Best way(s) to book a Soneva holiday in the Maldives or Thailand

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today: How to book & save money at Soneva Resorts

As most of you know, I am a huge fan of exceptional luxury hotels & resorts (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).

In 1995, Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, launched Soneva Fushi resort on a deserted Maldivian island. He also built his house there, together with his wife Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish fashion model, who developed the design and furnishing of the property. 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 transforming the Maldives in the exclusive holiday destination as it is known today. In 2009, the Soneva group built a second, even more spectacular hotel – Soneva Kiri – on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh Kood. In 2015, the group launched the first floating villa in the Maldives, Soneva in Aqua. And in 2016, Soneva Jani joined the company’s portfolio and set new standards in a destination that is already known for its world-class hotel standards. More exciting properties are planned to open in the near future (e.g. two more resorts in the Maldives and one in Japan).

But with the group’s stellar reputation also comes a heavy price tag. Staying at a Soneva property requires deep pockets, with entry room rates well above $2000 USD per night in high season. However, there are some tips & tricks that can save you a few bucks on costs when staying at one of the brand’s world-famous properties in either the Maldives or Thailand. I hereby share with you the best strategies for booking a holiday at a Soneva property.


In 2015, I stayed at Soneva Kiri and I was hooked. Since then, I developed a special relationship with the Soneva group, which is rooted in my deep affection for the hotel group’s ethos and exceptional offerings. As a result, I am able to offer my followers complimentary Soneva Ambassador perks at any Soneva resort (for new bookings made before August 2022). These VIP benefits are listed below and come in addition to valuable offers & savings which are found on the official Soneva website:

  • resort credit valued at 10% of the net room revenue (when booking a Best Available Rate) or 5% of the total package revenue when booking one of the Soneva special packages. For example, if you book 7 nights at Soneva Kiri at a best available rate of $1500 USD per night, you will get a resort credit of 7 x $150 USD = $1050 USD, which you can use on food, spa, and activities.
  • Two personalized Soneva experiences per stay (complimentary) from the Soneva experience brochure (excluding Soneva In Aqua). You have the opportunity to select premium activities such as Sonu’s picnic which is approximately $750 USD per person. For example, at Soneva Jani, these experiences may also include:
    • Private Cinema Paradiso experience with dinner
    • Father & son picnic and mother & daughter spa
    • Private Dinner at the Starlight Table and a session at the observatory
    • Cooking class for children and family
    • Sunrise breakfast
    • Gourmet dining experience which includes chocolate and wine tasting

This is how it works:

  • Step 1contact me by email before confirming a booking (with mention of you preferred travel dates, the number of people in your travel party, and age of kids if any). I will then introduce you per email to my Soneva contacts.
  • Step 2: after the introduction, Soneva will offer you the best rates or package for your preferred travel dates, and the Soneva Ambassador benefits will be added to your reservation upon confirmation of the booking.


The Soneva Ambassador program (cf above) is the best way to book directly via Soneva. However, it’s always a good idea to check the list of exclusive offers on the Soneva website:

  • You find the list with exclusive offers for Soneva Jani here
  • You find the list with exclusive offers for Soneva Fushi here
  • You find the list with exclusive offers for Soneva In Aqua here
  • You find the list with exclusive offers for Soneva Kiri here

As mentioned above, the Soneva Ambassador benefits come on top of the package you book.


Soneva Fushi and Soneva Kiri are members of Virtuoso. Virtuoso is not your classic hotel booking engine website. It’s the industry’s leading, invitation-only network of the world’s best luxury travel advisors, spanning over 26 countries and 9,000 travel advisors. So when you book a hotel via Virtuoso, most of the time, you will be in touch with a Virtuoso travel agent who will make the booking for you. There are some Virtuoso travel agencies though that offer an online booking tool, such as Classic Travel, which has an excellent website and is my overall preferred Virtuoso travel agency for booking luxury hotels. The single best reason to book a hotel through a Virtuoso travel agent is that it means value for money as you’ll get access to complimentary VIP perks, such as room upgrade, flexible check-in and check-out times, daily breakfast and a resort, spa, or food credit (or something else).

