up to six, in what can only be described as palatial surroundings. They feature spacious sun decks, an outdoor bath and very private gardens. The One Bedroom Crusoe Suite with Pool is a gloriously spacious tree house type affair, built over two floors, which can sleep a family of four. With a private garden and pool, sun loungers on a large deck and a walk in mini bar, there’s everything you need for your own little slice of paradise. The larger Two and Three Bedroom Crusoe Suites with Pool can sleep six and seven accordingly, and are a mix of colonial jungle splendour and total luxury. Outdoor bathrooms, large pools and lounging areas and an enormous amount of white sandy space surrounding each one, they feel very secluded. We love the sundecks, with their catamaran nets, of the Two Bedroom Crusoe Residences – making outdoor beach living something to remember. Some of these residences also come with a pool.
This private island really takes luxury to unimaginable levels and some of the larger villas are simply breathtaking. What’s not to love about the One Bedroom Water Retreat with Slide? This overwater retreat is reached via a jetty from the beach and sleeps a family of four. It has a pool on the deck, with a look out on the first floor for dolphin spotting and sundowners. For more space, book the Two Bedroom Water Retreat with Slide. The Sunset Retreat is made up of two bungalows, accommodating families of six. It’s surrounded by lush gardens and features a long pool and its own gym and steam room. On the other side of the island, the Sunrise Retreat is more spacious, and made up of three separate bungalows, sleeping nine. Villa One, Villa 14, Villa 41 are luxurious three bedroom residences, all of which can sleep up to nine, with their own wide stretches of beach. Villa 38 is a four bedroom haven, with verandahs looking out over the Indian Ocean, whilst Villa 15 comes complete with a slide into the pool from the first floor – fun for adults and children alike! Surrounded by lush vegetation and on the edge of the beach is the Jungle Reserve – a sprawling retreat that can sleep up to 12. And if you want the best panorama of the island, book Villa 37, with its 11 metre tall viewing tower. It also comes with a games room, library, gym, steam room and sauna. And of course, a pool. Villa 42, which sleeps up to 18, can be taken with Villa 41. The pool, with its own slide from the first floor, looks out over the ocean and promises unadulterated luxury. Built around banyan trees, Villa 43 – the Sunset Reserve is a party haven. The Private Reserve is a jungle fantasy, built around a pool, with a dining area at its centre and surely must be the pinnacle of Maldivian living.
It’s hard to believe the gastronomic heights reached on such a small island in the middle of an ocean. From the exotic and bountiful breakfasts to the extraordinary range of cuisine, there’s never any danger of going hungry. The spectacular Out of the Blue restaurant, on stilts out in the lagoon, has five different dining options, from grills and seafood to Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian. You’ll also find an ice cream parlour and a slide into the lagoon… one for the children we think! Fresh in the Garden, surrounded by banana palms has fabulous views over the island and sits above the resort’s herb and vegetable garden. Make sure you book a table at the 8 seat only Once Upon A Table, where there’s no menu, after having relaxed in the catamaran nets of Bar(a)bara, for pre-dinner cocktails and dolphin watching. Soneva Fushi also features the first vegan restaurant in the Maldives – Shades of Green. And all the while, the resort ensures that no unnecessary ingredient is flown in.
This is somewhere families will struggle to leave. Pirate ships, water slides, cinema, a two storey open air playground and even a mocktail bar, everything has been thought of. Younger guests will absolutely love the den where their imaginations really will run wild. Just try to keep your children away from the two chocolate and ice cream parlours! Parents can borrow buggies, sterilizing equipment and monitors; there are kids menus and babysitting too.
It would be all too easy to spend a week or two here, with your toes in the soft sand, a cool drink in hand, staring out across the ocean and not moving very far. However, there’s a remarkable amount of activities that could keep you busy for your entire stay. Soneva Fushi is a diver’s dream, with access to some of the world’s top diving sites. The resort has its own PADI dive centre, where guests can learn to scuba and join excursions to more than 30 different sites. Snorkelers will often swim alongside turtles and at the right time of the year, Manta rays. Camp under the stars in Bedouin style tents, or take a sunset dolphin cruise, and make sure you visit the Observatory, where the wonders of the universe are revealed. Hidden away in the palms is the Six Senses Spa, where the extensive range of therapies will soothe away what little stress you have left after having been here for just five minutes. Then end the day watching a movie on the giant off shore cinema screen. Pure indulgence.
Soneva Fushi has committed to a number of initiatives designed to improve their sustainability. Soneva Namoona is one such project, aimed at reducing plastic and improving ocean stewardship in the same movement. Waste-to-wealth is another project that bring a unique approach to waste management, recycling and repurpose excess produce, by also generating money. Amongst their other programmes, the hotel produces its own drinking water, is largely powered by solar panels, is helping develop a coral nursery to promote regrowth, has phased out chemical insecticides, and is involved in forest restoration and hornbill reintroduction. On top of this, they are engaged with social initiatives too, hiring from the local community and using local providers.