For some people the mountains are always calling, but for me that counts for Maldives as well. Perks of the job is that I get to experience the best resorts in Maldives. Apart from the standard ‘oh wow, Im jealous!’ reactions a lot of people also come up with the question: isn’t it boring? Well I can tell you, this is now my 4th time traveling to Maldives and no, there has never been a dull moment! This time I got the chance to experience the sustainable luxury resort Soneva Fushi Maldives and this is my review.
As I came across so many things that I want you to know about Soneva Fushi, here is the full list with all the information you need when booking your Maldives holidays in this little paradise resort.
Things to know about Soneva Fushi
1. How to get to Soneva Fushi
The best way to travel to Soneva Fushi is by seaplane. Soneva has two pontoons about 5 minutes from the island by speedboat. So far I mostly always arrived by seaplane next to the resort. That sounds more convenient, but in fact is not really. When you stay at Soneva Fushi you will hardly ever hear a seaplane landing or take off. These planes make a hell of a sound and therefore Soneva Fushi probably chose to make the landing pontoons a kilometer or so away from the island. As soon as you get off the plane a boat from Soneva is there to pick you up.
2. Location Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve
Soneva Fushi is located in the Baa Atoll, which is recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. In simple English that basically means a unique ecosystem that is promoted, protected and researched by the UN. The Baa Atoll is home to manta rays, many species of turtles, multiple healthy coral reefs, dolphins, whale sharks and when you are lucky even a blue whale. Marine life is seasonal and although November is the end of the manta season I was still able to snorkel with them. More about it later.
3. Award winning resort
Soneva Fushi has won many awards and keeps on being awarded as the most sustainable resort in the Maldives for many years in a row now. Awards came from CNN, National Geographic, Conde Naste and many more.
4. Sustainable luxury
The Soneva brand is all about sustainability which is one of the pillars of the company. Eco tourism is a hot topic nowadays but Soneva has been a pioneer in the field for many years striving to become better and better. More about the responsible tourism concept of Soneva later.
Reef safe sunscreen
When you travel to Maldives, please bring reef safe sunscreen instead of standard sun protection. The normal one contains chemicals that are harming coral reefs. Protect the fragile ecosystems of the Maldives and buy biodegradable sunscreen.
5. No news, no shoes
Even after all those resorts in Maldives I have now been to, there is always something new to discover. Even before I arrived on the island I found out that Soneva Fushi has a no news, no shoes policy. Your villa host will come with a shoe bag to collect your shoes and explain you about the no news, no shoes vibe. This is a holiday, the ultimate place to unwind and kick back from the real world. Of course if you want you can always wear shoes, but I can tell you after 5 shoeless days on the island, it kind of felt weird to wear shoes again.
The concept is invented to create a non pretentious vibe. Simply enjoy! Dine wherever you feel like...
6. Best time to travel to Soneva Fushi
The official Baa Atoll monsoon period lasts from May to November, but as we all know the weather is unpredictable. I visited Soneva Fushi in November and only had a couple of hours rain the day I arrived on the island.
Sunset on a cloudy day, so dreamy!
7. Soneva Fushi feels like Costa Rica
The island itself is pretty big and if you feel like going for a good walk you definitely can. Completely in line with the Soneva philosophy the island is pretty much untouched. Which means aside from the sandy paths there is pretty much a thick jungle. Nature is all around you wherever you go.
Every villa comes with two bikes and biking around the island is a must. Riding a bike in Maldives is amazing and in Soneva Fushi it is even more spectacular. The overhanging trees turn paths into natural tunnels. The stars at night, the wind and the lovely temperature made it that cycling in Soneva Fushi turned a smile on my face every evening.
There are three types of bikes, the standard ones, bamboo bikes (they look better for photos) and a tandem bike! I tried them all and the tandem bike was actually my favorite!
9. Beach villas only
Funny fact about Soneva Fushi is that there are no overwater villas. Unlike most other Maldives resorts there are only beach villas. There are not many resorts like this. So if you are looking for an overwater villa Soneva Fushi is not your resort in Maldives. In contrary the brother resort is called Soneva Jani and they only have overwater villas.
