SONEVA FUSHI – HOTEL REVIEW
Soneva Fushi, together with its sister property Soneva Jani, in the Maldives is without a doubt one of my top hotels in the world. It is also, unfortunately, probably one of the most expensive ones.
So what makes it so special? Is it its dreamy eco-friendly Robinson Crusoe charm or is it the fact that its turquoise waters and lush tropical greenery make it feel like paradise on Earth?
Please find below my honest review of the famous Soneva Fushi sharing what’s good and perhaps less so (although that is hard to find) to help you decide whether it is the right place for you!
One thing I can already tell you now, once you have been to Soneva any future holiday will (perhaps sadly) only pale in comparison, so be wary!
SONEVA FUSHI – BASIC FACTS
Soneva Fushi is part of the world-famous Soneva family, a collection of three eco-friendly resorts in the Maldives (Soneva Jani & Fushi) and in Thailand (Soneva Kiri). Soneva Fushi is one of the largest private islands in the Maldives. Therefore, you can expect a slice of paradise, it really is what dreams are made of. It sits amid the clear, blue waters of the Indian Ocean. So, magnificent marine life and stunning sunsets come as standard. Otherwise, lose yourself in the lush, green palm forests. Or, relax on the pristine, white beaches and let all your worries drift away.
Soneva Fushi is a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male International Airport, in the Maldives. Luckily (and very comfortably), the Soneva chain has its own private airport lounge and a fleet of luxurious, exclusive seaplanes serviced by Manta Air. Thus, you can start relaxing from the moment you land at Male! Oh, and being picked up by the new Tessla car from the airport also adds to the whole experience!
Furthermore, the journey from Male Airport to Soneva Fushi is the most spectacular way to start your holiday. That is if you don’t mind flying in tiny planes and landing on water! If you are OK with it, you are in for a treat as the views on this journey are out of this world. You’ll see the sapphire Indian Ocean, emerald palm forests, and dazzling white sand beaches. Finally, landing on the Ocean is definitely out of the ordinary! The last step of the journey from Soneva Fushi’s International Airport (a tiny wooden deck just off the island) is a five-minute speedboat ride. What is a more stylish way to arrive?
ARRIVING AT SONEVA FUSHI
Check-in is from 2 pm but you can definitely arrive earlier and enjoy the incredible property. You can check out any time before midday. I would strongly advise you to maximise the time you spend at Soneva and stretch the days to your favour. So arrive early and leave late! I saw many guests with late night flights who stayed at Soneva until around 7 or 8 pm still enjoying a full day here and only leaving after dinner. You will probably have to check out of your villa at some point but that should not stop you from taking in till the last minute what this paradise has to offer. Otherwise, your personal butler so-called Barefoot Butler will meet you from the moment you arrive at Soneva Fushi. Afterwards, they can make almost any of your wishes a reality.
Soneva Fushi has 64 private island villas. Additionally, there are 8 overwater villas to choose from. But to be honest, if you want to stay in an overwater villa then you are better off staying at its sister property Soneva Jani (read my review here).
The villas at Soneva Fushi are some of the largest hotel accommodation in the world. All of them are totally private and luxurious. They blend in with the surrounding jungle thanks to local, environmentally friendly building materials. They even have thatched, palm-leaf roofs! Inside, the decoration is simple, but extremely chic and comfortable. Furthermore, they are all just steps away from the beach and the Ocean.
The villas range from one-bedroom Crusoe villas to a private reserve boasting nine bedrooms. Furthermore, each villa has unique features and perks. These range from private pools and terraces to steam rooms and gyms, to outdoor baths, to well-stocked wine fridges. Finally, you can choose between a villa facing the sunset or the sunrise. I would always recommend the sunset-facing villas, as you may sleep through the sunrise!
As I said upfront – Soneva is very, very expensive! Prices start at around €1200 per villa per night during the low rain season. They can climb to above €5000 a night at more popular times of the year. There is no pretending or denying it, Soneva truly is expensive, also compared to other expensive resorts in the Maldives. However, the world-class accommodation, food, and activities offer an unforgettable experience. Therefore, you definitely get your money’s worth.
