Today: Soneva launches a new wellness brand (Soneva Soul)
Soneva, the pioneering luxury resorts operator and my favorite hotel brand in the world, has announced the launch of Soneva Soul, a new wellness brand that combines thousands of years of ancient healing with modern science and medicine to reconnect mind, body and soul. Soneva Soul is the result of Soneva’s experience at the forefront of the luxury hospitality and wellbeing industry over the last 26 years. It harnesses the knowledge and expertise gathered on Soneva’s journey since launching its first spa at Soneva Fushi in 1995 and will include: resort spas and wellness centers; movement, sleep, yoga and meditation programs; wellness and lifestyle products; a global network of acclaimed wellness specialists; and innovative, regenerative modalities and medical services.
“Wellness permeates all that we do at Soneva: our sustainable, barefoot philosophy that reconnects our guests to the earth; our life-affirming natural locations; our delicious yet health-focused cuisine; and our life-changing guest experiences,” says Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Co-Founder of Soneva. “Soneva Soul is the culmination of everything we have learned since we launched our spa at Soneva Fushi in 1995, the very first resort spa in the Maldives. Much like Soneva, at Soneva Soul we are pioneering an approach that combines apparent opposites to offer our guests a transformative and personalised wellbeing experience. As the brand grows, it will tailor integrated care plans guided by the principle of lifestyle evolution, helping guests realise their utmost potential and achieve their long-term wellness goals.”
The new Soneva Soul Island Spa at Soneva Jani elevates guests’ wellness experience far beyond the pampering treatments and massages found at a typical wellness centre or resort spa. Linked by raised walkways that wind among the trees, the three-level complex is designed in perfect harmony with its stunning setting on the eastern side of the island. Complementing the existing over-water spa at The Gathering, it includes open-air treatment rooms, consultation suites, therapeutic biomodulation rooms, a state-of-the-art gym and juice bar. A yoga pavilion and meditation platform sit high above the tree line, offering 360-degree views across the turquoise private lagoon.
The coming weeks will also see the opening phase of an expanded Soneva Soul resort wellness center at Soneva Fushi. In the longer term, Soneva will also work with like-minded partners to launch one-of-a-kind wellness destinations across the world. Between now and early 2022, each Soneva Soul will establish a permanent team that includes an Ayurvedic doctor, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, integrative medicine doctor and highly trained therapists. The resident team will be complemented by a network of international visiting wellness specialists, selected for their expertise across a full spectrum of wellness practices, healing, fitness and spirituality.
Working in partnership with each guest, Soneva Soul’s wellness experts will curate a wellness journey that supports every aspect of their life. This includes rest, recovery and regeneration as well as detoxification, movement, and optimisation, following principles such as balance and mindful living.
Based upon outcomes that target guests’ specific needs, the treatment menu at each Soneva Soul unites traditional wellness philosophies, such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbalism and medicinal mushrooms, with cutting-edge treatment methodologies and therapeutic biomodulation, which will include heart rate variability testing, platelet-rich plasma (PRP therapy), nutrient IV therapy, cryotherapy, ozone therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Each Soneva Soul wellness journey can start at any point – whether an individual is looking to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, heal following an illness or injury, improve their physical or mental performance, or simply relax and indulge.
Led by master fitness trainers and bodywork experts, the Soneva Soul Movement Program balances functional gym-based fitness, with natural free movement techniques and experiential fitness, surrounded by nature – such as jungle gyms and deep-water aquatic fitness sessions. Yoga, Pranayama Breathing and Meditation Programs reinforce the link between mind, body and soul, with one-on-one and group sessions with resident yoga masters and renowned visiting experts. And an expert-led Sleep Program creates a personalised programme for healthier long-term sleeping habits.
Below you find some extra information about the history of Soneva and the group’s stunningly beautiful resorts (+ my reviews). In this article, I explained the best ways to book a stay at a Soneva resort.
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 Jani is home to the first Soneva Soul spa.
- Hotel website: Soneva Jani
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva Jani features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful resorts in the Maldives, the most fabulous overwater villas in the Maldives, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and my favorite hotels in the world.
- Review: read my review of Soneva Jani here.
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. A new Soneva Soul spa will soon open on Soneva Fushi.
- Hotel website: Soneva Fushi
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva Fushi features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, the best family hotels in the world, the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches, and the best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit; with a minimum 5 night stay guests also receive a shoreline beach dinner, sunset dolphin safari and flavorful cuisine cooking class for two).
- Review: read my review of Soneva Fushi here.
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.
- Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva Kiri features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful hotels in Thailand, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, the world’s most remote hotels, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, 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 my review of Soneva Kiri here.
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 my review of Soneva In Aqua here.
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 resorts with private residences, as part of the “One Owner, One Operator, One Philosophy, One Brand” strategy. And while their resorts 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, Soneva Soul wellness, an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is uncannily intuitive.
Soneva is a pioneer for responsible tourism, combining a conscientious, proactive approach to sustainability with exquisite luxury and intuitive personalised service. Carbon neutral since 2012, Soneva launched its Total Impact Assessment in 2016, a first for the hospitality industry, measuring its social and environmental impacts. A mandatory 2% environmental levy is added to every Soneva stay, with proceeds going towards the not-for-profit Soneva Foundation to offset both direct and indirect carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights. The Foundation funds a range of global projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.