Today (August 12, 2016): Get a free upgrade (at the time of booking) at any Soneva Resort!
As most of you know, I am a huge fan of luxury hotels (and I assume most of you are as well since you are following my blog). Aman, Mandarin Oriental, Rosewood and Four Seasons rank among my favorite hotel brands. But none comes close to my absolute favorite hotel group in the world: Soneva. What I like so much about the Soneva – 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 breathtaking ‘remote but accessible’ natural locations, and their creation of authentic experiences (unlike any other). Soneva has four spectacular resorts so far (with more properties planned to open in the near future):
- Soneva Jani, the Maldives’ most exclusive resort
- Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ original hideaway
- Soneva in Aqua, the Maldives’ first floating villa
- Soneva Kiri, the most exclusive resort in Thailand
As some of you know, for the past year, I was able to offer the readers of my blog a complimentary upgrade at any Soneva resort at the time of booking (regardless of whether the booking was made via Soneva directly or via a travel agent). Today, I am very excited to announce that I am able to extend this offer for the coming 2 years. This is how it works:
- Step 1: contact me before making a booking, so I can introduce you to my Soneva contact.
- Step 2: after the introduction, you can make the booking yourself via Soneva or via your preferred travel agent and the complimentary villa upgrade will be added to your booking. If the upgrade is not available at the time of inquiry, you will be offered a personalized complimentary experience.
Below you find some extra information about the history of the Soneva group and the details (+ my reviews) of their stunningly beautiful resorts.
Soneva Jani is the ultimate Maldives’ luxury resort (and simply outclasses all its competitors). It comprises 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. Every water villa has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze. Read more about Soneva Jani here.
- Hotel website: Soneva Jani
- Complimentary room upgrade: contact me to get a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Jani.
Soneva Fushi, 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 best luxury resorts in the Maldives, the best family hotels in the world and the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches.
- 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: read here my review of Soneva Fushi.
- Complimentary villa upgrade: contact me to get 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 amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches, the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, the best luxury hotels in Thailand, 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: read here my review of Soneva Kiri.
- Complimentary room upgrade: contact me to get 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: read here my review of Soneva In Aqua.
HISTORY OF THE SONEVA HOTEL GROUP
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 list of the top 10 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. Last year, the group launched the first floating villa in the Maldives, SonevaIn Aqua. And this autumn, it opens Soneva Jani, a spectacular resort that will set new standards in this destination that is already known for its world-class hotel standards.
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.