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“Unforgettable experience”
Review of Soneva Fushi

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Soneva Fushi
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kunfunadhoo
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Unforgettable experience”
Reviewed 24 February 2013

From the moment you are met at the arrivals hall in Male to your time of departure you are in a different world. Your every wish, however fanciful, is attended by a great team in a relaxed manner giving you an opportunity to forget the troubles of real world and concentrate on the experiences - coral reefs snorkelling, spotlessly clean beaches, abundant sea life, fishing or sailing trips, fantastic food and top class spa.
The island is very big by the Maldivian standards with lush tropical jungle giving plenty of personal space to everyone. Apart from meeting people at breakfast and dinner you hardly see anyone during the day. Your villa is surrounded by dense vegetation offering a great sense of privacy.
The restaurants in the resort are comparable to the best European ones in variety, quality and presentation of food.
Overall this was the most relaxing and revitalising holiday we had to date.

There are a few useful tips to share.

Don’t bother bringing any extra shoes with you. You walk everywhere barefoot. On arrival your shoes are bagged and kept in your villa. You would only need them when you board the plane on return journey. Having said that, you do need a pair of swimming plimsolls since the seabed is full of dead corals.

Don’t bring any raincoats and umbrellas too as they are provided.

On arrival you are issued with a snorkelling gear. I found myself constantly battling with fogging of the snorkelling mask glass. Bring some anti-fogging spray to keep glass clear. For those who wear glasses there are optical snorkelling masks available.

Bring an underwater camera. Marine life is absolutely amazing around the island and even more so if you take a snorkelling trip to a reef 20 min away. It is also guided by a marine biologist explaining about different sea life forms.

There are mosquitoes on the island. They don’t bother you during the day but are quite active at night. Keep doors shut after dark otherwise the villa will have mosquitoes. Resort provides mosquito repellent and nets.

The resort is sustainable having got means to produce fresh vegetables on the island, utilise food waste and sewage, recycle paper, wood, metal and glass. Unfortunately they cannot recycle plastic bottles, wrapping and bags. This waste is collected and shipped to Male for landfill or burning. Given lack of landmass in the Maldives and ecological threat from this type of waste, the resort provides you with a bag and encourages to take your plastic rubbish with you. Please help them to preserve this paradise.

There is a gang of crows on the island watching your every step. Do not leave any food unattended outside your villa or at breakfast because crows will take care of it in no time.

Bring a pocket-size torch with you. There is a rechargeable torch in your villa but it’s quite bulky. The footpaths are lit at night but not very brightly. It is also good fun watching blue crabs racing away from you on the beach at night.

Tea and coffee making facilities as well as fresh milk and bottled water are available in your villa. There are also two jars with dry fruit (apricots, raisins and nuts) to snack up during the day.

If the sea is stormy ask for a catamaran ride. It is an absolute blast! The guys in the aquatic sports centre will do it for free for you.

Although it says you need to vacate your villa by noon at departure day, in reality it is not necessary now. Up until October last year seaplanes were the only means to getting to and from Male as they operate during daylight hours only. However with the opening of a domestic airport located on the island Dharavandhoo (20 min boat ride from Soneva Fushi) you can negotiate a late departure. We left Soneva at 9.15 pm with a departure from Dharavandhoo at 10.30 pm. Flight to Male is about 20 min.

Lastly I would like to praise the resort staff and especially our Mr Friday Muhaimin who made our stay unforgettable.

Room Tip: If you do not like sleeping with A/C on villas on NE shore have cooling breeze between Nov and Apr...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank lad_v_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 8 March 2013
Dear Guest,

We loved your comprehensive feedback – thank you for sharing your recent holiday experience with others. We are so happy that we were able to provide you with a friendly and personalized service and to know that you enjoyed your stay with us.


Thank you also for your wonderful compliments which I have shared with my entire team, especially Muhaimin your Mr. Friday – he has done us proud!

We do hope you choose to stay with us again should your travels bring you back to the Maldives.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
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Opfikon, Switzerland
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2013

The first time, where it got really difficult to leave this absolutely wonderful place! To maintain the romance and privacy of this amazing place is an ultimate in luxury, discretion, professionality in all kind of services with gourmet kitchens and fabulous Spa!

