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Soneva Jani

The Property Addict / Travel

The Maldives

Mar 05 2018

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‘No news, no shoes’: that’s the only rule at Soneva Jani in the Maldives, though you could add ‘no blues’ (of the emotional kind) to the formula, too. Actual blues abound, from sky to sea, in every conceivable hue and semi-hue of enticing aqua. Sibling to Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani does the family proud: its considerable lures include an overwater cinema, star-gazing observatory, meditative labyrinth (uh huh), va-va-voom villas and the signature Soneva crowd-pleasers, including a lush, hushed spa, brilliant staff and So Cool ice-cream, cheese and chocolate rooms. This is the Maldives at its most magical.

At the hotel

Five islands; private lagoon; private beaches; overwater observatory and resident astronomer; overwater silent cinema; gardens with a labyrinth; water slides; watersports and dive centre; ice-cream, chocolate and cheese rooms; boutique; gym; library; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: desk, TV, DVD player, iPod dock, Soneva bath products, minibar and a kitchenette with a sink, kettle and tea- and coffee-making facilities.

Our favourite rooms

There are simply no duds in this bunch: every single one of these palatial overwater villas is fit for Neptune and his gang. Follow this simple rule: opt for a room with a water slide or add one on. We promise you, flipper on heart, that it’s more than worth the additional US$200 daily supplement. Bombs away!

Poolside

Each villa has its own full-size private pool and direct access to the glittering lagoon (the stuff of dreams).

Spa

Have a rub or scrub at Soneva Jani’s overwater, lagoon-spying spa. Try a Sodashi marine body wrap, energising jet-lag recovery treatment or a nourishing coconut scrub, which includes a liberal application of coconut oil – your skin will feel softer than a buttered prawn’s.

Packing tips

Bring swimwear that can withstand the gravitational pull of a pool slide. Don’t weigh your case down with sandals and stilettos: Soneva’s signature ‘no news, no shoes’ policy applies...

Also

Communal areas and guestrooms are wheelchair-accessible; the villas (and bathrooms) are extra spacious, too.

Children

Little Smiths of all ages are very welcome. Cots for under-twos are free; extra beds for kids from two to 11 are US$60 a night; it's US$120 a night for over-11s. Babysitting is available for US$25 per hour.

Best for

All ages; water-babies will be in seventh heaven.

Recommended rooms

Any – the villas are huge and come fully kitted out.

Crèche

None, but a dedicated kids’ club is in the works.

Activities

Little Smiths can try a wide range of activities, including catamaran trips, nature trails, beach expeditions (including sand-castle construction). Older kids can safely explore the island; there are smaller bicycles and tricycles for them to borrow, and they can enjoy the watersports and snorkelling, or just flop down with some popcorn to watch films at the open-air cinema.

Swimming pool

Each villa has its own pool, plus direct access to the eye-popping lagoon. The lagoon is very calm and there is no need to worry about currents or tides, but little feet may need jelly shoes to avoid scrapes.

Meals

Children are welcome at all times. The restaurants have high-chairs, as well as soft toys and drawing materials to keep little ones busy. There are children and infant menus, as well as half-portions available. The chefs can adapt their menus for special diets, too. The bar serves mocktails, milkshakes and smoothies; staff are happy to whip something up if it’s not on the menu.

Babysitting

Babysitters can be organised with a day’s notice (US$25 an hour).

No need to pack

Nappies, baby wipes, formula milk and baby food are available at the hotel’s shop.

Eco-friendly

Earth-kind products and light bulbs are used; Soneva Jani also recycles and composts. The restaurants rely on seasonal, organic produce; either grown on the islands or sourced from local suppliers. There’s even an on-site glass factory, which recycles glass for Soneva’s rooms and restaurants.

SOURCE: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

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