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Taking Pleasure Seriously

Soneva Fushi -A Robinson Crusoe Experience in The Maldives

Picture a tropical island with white beaches surrounded by turquoise colored water, and in its center is a tropical jungle rich with wild plants and animals. Such is the Soneva Fushi – a resort, or rather, unique experience hard to find anywhere else in the world. 

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

Soneva Fushi was my second experience with the Soneva hotel group ,the first being an especially dreamy holiday at Soneva Kiri in Thailand, so of course I arrived at this resort with high expectations… and I wasn’t surprised that Soneva Fushi surpassed even my wildest dreams.

 

Soneva Fushi is one of the most prestigious and unique resorts in the Maldives. The resort, which first opened in 1995, is considered a real breakthrough in terms of intelligent and environmentally friendly prestige, and it has kept its name and status for many years – and rightly so. Unlike the classic image of luxury resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi offers more than just white sandy beaches and turquoise blue water. Just add a tropical jungle and unordinary experience based on Robinson Crusoe’s 28 year long stay on a secluded island to this perfect postcard experience, and it's even better than it sounds …

The moment we arrived I knew this was no ordinary island, and certainly nothing I’ve seen before at other luxury hotels around the world. As soon as I stepped foot on the island I was filled with a sense of peace, and all I could hear was the wind between the trees, the birds chirping, and the crashing of the waves. 

To watch my IG Stories I posted during my vacation at the hotel click here {Part I} and Here {Part II}

Location and Arrival

Soneva Fushi resort is located in Kunfunadhoo Island Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage marine site and can be reached in two ways – domestic flight, or seaplane, depending on the time of day, weather, and availability. We had a go at both ways – we arrived via a domestic flight and left via seaplane and both routes were very comfortable, though taking a seaplane is very exciting and unique, so I’m glad we got the chance to go on it during our trip.

The unique and personal service provided by the Soneva hotel group begins long before you reach the resort… When we arrived at Malé airport we were greeted by a Soneva staff member who took our luggage and passports and took care of our flight check in – so all we had left to do was relax in the lounge until it was time to board the flight. 

Getting off the domestic flight we were greeted by the resort staff, among them a nice girl named Lilian , our Mrs. Friday, who from the very first moment we met called us by our first names as if we knew each other all along 🙂 {I promise to tell you more about Mrs. Friday later on! Spoiler: it is one of the most incredible things about Soneva :)} As we left the airport, a small vehicle was waiting for us to drive us to the nearby pier, where we boarded a resort speed boat. On the boat we were served cool, refreshing towels, coconut water and a small cloth bag with the caption “No News – No Shoes” printed across it. 

Soneva’s ecological philosophy emphasizes the importance of quality time and connection with nature by letting go of everyday life, so when we arrived at the resort we were invited to remove our shoes and walk freely with bare feet – barefoot luxury at its best.

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

The wooden dock at the entrance to the resort is surrounded by clear turquoise water and leads to white powdery sand, and in the midst of all this is an enchanting tropical jungle. It's the kind of place that makes you feel as if you need someone to pinch you to realize you’re not dreaming. After the initial shock upon entering the resort, we boarded a small buggy, and Lilian took us directly to our private villa!

Our Villa

Soneva Fushi has a wide range of villas from one bedroom villas to an extravagant mansion with no less than nine bedrooms. We got to know this crazy villa concept back at Soneva Kiri in Thailand (where we started this whole trip) so we figured we’d seen it all – but boy were we wrong! 

On our way to the villa Lilian told us we were invited to stay in one of the best villas on site, and that we were about to spend the next four nights in this paradise in a huge three bedroom villa, with a private pool and beach! We’ve stayed in pretty amazing suites before, with more than one bedroom, but nothing we have seen before could prepare us for this unbelievable two-story villa spanning no less than 700 square meters.

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

With two double bedrooms, one single bedroom, an enormous living room with a projector and heavenly sofa (and when I say heavenly I mean the softest and most comfortable mattresses and pillows known to mankind) a large kitchen and dining area, two closet rooms with complete vanities, the most zen outdoor washroom, a huge indoor washroom, three offices, numerous outdoor sitting areas, a large pool with a hammock and tanning beds, hard to believe this is one of the smaller villas on the island!

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

The charm to this villa, and all the other villas in the resort, begins with perfect isolation. Each villa has its own private driveway that is hidden in the jungle thicket, so if you decided not to leave the hotel room for the duration of your stay there, you would feel as if you were completely alone on a secluded tropical island.

Another thing about the villas, and the resort’s overall design, is the strong connection to nature. Soneva Fushi does not attempt to chase away trends, rather it sanctifies the values of  sustainability and connection to nature, and the concept of “Robinson Crusoe”; a man on an isolated virgin island. All the villas designed in an shabby-chic style, with attention to environmental issues, or, as they refer to it at Soneva Fushi “Intelligent Luxury”. 

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

Unlike other resorts and hotels that transmit luxury and wealth through glamorous modern design, at Soneva Fushi it is believed that real luxury is characterised by a direct connection with the nature that surrounds us. They make their approach accessible via an effortless bohemian style, and the use of local and non-toxic materials like bamboo and natural wood, combined with huge glass windows that let nature in.  