Room Tip: all of these 65 villas are located that you feel like dreaming day and night
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Iggi_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 26 February 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write us such a wonderful review. We are so glad you enjoyed the Soneva hospitality and we look forward to welcoming you back, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2013

I confess that this review contains one falsehood, the date of my trip. I was there in 2005 not 2012. I wasn't a trip advisor user then. But I so love this place and wanted to add my 2 cents. I hope my deception will be forgiven but I just had to write and tell anyone considering a trip to the Maldives that THIS is the ONLY Place you need go. It is EXCEPTIONAL bar none! (unless you have been on a private island with excellent service as I have, so I speak from deep experience). If the hotel has kept up it's standards since 2005 and have not overbuilt, then this is truly a rare experience. The food was stellar. Forget your diet. Eat. Be Merry. Move. eat more! Diving and beach was fabulous. Kayaking great. The personal butler was attentive. From the departure lounge in Male to the adorable airplane dock at Soneva Fushi, to the moment they "confiscate" your shoes and assign you bikes with cloth covered pedal pads--it was a seamless luxe experience. Soneva Fushi island is lush and canopied with pristine beaches. They have an organic garden. THey embody a holistic environmental approach to the management of the island. What's not to love!? It's pricey. Ok. But you get soooo much for the dough! I dream of returning one day....one day.

Room Tip: We had the basic Rehendi Room on the Sunrise Side. It was perfect for us. we were on a "budget...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ilevare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 26 February 2013
Dear Guest,

We are thrilled with your great review – sharing your experience means so much to us, even though it’s been quite a while since your last visit to Soneva Fushi.

We have made amazing progress over the years and rest assured that we always seek ways to improve our services and maintain the Soneva standards that we are so well known for. We are truly earnest in our passion to please guests, and it is great to hear that we are succeeding in our aims.

Thank you once again for your wonderful compliments about our Resort, and we hope to see you again soon.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2013

I am a regular returning guest to Soneva Fushi since 2008.

Soneva Fushi was my first encounter with Maldives, and every resort I visited afterwards in Maldives, or in the rest of the world, fail to meet my "Soneva Fushi standards" :)

Pretty much everything is said in the other reviews. But let me point out some major differences from other resorts, and major advantages of Soneva Fushi.

The island itself is at least 5 times bigger than al the other resorts. So there is space, privacy and quiet for everyone. You meet some people at breakfast, and for the rest of the day it can happen that you do not run into more than 3 other guests.

The forest is wild, with animals, birds, sounds, rabbits (yes!), chicken (yes!) and all the tropical joys. It smells fantastic when you ride your bike through it :)

It is essential that you ride a bike if you go there. Waiting for buggy in no fun at all. You get used to bikes in 2 hours and it is actually an active vacation. Bikes are not super modern, but rather old-fashioned and therefore charming :)

What I love the most is life in touch with the nature the whole time. The villas are very interesting. Actually you have high luxury but it does not burn your eyes. Everything is made of wood and natural materials. Your bathroom is actually a fenced piece of forest and it has sand on the floor and you hop the wooden logs or stones to get to the shower under the palm tree. You do not lock your villa, there are no digital room keys you have to carry around.

There is no show-off. Nobody is there with flashy watch on his wrist or high heels and gowns. Everybody is barefoot, in swimsuit + T-shirt and that is how you go around all day long.

You do not need to carry your beach bags because you have one in the villa. So you pop your mask and snorkel in, you put on sunscreen, take a towel and go ride a bike to Turtle Beach where you have the best snorkeling time of your life.

Service, personnel, management, food, facilities, everything is perfect. Organic food they grow in their gardens, water in glass bottles - no junk plastic everywhere, observatory to look at the stars, all the water activities, retro cinema with old movies etc.

I would recommend scuba diving. Soneva Fushi has one of the best house reefs in Maldives and you can also go to scuba diving trips. Well, the reef is actually so beautiful that even if you only snorkel you will be amazed. Again, Turtle Beach snorkeling is amazing!

