Soneva Fushi, a finalist in our inaugural awards, epitomizes barefoot luxury amidst unspoiled nature

ByAndrea Thompson

March 26, 2024

Soneva Fushi is more than a resort – it is a philosophy of sustainable indulgence nestled with the lush embrace of the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives

Founded in 1995 by Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malmström Shivdasani, Soneva (a play on both their names) was the first ever “Robinson Crusoe” styled resort in the Maldives.  Sonu was born in England and during his time at Oxford met his Swedish-born wife Eva.  They feel in love with the Maldives and even leased an island in 1990.  It was here that they decided to open their own resort by redefining luxury and being environmentally responsible.  Sonu was not new to opening resorts as he co-founded the Six Senses Resorts & Spa and the Evason hotel group.  Eva was a successful top model during the 70’s and 80’s but later became the Creative Director, overseeing all interior designs at Soneva.

Together, Sonu and Eva have not only created award-winning resorts but also championed environmental accountability within the hospitality industry. Their commitment to sustainability, innovation, and luxury has left an indelible mark on the world of travel and wellness.

Upon arrival at Malé International Airport you can either get a domestic flight to Dharavandhoo Airport and then catch a speed boat for a 12-minute adventure or take the seaplane which takes around 35mins.  Remember both are breath taking and the best part is stepping off and burying your toes into the white sand.  Remember no shoes required here.

The whole resorts is the size of 6 tennis courts and with a total of 63 island villas including 8 water retreats, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms offer complete privacy.

Each has its own stretch of beach, and most with their own pools, hidden among dense foliage within touching distance of the pristine coral reef, making it the perfect spot for those looking to escape the public eye. Space in each of the island villas is plentiful and bathrooms are built within a large private garden setting with outdoor showers and separate bathtubs.  With the barefoot guardian service, you receive a personal assistance who is available 24/7.

Facilities include, ziplining through the forest to snorkelling with marine biologists.  Anything can be arranged via concierge even a bespoke intimate dining adventure with Michelin starred guest chefs. or a Teppanyaki experience in the 360-degree ocean views restaurant.

Also, there is a technology free Den for young explorer, tennis lessons, family activities, private picnics and star gazing just to name a few.  In fact, you can snorkel, sail, zip line and explore the flora and fauna and of course the spa.

Soneva Fushi’s eleven dining destinations offer a tempting array of cuisines for every taste.  Michelin-starred guest chefs regularly visit as part of the Soneva Stars programme and theatrical experiences like the world’s first fine dining zipline experience, Flying Sauces, combine gourmet menus with breath-taking views.  All are a journey for the senses, a true taste of paradise.

Luxury isn’t confined to four walls, it spills out into the lush jungle, pristine beaches, and crystalline waters. It’s a place where barefoot elegance meets boundless nature.