Soneva Fushi, Maldives
When Soneva Fushi opened in 1995, it was the first castaway retreat of its kind in the Maldives. It showed that luxury and environmental sensitivity could be combined hand in hand for an unforgettable holiday experience. Those who visit haven't needed to wear shoes on the island since and you really do feel like you've been dropped in the middle of nowhere – a feeling made even more unbelievable by the fact the resort is only a 30-minute seaplane hope from Malé.
The setting is spellbinding, with pure white beaches licked by a cerulean lagoon hiding a multicoloured house reef. What's even more remarkable is, in a bid to keep this blissful view exactly the way it is, Soneva Fushi has restricted its overwater bungalow count to just a handful, where you can face either the sunrise or sunset side of the island. The incredible standard and size of each beach villa (all built with natural materials to blend in with their surroundings) means, in our opinion, this resort doesn't need any more.
Even though it feels like a million miles away from anywhere else, both couples and families will at home here from the moment they step onto the jetty. Come to think of it, do you know who else wouldn't look out of place at Soneva Fushi? Mr Robinson Crusoe himself.
Dripping with rustic charm and stylish minimalism, Soneva Fushi’s spacious villas and retreats are tucked within lush jungle foliage and looking out onto a UNESCO-protected reef beyond. The hideaways range from one-bedroom boltholes to a huge nine-bedroom villa, some of which come with their own private pool. The sugar-white sand certainly makes up for the lack of a main pool – it will be hard to peel yourself away from it.
The island also boasts a handful of Water Retreats on stilts over the dreamy lagoon. Choose from one or two bedrooms and they even come with a slide – no matter your age we guarantee it'll be fun!
Inside, the accommodation the mood is firmly eco-chic, with furniture crafted locally on the island using natural and sustainable materials, while the wood and fabrics used throughout blends in harmoniously with your island location. Open-air bathrooms lead out to a private walled garden, with direct access to the beach guaranteed for all villas.
Each villa also comes with its own Mr/Ms Friday (a modern-day butler named after Robinson Crusoe’s loyal friend) who has that brilliant knack of knowing what you want before you even do!
The dining experiences at Soneva Fushi range from leisurely beachside brunches at Mihiree Mithaa to lavish sharing banquets at Down to Earth. Fresh in the Garden is a ‘restaurant without walls’ set high above the herb and vegetable garden while Out of the Blue is a two-storey overwater restaurant housing a medley of five unique dining outlets. For something a little different, Once Upon a Table is Soneva Fushi’s most intimate dining experience, where a rotating band of visiting chefs create a bespoke and personal menu based on yours and your party’s tastes.
If you want to really indulge yourself, So Guilty is a confectionery channelling your inner Willy Wonka fantasies and So Cool boasts over 60 flavours of ice cream. There are also plenty of incredible dining experiences, from on a remote sandbank to enveloped in jungle or within the comfort of your own villa.
Whoever said the Maldives was all about lazing on a postcard-perfect beach has clearly never stayed at Soneva Fushi. The heavenly lagoon should be your first port of call, where you can go snorkelling with manta rays and the on-site Soleni Dive Centre is your ticket to exploring over 30 iridescent reefs near the resort. You can even hire a Seabob (a motorised watercraft) to help you explore underwater, while the resort's raft of complimentary water sports include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, eco-friendly surfing and catamaran sailing.
You can go on cruises to spot dolphins at sunset or under a starlit sky, where you can dine the boat with an astronomer who will explain everything that you can see above you. More mesmerising activities abound at Soneva Fushi, from a desert island picnic to enjoying a classic film screening at the Cinema Paradiso. Even if you've heard of these activities before, Soneva Fushi also delivers in the out-of-the-ordinary category, with glassblowing classes to visits to neighbouring Namoona Island to see how the resort's sustainable programme is paying off.
Soneva Fushi has a Six Senses Spa on the island and is known for being one of the most relaxing and indulging spas in the Maldives. Its range of treatments take inspiration from near and far, whether it's Tibetan hot stones, rejuvenating scrubs or a treatment tailored specifically to help you recover from jet lag.
The Den at Soneva Fushi is the first of its kind to be built in the Maldives. It’s a playground for the whole family, with loads of fun activities both indoors and out. There are two pools, one for toddlers and a main pool for the adults, complete with circular slide and bar! There are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas for those who'd like to relax, as well as lilos and inflatable toys for water-based fun!
Inside The Den, your kids can relax with a good book in the library, watch their favourite movies in the cinema room, let their creativity run wild in the Lego room or become the character of their dreams in the dressing up room! Older kids will love the DJ corner and mocktail bar, as well as the teenage lounge with mood lighting and comfortable day beds.
Soneva Fushi FAQ
Yes, Soneva Fushi does offer an all-inclusive package. It also has bed and breakfast, half board and full board meal plans available.
Soneva Fushi is on Kunfunadhoo Island in the Baa Atoll, although you won't be able to see any other islands nearby!
Soneva Fushi is easily reached from Malé's international airport via a 30-minute seaplane journey.
Yes it does. Three access points for the crayon-coloured house reef lie on the sunset side of the island, so stay here if you want convenient access. Dolphins are more likely to be spotted from this side of the island as well.
The island of Kunfunadhoo is around 1.5km long and 400m wide. While this is one of the larger resort islands in the Maldives, they have refreshingly kept the accommodation count low, with just 63 beach villas and eight water retreats here, so the priceless feeling of space and seclusion still remains in abundance.
Where is Soneva Fushi?
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