The Luxury Travel Bible - NEW OPENINGS: Soneva Fushi, Maldives

NEW OPENINGS: Soneva Fushi, Maldives 

 Opening: September 25, 2020 

“I wanted to keep Soneva Fushi’s natural beauty, so it looks almost the same as the day we found it, with the villas hidden amongst the vegetation Eva Malmstrom Shivdasani, Soneva’s Creative Director and Conscience. Anyone visited and loved Soneva Fushi will be glad to hear that. But what if you want to expand? The solution? Build over water. When we had to add more villas, we didn’t want to touch the beach, as we believe it should be for our guests and the turtles that visit our shores. So, we built over the ocean' says Eva. And being the inspirational couple they are, owners Sonu and Eva built the best ,most sustainable, most downright fabulous water retreats ever. 

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Now these new Water Retreats are ready to welcome guests, adding a whole new level of sustainable luxe to the original barefoot luxury resort.  Think Soneva Jani water retreats with a twist...  After 25 years at the forefront of the global luxury tourism sector and as a bucket-list destination in the Maldives, we are always striving to evolve with our guests’ ever-changing needs. While we will always remain true to the much-loved spirit and laid-back ethos of Soneva Fushi, the new Water Retreat villas will elevate our offering”,  says Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s CEO and Founder. 

Along a gently curving jetty near Dolphin Beach, at the opposite end of the island to the Out of the Blue dining destination, you’ll find  eight Water Retreats designed to ensure privacy and to make the most of the picture-perfect ocean vistas. 

These are the  largest one- and two-bedroom overwater villas in the world. The spacious interiors and exterior living spaces give guests more to love, as well as making them perfect for families. As each of the rooms in the Water Retreats can be sealed off, the doors out onto the deck can be locked, and the children’s room is located at the back of the master bedroom, they are child-friendly and suitable for young Soneva guests of all ages.

And fans of this feature at Soneva Jani will be pleased to know the 1 and 2 Bedroom Water Retreats, all have water slides.   Yet the retreats are different from Soneva Jani’s iconic Water Retreats, these new overwater villas at Soneva Fushi are not whitewashed, so the browns of the natural and sustainable wood panels are visible through the interior finishing. Furthermore, the 2 Bedroom Water Retreats have both bedrooms on the ground floor, while the pool has been moved to the front of the pool deck, where it is now suspended over the ocean. The pool deck has been extended for more space for sun loungers and daybeds, with extra overhangs that create more shade. Catamaran nets let guests sit above the waves, while curved steps lead from the pool deck to the water below. 

“The new Water Retreats are very spacious and have been finished in Soneva Fushi’s rustic style. Everyone involved in building these overwater villas has done a fantastic job. Everything is bespoke and the joinery craftsmanship is amazing. Our guests can now stay in an island villa or a Water Retreat without moving between resorts” says Eva.  Inside the colour palette consists of light blues, greens, and soft beiges, bringing to mind the colours of the ocean around Soneva Fushi and the verdant island jungle. The décor is true to the rustic castaway style that Soneva Fushi is known for, similar to the resort’s newer villas (Villa 38 and 43). The lighting systems are from PLH Italia, known for their sleek and discrete design. 

At Soneva Fushi they think of everything. For example; these Water Retreats have been raised high enough above the ocean so that the waves do not break against the underside like most overwater villas, thus reducing noise and vibrations and keeping guest undisturbed. The walls use recycled Styrofoam as insulation, which helps keep the interiors cooler and serves to muffle the sound of the wind and waves. With a push of a button, the retractable roof slides back above the master bed to reveal sunny skies or starlit nights. The new mechanism is now made using aluminium, rather than steel, making its operation even smoother and quieter. The curving jetty that links the Water Retreats to the island has been redesigned with the jetty planks laid lengthwise rather than width-wise to reduce the noise of buggies and bicycles riding along them. 

With a choice of either sunrise or sunset views, the villas feature a large al fresco deck, which includes plush sun loungers, a sunken seating area and catamaran nets. Choose between swimming in the ocean or the private pool, while a curving 19-metre slide plunges into the waves from the upper floor. Both villa types feature an expansive upper level with a dining sala, as well as Soneva’s signature outdoor bathroom with direct access to the sea. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the spacious dining and living areas with natural light, while a fully-fitted pantry with wine fridge and minibar provide gourmet snacks and drinks. Flanked by an en-suite bathroom, dressing room and children’s sleeping area, the master bedroom suite features a king-sized bed for the ultimate in comfort. In the two-bedroom villa, a second guest bedroom also includes a king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom and dressing room.

So now, as Sonu puts it, 'guests the luxury of choice, to stay amongst the deep greens of the jungle with the beach just steps away, or wake up to panoramic views of the ocean'.

Either way, we’re in heaven.

The starting price for the new Water Retreats at Soneva Fushi is USD 2,626 +++ per night for the 1 Bedroom Water Retreat with Slide, and USD 5,232 +++ per night for the 2 Bedroom Water Retreat with Slide.

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 Hilary Doling, 03/09/2020
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