Soneva Fushi: Where Luxury Meets Nature
Imagine a place where barefoot luxury seamlessly intertwines with the pristine beauty of nature. Where sustainable practices are a way of life, and where adventure and relaxation coexist in perfect harmony. Welcome to Soneva Fushi, a Maldivian paradise that recently received a prestigious award. This captivating resort, located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, not only pampers its guests with unparalleled luxury but also allows them to immerse themselves in the wonders of Hanifaru Bay and surf in the surrounding azure waters.
A Priceless Recognition from The World’s 50 Best Hotels 2023
Soneva Fushi, often hailed as one of the Maldives’ most exceptional resorts, sets itself apart through a commitment to eco-conscious luxury. This secluded sanctuary is located on the island of Kunfunadhoo, a remote paradise where overwater and beachfront villas seamlessly blend into the natural landscape. The resort’s architecture, with its thatched roofs and eco-friendly yet elegant design, perfectly complements the surrounding lush vegetation and powder-soft beaches.
What truly distinguishes Soneva Fushi, however, is its unwavering dedication to sustainable practices. The resort’s philosophy revolves around the principle of “intelligent luxury,”. Where guests can indulge in opulence while minimizing their ecological footprint. It’s a concept that resonates deeply with eco-conscious travelers.
In the realm of luxury travel, few names are as synonymous with luxury, sustainability, and natural beauty as Soneva Fushi. As a testament to its excellence, Soneva Fushi has secured its place among the elite in the prestigious “World’s 50 Best Hotels of 2023”. Claiming the enviable No. 7 spot on this coveted list.
This annual list, eagerly awaited by travelers and industry insiders alike, celebrates the crème de la crème of global hospitality. It acknowledges not just the opulence of a destination but also the commitment to responsible tourism and the ability to create lasting memories for guests. Soneva Fushi‘s No. 7 ranking is a remarkable achievement and a source of pride for all those involved in its operation. From the dedicated staff to the visionary founders, Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malmström Shivdasani (hence Son-Eva).
In addition to the 50 best hotels, other special awards were given to six properties. Soneva Fushi was named “Lost Explorer Best Beach Hotel”, the best hotel in the world within 20 meters of a beach. Sonu Shivdasani, CEO of Soneva, was the only person to be recognized individually at the ceremony, for being the person who has done more for the hotel sector than any other. Congratulations!
Guardians of Hanifaru Bay and Marine Environments
One of the crown jewels of Soneva Fushi‘s surroundings is Hanifaru Bay, a marine sanctuary renowned for its incredible biodiversity. This site is famous for hosting one of the world’s largest gatherings of manta rays and whale sharks. An awe-inspiring spectacle that attracts marine enthusiasts and eco-conscious travelers from around the globe.
Soneva Fushi takes its role of protecting and preserving Hanifaru Bay’s fragile ecosystem and biodiversity seriously. Soneva’s ongoing efforts include partnerships with NGO Save Our Seas, the Olive Ridley Project and the International Pole & Line Foundation, as well as the Soneva Foundation to propagate 150,000 corals every year. In 2022, the Soneva Foundation together with Coralive launched one of the biggest coral restoration programmes in the world, located onsite at Soneva Fushi.
Visitors to Soneva Fushi have the privilege of joining expert-led excursions to Hanifaru Bay. These guided experiences offer the chance to witness these majestic creatures up close, all while gaining a deeper understanding of the critical importance of preserving this marine sanctuary. It’s a rare opportunity to connect with nature in a profound way, and it exemplifies Soneva Fushi’s commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism.
Surfing Paradise at Your Doorstep
While Soneva Fushi is primarily known for its tranquility and sustainable initiatives, it also offers adventure seekers a thrilling surfing experience. The resort’s location in the Baa Atoll provides surfers with access to uncrowded and unknown waves. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island offer a variety of breaks suitable for all levels.
The surf in the BAA atoll is never ever crowded, with eventually only one or two locals having some fun every now and then.
Although the best time to surf the Baa Atoll is during the west monsoon season from May to September, some great spots on the west side of the Atoll pick up some nice swell from November to March! Soneva Fushi is blessed with a house reef that delivers fun longboard and beginner waves on the smaller days and epic 4-6 foot barrels when the swell is on (with no one out!)
The resort provides surfing enthusiasts with top-quality equipment, experienced instructors, and guidance to find the ideal waves. After a day of exhilarating surf, you can return to the luxurious comforts of your villa, unwind at the world-class spa, or savour delectable cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients.
The Soneva Fushi Experience
At Soneva Fushi, each day is a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the best that the Maldives has to offer. After a thrilling morning surf session, guests can retreat to their luxurious villas, where outdoor bathrooms, private pools, and stunning ocean views await. Here, the resort’s commitment to sustainability is evident, with features such as solar power and water filtration systems seamlessly integrated into the villas.
Sustainability extends to the dining experience at Soneva Fushi as well. The resort prides itself on offering delectable cuisine crafted from locally sourced, organic ingredients. Enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach, dine among the treetops, or partake in the signature “Fresh in the Garden” experience, where Chef Manu Buffara, recently named Latin America’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best, celebrates the ecological connection between land, sea, minerals, roots, fruits and animals, and the transformational power of food.
For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, Soneva Fushi‘s world-class spa Soneva Soul offers a range of ancient and modern treatments. Ancient healing practices like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and herbal remedies complement cutting-edge treatments such as vitamin therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and ozone therapy, offering a well-rounded approach to healthcare. The spa is located in a lush jungle setting, providing a serene environment for guests to unwind and revitalize the body, mind, and spirit in perfect harmony with the tranquil and eco-conscious ethos of the resort.
Soneva Fushi‘s Kids Club is a delightful haven where young explorers can embark on their own adventures in paradise. Nestled amid the tropical surroundings of the resort, this enchanting club offers a wide range of engaging and educational activities tailored to children of all ages. From nature walks and arts and crafts sessions to marine life discovery and cultural experiences, there’s no shortage of opportunities for kids to learn, play, and make new friends in a safe and supervised environment. Soneva Fushi’s commitment to sustainability extends to its Kids Club, where children are encouraged to connect with nature and gain a deeper understanding of the environment.
The best way to end your day is at Soneva’s Observatory, which offers a celestial experience like no other. This state-of-the-art observatory is a sanctuary for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts. Equipped with powerful telescopes and guided by knowledgeable astronomers, guests can embark on a captivating journey through the cosmos. The Observatory at Soneva Fushi provides a unique opportunity to explore the mysteries of the universe while surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the Maldives. It’s an unforgettable experience that invites guests to gaze upon distant stars, planets, and celestial wonders in an awe-inspiring setting.
A Hidden Gem Not to Miss
Soneva Fushi stands as a testament to the harmonious marriage of luxury, sustainability, and adventure. Its recent recognition for Environmental Stewardship underscores its unwavering commitment to preserving the natural wonders of the Maldives, including the breathtaking Hanifaru Bay. Meanwhile, the opportunity to surf in the azure waters surrounding the island adds a thrilling dimension to the Soneva Fushi experience.
Whether you’re gazing at the graceful manta rays of Hanifaru Bay, riding the waves in the Indian Ocean, or simply basking in the tranquility of this remote paradise, Soneva Fushi offers an extraordinary journey that blends opulence with environmental consciousness. It is an invitation to escape the ordinary and immerse oneself in a world where luxury and nature coexist, where sustainability is not a mere ideal but a way of life, and where every moment is an opportunity to connect with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Maldives.
Written by Delia Ruiz Malo