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

Oh! And I almost forgot what I was most excited about during our stay at the resort! Every guest has a bicycle waiting for them at the entrance to their villa (in my case I got a tricycle!) with a tiny license plate marked with your room number. If you don’t know me well enough, this may be the first time you figure out that I can’t ride a bike, embarrassing, I know. The reason why I still don’t know how to ride a bike is because I am so scared to try, and so I was always jealous of people who ride bikes for pleasure… That's why, one of the things I enjoyed most during our vacation at Soneva Fushi is carefree riding through the shady jungle trails whenever we wanted to reach any of the various attractions in the resort. And to be honest, just riding for me was an attraction in itself.

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

Social Responsibility and Sustainability

As you may have already realized, Soneva is not your typical luxury hotel. The entire existence at Soneva Fushi is extremely calm, not only because of its beautiful location in the maldives, but because the resort is dripping with a tropical, ambient sense from a different era. Responsibility and sustainability are at the heart of Soneva’s philosophy and it is expressed in the littlest of details that constitute the character and experience in the place. Besides the natural design that is the scarlet thread that runs through the resort’s grounds, and the plastic-free agenda (no bottles or straws, cosmetic products, or anything else) Soneva Fushi has a successful recycling center, a marine conservation program, a solar power plant, and even a glass blowing studio by which waste is transformed into artwork right on the grounds of  the resort – and guests can visit each of these places and learn about the important processes done to preserve the virgin island. It is definitely safe to say that Soneva has stepped up the whole ecological approach.

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

So what is Mr. Friday anyway?

Now, before I start telling you all about the attractions Soneva Fushi has to offer, I promised you I’d give a detailed explanation of the magic element at Soneva known as Mr. Friday! “Mr. Friday” is one of the main characters in the famous story of Robinson Crusoe, and he is portrayed as a loyal companion and friend. Every one of the villas at Soneva Fushi is accompanied by a Mr. or Mrs. Friday that is way more than your conventional butler or personal assistant. Lilian, our Mrs. Friday was in fact the ultimate hostess throughout the duration of our stay. She gave us a tour of the island, answered all of our questions, needs and requests, and bottom line – she simply made sure we would feel as home as possible {which make paradise our home, I guess :)}

But this super exclusive personal service does not simply begin and end with “Mr. Friday”. The entire resort staff are extraordinarily friendly and professional, even for luxury resort standards, for example the fact that each villa has a personal breakfast waiter, ours knew our names from the first moment, and quickly caught on with how we like to start our day, what drink we like for breakfast and how I prefer my eggs Benedict with no bacon or salmon. 

Food

Which brings me to breakfast at Soneva Fushi, which in one word can be described as – Divine!

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

The resort's breakfast is served in the hotel's main restaurant, Mihiree Mithaa, located right on the beach and beneath the trees that provide shade from the blazing sun.

Breakfast is served a la carte with from a menu that offers a variety of egg dishes, sweets, freshly squeezed juices and a very large selection of specialty coffees, alongside an unconventional breakfast buffet…

Instead of one long buffet, the Soneva Fushi buffet consists of a number of booths that specialize in different food or drinks. One booth serves a variety of naturally-flavored water, freshly squeezed juices. and also small beverage bottles of a solution that is recommended to drink on an empty stomach at the beginning of each day. according to Ayurveda {traditional Indian medicine}. Another booth serves egg dishes and next to it is a booth belonging to a charming little Indian bakery.

There is also a booth that specializes in local cuisine with dishes such as hoppers {a thin rice-flour crepe made in a deep frying pan and shaped like a bowl in which various types of eggs are served}, dosa and a variety of chutney sauces.

Besides all of those, there are three chilled booths where an insane amount and selection of fruit and vegetables, raw fish, cheeses and meats, grains, dried fruit, pastries, and desserts, are served. And don’t say I didn’t save the best for last – the breakfast includes a divine experience for anyone with a sweet tooth. The hotel ice cream parlor “So Cool” has more than 60 flavors of ice creams and sorbets, and the “So Guilty” chocolate parlor has an amazing selection of chocolates and truffles. 

I’ve had many excellent breakfasts all over the world, but I must say that it is nearly impossible to compete with the breakfast served at Soneva. 

And if you thought you wouldn’t want to ever eat again after such a breakfast, think again. Soneva Fushi has over ten restaurants and bars you simply can’t stay away from during your stay. We were guests of the hotel for four nights so we didn’t have a chance to try all of them… but the ones we did check out were no less than perfect!

ארוחת הבוקר מוגשת בסגנון אה-לה-קארט עם תפריט שמציע שלל מנות ביצים, מתוקים, משקאות סחוטים וגם תפריט גדול מאוד עם שלל סוגי קפה מיוחדים, לצד מזנון ארוחת הבוקר לא שגרתי בכלל…

Let’s start with Fresh in the Garden, the restaurant we had dinner at on our first night in paradise. This charming restaurant is located right above a herbs and spices garden in a  beautiful wood and bamboo structure, and serves medditeranean cuisine made in the restaurant's open kitchen from the freshest of ingredients. On our second night we dined at Down to Earth by Ravi a romantic , south-asian restaurant where all the tables are lined up right by the beach. On the third night we tried the hotel buffet, which, much like breakfast, it is served in the main dining room, Mihiree Mithaa, and includes a number of excellent chef’s stations.

