One of the best things about living in the UAE is our easy access to tropical destinations on the Indian Ocean — Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, Mauritius, and of course, the Maldives. In this island nation, there are numerous resorts and hotels to choose from. While nothing is, let’s say, in the realm of ‘affordable,’ I think dream destinations are always good for bucket lists and what not. So, I’ll assume that the price tag hasn’t scared you off.
Now, my previous two trips to the Maldives involved overwater villas. When reviewing our trip to Soneva Fushi, I was (of course) excited, but also interested — how would it go? Could I be swayed to villa living?
Let me be the first to tell you; I might actually be converted to this new style of accommodation. For one, villas (especially the ones at Soneva Fushi) afford so much more space, and I’m not sure I realized how much I enjoy having the extra square footage. We were booked into a Crusoe Villa (with pool). Unlike overwater villas, which can be more restricted in their square footage, onshore villas can take up nearly as much room as they want, and provide more privacy. Don’t believe me? We had an outdoor shower, a large covered outdoor space (both up and downstairs), personal sun loungers (with the most comfortable cushions), a private pool, and a small table and chairs…and that was just at the back of our villa. The vegetation is such that guests are almost entirely cut off from the outside world. Yes, you can walk around the island, but unlike other properties, our ‘space’ more or less extended to the edge of the Indian Ocean. For those looking to book at Soneva Fushi, review or request villas located on the sunrise side of the island for maximum privacy.
Of course, that’s not where my delight of the property stopped. What other details made the list? Read more to find out!
- There are many wonderful ecological initiatives at Soneva Fushi, including an on-island Eco-Center, which is a leader in the country and recycles up to 90% of waste on the island (as well as taking in materials from nearby islands as well).
- Taking things even further, there is a glass studio on the property, where bottles are upcycled by artists. Their creations are available for purchase.
- Yes to paper straws and refillable glass bottles.
- There is also an organic garden where chefs utilize as much as possible to create dishes in the F&B outlets across the resort.
- Did I mention there were literal rooms of chocolate and ice cream? You read that right — there is always something available for those with a sweet tooth. Furthermore, I was impressed by the sheer number of ice cream and gelato choices, which went well beyond the basic.
- The pre-trip questionnaire. Yes, even before I started packing for the trip, an extensive set of questions was sent through so that a number of touches could be made to personalize my experience.
- Proactive food and produce. In addition to the above garden, there is also a meat-free Thursday policy (no red meat on the menus), and overall, a trend towards seafood and vegetarian options. Additionally, there’s almost no chance of getting bored, because there are plenty of dining outlets.
- So much to do! Stargazing, water sports, tennis courts, a spa — these are just some of the things you can try. Hubs was happy to visit the dive center and take advantage of a short dive in the waters just off the island.
- The concept of ‘new news, no shoes.’ We took our shoes off on the boat on the ride over and didn’t put them back on until we were on our way to departure. It made packing super easy!
- You can actually own a piece of paradise. Soneva Fushi is one of the only places in the Maldives to offer villa ownership to foreigners.
- One of the best outdoor bathrooms in the world. Let’s go over the features that made it so memorable:
- Two showers. No, seriously. One covered, one in the garden.
- The largest terrazzo tub in the world. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but both Hubs and I could easily fit (TMI?) and relax in this beautiful tub (which we did, every day).
- The comfiest outdoor bed in the world. Is a cushy outdoor lounge necessary? No, it’s not. Was it wonderful to relax on? All the time.
- Two sinks. Of course.
- Small details — drying rack for clothes, bathing suits, and towels.
- A waterfall. Yup, adding to the privacy was our very own wall of water, which provided excellent white noise and was lovely to look at.
- The only thing I would change is by fixing the outdoor speakers. They weren’t calibrated correctly, but I’m sure this would be an easy fix.
- I’m admittedly high maintenance, so there were a few service issues I think could be worked out (mostly around communication, or, a real lack thereof…repeatedly). I believe our experience was the exception and not the rule (a look at TripAdvisor shows how happy almost everyone is and how much they feel a part of the ‘family’). I suggested in room WhatsApp (or similar) which I believe would have gone a long way to resolving most of our issues.
- As one expects in this part of the world, prices can be quite high. I think it’s in anyone’s best interest to book a full board or all inclusive visit (there is also a half board option available).
- Soneva Fushi is definitely a location for an active traveler. I mention this because our primary mode of transportation was by biking around. Buggies are available, but given how spread out the island is, it can sometimes take a few minutes to get one.
- As I wished previously when visiting the Maldives, there is not much available for persons of determination. I do wish beautiful locations like this were available to everyone, no matter what the mobility level.
Would I go return to Soneva Fushi? I think it would be a while before I returned, more that I like going to new places, less about the property itself.
Who is Soneva Fushi best for? Honeymooners. The independently wealthy. Those looking for a greener, more sustainable experience in the Maldives.
What is your favorite resort in the Indian Ocean? What sets it apart?
A to Za’atar was a guest of Soneva Fushi. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.