Wednesday, April 23, 2014

HOTEL CHECK MALDIVES, Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi is famous as a barefoot tropical paradise in harmony with nature. Yet another of the Select team experiences days and nights here barefoot. And concludes: this is real luxury...


Dining by candlelight with toes in the sand as the sea whispers onto the beach. Barefoot cocktails.

Barefoot a la carte
Sunset cocktails

Barefoot champagne...

Barefoot walking or cycling on a sandy labyrinth of paths through the jungle to your villa hidden on its own beach …

And getting lost in the jungle labyrinth – that too is part of the transforming luxury. It’s the magic of slowing down, and forgetting your other life full of dates and times. Of listening to the birds and being handed a fresh coconut just cut down by a gardener...

Winding sandy paths through lush greenery

Quaint lizards dart across your path

The map doesn't always fit with the labyrinth of paths  -
part of getting lost in the jungle

We call it getting lost in paradise…

Shoes are optionally confiscated on arrival in playful fashion by your Mr or Ms Friday Рas your butler is named. Crusoe style and eco-sensitivity have been notable since inception of Soneva Fushi in 1995, named after owners Sonu Shivdasani and his Swedish wife, fashion model Eva Malmström.

Dressed up to dine - barefoot....
Tonight you could dine here a la carte  - toes in the sand

Whether barefoot or not, you are definitely in luxury!  Catching Sonu Shivadasani at the cocktail party on the white sandbank lapped by brilliant aquamarine sea, we found him passionatly articulate on the subject of luxury…in particular luxury and children.

Sonu Shivdasani - sharing his ideas
on luxury - sipping coconut water
on the sandbank in the sunset

While children play happily,  the adults sip champagne
or coconut juice


WHAT IS LUXURY?

"What is luxury?” Sonu asked. “It is something rare. For so many children who come to Soneva Fushi their life at home has no real freedom or adventure.

“But here they have the luxury of freedom and adventure. Here the children are not dumped at the kids club. We let the children take the parents to the kids club, not the other way around. It is their place."

Spontaneous game of football under the palms,
with Mr & Ms Friday
The kids club, The Den, inspires activities all over the island. Pirate ships made out of coconuts among other things…




"Soneva Fushi is natural luxury,” said a British mother of two. “It is a paradise for the whole family. How life should really be, safe and free," added Emily Hallett, barefoot in evening dress, her two children happily playing in the sand among the cocktail-sipping adults.

“When we told the children they could cycle anywhere by themselves, anytime, no more waiting for mummy or daddy to finish their wine, their eyes sparkled.”

British boys - enjoying freedom to cycle in the jungle...

What else makes us call Soneva Fushi real luxury?

Important in the list of luxuries is the  warm, intuitive service at Soneva Fushi, and your own butler 24 hours. So is the incredible food at its four restaurants. Whether a lavish buffet or √†  la carte, the food is fresh, full of flavour, fragrance and colour.

The dessert room (with an icecream corner open all day)
Delights 
Fresh fish - it can't get fresher or more
organic than this line caught catch

And for families and couples who need time together to bond or grow back into their relationships, it is the simplicity of Soneva Fushi, the harmony with nature, coupled with lots of healthy activities.

This is a place for a couple or a family to discover real life again (as against virtual reality). Join in watersports, picnic together on a deserted island, breakfast on the sandbank, enjoy a dolphin sunset cruise, snorkling tour with the marine biologist, even diving courses for children.

Sunset cruise

A deserted island - try being  a castaway for a day

On pristine shores
Castaways in togetherness

Children in the deep
Snorkelling in brilliant seas


EXTENDED FAMILIES

For extended families, this is a great opportunity for bonding the generations. Residence villas offer resorts within the resort – with from 3 to 9 bedrooms. Your own spa is usually part of the deal with massage beds, gym and sauna or steam room. Plus your own kitchen where you can instal your own chef.

Jungle reserve with 4 bedrooms

A new 8-bedroom residence, number 11 - indeed
 a resort within a resort
...with endless pool meeting points

Typical rustic detail - the TV is hidden in a trunk 

A three-bedroom villa (14) with lovely setting on the beach

VILLA VARIATIONS

There are 55 villas, all on the beach, all intensely private. They are all variations on a theme of Crusoe luxury. All villas have fringy palm leaf thatch. The look is whimsical with crooked poles, and garden bathrooms with sandy floors or water features. Modern amenities are there if you want them. 

Couples and little families adore the original double storey Crusoe villas but some prefer the one-storey Soneva Fushi villas or go for the two and three bedroom variations. Some villas offer pools, and all luxuriate on their own beach.
An adorable haven

The delightful Crusoe villa usually has a fairy-tale tower thatched with coconut fronds. One of us slept outside there, with a mosquito net kindly added and the bed made. 