Our final dinner, and where we had lunch every day, was at one of my favorite places on the island – the Out of the Blue complex!

ארוחת הבוקר מוגשת בסגנון אה-לה-קארט עם תפריט שמציע שלל מנות ביצים, מתוקים, משקאות סחוטים וגם תפריט גדול מאוד עם שלל סוגי קפה מיוחדים, לצד מזנון ארוחת הבוקר לא שגרתי בכלל…

This crazy complex that you see in the pictures first opened in 2018, and is a rest and dining area that includes not only one main restaurant that serves Japanese-Thai fusion dishes for a light lunch or dinner, but also a small teppanyaki restaurant, large wine room, private dining rooms, and the cherry on top – a refrigerated room full of delicious chocolate treats, ice creams, and desserts. You can enter when every you want and cool off, take a break from the heat, and fill your stomach with extraordinarily sweet snacks. The rest area, where we spent most of our time, is out of this world – with luxurious tanning beds, hammocks that hang right above the water, and even an amazing water slide.

Activities and Attractions

We were told by lots of people that a vacation at the Maldives can become pretty boring after a few days, after all – how much of your time can you spend laying out in the sun and enjoying the view. But the truth is, I really don’t agree… If you ask me – I could lay out on those tanning beds at Out of the Blue from sunrise to sunset 🙂 At Soneva they make sure that nobody gets bored – even if they stay for more than a week {which, according to Lilian, is pretty common at Soneva}.

ארוחת הבוקר מוגשת בסגנון אה-לה-קארט עם תפריט שמציע שלל מנות ביצים, מתוקים, משקאות סחוטים וגם תפריט גדול מאוד עם שלל סוגי קפה מיוחדים, לצד מזנון ארוחת הבוקר לא שגרתי בכלל…
ארוחת הבוקר מוגשת בסגנון אה-לה-קארט עם תפריט שמציע שלל מנות ביצים, מתוקים, משקאות סחוטים וגם תפריט גדול מאוד עם שלל סוגי קפה מיוחדים, לצד מזנון ארוחת הבוקר לא שגרתי בכלל…
Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

So of course the obvious activities at the Maldives are the ones that have to do with the incredible water that encircles the island, from snorkeling to diving, surfing and motor sports. But Soneva Fushi also offers other unique attractions such

Cinema Paradiso One of the most magical experiences at Soneva Fushi is watching vintage movies on a giant outdoor screen. The hotel's open-air cinema is located right on the beach, with comfortable beds fully equipped with pillows and blankets. Oh – and there's fresh popcorn, too, of course 🙂

The Observatory The dreamy night activity doesn’t end with Cinema Paradiso… The hotel has its own observatory! Yes, I’m totally serious! After dinner, you can go up to the observatory, gaze at the star studded night sky, and even hear an explanation about the different planets .

A tour of the organic gardens and ecological center Hotel guests are welcome to visit the organic gardens, the ecological center, and glassblowing studio on site, and learn about the different processes that Soneva cares for, to help keep the environment of the virgin island upon which the hotel is situated.

Six Senses Spa  The luxury Six Senses chain was founded by Sonu and Eva, owners of the exclusive Soneva chain, and while the ownership has been passed down since then, the famous Six Senses spa can still be found in each of the Soneva hotels. The hotel's spa menu is very diverse with various types of massage treatments, facials and even detox diets under the care and supervision of the hotel's specialist.

The Children's Den Exclusive luxury hotels and children are two things that usually don’t go together, but Soneva Fushi has managed to crack the formula. Soneva Fushi is not only a hotel for couples of all ages to enjoy a romantic getaway with the utmost privacy and other treats, it is also a heaven on earth for parents and children. The Children's Den is the coolest playground I've ever seen! It has a music room, game room, art room, library, and a variety of daily activities, all under the supervision of the hotel's staff of teachers and caregivers {free of charge for children above the age of 5}. Let's just say it feels like a place that kids don't want to leave, which also guarantees parents more romantic quality time during their family vacation 😉

Besides all of these activities, the resort has plenty more to offer, for example sailing into the sunset watching dolphins, a private picnic, a professional tennis court in the heart of the jungle, and more. So if you’re less into endless tanning, you will definitely not become bored on this island!

Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי
Maldives Soneva Fushi Eco Luxury Resort - Photography + Full Review | האיים המלדיביים - סקירה מלאה על סונבה פושי, ריזורט היוקרה האקולוגי

Soneva Fushi is a successful combination of luxury and sustainability, and generates a truly extravagant sense of holiday. If you’re ready to connect to your inner Robinson Crusoe and are interested in an extraordinary holiday in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi is the place for you!

 

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Thank you Soneva Fushi for the most incredible vacation.

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