10. Soneva Fushi Villa
When I arrived at my Soneva Fushi Villa I noticed straight away how spacious it was. I was staying in a Family pool villa. Villa 47 is officially a 1-bedroom villa, but it has in fact two bedrooms. The second bedroom though does not have a separate bathroom and to get to the bathroom you had to go through the master bedroom. The ceilings were very high and the floor to ceiling windows made it look even more spacious. Although the villa was surrounded by trees and bushes there was still a lot of natural light coming into the villa which I loved. The living room was very big with an extremely comfy and huge sofa. It was equipped with a massive chest/box and when I opened the lid a big flatscreen tv popped out. There was a surround system for music as well and you could plug in your own device to play music all around the villa.
As expected the semi open-air bathroom at the Soneva Fushi villa was very spacious as well. There was a big pond and a 3-meter high waterfall that was set on a timer. The noise of the splashing water was calming but were turned off at night for a peaceful sleep. Stepping into the bathroom felt like stepping into nature. There was an outdoor shower, a bit like a jungle shower and a normal open shower. On top of that there was a bath tub integrated in the side of the pond.
12. Garden with direct beach access
My Soneva Fushi villa had its own private swimming pool and was surrounded by green bushes. The garden was completely private because of the surrounding trees. They definitely trimmed the bushes but kept it as natural as possible. Thesurrounding trees and bushes gave full privacy to the garden where you could also find a swinging sofa, and an outdoor dining table. The beach was just a couple meters away and you could hear the ocean, but unfortunately not see it. There was a staircase to a kind of tree house. From this big 'balcony' like thing with a huge lounging sofa you had ocean view. Unfortunately the local island of Eydafushi is not too far away and my Soneva Fushi villa looked right into that island. A little bummer.
13. Best Soneva Fushi Villa
There are many different categories and most of the villas are a unique design. Choose your preferred one when you book. The best Soneva Fushi villa is definitely the 9-bedroom villa which is called the Private Reserve. If this is within your budget and you have a lot of friends, then go for it.
Not only is it the biggest private villa in Maldives it simply is a dream location. The Private Reserve actually has 5 villas surrounding an enormous pool. It has its own slide, movie room, gym, wellness and much more. Spending an afternoon enjoying the biggest private villa in Maldives was an insane experience.
14. Best side of the island
Unfortunately when it comes to booking a villa at Soneva Fushi there is one side of the island I would try to avoid. Villas facing the south southwest will look into the local island Eydafushi. Development has started there and two story building are popping out above the palmtrees. It is definitely not the most amazing view. Therefore I would strongly suggest you to get a villa that is facing the sunrise, much better anyway. Because there is no country in the world where it is so nice to get up for the sunrise!
Only a couple years ago Soneva Fushi added WiFi to the rooms. The signal is strong, the internet speed is ok. To have fast speed internet I would suggest people traveling to Maldives to buy a Maldives sim card at the airport. For $20 you have 17GB internet and you don’t have to worry about slow internet, because all resorts have a 4G connection.
At Soneva Fushi there is wifi in all restaurants and rooms.
16. Mr. And Mrs. Friday
Every villa has its own private butler and they listen to the lovely name of Mr. Or Mrs. Friday. These well trained professionals are there to fulfil your needs and requests. They arrange restaurant booking, excursions and everything else you desire. My Ms. Friday was Lilly, she was a legend!
17. Out Of The Blue
The latest addiction to Soneva Fushi is Out Of The Blue, an overwater complex. The 100 meter pier leads into the ocean facing West. Out Of The Blue is a restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner. It is the perfect place to watch the sunset! Out Of The Blue houses a couple different restaurants, a wine cellar, a chocolate room and more.
18. Waterslide Soneva Fushi
If this is your first trip to Maldives and you have heard of Soneva Maldives before then there is a big chance you have seen waterslides. The brother resort Soneva Jani is famous for its overwater villas with waterslides. With Out Of The Blue being open since May 2018 Soneva Fushi now has a waterslide too. It is a public waterslide and is pretty much open 24 hour.
19. Breakfast buffet
If you have been following my travel blog you know that I am a sucker for buffet breakfasts with a view. Of course has a Maldives resort with this status also one of the best breakfasts. Damn the Soneva buffet breakfast is absolutely fantastic. The fresh cut fruit selection is mind blowing. Pretty much every fruit you can come up with is served.
There are a couple different rooms: pastry, healthy and cheese.
Apart from all of that there is also a healthy smoothie and coffee menu with things like Tumeric Latte etc.
You can also order a breakfast as part of in-villa dining and this is what it then can look like!