The fringy thatch of the tower - a bed here if you like the open air...


We stayed in 3 different villas to get an all round experience, and spent our last day at a fourth villa.

See the map at http://www.mondomaldive.it/Mappe_resort/soneva-fushi.jpg

VILLA 4 SUNRISE SIDE – CRUSOE VILLA SUITE

Our favourite was number 4: a fabulous Crusoe suite with pool:


Garden bathroom ringed by white wall, opening to the pool
The garden  bathroom was as large as
many people's apartments
Everything you need on a beach - white sand,
turquoise water, hammock, outdoor shower, sunbeds,
a rustic place to dine, and
TOTAL PRIVACY

The suite has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms including a vast garden bathroom with a swing. Altogether  3 showers,  2 baths, 3 vanities, a separate dressing table for hair activity, 4 sunbeds…big corner sofa in usual orange and gold, and a sofa downstairs on the patio. Actually easy to find near Dolphin Beach. Heavenly. Other guests we met were very envious when they heard we had that villa. 

The beach sloped down quite steeply into the sparkling turquoise water, so the pool proved  important when the sea was rough.

VILLA 51 SUNSET SIDE  – SONEVA FUSHI VILLA

A magical bathroom with the tinkling of water - for an outdoor
shower follow the stepping stones to the jungl

The bathroom at villa 51 was magical with the tinkle of its water feature and an unbelievably comfortable daybed beside it.  These villas are very cosy, all on one level, with a sofa in the bedroom, and another very comfortable one outside on the patio where you can watch the sea and listen to the waves. Of course you have your own stretch of beach and two comfortable sunbeds, as well as an outdoor shower. Villa 51 faces the so called local island, where Maldivian people live, and is close to Bar-a-Bara sunset bar and the best snorkeling and swimming.

View across to Bar(a)Bara from villa 51

Intimate, rustic and yet luxurious

A place to lounge with a view

VILLA 29 SUNRISE SIDE – CRUSOE VILLA

Villa 29 was a charming Crusoe Villa  well situated a short walk along the beach to the main area. Like all Cruose villas it is a double storey. The view out to sea was lovely, and the swimming very pleasant. There was a smooth rock that you stepped over to get immediately into deeper water, making swimming easy even when the tide was in.

Crusoe bathroom

VILLA 35 SUNRISE SIDE – CRUSOE VILLA

We had a late checkout day in this villa, and found it adorable. The swimming was lovely. One could also have walked to the main area along the beach.

Crusoe Villa 35
Swimming at number 35 Crusoe Villa - the dark patch
is a school of fish

TOES IN SAND DINING

You can dine with your toes in the sand almost everywhere – always with total freshness, choice and flavour. Lavish breakfast and lunch buffets. A la carte dinners and theme buffets. At Fresh in the Garden, one of four restaurants, you might choose to wear chic sandals, but just as well dine barefoot. This a la carte restaurant is reached by a swing bridge over the organic garden.

Next suggested stop from here is the observatory nearby where a qualified astononomer teaches all – adults and children – the night skies over the Maldives.

The jungle sprawls over the island - but in the middle somewhere
 you find the organic garden, Fresh in the Garden restaurant
and the Observatory
Next night, inspired, you might choose to lie on a sunbed and study the glittering heavens while waiting for a 5 course Japanese degustation menu at By the Beach.

And while on the indulgent side, nights out on Soneva Fushi could take you to the open air movie house. With popcorn. Or to the chocolate room open all day till 10 pm, or the ice cream corner ever beckoning. One of the musts is to start the evening at the sunset bar Bar(a)Bara. Other rare treats are in store…

Even in the choosing of wines, Shivdasani spends a lot of time seeking out choice, often organic or biodynamic, labels – his latest find is a producer that bottles only 100 a year.

Soneva Fushi is also a great venue for honeymooners not just for families.

Romance and sophistication

Here you get delirious on pure beauty, dine privately on the beach in the moonlight, breakfast on the sandbank, hide away on your own beach, adore your private villa paradise, perhaps with a swing in the garden bathroom…

Bathroom swing

Another swing - rustic sweetness

Freedom, romance and sophistication, found in the heart of pure simplicity, warm service and a light footprint on the “last paradise on earth”.

Departing from Soneva Fushi - goodbye to the
 wonderful Mr Friday - an emotional moment. 

Specials

Note that we have a long relationship with Soneva Fushi, which means we get great special offers. Every single one of our team has stayed there and has intimate knowledge about the various villas around the island. We are Soneva Fushi specialists!

A special kind of harmony

Organic

SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences)
(c) Images by Aleah L Stanbridge Photography (except for images 12, 21-23, 41, 42, 44 by Soneva Fushi) (c) 

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