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Barefoot and fancy free at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives

The Property Addict / Luxury Lifestyle

Feb 04 2019

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Standing on a sandbank off Soneva Fushi, a smear of white in a sea of crystal azure water, as the setting sun lights the sky brilliant shades of purple, pink, orange and blue, the bubbles from my champagne tickle my nose as I take a sip from the cold flute, my bare toes dig into the cool, soft white powdery sand.

There is a hum of laughter and chatter carried in the evening breeze as the sandbank cocktail party hits its stride, mojitos and champagne flow and beautiful people pose together giggling and chatting between snapping sunset selfies on smartphones. The atmosphere is playful, relaxed, elegant. The crowd is a mix of ages and accents; some silver hair, young families, honeymooners and a few larger groups with extended family. They chatter quietly and admire the spectacular sunset, faces glow after a healthy dose of sun and the Soneva “Barefoot, Slow Life”.  

Rocco has found a friend, a boy about the same age, although it looks like he only speaks French and they animatedly communicate somehow, immediate besties, as they splash and play in the shallow water. Two miniature humans silhouetted against the darkening sky, not able to speak the same language but having a ball of a time together none the less, shrieking with laughter as they chase waves on the shore of the sandbank.

Colourful cloth covered pyramids scattered in patterns cast a soft magical light and the balmy evening breeze whispers past tanned skin, I feel completely myself, absolutely relaxed and totally in the moment. I look around me and see smiling, sun-kissed, happy and relaxed faces, all making incredible memories with the people they love.

The smears of brilliant orange and mauve sunset disappearing into inky black, a photographer snaps Polaroids of us and the smell of BBQ prawns drifts from hot plates set up on the sandbank with Soneva’s acclaimed chefs concocting culinary magic. Speed boats arrive and our barefoot cocktail party relocates back to Soneva Fushi, five minutes away, where an Asian street market-style food dining experience awaits us. Tens of chefs in their crisp white tall chefs hats man over twenty vibrant stalls, with arrays of aromatic colourful curries, spices, freshly caught seafood, sushi, sashimi, desserts, every delicacy you can imagine, laid out for the taking. Everything grown organically on the Island and picked freshly just hours before, all seafood caught locally in the ocean surrounding Soneva Fushi that day. 

After spending the day snorkelling outside our villa, a school of dolphins only about five metres away - vibrant tropical fish and turtles close enough to touch – I’m starving from the day of sun I feel myself drawn into the swirl of vibrant, laughing guests grabbing a plate on my way.    

CEO and joint creative directors Sonu and Eva Shivdasani pioneered the concept of barefoot luxury on their private island resort, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. A romantic story, Oxford and Eton educated Sonu, who also founded Six Senses Resorts before selling it in 2012, purchased the Island in 1995 as a wedding gift for his wife, Eva, a former Swedish supermodel. Together, they focused on providing exemplary service in beautiful surroundings, with an eye to sustainable yet ultra-luxurious accommodation. Two decades on, the resort continues to build on this Robinson Crusoe ethos. Returning guests expect— and find— luxurious simplicity and intuitive service, facilitated by personal Mr and Ms Friday butlers, who know what you want before you want it. And it’s no wonder Soneva’s trio of properties in the Maldives and Thailand draws celebrities to its shores. A quick google and you discover the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Selma Hayek, Chris Hemsworth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sir Paul McCartney, Guy Richie, Chris Martin, Liv Tyler and Madonna have all holidayed there.

For the more discrete high net worth repeat guests a limited selection of Private Residences have been made available for ownership.

“Soneva has made history as the only developer to offer Villa ownership in the Maldives, and the capital growth is very strong as a result of the rare offering, appreciating at approximately 8-10% annually”, says CEO, Sonu.  

“Our guests are very discerning travellers and expect and expectational level of service, clientele is from Europe, London specifically”.

“Apart from the joy of having your own slice of a breathtaking paradise, owning a private residence at Soneva offers a host of benefits. These exclusive privileges include income sharing in the Villa Rental Programme, discounts at many exquisite restaurants and bars, exclusive Soneva Club membership and many more. Prices start from $3.5m USD”.

Finishing dinner, we head to the ice cream room, which is open 24 hours for guests to visit as they please. Walking into the chilled room - a delightful fresh break to the balmy evening - we help ourselves to a few scoops of delicious creamy homemade ice cream, strawberry, salted caramel, and mint choc chip. Next stop is the chocolate room, the chilled rush of cold air and nose full of sweet cocoa delicious and exhilarating.  Back at our table, our Mr Friday, our personal butler, comes to find us to talk about activities and dinner for the following day, a speedboat trip and Robinson Crusoe picnic on a deserted island for lunch, and dinner at Out of the Blue - an intimate, oceanfront, open-kitchen degustation experience with Michelin star French chef, Jean-Baptise Natale. Our Mr. Friday waves his hands animatedly as he talks excitedly about our day ahead and the amazing reef snorkeling at the deserted island.  

We cycle on our bikes back to our luxurious villa, bellies full, happy and tired from the day in the sun and sea, and drift to sleep listening to the melodic waves lapping on the shore, excited for another day in paradise.


Singapore Airlines flies from Australia via Singapore to Male Airport, from there Soneva Fushi is a 30-minute seaplane ride.

Visit Soneva Fushi here.




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