Soneva Fushi: Walking Barefoot in Paradise

Who would ever think that the greatest luxury could be to walk barefoot during the week, cross through a hanging bridge to dine on top of palm trees, enjoy an enormous outdoor movie screening just at the edge of the sea, or use at night the biggest astronomy observatory for private use in Asia, counting with it all of the rings of Saturn.

The marine biologist however, will take you down from the constellations and plunge you under the sea… and then, little by little, as the days pass you will be internalizing the core values of Soneva Fushi – luxury is back to nature.

Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, its founders, were pioneers in transcending the conventional hotel experience, impressing their clients with their genius, the way in which this island understands its guests, and the twist that they gave to luxury far from gold and opulence. Natural materials, organic forms, and a relaxed style define this hotel without precedent. I have visited more than twice and cannot let it go.

The creators responsible for crafting the entire experience made possible the most unattainable ideas, and let guests experience them as if entering a different world. In addition, they place guests on the highest possible position, providing service at a level never before seen. There are few places in the world as special as Soneva Fushi (Kunfunadhoo, Ba-aá) and you can feel this from the first moment you land. Your welcome will leave you breathless; no-one could possibly experience this without feeling something.

Here you will find neither front desk nor check-in, none of the typical exhausting details or procedures to add irritation and exhaustion to your journey. You will be handed a tropical juice, place your shoes in a bag until departure day, and accompanied straight to your room. From this moment forward your feet will touch only the sand and the sea until the time you leave – no news, no shoes.

Sleep well, eat healthy, listen to the silence, swim in crystal waters, contemplate the moon, unwind, admire the coral, and exchange formalities for casual loose clothes; walk barefooted within the island´s vegetation and traverse the paths to discover every corner – by foot or on bicycles upholstered with cotton. Everything is related to slow life, connected to self-care and nature.

This oval island bathed in crystal waters and coral reefs re-interprets the novel of “Robinson Crusoe” through an open door life and the construction of simple yet elegant villas covered with thatched palm rooftops and nestled within voluptuous vegetation. Every villa has its own “Mr. Friday”, an attentive assistant dressed in cream colored clothing, also barefoot. This person will take care of their guests throughout the entire stay and from them you will never hear the word “No” (a surreal paradox when it comes to life because in life, you’re constantly dealing with “No”… but here you come just to dream because this experience is absolutely not of this Earth.)

Mr. Friday will book your tables in different places to dine on the island, he will organize dive trips with the marine biologist (we even went once at night with lanterns!) or an excursion to swim with manta rays. He will suggest island hopping to get to know the locals, reserve all of your treatments and massages or even arrange a picnic on a desert island!

There is a lot to do in Kunfunadhoo, a beautiful island in its most pure state touched by Asiatic and exotic winds.

As part of an eco-friendly hotel with serious actions to respect the environment, it’s obvious that the cuisine reflects its ecological character. Most of the vegetables consumed are cultivated on the island and the cuisine is enhanced by the care and health of each organism. Due to the intensity of the sun and carefully watered, the flavor of the vegetables is so concentrated that it gives a sensual flavor to everything you eat.

Fresh In The Garden is one of the other most special places to dine. Tables are placed on the sand close to the shore and the menu features Japanese food to enjoy under a clear, star-filled evening sky. The stars are easy to see due to the complete lack of air pollution.

To dive during the day is magnificent, even though a mask alone is enough to admire the beautiful garden just beneath the surface. Turtles, fish in a thousand colors and tropical species live surrounding the hotel reef; it could not be more beautiful!

…and what to say of Niviligaa, a desert island not far from Soneva Fushi. On other occasions we would have gone there with only the hotel’s approval however now it is protected and you need the authorization and consent of the government of the Maldives to visit. You eyes cannot get used to its infinite crystal lagoon stretching to the horizon from this sand bank, uninhabited and isolated.

After an intense day of sun, the only thing left is to say farewell to the light from the hanging nets of the Bar (a) Bara, observing the pink sky as the sun sets and with luck, the jumping of cheerful dolphins who remind you how very special it is to be here.

Eternal summer, forever.


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