DestinationsAsia & Middle EastSONEVA JANI – HOTEL REVIEW
Soneva Jani, Maldives


Soneva Jani, together with its sister property Soneva Fushi, 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.

Soneva is as famous as it gets in the world of travelers, and the question I asked myself was was this fame justified? Is it its dreamy eco-friendly Robinson Crusoe charm or its Instagram-famous overwater villas with slides that make every photo just perfect? Or is it the fact that its turquoise waters and lush tropical greenery make it feel like paradise on earth?

Please find below my review of the famous Soneva Jani 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 Jani 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 Jani is in the Noonu Atoll towards the north of the Maldives. Therefore, it has a tranquil, exclusive atmosphere. Moreover, you’ll be surrounded by clear, blue waters for your stay. Also, the island that part of the resort is on feels like paradise! Think palm trees and white sandy beaches.

Overwater villas at Soneva Jani, the Maldives
Overwater villas at Soneva Jani, the Maldives

Soneva Jani is a 45-minute seaplane ride from Male International Airport, in the Maldives. Therefore, the journey lets you see incredible postcard-perfect Maldivian scenery and sea life. Furthermore, 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!

Soneva Jani's "Down to Earth restaurant, The Maldives
Picture-perfect Soneva Jani’s “Down to Earth restaurant

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 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 Mr Friday will meet you from the moment you arrive at Soneva Jani. Afterwards, they can make almost any of your wishes a reality.


Soneva Jani is divided into two sections, Chapter One and Chapter Two. There are 51 overwater residences and a handful of beach villas to choose from. Firstly, the beach villas offer space, light, and private luxury. They boast private pools and terraces and are seconds from the sand. However, our recommendation would be to book an overwater villa. That is what Soneva Jani and the Maldives are world-famous for. If you prefer a jungle or beach villa, then go for its sister property Soneva Fushi.

Coming back to overwater villas, these are on a wooden jetty at the north end of the island. They are spacious, comfortable, and tasteful. Their design features lots of white hues. They also give direct access to the crystal clear waters below. Furthermore, you can turn on lights beneath them at night to watch the sea life! Also, there are stunning touches such as private pools, retractable roofs, glass floors, and waterslides from the top floor. Just wow! You can select from one to four-bedroom options. Even the one-bed rooms are enormous! It is probbaly the biggest one bedroom accommodation I’ve ever stayed at! Finally, all this luxury is guilt-free. They are built using sustainable materials and in a way that does not damage the reef at all.

Our overwater villa
Our overwater villa
Waiting for the sunset at our Overwater Villa
It really doesnt get much more magical than at Soneva Jani, all your future holidays will pale in comparison!
It really doesnt get much more magical than at Soneva Jani, all your future holidays will pale in comparison!
Overwater Villa at Soneva Jani
Overwater Villa at Soneva Jani

Prices start at around €‎1,500 per villa per night during the low season. They can climb to about €‎6,000 a night at more popular times of year. There is no pretending or denying it, Soneva truly is expensive, also compared to other expensive resorts in the Maldives. 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,

As always please note that prices will differ depending mainly on the season and then on the size and amenities of the villa you stay at.

The Crab Shack at Soneva Jani, we loved having breakfast here
The Crab Shack at Soneva Jani, we loved having breakfast here
Soneva Jani's spectacular Director's Cut where you can enjoy a set meal while you watch a film at the overwater silent cinema
Soneva Jani’s spectacular Director’s Cut where you can enjoy a set meal while you watch a film at the overwater silent cinema


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.

  • A truly stunning location in a quiet, sparkling lagoon in the Maldives.
  • Stay in beautiful, spacious overwater villas with amazing features such as retractable roofs, private pools, and waterslides.
  • The Gathering, the resort’s main place for relaxing and dining, is full of wonderful options.
  • The kids club is to die for. Generally, your kids will not want to go back home!
  • Our top food picks would be the Crab Shack or Director’s Cut. This second option offers delicious sashimi in front of a classic film!
  • From surfing, to silent cinemas, to an overwater observatory with a resident astronomer, there’s an activity to satisfy every guest.
  • Soneva Jani works hard to make sure it’s as environmentally friendly as possible. Therefore, you can enjoy a heavenly, guilt-free trip!
"Overseas" restaurant by Mathias Dahlgren focuses on pescatarian, vegetarian and plant-based dishes
“Overseas” restaurant by Mathias Dahlgren focuses on pescatarian, vegetarian and plant-based dishes
Soneva Jani "Overseas" restaurant by Mathias Dahlgren
Soneva Jani “Overseas” restaurant by Mathias Dahlgren
Soneva Jani's "Down to Earth" is very spectacular. Make sure to have breakfast here at least once and not to miss a sunset dinner here!
Soneva Jani’s “Down to Earth” is very spectacular. Make sure to have breakfast here at least once and not to miss a sunset dinner here!
  • 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.
  • The lagoon is beautiful but it is not full of marine life or coral as you could expect from Maldives.
  • 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.