And I would recommend desert island trip. The feeling of being all alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is sensational. Special kind of freedom and fear at the same time...

Location of the villas- Sunrise side has a nicer view because it is open to the clear ocean but the sun goes away sooner. The Sunset side is better because you have more sun, but there is an inhabited Maldivian island in sight and you can see it and its antennas. However, when you get used to it, it really isn't so bad.

There is no 'public' pool or beach. So there are no sunbeds set in row with sun umbrellas like in all the other resorts. This is what I like, but some people do not understand (they are not destined for Soneva Fushi ;))

This is not a party island, no clubs, bars or single men. It is more for couples, honeymooners, families perhaps with a teenage kids. I think babies, toddlers, infants are not for this type of vacation. It is also not for e.g. Russian tourists that like it all flashy, not for very old people that have mobility problems.

And to finish it of with couple of comparisons-
Taj Exotica Maldives- very small island, actually a sandbank, too close to the airport, planes fly all day above your head. The kind of luxury where you walk the parquet and marble floor reception, and the restroom feels same as if you are on the 35th floor of some hotel anywhere in the world. No feeling of nature anywhere. NO SNORKELING ON THE ISLAND WHATSOEVER!

Soneva Gili- as nice as Soneva Fushi but also a small island. Public pool means the tide is sometimes so low that corals below your water villa stick out and that you have to go to the pool to swim. Snorkeling is so-so, quite a long swim away. Food and service excellent as on Soneva Fushi. Also close to the airport and close to other crowded resorts, you can canoe to the adjacent resort.

Six Senses Laamu- similar standards to Soneva Fushi and Gili, much more crowded with guests, service not so good, house reef and snorkeling almost as good as Soneva Fushi. It is like a cheaper version of Soneva Fushi. And it is quite complicated to get to. It is run by an investment fund, so you can feel that the management and personnel are not quite into their work entirely.

So, this is a long review, huh? Hope it was helpful :)

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
23 Thank SeaPebbles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 24 January 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for making Soneva Fushi your preferred resort in the Maldives since 2008. It is always a pleasure to be of service to you and to provide you with the best hospitality. We are delighted that you felt well taken care of during your stay.

We truly appreciate your continued patronage and as always, look forward to having you with us on your next visit to the Maldives.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luzon, Philippines
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2013

Having been to over 20 5star luxury resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi is exceptionally the one...i visited this amazing island last 2010 and it left me with good memories...starting from the Seaplane lounge, the breathtaking seaplane view,all the staff that will make you feel like you will be taken care of from the moment you set foot on the island, the very rich and abundant marine life in their house reef, the sumptuous meals served daily, the very spacious villas loved by nature, the private pool that will make you wanna stare at the stars in the night, the fine white sand that you will enjoy walking barefoot, the quite and peaceful surrounding that will clear all your worries and will leave you with a calm and refreshed memory...oh how I fell in love with Soneva Fushi...this is really a place called heaven on earth :-)

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank neslovesnature
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 24 January 2013
Dear Guest,

We are so grateful for the feedback on your recent stay at Soneva Fushi. We are glad you enjoyed the food, the marine life, the barefoot experience and the quiet and peaceful surroundings.

Thank you again for sharing your experience with others and we look forward to the opportunity to serve you again.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2013

Boarding the seaplane at Male Airport feels like entering a movie scene. Adventurous and exciting. But relaxing and luxurious at the same time. Our role in this movie is a simple one. Just being there and enjoying our part is all we need to do. The scenery at Soneva Fushi is astonishing. Every day and every time of day reveals impressive surprises that make our stay unique.

This location contains so many things that just need to be explored! First of all the exquisite food that can be enjoyed at different restaurants that each have their own style and atmosphere. The attentive staff is always pleased to guide us through the menus that range from Maldevian, Japanese/Korean to Mediterranean. During the day one of our favourite places is Bar(a)bara. Here we lounge in hammocks that are located over the ocean and enjoy a fruit juice. Exploring the crystal clear waters with our snorkelling gear is a joy. All kinds of reef fish never fail to impress. Meeting a sea turtle and some juvenile reef shark are a great thrill as well. While enjoying another cocktail during sunset a group of frolicking dolphins completes the scene. What a day!

