Still on his trip through paradise, Neil Bedford finds a resort that evokes all the romance of a Crusoe island without the inconveniences. He calls it:
We arrived at Soneva Fushi in one of those thunderstorms that you can only experience in the tropics, the rain hitting the ocean so hard that it must have given the fish a headache. The beach was empty, palm trees were almost being lifted out of the sand, the sound of the storm overpowering our Mr Friday’s introduction and our clothes immediately soaked through after exiting the boat. This preamble is our excuse for spending the first day of our stay at Soneva Fushi enjoying the spa J.
The Six Senses spa focuses on natural and alternative treatments, with a focus on traditional Asia remedies and techniques. Nestled in the beachfront jungle you can choose to enjoy your treatment in open air pavilions beside the ocean or spacious duo rooms in the jungle, some of which boast sauna, steam room and plunge pool. Operated by Six Senses, the quality of treatment from the small team of outstanding therapists is all but guaranteed and guest practitioners from all over the world give more unique options.
|Our own sunbeds viewing the |
Villa on a coral island
As good as the spa is, it was a wonderful sight to open the blinds on day 2 and be dazzled by the sun. Our villa, a Soneva Fushi Villa, had an ideal location in the middle of the beach on the sunrise side of the island. From our bed and private beach garden we looked straight out over the coral waters to the endless blue sea, the horizon broken only by the hint of a beach from other distant islands.
|Just been snorkellng off the beach...|
Soneva Fushi’s coral reef encircles the island and can be snorkeled from all points, quite a rarity in the Maldives, so wherever your villa lies you can quickly kit up with mask and fins and be straight in amongst the coral. The quality of reef is outstanding, with turtles and reef sharks regular sightings but the coral and smaller fish mesmerizing enough even without these.
|Gearing up for snorkelling, just steps from the villa|
All of the 55 villas are located within metres of the beach and are cocooned in thick vegetation that means they can hardly been seen from land or water. The exceptions to this are the private residences which at 500 - 1200 sq metres are slightly harder to hide. These residences are one of the main drawcards for families and groups travelling together as they are such a rarity in the Maldives and even though they do come at a price tag are excellent value for what you get.
Currently under construction and one of the most anticipated accommodation options in the Indian Ocean for a number of Select Collection clients is Villa 11, an 8 bedroom beachfront private residence that is expected to be complete in early 2014. With capacity for up to 17, it will be the ideal option for a special getaway with your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, people you meet on the train…
Natural as can be...
Kunfunadhoo Island is one of the Maldives’ largest at 1400 metres long and almost 400 metres wide. In typical Soneva style, the jungle interior is more dense than any other island, the beach is more natural and the permanent structures are purposefully kept as hidden and natural as possible. The network of sand ‘roads’ (a feature of most Maldivian islands) follow no discernible route and you have to keep your wits about you while on your bike to watch out as the road suddenly splits in two to make way for giant mangrove or palm trees. If this gives the impression that your comfort is secondary to that of the island’s…well you are probably right but that is not to diminish the level of luxury that is still prevalent.
|Cocktail party on the sand bank|
|Magical - straight out of legend|
Indulgence & dining
At Cinema Paradiso you can enjoy a private screening of you and your loved one’s favourite film to watch under the stars with a bowl of popcorn; at the Maldives’ only observatory take a guided tour of the galaxy; go on a wine tasting journey around the world as you take your pick from over 5000 bottles in the hidden wine cellar; over-indulge in the delicious (and complimentary) chocolate room and ice-cream parlour; try just about any watersport in the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean; or if this all sounds too much, visit bar(a) bara overwater sunset bar and enjoy a classic cocktail with eagle rays and dolphins as your companions.
|A reason for the amazing food. Our Mr Friday |
shows me the organic garden
There are three main choices for dining – “anything you like” with your feet in the sand at Mihiree Mitha, organic food served in the trees at Fresh in the Garden, and Japanese and Korean inspired tapas by the beach at By the Beach. The focus is always on super fresh produce whether it is your ceviche, sashimi and sushi coming straight from the sea that day or fruits and roots plus well-fed chickens from local island farmers. To supplement this the extremely well cared for organic herb and vegetable garden gives the talented chefs the best choices for healthy salads.
|Treats from the chocolate room|
|Voluptuous dessert room|
And why you should ...
Book with us. Select Collection have an incredible long-standing relationship with Soneva Fushi (and sister property Soneva Kiri in Thailand) and will always be able to offer you and your travel companions the most up to date advice for your stay requirements as well as the best price.