20. No good coffee
That said, a skilled barista is still missing at Soneva Fushi. As part of my Australian Working Holiday Visa a couple years ago I did a barista course and became a real coffee snob. Good coffee in Maldives is a rarity. Even at Soneva Fushi a Flat White and a Cappuccino were bad! Definitely not a skilled barista making coffee.
This cappuccino may look ok, but a skilled barista would never serve anything like this!
21. Buffet night
Don’t miss the buffet night! When you are a foodie then sign up for this as soon as you can, because the buffet was out of this world. When I think about it I get extremely hungry again. The buffet has several different stations: Indian, Thai, Sri Lankan, Japanese, Vegan, Barbecue, Seafood, Maldivian and Tempura. It was one of the best culinary nights in Maldives I have had. I tried not to eat too much of everything so that I could try it all.
22. Treetop restaurant
Completely elevated and build on stilts is the Treetop restaurant. Fine dining high above the ground. There is a little suspension bridge to get to the restaurant and an elevated pathway that leads to an observatory as well.
Watch the stars and planets through a massive telescope. There is an astronomer working at Soneva Fushi who will happily show you what is going on in the sky above you. It is a complimentary activity on set days of the week.
24. Overwater rooftop restaurant
One of my favorite places to dine was under the stars. I only discovered it after a couple days, but Out Of The Blue has a rooftop. Up here dining under the stars was fabulous. The sushi was delicious!
In total Soneva has 9 dining options.
25. Wine cellar
Many luxury travelers enjoy a good glass of wine and so do I. When you are a wine lover Soneva Fushi can offer you more than 500 different wines to choose from. There is an overwater wine cellar in Out Of The Blue where you are more than welcome to roam around and choose your own bottle of wine with the help of a skilful sommelier. On the other side of the island there is another wine cellar.
26. 24 hour homemade chocolate and ice cream
If you are looking for reasons to love Soneva Fushi I will give you one right here. What about free chocolate and ice cream? That already sounds amazing right? But what if I tell you that its available 24 hours? That sounds even better right!? On top of that I happen to know that there are two rooms full of chocolate and ice cream on the island!
27. Management drinks
Every Tuesday there is a management cocktail organized at the sandbank. Guests are invited to hop on one of the boats driving back and forth. On the island guests are welcomed with a glass of champagne and there are delicious canopies. While you mingle with the management staff, there are cocktails being served and the absolutely breathtaking sunset views are totally worth it too.
28. Family feeling
Soneva Fushi is a pretty big island, but the Soneva family is small. The brand only has 3 resorts under his wing which are all owned and privately run by the owners called Sonu and Eva. This ensures that the outstanding standards for which Soneva is renowned are maintained throughout all the properties. Soneva Fushi started as a private island where Sonu and Eva settled and in 1995 turned into a resort. The owners still live on the island and there is a big chance you will bump into them whil you are enjoying your Maldives holiday. They are the nicest people and always up for a chat.
The food at Soneva Fushi is out of this world. Literally every dish I tried was a winner! Standards for everything are really high!
29. Sandbank Soneva Fushi
A really cool addition to Soneva Fushi is the sandbank just about 5 minutes away from the island. The sandbank is privately owned by Soneva and is used for special occasions and day trips. The resort can organize private dinners, picnics and even overnight stays. Friends of mine have done a sunrise champagne breakfast over at the sandbank. Very early in the morning they were escorted to the pier where a boat was waiting for them. They got then dropped off at the sandbank where a lovely breakfast was set up. While sipping a glass a champagne and eating breakfast the sun slowly started to rise on the horizon. A magical excursion according to them.
I got dropped off at the sandbank for a picnic. There is also a hammock in the shallow water! See this short video for an overview.
30. Manta Ray snorkeling
Soneva Fushi is located in the Baa Atoll which is a UNESCO marine reserve. The Atoll is known for its amazing marine life. Most sightings are seasonal but when you are there at right time of the year it is fairly easy to spot Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Dolphins and turtles are pretty easy to spot all year round.
This is what you can get when you go for a manta ray snorkel excursion, although I have to admit I was obviously pretty lucky! One of the best moments on this trip to Maldives.
Daily there are many excursions organized by the resort. Let your Mr. Or Mrs. Friday sign you up.
31. Dophin cruise for sunset
Mostly every night there is a dolphin sunset cruise going out. It is a pretty straight forward excursion, just sit back and relax. The boat men will find a pod of dolphins and since they are very playful they will come up to the boat.