Our villa is located at the sunrise side of the island. It contains all luxury we may need and it fits the natural feel of the island nicely. Using the bicycles that come with each villa, all parts of Soneva Fushi are within easy reach. At night the paths are beautifully lit and a short ride through the rainforest leads us to the outdoor Cinema Paradiso. Another experience we'll never forget. Watching a classic movie under a star-lit sky is a perfect ending of another perfect day.

Lounging at our private stretch of beach is total relaxation. Some days that's all we do. No need to do anything else. Breakfast offers all kinds of buffets. Some croissants, a fruit juice and a great coffee is fine with me. But there's fresh fruit, pancakes, eastern dishes and so much more to choose from. During breakfast our Mr. Friday kindly asks us if we need anything today. He takes care of all the things we need. Today he only needs to make a reservation for the At The Beach restaurant where we'll enjoy the Japanese/Korean cuisine tonight. The rest of the day we relax…

Quite some more wind and a choppy sea. I shift focus, it's time for a little more action. Catamaran sailing is my choice. Since I'm not an experienced sailor and the winds are strong the Soneva Fushi captain accompanies me. It's going to be a rough ride. Great! Getting up to speed some impressive waves seem to send us straight into the sky. A little later we sail monohull and fly over the bright blue patches that dot the deep blue ocean. Keeping my balance and assisting the captain is exhilarating and tiring as well. Once back on shore it's already time for lunch. A fruit juice, please! That will do this time.

Soneva Fushi offers exactly what we're looking for. That real island feel that's so hard to find these days. We've seen some nice places around the globe, but this combination is unique: luxury, gastronomy, pristine island life and total relaxation. Let's visit nearby Nibiliga Island. This is another take in the movie we seem to take part in. Wow! Just another Soneva Fushi Experience with an even more intense island feel. Nibiliga offers a pure white stretch of beach, a beautiful lagoon, an inviting reef and an amazing lunch. Lunch..? Yes, a lunch at your own, private island. Arriving after a half an hour speedboat ride the staff sets up an extensive lunch while we explore the island. This means testing the loungers and looking for shells. When the table is set the staff leaves and we enjoy lunch. Nibiliga is ours for the day. Sipping a great wine we soak up the beauty of the island. Every single degree of all 360 is pure nature. Breathtaking…

Our role in this movie lasted for almost two weeks. Unforgettable! Postponing the moment as much as we can, it's inevitable. We need to leave the scenery we fell in love with. This includes putting back on the shoes we took off when we entered the scene. We'll miss the feeling of white sandy beaches and teak wooden floors under our bare feet. But we'll cherish the lifelong lasting memories we collected at Soneva Fushi. Thank you for that!

Room Tip: Villas at the sunrise side of the island have even greater views. The Experiences are just what the...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ron A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 24 January 2013
Dear Guest,

My Team and I loved your comprehensive feedback of your recent stay at Soneva Fushi. It was such a pleasure to have you as our guests and we are proud to have played a big role in your wonderful ‘movie scene’ holiday experience.

We cherish memories of your stay with us too, and we hope you will return sometime soon.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2013

I loved it, every bit of it. Your mind is thankfully left alone to relax, rejuvenate, and only focus on experiencing everything, from the forests to the beaches, the reef sharks, the rabbits that are everywhere, the massages, the food, sports, your tan....

Thankfully, most of the eating areas make you feel like you are halfway through a picnic in a park where everyone’s relaxed happy and friendly. Nothing seems like contrived service; it feels like good local hospitality, which is why it seems unfair to refer to the eating areas/options as ‘restaurants’. The food itself was a ridiculous variety of unique freshness (a large number of fresh and unique fruit, jams, sorbet, ice-creams , salad greens, genuinely fresh fish), along with all the other regular stuff most of us want (freshly made waffles, pancakes, etc). The Japanese blew me away- the quality easily and surprisingly rivaled big names in fine dining. It was surprisingly lovely to have that quality of food while barefoot on an island with rabbits staring at you. My wife and I had a private seafood BBQ for our wedding anniversary, and the level of detail and care that was taken was outstanding. Similarly for the castaway island experience our family had one day – few things in life can match this.

