Why you must go to the Maldives..
The Maldives; a magical place that many dream of going to, from its turquoise oceans to white sand beaches it’s no question as to why it’s a top honeymoon destination and a once in a lifetime trip! Situated in the indian ocean and made up of over 1000 island in 26 different atolls theres a lot of choice in which islands to visit as each offer their own unique Maldivian experience.
Jacob and I were incredibly lucky enough to visit the Maldives for 6 nights. We set off from London Heathrow flying with Turkish Airlines - someone I’ve never flown with before. It’s safe to say the holiday started off brilliantly as we were upgraded to business class for all of our flights! This was an absolute bonus, to top it off I’d never flown business before so it was an extra special treat! With amazing food, recliner seats that turned into beds and of course some great movies, we arrived into Male feeling refreshed and ready to explore!
Our travels didn't stop in Male, to reach the island we were staying on we had to catch a sea plane, another first time experience for me! The plane took 30 minutes, flying over little pockets of islands with the ocean changing colours around them from deep blue to turquoise, it was utterly beautiful.
Over the course of our 6 nights we stayed at two different resorts, both of them owned by Soneva. Arriving st the first resort, Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll, we could not have been made to feel more at home! They picked us up on a boat and greeted us with fresh coconuts, local fruits and a bag for our shoes (which did confuse us a little at first)! We were quick to learn that Soneva has a ‘No Shoe’ policy and we were asked to leave our shoes in the bags provided for the remainder of the trip. I was in love, it felt so freeing and amazing to ground ourselves and feel the earth beneath our feet.
We were shown to our own private villa and I can honestly say I have never been so speechless. With our own salt water pool that sat within our own stretch of the beach, it was hard to imagine other guests were on the island with us! We had a great size room with a kitchen and bar snacks (that Jacob devoured on the first day) and even a cute upstairs chill out area. However, the most amazing part of the villa had to be the bathroom, our Mr. Friday (The staff member assigned to help us with our stay) opened the door and I did not expect what I saw! We stepped outside to huge open plan area with a bathtub secluded in the centre, only accessible by stepping stones surrounded by water, an outdoor shower with twin sinks and lush green plants climbing the walls. I was in absolute awe, wanting to jump straight into the bath! We had only minutes ago and already never wanted to leave….
The staff at Soneva Fushi were so lovely and accommodating, they did their absolute best to make us feel comfortable and make our holiday the most incredible it could be. We were given bikes to ride around the island which was a cute touch and lots of fun to be able to just hop on and go wherever we wanted and explore the jungle that surrounded us. It was so wonderful to see the different shades of green and the light rays piercing through as we cruised around.
During a cycle tour with our Friday we were introduced to a feature of the resort that i was totally unaware of, the recycle point. The island aims to use only products that have been recycled and they also collect waste from other islands to recycle in order to make the Maldives as eco friendly as possible! It was amazing to see that they are making a positive and conscious effort and it made me feel much better about staying in a resort that thinks about the earth and their impact on it.
As well as this they also have their own farming area where they grow vegetables which they use in all of their restaurants. This brings me on nicely to how unbelievable the food at Soneva Fushi was. At breakfast they had some many choices, from the classic English breakfast to local Maldivian food and other cuisines. They also had a room for muesli, porridge, seeds, nuts, patisseries, honey comb and even ice cream, this was my go to every morning accompanied by a ginger tea and a energy shot! However the showstopper was the room dedicated to chocolate, I’m totally serious, a chocolate room! We were in heaven and the best part was that it was open 24/7!!
During our stay at Soneva Fushi we wanted to have a mix between relaxing and exploring and we found the perfect balance.
One morning we woke up at 4am, hopped on a boat over to a deserted sandbank to have breakfast. It was beautiful, watching the sun rise with pinks and purples bouncing across the sky on a private sand bank, whilst snacking on fruit and coffee; simply amazing.
