Welcome to a resort where the only policy is “no shoes, no news.”
The Maldives, an archipelago of remote islands in the Indian Ocean, is considered one of the most alluring island getaways on Earth, and one you should, at the very least, daydream about visiting. If you’ve ever been on social media, you’ve probably stumbled across the breathtaking over-the-water villas splashed across the pages of travel influencers. Chances are, you’ve wondered where they were staying. The small group of islands found in the Indian Ocean also houses a series of luxurious private island retreats accessible only by speedboat or seaplane from the airport in the country’s capital, Malé. But it’s worth the journey. The Maldives has an abundance of luxury hotels that offer their own version of the internet-famous over-water villas. With that said, the Soneva Jani resort is in a league of its own. Here’s a guided tour to a most stunning wanderlust fantasy.
INSIDER TIPIf you are going to take a true luxury trip to the Maldives, the flight experience should match the hotel’s extravagance. The best option for couples and solo travelers looking to splurge is Qatar Airways. Book one of their comfortable Qsuites in their business class section. The private cabin features a lavish à la carte menu, robust entertainment selection, seats that transform into flatbeds, and a choice to start your voyage with a glass of champagne or refreshing mint lemon cocktail.
Located on Medhufaru Island, a 45-minute seaplane takes you to the exclusive Soneva Jani resort. The private island is home to over forty 1-4 bedroom luxury villas for travelers looking for a remote wellness holiday where they can enjoy undisturbed peace. When you land at Malé airport, a representative will be waiting to sweep you away into the private lounge to cool down as you await transfers to the resort. Guests arrive on a floating dock where their boat transfer will ferry them a few minutes over to the main arrival point at the resort.
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From the moment you touch the boat, there is a hotel representative ready to take your shoes for the duration of your stay, encouraging guests to take part in their “no shoes, no news” policy. Enjoy walking barefoot in the sand, or take advantage of the free motorized or regular bikes available to all guests.
Upon entering the peaceful villa, you are greeted by white wood designed to give off positive energy, and a sunken dining table facing the crystal blue lagoon and your private deck. There are plenty of places to lounge around in the living room area if you want to cool off from the sun or decide to take a dip in the private pool instead.
For early risers, one of the most romantic ways to start your day is by opting to have breakfast outside by the ocean or to choose to have a floating breakfast in the pool. After your swim, the deck offers an outside shower to wash off the saltwater before you re-enter the villa. You can also go upstairs to the private rooftop deck to enjoy your tea or coffee with unobstructed views of the sunset and sunrise. Don’t skip on the famous water slide that takes you right into the lagoon!
Within their villa, guests have a private kitchen, mini-fridge, and an office facing the deck for those attempting to work during their holiday. Should you need anything else, a barefoot butler is only a WhatsApp message away. The bedroom has another desk behind it with a retractable sunroof and a private nook for reading or meditating next to the master bathroom suite, which comes complete with a dressing room. Arguably, the best part of the space is the in-ground bathtub and outdoor shower just steps away from a private enclave to swim in the ocean.
When it comes to dining, Soneva Jani has its fair share of choices for guests who want to skip on the in-room dining menu. Breakfast is served buffet-style at the largest building on the Gathering, where you will also find the resort’s spa and clothing store. Before going back to your villa, you can choose to relax on one of the many hammocks or outdoor couches while gazing off into the horizon.
Each home has a tablet where you can browse through additional eating options, such as a Japanese dinner at the restaurant Director’s Cut with a movie on the water, lunch on the beach at the famous Crab Shack, or a meal under the stars with the hotel’s in-house astronomer. If you decide to venture outside your villa, there are myriad private beaches to lounge on, some of which host intimate ceremonies for weddings and other celebrations.
The Maldives may have a host of luxury stays that offer their own set of thoughtful amenities, but the Soneva Jani is an experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere. While the natural landscape of the Maldives makes it one of the most memorable and romantic vacations you can take in your lifetime, the service and aesthetic of Soneva Jani will make it truly unforgettable.