Make sure to check out “Soneva Unlimited” option which is a truly all-inclusive package. Also, to make some savings target off-peak months around June to October,
If you come to Soneva, you will fall in love with it, and it will be a life long affair. You will keep on wanting to return and you will compare every next holiday and resort with it. And it is impossible to compete.
In addition to luxurious private villas, Soneva Fushi offers plenty to see, do, eat, and drink. Excursions and activities make the most of the marvelous Indian Ocean and its marine life. The restaurants are superb and always boast brilliant guest chefs. Finally, ‘The Den’ makes it one of the best family destinations in the Maldives. As I said, it was love at first sight for me, and it will remain a very special place for me and my family.
- Some of the most luxurious accommodations in the world in a stunning jungle steps away from the beach.
- Impeccable service from your Barefoot Butler
- You will eat some of the best food you have ever had at Soneva Fushi. Just breakfast is worth flying half the world for! Also, enjoy unforgettable bespoke options for dining, such as a meal under the stars.
- From scuba diving to astronomy to glass-blowing, Soneva Fushi offers incredible activities. These will delight every guest.
- Soneva Soul offers once in a lifetime spa experience.
- ‘The Den’ offers kids and teenagers a magical time and will give parents a little break to enjoy the island (read more in the Family Focus section).
- From solar farms to sustainable materials, Soneva Fushi is dedicated to being as environmentally friendly as possible. Therefore, you can relax here with a clear head.
POINTS WORTH CONSIDERING:
- The price is the biggest issue. Getting to Soneva (including an international and a seaplane flight) and staying a week here will cost you probably around a good Master’s degree for your child at one of the rather expensive universities in the UK or the US. Those prices really are extreme. But you get to experience a paradise so decide for yourself whether it is worth it.
- The lifestyle at the resort may not suit every traveller. For example, going barefoot is encouraged and perhaps not to everyone’s liking. Other resorts in the Maldives might suit those looking to dress up more.
- Some of the villas face a local island which impacts the feeling of remoteness.
- I found the views from the seaplane amazing, but it was a rather scary and hot flight. Not the easiest thing with a 10-month-old in my arms. It is also rather expensive and there is no other way to get to the resort.
- There’s not much to do when the weather is bad. Therefore, it is worth spending more to visit during the dry season (January to April)
SONEVA FUSHI – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT WILL YOU DO
You will have a hard time choosing between relaxing and experiencing all that the island has to offer.
Obviously, Soneva Fushi offers incredible watersports activities. These range from snorkeling to surfing. All of them will let you take in the resort’s stunning marine life. Guests who want to see this in a more relaxed way will love the boat tours. One of these lets you spot dolphins at sunset – magical! Finally, the resort has a resident marine biologist, so you can learn about the wonders around you.
On land, sporty guests can enjoy anything from mountain biking to tennis with an expert coach. Otherwise, visit the glassblowing centre which recycles the resort’s glass into beautiful works of art. Finally, enjoy a movie under the stars at Cinema Paradiso. Or, visit the resort’s observatory for some of the best stargazing in the world! Here, you’ll even have a resident astronomer to guide you.
For family activities please read the section “Family Focus”.
WHAT WILL YOU EAT (& DRINK)
You can be sure of one – you will eat very, very well at Soneva and you will find it hard to choose between nine incredible restaurants. Therefore, you won’t tire of the food!
Soneva Fushi features incredible food and drink options at a range of restaurants. Mainly, these offer fresh, local seafood, served in delicious ways. These are mostly in the extraordinary overwater restaurant Out of the Blue which was my absolute favourite! Highlights include bespoke sushi at So Hands On and delicious grilled meat at Carne Diem. Out of the Sea, was my second favorite option. It is very relaxed and the food is just so good!
