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Soneva Fushi is one of the most aspirational resort destinations not just in The Maldives, but the entire world. People are always impressed when I mention that I’ve stayed at this property – not just once, but twice!
My most recent trip to The Maldives was during November 2020, as the covid-19 pandemic was in full swing and, needless to say, it was a welcome escape from reality. Instead of worrying about the state of the world, I was permitted to switch off for a few days thanks to Soneva Fushi’s “no shoes, no news” policy and live like a (very glamorous) castaway instead. Keep on reading for my full review of this unique Maldivian property.
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Founded in 1995, Soneva is known for its unique laidback elegance and commitment to sustainability. The brand is guided by the “SLOW LIFE” principle, which is an acronym for:
Soneva’s main goal is to enrich guests’ lives without harming the planet, all in a laidback and stylish fashion. The Soneva Total Impact Assessment keeps careful track of the company’s social and environmental impacts and Soneva Fushi is operated in a fashion that is 99% sustainable. This isn’t some fluffy mission statement – I had the pleasure of observing just how serious the resort is about sustainability.
Soneva Fushi is an incredibly luxurious resort but not in a way that’s about showy glitz and glamor. This property is deeply connected to the natural environment and feels as though Mother Nature herself could have designed it. With its soft wood, shingle roofs and lack of straight lines (after all, they seldom occur in nature), Soneva Fushi is a total eco-chic paradise.
Soneva Fushi is not the kind of place that’s big on rules, save for the “no shoes, no news policy.” And to be honest, that was a rule that I was more than happy to get on board with. I didn’t travel all the way to The Maldives to depress myself by watching the news, and it was such a relief to switch off from it all for a while.
I should add that there was a secret TV in our villa. It was expertly concealed in a vintage travel trunk in a trunk and although I didn’t watch TV at all while I was there, I was very impressed by this detail. It added a touch of James Bond to this Robinson Crusoe experience.
When we arrived, there was actually a ceremony where the staff took our shoes! After all, there’s really no need to wear them on the sugar-white sands.
I was beyond excited to stay at the overwater villas at Soneva Fushi on my second trip, as they were a new addition to the property in 2020. I had high hopes, but I wasn’t expecting the villas to be quite so huge. There was so much space that a family of ten could have moved in quite comfortably.
Both Soneva Fushi and its sister property Soneva Jani are famous for their slides that take you right into the ocean. It was so much fun but I got a bit too excited and went racing down at low tide – I don’t recommend that you do the same!
After a few nights, we moved to a beach villa as we wanted to experience both. For those who want to feel totally immersed in nature, the beach villas are absolutely perfect. They’re more rustic than their overwater counterparts but just as spacious, and you get to stay just steps away from the beach.
Which option is better, I hear you ask? That all comes down to personal preference. The overwater villa was my favorite, but my companions liked the beach better! I also think that the beach villas might be better for families with young children.
Soneva Fushi is considered to be 99% sustainable and they’re working hard to make that 100%.
The island is powered entirely through solar energy, as much of the food as possible is locally sourced or grown in the garden and the resort offsets the carbon footprint of every guest’s flight.
I took the sustainability tour and I highly recommend that anyone interested in environmental issues does the same. It was incredibly inspiring to see just how hard Soneva Fushi works to operate minimise its environmental impact.
I came away from the experience having learned a lot, including the following facts:
All of this just goes to show that luxury travel and sustainability are far from mutually exclusive. Soneva truly is a pioneer of eco-friendly travel.
Soneva Fushi boasts some of the most incredible marine life in The Maldives – it was the best I have experienced on my six trips over the years! As well as a dolphin cruise and snorkelling the reef, we got to swim with manta rays. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The way that the manta rays moved together as one was almost poetic, and one actually came within touching distance of me!
True to its sustainable ethos, Soneva Fushi also offers the world’s first totally sustainable surfing program. No need to bring your own gear, as the resort will provide you with all the equipment you need and it’s all made from 100% sustainable materials.
The resort also features an observatory where you can marvel at the night sky. For anyone who is used to light pollution and city living, this is a really beautiful experience.
Soneva Fushi follows the best practices according to both the local Maldivian government and the US Centre for Disease Control to keep their guests safe.
Shortly after I landed, I took a PCR test in Soneva’s private airport lounge. I then had to isolate inside my villa until the results came back – and trust me, this was no hardship at all inside my giant overwater villa. I had no reason to leave anyway! The resort also offered me an extra night to compensate for the next time, so I actually felt as though I benefited from the whole situation.
After I got my results back, I was free to roam around the resort as I pleased and was basically able to forget about covid for a short, blissful while.
Of course, all the staff were wearing masks and were very diligent about sanitisation, which was reassuring.
I have been fortunate enough to stay in many beautiful resorts in The Maldives, and I’ve loved them all, but Soneva Fushi is my all-time favorite. As a wellness expert, I felt instantly at home there, and I can’t get enough of the “no shoes, no news” castaway vibe – it’s so relaxing and it just feels good for my soul.
To be honest, if you love modern properties and prefer out-and-out opulence over whimsical rustic luxury, then Soneva Fushi isn’t the right resort for you. This property caters to a very specific type of traveller, and it does it very well.
However, if you’re the kind of traveler who adores holistic wellness and wants to feel like Robinson Crusoe for a week or two, then there’s really no better place to stay than Soneva Fushi.
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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