When our boat was waiting for our seaplane we were accompanied by dolphins as well! If you are really lucky you might be able to see Blue Whales! To me that would be a dream coming true.
32. Movie nights
Soneva Fushi has a massive open air theater. On set nights during the week they show movies when the sun is down. Watching a movie in the open air under the stars is magical. Popcorn is provided!
32. Kids Club - The Den
Peaking into the kids club of Soneva Fushi felt like a different world. This was one of the biggest kids clubs in Maldives I have seen for sure. It actually felt like a little resort on its own and the kids have the biggest slide in the resort for themselves.
It is a two story airy area with loads of games, instruments and toy, but the best was the huge Lego table! My favorite toys to play with when I was a kid.
When you walk or bike around the island there is a big chance you will come across rabbits and chicken. They live a free life running around the resort but they mostly tend to hang out around the pier at Out Of The Blue. Turn on your lights at night when biking because the bunnies are out and about then.
I was happy to find out the gym was open 24 hours, so every evening I went for a workout. At time there was no one in the gym and I had the whole place for myself. There are free weights up to 26KG, a couple machines and cables so basically all you need for a decent workout. Even at the gym there is a no shoe policy if you feel like, but the resort recommends you to wear trainers.
36. Plastic free
Something I really loved about Soneva Fushi is that the island is nearly plastic free. It was really hard to find something made out of plastic. There is a replacement for almost everything and single used plastic can not be found at all and is completely banned. Thumbs up for Soneva Fushi, I wish more Maldives resorts would have that approach towards plastic.
One of the things about Soneva Fushi that really amazed me was the fact that they process more than 80% of their own garbage. On top of that they collect up to 1,000 KG plastic from local islands. How incredible! Plastic is reproduced as much as they can.
38. Glass processing
All the glass on the island will be recycled. Soneva Fushi has a machine that turns glass into sand. But they also use a lot of glass for art. There is an exposition of the art work and people can even follow a glass production workshop to make their own glass. It was really cool to see how they heat up the glass in the oven and shape it. Soneva Fushi hired some really skilful people.
There is not just one garden where they produce herbs and vegetables there are a couple. I strolled randomly through them, just to see what they were all growing on the island.
40. Drinking water
All the drinking water on the island is self produced by the resort. Soneva Fushi banned the import of drinking water already back in 2008 and installed installations to purify the water. This lead to a massive reduction in the carbon footprint and an approximate of 1,2 million plastic bottles.
41. Soneva in Aqua
If you want to spoil yourself then have a look into booking Soneva Aqua, the luxury yacht exclusively for Soneva guests. I was able to have a look inside and get a little tour of the boat. The master cabin has a glass bottom jacuzzi. You can book Soneva Aqua for (multi) day trips. Soneva Aqua prices start from $5,000 per night and can host up to 6 people.
42. Daytrip to Soneva Jani
Soneva has two resorts in Maldives. Where Soneva Fushi only has beach villas, Soneva Jani only has overwater villas. From Fushi you can take a direct boat to Jani in the morning on request and visit the resort for a day.
43. Soneva Fushi price
Of course this is something really important for most people. Soneva Fushi price levels surely are above average. But it is not for nothing that this resort is rated among the best resorts in Maldives. I randomly checked for a weekend in March for you and found out that you can find a villa for $2,500 per night including breakfast.
Expect the Soneva Fushi prices for food & beverages to be on the high side as well. Even if you don’t drink alcohol you gotta calculate that you will spend about $150 - $200 per person per day. Lunch meals are between $30 and $60 including service charge and taxes. Fresh juices cost about $20 and a beer will cost around $15.
Soneva Fushi Review
All in all you understand that I became a big fan of the Soneva brand. During my stay I learned a lot about the concept of this resort. While talking with other guests that were there for the first time as well, I picked up something I realized was happening to me too. The Soneva Fushi resort grew on me! The longer I stayed, the more I was liking the whole idea of responsible tourism. Soneva Fushi is most probably the most sustainable of all the resorts in Maldives. If you are traveling to Maldives and responsible tourism is something you really value then I am sure this is the resort you are looking for.
Oh yeah did I mention how amazing the food was at Soneva Fushi?
No need to tell you that I had the time of my life! But may you ever end up in the biggest villa in Maldives: Private Reserve Soneva Fushi than do NOT try to copy me! This was a jump with a lot of risk.
Thank you for keeping up with my travel adventures and I really hope my Soneva Fushi review was helpful for you. May you have questions contact me or leave me a comment below.