You will have a hard time choosing between relaxing and experiencing all that the island has to offer.

Obviously, many of the activities on offer at Soneva Jani take place in or on the water. Therefore, more active guests can enjoy surfing or snorkeling and diving through reefs. However, you can enjoy the sea life without getting wet by sailing or on a sunset cruise to spot dolphins! We saw so many and it really was special!

Otherwise, there’s plenty to do on the islands too besides sunbathing. Enjoy a game of tennis or a yoga session in a beautiful forest. Finally, relaxing is easy in the wonderful spa. Also, you can unwind in front of a classic movie at the silent cinema. Afterwards, why not stargaze at the resort’s overwater observatory?

For family and kids activities please read up the secition “Family Focus”.

Where you will spend a decent amount of your time
Soneva Jani’s “Down to Earth” is very spectacular. Make sure to have breakfast here at least once and not to miss a sunset dinner here!
Director’s Cut open air cinema

You can be sure of one – you will eat very, very well at Soneva and you will find it hard choosing between nine incredible restaurants. Therefore, you won’t tire of the food!

The highlights include So Wild, the Gathering, the Crab Shack, and So Primitive. These offer plant-based dishes, delicious crab, and excellent, flame-cooked meat. Moreover, the locations and service are incredible. Indeed, the Crab Shack was voted the most romantic restaurant in the world by CNN. It’s easy to see why with its wonderful food and amazing view of the sunset.

Otherwise, head to Director’s Cut for modern sushi and an outdoor cinema screening! This was one of our highlights of the stay!

Furthermore, there are special dining events every week and month. These include the Full Moon Dinner under the stars, and Guess Who’s Cooking – a secret menu in a secret location. Finally, your Mr Friday will be happy to arrange a special meal in your villa or anywhere else you fancy. Rest assured that the mouthwatering food is as local, ethical, and sustainable as possible.

The Crab Shack at Soneva Jani, the Maldives
The Crab Shack at Soneva Jani
Our favourite breakfast spot at Crab Shack
Soneva Jani's "Down to Earth"
Soneva Jani’s “The Gathering”

There are two spas to choose from at Soneva Jani. Firstly, you can opt for the original, cosy wellness center in The Gathering. Here, you’ll find state-of-the-art treatment rooms and saunas. Also, the service is excellent. However, Soneva Soul has just opened on Medhufaru Island. This truly wonderful spa is in the forest near the beach. It has three levels, and open-air terraces above the trees. Therefore, you can receive a massage or practice yoga surrounded by views of the forest and the Indian Ocean. Finally, there’s even a store so you can bring sustainable, organic treatment products home with you!

Soneva Jani's famous slides
Soneva Jani’s famous slides


Like its sister property, Sovena Fushi, Soneva Jani 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. 


Soneva Jani also has “The Den”, in this case, a two-story kids club in the forest with a dedicated toddler and teenage areas. Trust me, it doesn’t matter if your child is 12 months or 12 years old, they will find something exciting to do here! 

This technology-free kids zone is action-packed activities such as the Pirate Ship, a private pool, or a zipline through the trees and waterfalls. Also, there’s plenty to discover indoors, from the soothing sensory area for toddlers to Lego and dressing-up rooms to a bar serving mocktails for teenagers. Your child (or you) can even have a go at a DJ booth or create their own music on piano steps.

Finally, it is staffed by skilled, attentive childminders. Therefore, you can leave your kids there with full peace of mind.


As per accommodation, you can choose between beachfront retreats with freshwater pools and incredibly spacious overwater villas with slides. Also check the current “Family Offer” which allows a complimentary full board stay for children under 15, with signature child-friendly experiences! 

Should your children do some activities, they will be spoilt for choice with the weekly programme of complimentary experiences.

True paradise for younger and older kids at "The Den" Kids Club at Soneva Jani, the Maldives
True paradise for younger and older kids at “The Den” Kids Club at Soneva Jani, the Maldives
The Den Kids Club at Soneva Jani, the Maldives
The interiors at “The Den” Kids Club at Soneva Jani
Our 3 year old son at our Overwater Villa


I absolutely loved staying at Soneva Jani and its sister property Soneva Fushi. 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 missionto 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 Jani in the Maldives, and probably the best holiday of your life here. No exagaration here, I promise!

Please consider the following points to make the most of your stay:

  • Our top tips would be not to pack too much. You won’t need shoes most of the time! Also, ask for a villa facing the sunrise or the sunset to suit your preference.
  • Finally, 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.
  • Bring your family, your kids will have the time of their life and you will enjoy some quality time with your partner!


Voyage Provocateur

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