Stay: Soneva Fushi

 
 
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The Soneva experience is a vacation unlike any other... I was incredibly lucky to get to see it for myself firsthand during a recent trip to the beautiful Maldives. It's a place that's always been on my bucket list. We stayed at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, both resorts are pretty much heaven on earth. First up, I wanted to share our experience at Soneva Fushi, an incredible island resort which is covered in lush jungle and surrounded by dreamy beaches.

From Male Airport, it’s a seaplane island hop away. I’d never been in a seaplane before, so it made for a pretty grand arrival! From the floating landing platform, a boat was waiting to take us to the island. Soneva has a ‘no news, no shoes’ policy, so on the boat, we surrendered our shoes (in return for freshly-opened coconuts!) Bare feet and nothing to hear from the outside world makes for a very restful and stress-free stay - I highly recommend it.

We were introduced to our Ms. Friday, Aju, who looked after us for the duration of our stay. Aju had curated an itinerary to help us make the most of our three days on the island, with a variety of activities and meals which we couldn't wait to try. We were shown around the main area which plays host to an amazing buffet breakfast, lunch and 24/7 cheese, chocolate and ice cream rooms (yes - 24 hour a day cheese, chocolate and ice cream) - which I may never stop thinking about...

Afterwards, it was on foot to our villa, which was located on the sunset side of the island and had direct access (about 10 footsteps) to one of the many beautiful beaches. The spacious, white-walled villa itself was lovely, with all the amenities and comforts required for a perfect stay - including two bikes to get around the island. Believe me when I say you haven’t washed your hair until you’ve washed it under the outdoor shower in the villa’s private water garden, with the stars of the Milky Way above you.

Before arrival, your fill out an online questionnaire which makes for an extra personalised experience. Everything from the types of food and beverages in your mini bar, to the scent of your toiletries, and the kind of pillows you want. Luxury from start to finish!

The first thing I did once we were settled in was go for a dip. I popped into the villa's private pool before rinsing off underneath the (second) outdoor shower and getting ready for lunch. It was a perfect start to our three days on the island which would be filled with lots of delicious meals, beautiful sights and many, many ocean swims in the perfect-temperature water. The food at Soneva Fushi is above and beyond your standard holiday fare – with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs grown on the island (the lemony basil is incredible!) and the delicious baked goods, there is definitely something for everyone.  Soneva croissants give the boulangeries of Paris serious competition - crispy on the outside, soft in the middle… 

All the restaurants offer different regional cuisines and styles so you can mix things up as you like. On our first night, we had Japanese on the beach, where we were treated to sushi, sashimi and Japanese curry. The hot matcha pudding at dessert was next level! The following night was Rohan's birthday, and our lovely Soneva family had arranged for us to have dinner under the stars at Turtle Beach, with the chef preparing traditional Maldivian cuisine. It was something we hadn't tried before, but we loved it. And we got quite a surprise when they brought out a beautiful chocolate cake for Ro's birthday! On our final evening, we ate at Fresh in the Garden, a treetop dining experience which has this very cool bridge (pictured above) connecting the restaurant to the entrance of the vegetable garden. It's absolutely incredible at night, and it's located right next to the observatory so you can partake in some post-dinner stargazing.

Nearby to our villa was Bar(a)Bara, the sunset bar at the end of a jetty. Perfect for watching the sun go down with a pina colada in hand! A ladder from the bar’s deck leads straight into the water, and is a perfect place to go snorkelling - The photo of the candy-striped fish above was taken right under Bar(a)Bara.

Speaking of snorkelling, we also boated out to the reef accompanied by Soneva Fushi’s two resident marine biologists, who took us on a guided tour of the local reef-dwellers - including a rare green turtle, brightly-coloured parrotfish and a giant clam. At sunset, we went on a dolphin-watching cruise, ceviche and champagne in hand, with a pod of spinner dolphins racing the boat and doing backflips out of the water around us. 

Also out on the water is the yacht-based villa, Soneva in Aqua, which can be booked for cruises around the atolls on a tailor-made itinerary for four guests. Like the land-based villas, Soneva in Aqua has everything, with the added advantage of a private chef and daily massages. Did I mention the jacuzzis? One outside on the front deck, the other, a glass-bottomed one hidden James-Bond style beneath the floor of the main bedroom.

The facilities are also above and beyond, and while we didn't get to try everything, it was handy to note for next time (fingers crossed it won't be our last visit to the Maldives!) that they also have a  gym, yoga classes, wine cave, a kids club and a spa. There is also an outdoor cinema where they serve drinks and popcorn while playing classic films - too much fun.

Thank you for having us Soneva!

All photos by Rohan Peterson