Soneva Jani


A paradisical island playground designed for modern castaways

In a nutshell: The playful younger sister of iconic Soneva Fushi by pioneering hoteliers Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malmström Shivdasani. Sprawling across a cyan lagoon in the Noonu Atoll, the idiosyncratic resort combines sustainability, design nous and sand-in-your-toes luxury.

The vibe: This is a place to throw off the shackles of the quotidian and embrace island time. Arrival via seaplane from Malé guarantees relaxation from the off, with two island drop points for quick check-ins, a drink will be in hand and your villa accessed in minutes. Across the resort, facilities are equally targeted to down time: an overwater cinema; sandbank picnics; dolphin cruises; a tree-top spa (complete with a luxuriously equipped gym) and stargazing spots. Each villa is provided with electric bikes so you can whizz between it all at your own volition.

Outstanding accommodation: Split in to two ‘chapters’, 51 jaw-slackening overwater villas and a clutch of beach abodes branch out from the lush central island that forms the mothership. Setting the benchmark for tropical escapism – and with a two-storey blueprint stretching from 4,424 sq ft – they come with everything from a private butler, infinity pool, waterslide, rooftop lounge, retractable roof, overwater hammocks, outdoor bathrooms and a kitchenette stocked with handmade treats. Prior to arrival, select everything from your room scent, pillow firmness, drinks choice and amenities.

For kids: The Den is the Maldives’ largest kids club. Tailored from tots to teens, it’s a tech-free zone that encourages youngsters to immerse themselves in the joys of the island. Ziplines nip through waterfalls, a pirate ship is ripe for discovery, there’s a swim-up bar for ‘mocktails’, a music room, pinball machines and sensory area for little ones.

What about the cuisine? Soneva’s food offering is some of the best in the Maldives. A diverse offering of 11 restaurants fleck the island and tick off everything from easy breezy beachside crab shacks, to carnivorous grill spots; fine dining fish restaurant Overseas by Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren and plant-based fare focused on homegrown produce at So Wild. There’s also a cheese room, chocolate room and ice cream area on hand for 24/7 snacking.

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