I was so honored and suitably thrilled to be part of the first Ladies of Luxury Destination round table for TTN Magazine which was hosted at my favorite property in the world – Soneva Fushi in the Maldives.
I left behind in Dubai my husband and three young children who were not happy with me at all as the last time as I was at Soneva Fushi we were all together as a family and they too share my love for this incredible Robinson Crusoe island hideaway.
Soneva Fushi is located in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which can be reached by a 40 minute sea plane from Male.
2020/21 is a significant year for Discover Soneva and Soneva Fushi as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. The island is so lush it’s a real tropical jungle with bunny rabbits hopping around and a mesmerizing marine life right next to the shore. The lush vegetation also provides total privacy for every beach villa, creating a cocoon of peaceful harmony with nature.
There’s so much to talk about at Soneva Fushi with a new Michelin star chef plant based restaurant and 8 brand new water retreats similar to those at their sister property Soneva Jani so with lots to share I will break this down into sections.
As we were a group of ladies our home was villa 37 which was INCREDIBLE – a 5 bedroom villa complete with an 11m viewing tower – which offers the highest views on the island. A large freshwater swimming pool with slide, a kids pool, multiple sunken seating areas, gym, games room, sauna, steam room, library, TV room, large living room and kitchen. At nearly 20,000 sq feet you can imagine how grand and exquisite it was.
I was in the master bedroom which is on the ground floor with direct access to the pool, comes with an office and the largest indoor/outdoor bathroom you have ever seen with 2 dressings rooms, 2 showers and a bath. For those who know how much I love bathrooms it was certainly bathroom goals achieved!!
On the opposite side to the master bedroom was another bedroom with direct access to the pool. On the next floor were another 3 bedrooms, the games room, gym and TV room and a spiral staircase taking you to the sunken seating area in the viewing tower.
As with all villas on the island they offer private access to the beach through the lush greenery. For large families (this villa can sleep 15) this really is a haven with so much to satisfy everyone – you actually never have to leave the villa as everything can be brought to you!
Having personally experienced a few of the villas at Soneva Fushi, there is so much choice of style, design and size to suit every ones needs. The feel is the same and the larger villas all come with slides.
Another favorite which I believe has to be the most luxurious tree house in the world is villa 43 which is centered around an ancient Banyan Tree. At 24,000 square feet this 6 bedroom reserve emerges from the trees with six separate structures rising out of the sand, with the banyan tree in the center. The master bathroom is separate to the master bedroom but only once you see it will you know why – its stunning and a masterpiece. The reserve has two swimming pools – one directly outside the master bedroom and another with slide, a gym, sauna and stream room.
There are also options of 6 and 9 bedrooms – I can’t even begin to describe the size of these!
The newly launched water retreats are one and 2 bedroom and adhere to Soneva’s pioneering sustainability ethos and barefoot luxury.
Accessed by a short curving jetty which is kind of hidden if you didn’t know it was there, these villas are designed to offer total privacy with pool and slide and an upper deck with dining area. I love how the water retreats provide floor to ceiling windows the length of the villa providing the most incredible vistas of the ocean. Again in true Soneva style the attention to detail and design is breath taking leaving you in total awe of how raw sustainable materials can provide such luxury and masterpieces. Soneva are true pioneers of intelligent luxury and it reflects and shines in every aspect of the resort.
The newest addition to the island is “Shades of Green”, located in the resort’s organic garden. The concept and menu was created by Danish Chef, Carsten Kyster who really wanted to tap into the global movement that places an emphasis on fresh, organic, and local produce as being important for a healthy lifestyle, while also being a climate conscious choice in keeping with Soneva’s values.
The experience at Shades of Green begins with all diners going on a guided tour of the garden to learn about the herbs, vegetables and fruits that are being grown there. Walking around I could smell the aroma of the “lemon basil”. Using all five senses they pick the ingredients to be used in their meal. All diners are encouraged to examine, pick, smell, and taste the herbs, fruits, and vegetables growing in the garden. Along the way they will come across a number of ‘amuse bouche’ hidden amongst the greenery. One of my favorites was a hanging half coconut filled with a mouth watering vegan sauce in a dip.