At Soneva Fushi, the Virtuoso rate includes:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • With a minimum 5 night stay guests also receive a shoreline beach dinner, a sunset dolphin safari (communal), and a flavorful cuisine (organic vegetables) cooking class for two

At Soneva Kiri, the Virtuoso rate includes:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Guests bookings of a 3 Bedroom Villa and above will receive resort credit (food & beverage) at $500 USD net per stay
  • With a minimum 4 night stay guests also receive a beach dinner for two, a Koh Kood discovery trip, and a Thai cuisine cooking class for two

It’s important to emphasize that early booking discount rates, special promotional packages, corporate rates, group rates, and other discounted rates do not qualify for Virtuoso benefits.


When you own an American Express credit card, you can book any Soneva resort (including Soneva Jani) via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. This will get you the following benefits:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival when available
  • Daily (continental) breakfast for two people
  • Guaranteed late 4pm check-out time
  • Noon check-in when available
  • A food & beverage credit valued at US$ 100 USD

Holders of a Visa Signature credit card can also benefit from extra perks at Soneva Kiri when they make the booking via their credit card travel office and/or pay with their credit card:

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Automatic room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • $25 USD food or beverage credit
  • VIP Guest status
  • Late check-out upon request, when available

When you have a Citi Prestige Card (USA citizens only) you can make use of the fourth night free benefit: when you book a four night stay at a Soneva property, you get reimbursed the cost of the fourth night, minus any taxes and service fees. The fourth night benefit is calculated based on the average nightly rate of your complete stay. Reservations must be made through or the Citi Prestige Concierge and you must pay for your stay with your Citi Prestige Card, ThankYou points, or a combination of the two.

When you own a Mastercard issued in Asia Pacific countries, you can enjoy added nights and experience more of Soneva Kiri and/or Soneva Fushi with complimentary daily half board and much more. This offer can be made using booking code MC2020 and is inclusive of:

  • Stay 4 nights and pay 3 (min stay 4 nights)
  • Complimentary daily half board (breakfast & dinner) for all paying guests
  • One complimentary snorkeling experience with Soneva’s marine biologist for all paying guests
  • Children below the age of 12 years old stays free with complimentary half board (breakfast and dinner) on Soneva’s children’s menu when sharing a villa with two adults (excludes transfers)
  • All-day complimentary access to ice cream, chocolate and charcuterie rooms

Below you find some extra information about the history of Soneva and the details (+ my reviews) of the group’s stunningly beautiful resorts.


Located on an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll, the Maldives’ most exclusive resort is fringed by pristine beaches, blanketed with lush tropical greenery, and surrounded by a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted Indian Ocean views. Each one of the phenomenal water villas has a private lap 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. A few months ago, Soneva Jani added Chapter Two to its portfolio of luxurious water villas, and introduced exciting new dining concepts, an overwater Soneva Wellness Center, and a whole new all-inclusive way to experience the best of the resort with Soneva Unlimited.  


Soneva Fushi, the first ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style hideaway in the Maldives, is set on the privately owned tropical island of Kunfunadhoo in Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The island – which is 1,400 m (4,600 ft) long and 400 m (1300 ft) wide – ranks among the largest islands in the Maldives. Apart from the crystal clear waters, white beaches and tropical climate, the island’s unusually rich vegetation offers a unique natural experience. Massive, multi-bedroom, fairytale-like 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. In summer 2020, Soneva Fushi also unveiled eight fabulous water retreats, which are the largest and most luxurious overwater villas in the world.


Remote yet accessible by a 70 minute flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s 4th largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. One of the most exclusive beach resorts in the world, Soneva Kiri offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences. The 35 resort villas (including 11 private residences) are amongst the largest in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies, and impeccable service courtesy of private butlers. Highlights include the open air cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate & ice cream parlour, the children’s den, and the spectacular Treetop dining pod.


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.

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