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Soneva Fushi – The Maldives

The original barefoot Maldives retreat. Soneva Fushi is a “no news, no shoes” eco-chic jungle hideaway with Robinson Crusoe-style villas dotted along the blindingly white shore, a stellar spa, open-air cinema, world-class kids’ club and your-wish-is-their-command butler service.

Soneva Fushi is a natural treasure nestled in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and one of the largest islands in the Maldives. This precious destination holds magical experiences at every turn, from dining in the treetops of our rainforest, to barefoot luxury on a desert island.  This is where one-of-a-kind experiences are made every day, and where rarity is remarkably accessible, by seaplane from Malé, or from Dharavandoo International Airport.


A scenic 30-minute seaplane ride from Malé. The resort is surrounded by a magnificent house reef, though the concrete buildings and tall antennas of local island Eydhafushi on the horizon are something of an eyesore.

Style and Character

This boutique property is designed with natural materials to blend seamlessly into its surroundings, has its own vegetable garden (with free-roaming rabbits), a recycling centre, solar power plant and a glass-blowing studio to turn waste into works of art. The interior is dense with vegetation offering shade from the blazing sun and the resort has its own sandbank a few minutes’ boat ride away with a fabulous sunset cocktail reception each week.

Service and Facilities

Service is impeccable. Each villa is assigned a Mr or Ms Friday butler who caters to every whim and fancy and this is the kind of resort where everybody knows your name. There’s never a dull moment with kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, diving, fishing, tennis, treetop yoga, stargazing at the fancy observatory and indulgent treatments from scrubs to hot stone massages at the award-winning Six Senses spa. As there is no communal pool, you might want to upgrade to a pool villa.


The 65 fantastical thatched-roof villas, ranging from a one-bedroom Crusoe villa to the nine-bedroom Private Reserve, are decked out with driftwood furniture, billowing mosquito nets and discreet tech such as televisions concealed inside vintage trunks. Al fresco bathrooms are bigger than most London flats, terraces come complete with hammocks, daybeds and most with a private pool, and each is surrounded by verdant jungle (complete with visiting geckos and flying foxes) just steps from the beach. As part of Soneva’s commitment to protect the fragile coral reef there are no overwater villas.

Food and Drink

Prepare to loosen your belt buckle with dedicated rooms for cheese, chocolate, ice cream and charcuterie. The bountiful breakfast at beachfront Mihiree Mitha includes juicy mango and papaya, fresh-from-the-oven pastries, eggs any style and healthy ayurvedic tonics. Watch the sun set from an overwater hammock at Bar(a)bara before crossing the Indiana Jones-style rope bridge to treetop restaurant Fresh in the Garden for Maldivian fare such as tuna with lychees and edible flowers. Soon-to-open overwater restaurant and bar Out of the Blue will feature multiple dining concepts, visiting chefs and a slide right into the ocean.

Value for Money

Double rooms from £955 in low season; and from £1,590 in high. Breakfast £57. Free Wi-Fi. This is definitely among the priciest resorts in the Maldives but the cavernous rooms, quality and choice of food and range of complimentary activities make it a worthy splurge.

Access for guests with disabilities?

Somewhat. One-storey villas come with accessible bathrooms; most areas can be accessed via jungle path or wooden slope, though areas of softer sand are trickier to navigate.


Absolutely. The Den is a whimsical two-floor open-air playground with a Nemo-shaped toddler pool, a saltwater pool with slide and pirate ship, a music room full of instruments, dress-up area, cinema and bar for mixing mocktails. For those aged under four, babysitting can be arranged at $25 (£18) per hour. Babies get cots with mosquito nets and parents can borrow everything from prams to monitors. Restaurants have kids’ menus, highchairs and drawing materials.

Kunfunadhoo Island, Eydhafushi, 06170, Maldives.


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