Have you wondered what it would be like to be a castaway on a remote island when you read Robinson Crusoe? My four-night stay at Soneva Fushi, a luxury eco-friendly resort dedicated to sustainability gives me a taste of what it’s like.
In fact, the entire concept of Soneva Fushi is inspired by Robinson Crusoe, which is why the personal butler assigned to each villa is known as “Mr. Friday” or “Miss Friday”, the same name as Crusoe’s servant and friend in the novel.
Soneva Fushi review: First impression
I’m sure when you think about a luxury resort in Maldives, the first thing that comes to your mind is over-water villas and seeing endless beach and the ocean everywhere you go.
Soneva Fushi doesn’t fit this description.
Soneva Fushi is hidden among dense foliage.
Soneva Fushi is designed to be hidden among dense foliage on a private, untouched island. I was surrounded by jungle instead of beach and everyone gets around by the bicycles that are assigned to every villa. Alternatively, you could ask your Mr./Miss Friday to drive you around in a buggy. There are also no street lamps, which makes the “castaway experience” even more real, especially at night. (And as a bonus, you get to see the stars more easily too, thanks to low light pollution!)
Soneva Fushi has a “no shoes, no news” policy. This means that our shoes were kept away the moment we arrive on the island and we walked barefooted wherever we go. I had initially thought I would be uncomfortable with it, but it turned out that going around barefooted was actually quite liberating; you could get up and go to your next destination wherever you may be – no need to put on and take off your shoes! It’s also very nice to be able to feel the texture of the ground, sand, water with your feet.
Can you tell that there’s a TV in this room? It’s hidden inside the box in front of the sofas.
The “no news” policy means that Wi-Fi access is only available at specific areas (your villa and the main reception area, generally). Even the television in the room is “hidden” inside a box so it can be out of sight, out of mind.
As I entered the villa, I was blown away by the size of the resort and the attention to detail in the design. The furnishing is rustic, and everything in it is recyclable or all-natural. For instance, drinking water are packaged in glass bottles, instead of plastic.
Soneva Fushi review: The villa
I was in a two-bedroom Family Villa Suite with Pool. It comes with a huge living room area, a private pool, a balcony to look out to the sea, a kitchen, and a huge bathroom that features a bathtub, regular shower, and “outdoor” shower. There’s also direct access to the beach with sunbeds well-positioned towards the ocean.
One of the bedrooms in my villa.
It comes with a kitchen area.
The bathroom is one of my favourite parts of the villa.
The vanity and changing area.
You can walk out of you villa and have an easy access to the ocean and beach.
Besides a hammock, there’s also a swing in this area.
The beach is literally at your doorstep.
There’s a balcony that you can go up to within the villa.
You get a nice view of the ocean from the balcony.
I spent a lot of time in the bathroom, enjoying baths or outdoor showers – a nice way to wind down especially when the weather’s so hot, and just heading out to the beach to take the long walks I never would have been able to do in Singapore. Well, I’m sure this is the kind of luxury Crusoe didn’t have – so take that, Robinson!
I’m sharing this photo of a nine-bedroom villa called the Private Reserve – the biggest in Soneva Fushi. It offers offers everything from a children’s room and water slide, to a spa area, sauna, and gym.
Soneva Fushi review: Food
The food offering is certainly a highlight for me at Soneva Fushi. The resort offers full-board service, which means that all your meals are taken care of without additional charge at selected restaurants.
And unlike other full-board resorts I’ve been to, where the free-for-all restaurants serve poorer quality food, every meal at Soneva Fushi was amazing.
I had all my breakfasts at Down to Earth, which serves International and South Asian food. The restaurant has a wide selection of coffees and teas, and I urge you to ask for recommendations from the wait staff. I am not usually a coffee drinker, but really enjoyed the cold brews that they serve. I also had one of the best Eggs Benedict at this restaurant. Selected herbs and vegetables are harvested from the resort’s own farm, so having a salad is actually an extremely good idea here.
Fruits are also cut upon request and juices are freshly made too.
