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Escape to the Maldives

Luxury & Lifestyle 08-03-2017

AWM’s publisher Kalpesh Patel experiences island life in luxury at Soneva Jani.

Now I’ve been blessed to have travelled and seen some of the world’s most beautiful places, but by far my favourite place of all still remains the Maldives. The powder like sand seems to be more golden and the ocean waters seem to be bluer than anywhere else I’ve laid my eyes on.

The island

Soneva Jani is built on a large island located in the Medhufaru lagoon in the Noonu Atoll, comprising of five islands, the largest of which is Medhufaru, at 150 acres in size.

Four of the five islands remain untouched so it is the lowest-density development in the Maldives.

As you walk along the wooden jetty gazing into the clear blue sea by the side of your feet, you look up and cannot help but be amazed by what has been created here. The boundaries of luxury and imagination have been pushed to encompass every ounce of what one would want, whether it’s escapism, relaxation, ocean exploring, or quality family time. Seems like the team at Sovena have got it just right.

The villas

With the island which opened its doors in November 2016, this 5-star resort is made up of water villas and island residences (both for sale).

The 24 overwater villas, ranging from one- to four-bedroom retreats (some including waterslides, yes, waterslides) are situated in the middle of the lagoon, 500 metres from the island, and the land-based private residences are constructed along the main island’s west coast.

Each villa has been cleverly designed to extenuate the surrounding natural beauty from the ocean views to the star-filled skies, which can be viewed by retractable roofs installed in the master bedrooms of some of the villas, bringing a whole new meaning to sleeping under the stars.

The attention to detail on every level is awe-inspiring. Those who are familiar with other Soneva resorts will see clever replications of the finer details, from leather finished light switches to custom-made wooden designed furniture in the villas.

There is an element of luxury floating across the island and through the villas. By luxury, to use the resort’s definition, I don’t mean things that are expensive or materialistically valuable, it’s the concept of rarity. Luxury on Soneva is enjoying things you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to. Spending entire days without shoes, waking up and jumping straight into your own private swimming pool with a waterslide, choosing scented soaps before you even arrive on the island and them being in your room once you get there, all day access to the ice-cream and chocolate room – these are just some of the luxuries available on Soneva Jani.

That moment

Whenever we choose to go away or enjoy an experience, sure we relax and have a great time but we don’t always experience ‘that moment’, when you feel childish excitement, relaxation and splendor all at the same time. For me, that moment was sitting down to enjoy a movie at Cinema Paradiso on the island.

After dinner one evening we were guided to a tranquil bay to the south of the island to take our seats at Cinema Paradiso, the overwater, open air cinema. Comfortably taking our seats, we hear the soft ocean waves, feel the warm breeze across our faces and see the stars shining undisturbed above us. You start feeling the excitement you once felt as a child. When one of the many staff members attending to my every need asks politely if I’d like a glass of Champagne, I accept without hesitation.

The movie starts, and as Audrey Hepburn steps out of a yellow cab with that iconic black dress and large sunglasses and Moon River playing in the background, it’s at ‘that moment’ I realise I’m in a very special place indeed.

In a nutshell

At Soneva Jani there will be 24 water villas and one island villa. Every water villa has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below making this a truly unique experience.

Soneva Jani features include a spa, a dive centre, an observatory, a children’s den, organic gardens and an outdoor Cinema Paradiso. This which I experienced first hand will be the first ‘silent cinema’ in the Maldives, as guests will be given Bluetooth earphones to watch movies so as not to disturb wildlife in the area.

The resort serves global cuisine at five dining outlets, and features a cheese, chocolate, ice-cream and charcuterie rooms that are complimentary for all guests. What else would you ask for?

With cooling tropical breezes and average temperatures of around 28°C during the day and 23°C at night, the Maldives offers an ideal climate in which to live and experience paradise.

With fantastic weather, unique villas and amazing food with a limitless supply of ice-cream, cheese and chocolate Soneva Jani truly seems to be heaven on earth!

Prices start at USD 3 million.

For more information visit or contact Marco Bonini at [email protected]

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