Today (August 21, 2015): Travel series: the Soneva Hotel Group & gift
From time to time, I will publish an in-depth article about a luxury hotel brand. Today, I start this series with one of my absolute favorite (but somewhat lesser known) hotel brands in the world: Soneva. Soneva has 3 resorts so far: Soneva Fushi and Soneva in Auqa in the Maldives, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. All of them are located in heavenly hideaways where imagination meets reality. More Soneva Resorts are opening in the near future. In this overview:
- Soneva Fushi (+ review)
- Soneva Kiri (+ review)
- Soneva in Aqua (+ review)
- Soneva Jani (opening soon)
- Why I like Soneva so much
- A gift for you: complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking!
In 1995, Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, launched the now world-famous Soneva Fushi resort on the deserted Maldivian island of Kunfunadhoo. He also built his house there, together with his wife Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish fashion model, who developed the design and furnishing of the unique resort.
They had no idea that their intensely personal vision of a locally crafted villa and environmentally responsible lifestyle would form the basis of a successful collection of world-class hotels, resorts and spas. But that’s exactly what happened. Soneva Fushi was the first ‘castaway’ resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays. And it still tops my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives. In 2009, the Soneva Hotel group built a second, even more spectacular hotel – Soneva Kiri – on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh.
The success of the Soneva brand also paved the way for Sonu and Eva’s other hotel group, the Six Senses Resorts & Spas, across South East Asia and Europe. In 2006, Soneva Fushi made a revenue of approximately US$ 20 million and by 2011, Six Senses was a $150–175 million international luxury spa and resort chain with 26 resorts and 41 spas. Under Eva’s and Sonu’s direction the Six Senses brand gained global fame before being sold in 2012.
Today, Sonu and Eva focus on their Soneva resorts with private residences, as part of the “One Owner, One Operator, One Philosophy, One Brand” strategy. And while the Sonevas may have many imitators, they have no equals. Both Soneva Resorts impress on a wide range of levels. Breathtaking ‘remote but accessible’ natural locations, effortlessly chic accommodation, incredible food, truly memorable activities, an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is uncannily intuitive. And the good news is, that they will launch 2 other properties in the near future; both of them are located in the Maldives, and both will set new standards in this destination that is already known for its world-class hotel standards.
Soneva Fushi Resort, the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway, is located in the stunnnig Baa Atoll island archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Massive, Robinson Crusoe-style, multi-bedroom luxury villas and private residences are hidden among dense tropical foliage. In keeping with the castaway theme, many are built to resemble tree houses. All open to their own private stretch of sugar white sands, and most boast their own private seawater swimming pools. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers who know what you want before you want it.
- Hotel website: Soneva Fushi
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva Fuhi features in my top 10 lists of the top 10 best luxury resorts in the Maldives and the best family hotels in the world.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Maldivian tapas on arrival, one lunch for two, original handcrafted arrival and departure mementos, shoreline beach dinner, private sunset sailing by Dhoni at Baa Atoll, and a cooking class for two).
- Review: to read my review of Soneva Fushi, click here.
- Complimentary room upgrade: contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Fushi.
Welcome to my absolute favorite hotel in the world! Remote yet accessible by a 1,5 hour flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. It has 29 spectacular private villas – amongst the largest in the world – that are built on hillsides blanketed with ancient rainforest and overlooking the turquoise waters. Guest are given their own buggy to get to the private and stunning, coconut palm shaded beach, where your toes will go into the powdery soft sand, and where you can stroll through the pristine waters with the ocean lapping at your calves. Be prepared for a phenomenal experience!
- Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva Kiri features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s most amazing beach hotels, the world’s best luxury hotels, and luxury hotels with private airports.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Thai tapas on arrival, and a 30 minute spa treatment for two).
- Review: to read my review of Soneva Kiri, click here.
- Complimentary room upgrade: contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Kiri.
Soneva in Aqua is the first floating villa in the Maldives and every honeymooner’s dream. The pioneering new boat villa concept of the ultra luxe Soneva hotel group combines all the benefits of the group’s iconic resort’s services and amenities with the freedom and exclusivity associated with a private boat charter. The two-cabin boat features a spacious main cabin with a glass bottom spa and shower facilities, as well as a second room with a king-sized bed and en-suite facilities. Other features include an external raised sun and dining deck, a lower level bar and dining area plus daybeds, lounge seating and a jacuzzi.
- Hotel website: Soneva in Aqua
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva In Aqua features in my lists of the 40 hottest luxury hotel openings of 2015 and the top 10 best honeymoon resorts in the world.
- Review: click here to read my review of Soneva In Aqua.
Opening in October 2016, Soneva Jani will become the ultimate Maldives’ luxury resort (and simply outclass all its competitors). It will will comprise 24 water villas and one island villa, with additional island villas planned at a later stage. Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on the island of Medhufaru, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The highlight of the resort is its location within a 5.6 kilometer lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean. The main island is fringed by pristine beaches and blanketed with lush tropical greenery. Click here to read more about Soneva Jani.
- Hotel website: Soneva Jani
- Complimentary room upgrade: contact me to get a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Jani.
WHY I LIKE SO MUCH ABOUT SONEVA
What I like so much about the Soneva Resorts – and how they discriminate themselves from their high-end competitors – is their pursuit for excellence, the unique design of their resorts, their commitment to inspired living, their very smart take on barefoot luxury, their heavenly located hideaways where imagination meets reality, and their creation of authentic experiences (unlike any other).
A GIFT FOR YOU
I have some great news for you: if you consider booking a stay at one of Soneva’s world-class resorts, I can get you a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking. Contact me to find out more.