Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani look forward to welcoming you back to the Maldives. I wanted to share some updates about what to expect when staying at a Soneva resort. Although the ‘New Normal’ in the Maldives will be different from the normal life we enjoyed before COVID-19, the country remains extremely lucky as its 1,200 islands provide a natural defense against the spread of COVID.
The government's policy of One Island One Resort has served them well. Due to swift and effective action from the government, the Maldives has a fatality rate of 0.3% which makes this one of the countries with the lowest fatality rates in the world.
This is mainly because of extensive testing and a significant increase in the capacity of their hospitals. In a bid to revive the tourism industry, the Maldives Tourism Ministry has recently proposed guidelines to commence safe tourism, which outlines requirements for resorts and guests once the country officially reopens to commercial airlines on July 1.
All guests landing in the Maldives are required to produce a negative PCR report dated maximum 7 days before landing in the Maldives (or) a positive antibody test report taken a maximum of two weeks prior to arrival.
To ensure the highest standards of safety and wellness for our guests, Soneva have made some changes to their existing procedures, which are outlined below.
These have been made following best practices recommended by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) as well as our numerous consultations with leading experts in both virology and infectious diseases in the United States, Singapore, India and the United Kingdom.
UPDATED JUNE 09, 2020 ON ARRIVAL All guests will be greeted by one of our airport Hosts and escorted to our lounge where they will be asked to undergo a COVID-19 test using our PCR machine.
Soneva airport Hosts, lounge Hosts and transfer Hosts will all be wearing masks, and we would request that all guests wear a face mask whenever guests are in the presence of other guests and Hosts until their test results are received.
The Tesla (transfer car) windows will be keep down during the transfer as per recommended practice. Of course, while we will thoroughly clean the car between guests. Recent research from the United States Bio Defence and Countermeasures Center in Maryland discovered that in normal conditions, the half life of a virus is 18 hours, whilst in our climatic conditions, it is reduced to 1 hour, and, when exposed to UVA, there is a further reduction to as little as 2 minutes.
Soneva aircraft and transfer boats will also be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised between each transfer, and our Hosts will be wearing masks and gloves.
AT SONEVA RESORTS Once the test has been completed and results sent for processing, guests will be transferred to Soneva Fushi or Soneva Jani.
On arrival, you will be greeted at the arrival jetty by a Mr/Ms Friday who will be handling all arrivals for that particular day and who will take you to our private island. You will receive the usual Soneva welcome including the bag for you to put your shoes in. You will be escorted to your villa and we request that you remain there until the test results are received and are negative.
We do not expect it to take more than 6 hours, and at the most 24. As a result of this inconvenience, we will only charge 50% of the villa rate for the first night and the balance will be issued as resort credit that you can use for F&B or experiences.
Once we receive the results of the test and if they are negative, our Hosts will come to your villa to extend a warm welcome.
In case the test results come back positive, we ask that all guests isolate in their villa, and Soneva will immediately waive the daily rate of the villa for the next 14 days. The only charges will be meals and other incidentals. Soneva nurses have been trained to look after COVID-19 positive guests and observe them. If there are no serious complications, guests will be allowed to circulate in the resort 14 days after a negative test or 10 days after the onset of the first symptoms, following the recommended guidelines by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
Should any guest develop severe symptoms and have to be hospitalised, the Maldives has built up sufficient hospital and medical capacity to treat COVID-19. In fact, the hospital on Eydhafushi (Soneva Fushi’s neighbouring island) has a new ICU Unit with 20 beds.
If UPDATED JUNE 09, 2020 guests who test positive are travelling with other guests, we would ask that all guests isolate together in the same villa until all are COVID free. We also require all guests have their temperature taken daily.
Your Mr/Ms Friday will provide you with the thermometer each morning and will be in touch later to ask for the results. After the first week of stay, we would ask guests to take one more real-time PCR test. We have purchased one of the best real-time PCR test machines - the Life Cycler 96 from Roche and the samples will be sent to Malé for testing at the ADK hospital. The tests are awkward and slightly uncomfortable, but they only last a few seconds. Although this could be considered as being slightly excessive or over-cautious, at Soneva, all our islands are One Island One Resort; it is our goal to make our private island homes COVID-19 free environments, so that our guests can truly relax and engage with our Hosts and fellow guests and not feel any concern about being infected. Guests will not need to isolate in their villa while waiting for the results of the second PCR test.
Soneva also have enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in collaboration with hygiene certification organisations, and there will be plenty of hand sanitizers available for guest usage. Frequent and regular cleaning and disinfecting will ensure optimum hygiene is maintained and we will pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces. All of Soneva resort restaurants, facilities and experiences remain open and operational, with some small modifications. The Chocolate Rooms will now be manned. The famous breakfast and lunch buffets will remain. However, Soneva Hosts will now be there to serve you. In the spas, even though the therapists will have been tested three times in the first eight days of returning to the islands, you will still have a choice on whether they wear a face mask or gloves.
The Hosts are also required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing, while all materials brought onto our islands will be properly cleaned and sanitized prior to being brought onsite. HOLISTIC WELLNESS Wellness has always been at the core of Soneva. This is now even more important. From a holistic wellness perspective, clean sea air and daily sunshine to generate Vitamin D is just what the doctor ordered.
UPDATED JUNE 09, 2020 Soneva encourage their guests to enjoy the healthy foods served, whether it is the Ayurvedic Elixirs at breakfast, the Andrographis Paniculata that is a known Ayurvedic immune booster that they offer on a complimentary basis, or all the other healthy antiviral ingredients that are regularly in our food such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, red onions, cinnamon and cardamom. Furthermore, the menus are mostly seasonal, fresh, and straight from our organic gardens or waters surrounding our resorts. Chef limits the amount of sugar, dairy, white flour and beef and instead opt for high protein white meat and vegetable alternatives.
The resort also offers a regular programme of yoga and meditation, as well as other visiting wellness practitioners. While there will be small changes to what would normally happen during your stay, on the most part things will remain the same. Which is exactly how Soneva want it to be. Your health and wellness is their priority and they hope that their rigorous standards will reassure you that you will have a safe and unforgettable holiday with your loved ones during your stay at Soneva.
To book your stay contact us directly Uniquefamilytravels@gmail.com