Breakfasts are always a treat at Down to Earth.
Down to Earth is also opened for dinner, and like its breakfast offering, I find their South Asian cuisine very delectable.
Fresh in the Garden is where you can visit for organic Mediterranean-style cuisine. They also offer a lot of vegetarian and plant-based options.
Fresh in the Garden has a treehouse concept for its interior design.
You can sit near the kitchen to watch the culinary crew in action.
Foods are plant-themed and can look pretty fascinating. This is a carrot cake.
This restaurant has a treehouse-style design and features a central open kitchen so you get to see the culinary crew in action. There are alfresco seats for you to watch the stars as you dine or you can sit inside and be closer to the kitchen.
You sit within a farm when you dine at Shades of Green.
I enjoyed this dish, which was made for us over a fire at an open area in the farm.
But the most interesting dining experience for me has to be at Shades of Green, housed within the resort’s garden, where they grow their own herbs and vegetables.
My dinner began with a tour of the garden, where I was introduced to the different plants they have and get to pick them fresh, then taste and smell them immediately – an experience that I rarely get as a city-dweller. Unfortunately, because it was a candlelit dinner (there weren’t other lights), I wasn’t able to take good photos of the food to share it with you.
Every course is vegetarian, and cooked using Maldivian, Southeast Asian, and Nordic techniques. Though served without meats, the dishes were all delicious and smell amazing.
These were ordered from Out of the Blue, another restaurant at Soneva Fushi.
Another dish from Out of the Blue.
In-room dining looks good too.
And as if the amazing foods served at the restaurants weren’t enough, Soneva Fushi also has a chocolate and ice-cream room that’s opened for 24 hours. You can enjoy chocolates, truffles, pralines, and ice-cream in 60 flavours any time of the day. It’s impossible not to go overboard with chocolate indulgence when it’s served to you in a metaphoric platter like that.
You can have all the chocolates you want.
And ice-cream too!
This is Out of the Blue. Other than enjoying good food here, there are lots of great places for you to bask in the sun, and even a slide for you to get into the ocean.
Soneva Fushi review: Experiences
There are a variety of experiences that you can go for at Soneva Fushi. You can book them before you’re there or ask your Mr/Miss Friday to arrange them for you when you’re there.
I went for a snorkeling experience led by Soneva Fushi’s resident marine biologists, which means I get to learn more about the underwater world from experts. I was stayed in the resort in late-May, which is when the water gets a little murky. But it was still clear enough and I managed to “chase” after many turtles and saw a variety of marine life.
Through the telescope, I got to see Jupiter.
I also visited their in-house Observatory, where there’s a state-of-the-art telescope and resident astronomers to guide you through the experience. We were lucky enough to see a few constellations with our naked eyes and even spotted Jupiter through the telescope just before it got cloudy and rained. I understand that Soneva Fushi is the first resort in the world to offer this technology to its guests, so it’s definitely something you should try when you’re there.
The highlight of my trip was most certainly the Sunset Dolphin Cruise. Imagine watching the sunset as pods of dolphins play near the yacht you’re in, all while you’re savouring a selection of canapes and champagne. It was a very memorable experience that I know is going to come up very frequently in conversations about travelling to Maldives from now on.
The Dolphin Cruise was definitely a highlight.
Here’s a video of dolphin-sighting during my cruise.
Besides the activities that I’ve mentioned, there are also activities like glassblowing classes, private dining, diving, surfing, and open-air movie screening that you can go for. Private tuition is also available if you’d like to pick up water sports.
If going for a spa treatment is always on your agenda when you’re on vacation, then good news: there’s a Six Senses Spa within the resort. I did a two-hour massage when I was there and it was very therapeutic.
If you’re travelling as a family, you’ll be happy to know that Soneva Fushi is child-friendly. There is designated area called The Den, which offers activities for children and teenagers, and even has a separate pool for toddlers so they can also enjoy some water fun time. Babysitters are also available upon request.
Soneva Fushi is located at Kunfunadhoo Island Baa Atoll and find out more on their website.
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