However, there’s also the superb plant-based restaurant Shades of Green (a true experience!), and the Pasta Counter. Flying Sauces offers Michelin-starred dining on a platform only accessible by a 200m zipline! Finally, Soneva Fushi constantly has guest chefs or restaurants visiting. Therefore, you’ll have an unforgettable dining experience whenever you go! Also, Soneva Fushi has a world-class wine cellar containing 7,000 bottles and rare vintages.
Oh and make sure you have room for delicious ice cream or chocolate at one of the resort’s two parlours.
IS THERE A SPA?
Soneva Soul is a two-story treatment center in the beautiful, tranquil jungle. Here, you can choose from ancient to cutting-edge therapy. The treatment rooms are gorgeous and relaxing.
Here, you can unwind in a sound pod, with a massage, or in a guided yoga session. Otherwise, feel the benefits of high-tech hyperbaric oxygen treatments or cryotherapy. All the spa’s practitioners (including a resident Ayurvedic Doctor) are true experts. Therefore, you’ll be in good hands! Finally, the Soneva Stars programme means there’s always a visiting sports champion or wellness guru to give you a unique experience.
Like its sister property, Sovena Jani, Soneva Fushi is a dream destination for families with kids of all ages. The only challenge with Soneva properties is that they are so good, that they make future traveling a little bit complicated. Nothing will be simply ever as good. Especially if you consider family-oriented holidays.
You can also read my article about the 5 Best Family-friendly resorts in the Maldives here!
Where does one start with Soneva? Maybe with “The Den” being the largest children’s club in the Maldives and South Asia? How big is the biggest children’s club in Maldives? As big as six tennis courts. That will do right?
But it’s not even its size that makes “The Den ” the reference point for all the kids clubs in the world. It is what is inside that makes it so great. My first thought on arrival was “Please let me be a kid again for one day”. Imagine swimming pools with pirate ships (8 meters high!), dress-up, Lego, and Duplo rooms.
But it will also please the parent in you – The Den has a technology-free zone where kids can spend some time in the library or learning area, or unleash (and it really means unleash) their creativity in a music room!
ACCOMMODATION & ACTIVITIES
And if this wasn’t enough, there is also a cinema for movie nights, cooking classes and a weekly programme of complimentary experiences which kids can undertake on their own or with their whole family.
But “the Den” is not the only place for kids to play and explore. The whole island becomes your kids’ playground with its lush gardens, pristine white beaches, and jungle (full of friendly bunnies).
Take your family and discover the night skies with the resident astronomer at the observatory, or explore the sea with the Marine Biologist. Oh and do not forget the complimentary chocolates, ice creams, and sorbets.
Lastly, Soneva Fushi offers many accommodation options perfect for a family stay. Choose between beachside and jungle cottages to over-water villas which have between one to nine (yes nine!) bedrooms!
FINAL TIPS FOR YOUR STAY AT SONEVA FUSHI
I absolutely loved staying at Soneva Fushi and its sister property Soneva Jani. They are the closest to what I ever experienced being a true paradise. It is the combination of the resort itself, the spectacular location, and the thought which has gone into creating this little heaven on earth that is truly hard to beat! And I haven’t even mentioned Soneva’s mission to be as eco-friendly and as non-damaging to the environment as it can be!
So if you can, do yourself a favour and spend a few most memorable days at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, and probably the best holiday of your life here. No exaggeration here, I promise!
Please consider the following points to make the most of your stay:
- My top tip would be to visit between January and April to get the best of the weather (best the highest prices). Alternatively, if you aren’t scared of a little rain opt for cheaper months outside of the peak season.
- Make sure you use every hour you have at Soneva. Arrive early and leave late. Even if that means staying a night close to the Male airport. It will be worth it.
- Don’t pack too much! Unlike some other Maldives resorts, Soneva Fushi is relaxed and casual. Therefore, you could probably spend your whole stay barefoot!
- There is no shared pool on the island, so a villa with a private pool would be quite useful! Also, those facing the sunset are a great choice!
- Bring your family, your kids will have the time of their life and you will enjoy some quality time with your partner!