The service is fantastic - you do feel like thanking your hosts when leaving, as if you actually had been invited to a friend’s island for a holiday. Be warned, all of this makes it harder to trudge back to civilization. I absolutely loved the fact that I seldom had to do anything that resembled city life -no news, no shoes, no plastic cards, minimal paper, herbal chemical free products (soap, insect repellant). You wake up each day feeling fresh, relaxed and revitalized, and you sleep like a baby at night.

They’ve chosen a fantastic island (there are many more), my test is restricted largely to size, quality and quantity of fishes, animals on the island, plants, trees and proximity to top quality snorkeling. As is common with island life, I did find it critical to regularly use insect repellant for the villa and myself. They do have all the basics – wind surfing, kayaks, diving, dolphins, tennis, and an outdoor movie theatre (gorgeous given the number of stars you can see),

To Sum Up, all the Maldivian islands are gorgeous, but its the service, and the quality of life/health/food available here that made Soneva Fushi a huge winner in my head. A week at this place with fresh food and air, super hospitality and nature, did more to help my back problems than months of exercise and experts have done. Also, I think of it as being everyone’s duty to support businesses that demonstrate their commitment to being eco friendly and self sustaining, as these guys so passionately do. It was more of an “experience” as opposed to a “stay”. I loved my experience.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank nosh m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MLESAManager, General Manager at Soneva Fushi, responded to this review, 24 January 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your compliments and your wonderful feedback. You’ve summed up everything that we are most proud of - the Soneva service, the culinary experience, the camping trips and most of all our commitment and initiatives to protect nature whilst creating a sustainable business - we call this intelligent luxury.

My Team and I are certainly motivated by your compliments, and it is a great testament indeed of our commitment towards the Soneva philosophy of creating innovative, enlightening, SLOW LIFE - it’s about illuminating lives whilst treading lightly on the earth.

Should your future travels bring you back to the Maldives, it would be our pleasure to have you stay with us again.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Burr
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
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Additional Information about Soneva Fushi

Property: Soneva Fushi
Address: Baa Atoll, 2233 (Formerly Soneva Fushi Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Maldives > Baa Atoll > Kunfunadhoo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kunfunadhoo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Soneva Fushi 5*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
When Eva and Sonu Shivdasani built Soneva Fushi as well as their home on the deserted island of Kunfunadhoo in the Maldives in 1995 they had no idea that their intensely personal vision of a locally crafted villa and environmentally responsible lifestyle would form the basis of a successful collection of world-class hotels, resorts and spas. But that's exactly what happened. Soneva Fushi was the first 'castaway' resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays. It established a blueprint for a highly acclaimed international business, followed by spectacular Soneva Kiri on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh Kood in 2009. The success of the Soneva brand also paved the way for Six Senses Resorts and Spas with award-winning properties in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Under Eva's and Sonu's direction the Six Senses brand gained a global following before being sold in 2012. Today the Sonevas have many imitators, but no equals. Each Soneva - and a yachting experience, Soneva in Aqua - impresses on a wide range of levels. Breathtaking 'remote but accessible' natural locations, effortlessly chic accommodation, incredible food, truly memorable activities, an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is uncannily intuitive. The resort that set the tone and the standards for every subsequent resort. A jewel of an island - large by Maldives standards - with perfect beaches, a vibrant reef encircling the island, a colony of nesting turtles and its very own world class observatory. Located in the Baa Atoll, Maldives' only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi is blessed with extensive coral reefs and significant biodiversity including large concentrations of whale sharks, manta rays and marine turtles. The resort is perfect for romantic couple getaways, or family holidays as it provides unique experiences and activities for all, from diving and snorkelling with the marine biologist, to sandbank dinners and a children's den (playground). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Soneva Fushi By Six Senses Hotel Kunfunadhoo
Soneva Fushi By 6 Senses
Soneva Fushi Resort
Soneva Fushi Hotel
Soneva Fushi Maldives/Kunfunadhoo

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