Once dinner is served you will gather around a fire pit for the first course before being seated at tables beneath the shade of the pergola and fruit trees. The menu features simple yet experimental plant based dishes, blending Maldivian and Southeast Asian cuisines; which are then prepared using Nordic techniques such as smoking, salting, fermenting, and pickling.
This was such a stripped back authentic experience yet extremely tasty and so nice to be dining in an organic garden.
Out Of The Blue
For those who have attended my Soneva Fushi dinners in Dubai will know of Chef Sobha who runs the kitchen at Out Of The Blue. For lunch or dinner you can dine on Vietnamese, Japanese and Indonesian cuisine while enjoying the open water views. Plus just incase you fancy a dip in between dishes you can enjoy the slide which goes directly into the blue!
Out Of The Blue also includes dining options at
So Hot – a robata grill
So Hands On – Sushi counter
Once Upon A Table - this is a culinary theatre showcasing some of the biggest names in fine dining. Chefs are brought to the island from all over the world – there is no menu, which allows the creativity and skills of the chef to take centre stage while you are left to experience something truly unique.
So Guilty – this is the chocolate and ice cream room which is open all day so you can literally help yourself when you have a sweet tooth or for the savory lovers there’s So Cheesy the cheese and wine room which again is open all day where you can help yourself to the most amazing cheeses from around the world.
Fresh In The Garden is a unique location where you can dine high above the trees accessible by a rope bridge and connected to the astrology room which is home to the biggest telescope in the Indian ocean.
Breakfast is served at Mihiree Mithaa which is alfresco on the beach with ala carte and serving options. One of my favorite parts of breakfast are the auyavadic shots which are great for liver tonic cleansing, wellbeing, balance, stress, blood purification etc
As someone whose kids have actually spent a week at the DEN I believe its safe to say this is one of the best kids clubs in the world. If you ask my kids they would simply say AMAZING…….. A Child’s DREAM!
There are so many activities to enjoy within the DEN such as arts/crafts/cooking/ music/games to the multiple slides in the pool, climbing frames, pirate ship and more. Outside of the DEN the team arrange a lot of interactive activities be it with marine life, sustainability, organic garden etc. Parents can simply enjoy a little alone time while the kids are entertained for hours.
One of the experiences I enjoyed on this trip was lunch on the private island known as Sonu’s picnic.
Guests are taken by boat for about 20 minutes to a private island – just you, the sea and chef! Chef prepares an amazing lunch while you enjoy being isolated on an uninhabitable island for the next few hours. Take your snorkeling gear with you as the marine life is abundant.
Soneva are launching Soneva Soul their new Spa destination which will initially be launched at Soneva Jani and then soon at Soneva Fushi – watch this space as the founders of Soneva are also the original founders and brains behind Six Senses meaning Soneva Soul offers the next level and forward thinking service that will transform a spa experience making this even more of a not to be missed destination – I would not be surprised if people come to this resort simply because they want to experience Soneva Soul.
One of my favorite parts of being on the island is simply just cycling around the island through the invigorating jungle (25 years of fauna) What Soneva do so well is offer the most simplest experiences with this understated luxury feeling – its simply another level of hospitality that very few can claim to match. The Soneva brand has proven time and time again that it really is the simplest things in life, strip everything back and you can have everything you want in life - space, nature and simple beauty who says eco friendly and sustainable can’ be luxury – Soneva has been living this for the past 2 decades and continue to keep upping their game. True trailblazers – go experience what the pinnacle of luxury travel should be.
You can watch my latest video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSVFh5xgNDA&t=55s
TNT - Ladies of Luxury travel feature here: http://www.ttnworldwide.com/Article/322841/_Ladies_of_luxury_