It’s no secret that the Maldives is Bollywood and Hollywood stars’ most preferred vacation destination. But, did you know, most celebrities visit the island nation and particularly choose the Soneva properties to unwind, relax and repeat? Today, we tell you all about what makes Soneva properties a favourite among luxury travellers.
The charm of white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Maldives is irresistible. Pair this with the stellar properties of Soneva—Soneva Fushi, and Soneva Jani—and you’ve got an idyllic holiday destination waiting to welcome you. Home to expansive blue views and powdery soft white sands, it comes as no surprise, then, that stars of the big screen flock to this paradisiacal land for a holiday. In fact, this year marks their 25th anniversary—a mark of their reigning legacy over the years.
Since its inception, Soneva hotels have doubled as a favourite haunt among movie stars and rockstars. Whether it is international names such as singer-songwriters like Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Joe Jonas; actor Gwyneth Paltrow; or folks from India’s own tinsel-town such as Bollywood royalty couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan; actor Kajol Devgan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, and Katrina Kaif, each have flaunted their precious sun-filled holidays here on their Instagram profiles.
Celebrity-like treatment aside, here’s why you will fall in love with these luxurious abodes too.
Hidden among dense foliage in a UNESCO-protected Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi is an escapade unlike any other. An easy 30-minute seaplane ride away from Velana International Airport, this island-property radiates a down-to-earth vibe that’s further accentuated with nature-inspired architecture. The 71 private water villas and island villas here come paired with pristine beaches and open-air bathrooms that extend into private gardens. Add to this direct beach access and provision of bicycles for every guest, and a comfortable stay is guaranteed. A personal butler service catering to one’s whims and fancies completes the package.
Soneva Fushi’s love for nature permeates through the dining experiences here as well, identifiable via the use of organic ingredients in every dish. While the two-storey overwater Out of the Blue offers delicious grilled meats, seafood, Teppanyaki, sushi and secret menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs, the no-menu Once Upon A Table allows for an intimate gathering of eight. The So Hands On sushi counter shows off the chefs’ dextrous skills up close, and Fresh in the Garden brings you in tune with nature, courtesy the presence of a surrounding herb and vegetable garden. Other dining options include an open-air Teppanyaki table, So Bespoke; a plant-based fine dining restaurant, Shades of Green; live-cooking at Mihiree Mitha; cocktails, spirits and liqueur at By The Bar; light bites at Bar(a)bara; and handmade chocolates at So Guilty & So Cool.
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Indulgence, however, extends well beyond Soneva Fushi’s offerings and weaves into its bouquet of experiences as well. Be it a romantic escape or a leisurely island adventure, Soneva Fushi’s imaginative experiences cater to every kind of traveller. Treat yourself to a memorable dinner on a private sandbank set in the middle of the Indian Ocean, or explore the wonders of the underwater world with a freediving session. The more laid-back few can enjoy a scrumptious lunch on the desert island, or cruise into the sunset with a selection of canapés and champagne. For added indulgence, head to the Six Senses Spa & Wellness where soothing scrubs and massages using oil of local coconuts await. An astronomical dinner cruise, a tented night-out on a private sandbank, eco-friendly surfing, and snorkelling with manta rays are other options here.
Located in the Medhufaru lagoon of the Noonu Atoll, Soneva Jani is scenic beyond belief. Picture water villas paired with a slide that plunges into sparkling lagoons, a private pool to lounge around in, and a retractable roof in the master bedroom to stargaze at night. What truly steals the show, however, are the new water retreats here. Whether it’s a four-bedroom water reserve along with a personal gym, wine cellar and waterslide, or the more humble three-bedroom one with its own personal sundeck–uninhibited ocean views in all directions is guaranteed.
Idyllic accommodations aside, Soneva Jani has many culinary experiences on offer as well. At the heart of the resort is the Gathering, a three-storey overwater structure that is home to various dining outlets, as well as the spa, library, retail area, The Den and wine cellar. This includes So Imaginative, Soneva’s experimental tasting room where sommeliers create wine tastings and dinners; live cooking stations at Down to Earth; in-house chocolatiers and gourmet charcuterie at So Cool; and an exclusive chef’s table with a mystery menu at So Engaging. Other dining options include cocktails and tapas at The Gathering Bar; an overwater, open-air cinema Japanese restaurant, Cinema Paradiso by Nikki; a fluid menu at Deckadence; barefoot beach dinners at North Beach; Maldivian delicacies at North Island; Peruvian cuisines at South Beach Lunch; and the Michelin-starred Mathias Dahlgren.
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When here, make the most of the vacation by exploring marine life around the resort by undertaking diving lessons at the Soleni Dive Centre or getting pampered to rejuvenating therapies at Soneva Spa. Alternatively, wake up early and head out onto the lagoon’s waters for a floating breakfast, or discover secret surf breaks in the Noonu Atoll. Guided snorkelling, open-air cinema, cooking classes, private beach barbecues, and a beach dining experience are some of the other ways to make your holiday here memorable.