The Maldives are best known for the marine life that thrive in the waters around each island, including possibly one of the most beautiful creatures, the Manta Ray. It would have been rude not to have gone in search for them, so we climbed on board our private boat with the in-house marine biologist and after a few minutes of sailing reached a local spot where they are often sighted. We put our masks on, jumped in and within seconds, to my amazement, we had 5 Manta Rays swimming all round us. They were so majestic and peaceful, with their blue and white spotted bellies they swam around in circles chasing one another and swimming beneath us and showing off! Whilst being in the calm of the water with these huge animals swimming around us i have never felt so at peace and connected to the earth, it was a feeling I can not explain but one that I wish everyone could at least once in their lifetime.
After all the swimming and excitement we headed back to the hotel in time for a dinner surprise! Little did we know but the staff at the hotel had arranged a private dinner on a sandbank for just Jacob and I. As we arrived onto the sandbank we were greeted by two chefs who were there to cater to our every need. In the middle of the sandbank was a table laid out for two surrounded by loads of cute lanterns illuminating the table and the beach. We sat there and had our own private BBQ whilst watching the sun set on the horizon making the sky light up with incredible colours. The food was perfect and it was such a romantic and lovely evening to finish a magical day.
Soneva on Aqua
Soneva on Aqua is a two cabin, ultra-luxurious yacht based out of Soneva Fushi, it offers the same benefits as the island resort but with the flexibility of cruising the ocean. In the main cabin its special feature is the glass bottom spa bath, you can watch the sea life underneath you, in your own room, while lounging in the bath! They offer stays on the yacht from just 1 night to weeks on end depending what you want to see and do. Jacob and I didn't stay on the yacht but we were extremely lucky to have a dinner on there with the captain instead.
We were asked to choose our own menu which was prepared on board with ingredients fresh from Soneva Fushi. As we sat watching the sun dip beyond the horizon, sipping on champagne, we were quickly interrupted by the captain as they had spotted a pod of dolphins! We jumped onto the netted viewing area and as we looked down we could see the dolphins swimming and jumping through the waves below. They were joyfully playing, singing and chasing the boat, it was a truly remarkable experience to see dolphins so free in their natural habitat, I could have watched them all evening.
As darkness fell, we sat down to eat a 4 course dinner, the food was divine but to top it all off as the night drew closer and the stars started to appear we were accompanied by the hotels astronomer! We listened to him explain the alignments of the stars and what they meant along with many interesting facts. I can not begin to explain to you how truly magical the whole evening was. From the dolphins to dinner and our own astronomer! Wow how id love to do that evening again!
For the final part of our trip we headed over to Soneva’s second Maldivian resort, Soneva Jani. It is located in the Medhufaru lagoon in the Noonu Atoll which is a hour boat ride from Fushi. It was incredibly hard to contain my excitement as we approached. All i could see was gigantic water villas sat on top of crystal clear waters. Each villa was built to perfection with nets to chill on, swimming pools and to my amazement every one had its very own slide into the ocean! I instantly knew this was going to be a very fun few days.
We were lucky enough to have the 4 bedroom villa for our first night and it did not disappoint. As we opened the door it was clear that we were going to loose each other in there, it was massive. With 4 bedrooms each having their own ensuite bathroom, as well as a gym, a pool table, kitchen, dining area and water slide, I seriously felt like i was in heaven. The master bedroom was even in its own section of the villa with a private outside bathroom, sauna and steam room. Goals.
As dinner time was approaching we were so in love with the villa that we didn't want to leave and this was not a problem. The staff at Jani were so attentive, they set up a dinner scene in the villa, with lanterns circling the outside table (which was big enough to seat 20 people). They brought us our meals that we had custom made with the chefs help and we sat eating and chatting under the stars surrounded by candles in our own villa in the Maldives. How’s that for romantic!
The next day we wanted to see how the snorkelling compared in this atoll to how it was at Soneva Fushi so we got on a boat in order to find out. 30 minutes later and we had arrived at our spot greeted by turquoise waters and not a single person in sight. As we got in the water we were surrounded by colourful schools of fish, beautiful multi coloured coral, jelly fish, lobsters and we even spotted a massive reef shark! This is some of the best snorkelling i have ever done - it is an absolute must when in the Maldives.
For our last night we swapped villas to a 2 bedroom with slide, it was a bit easier to find Jacob here and it did make me feel more at home as it wasn't as huge compared to our previous night! The main attraction of the villa was the retractable roof directly above the bed, we slept that night with the roof open looking up at the stars - a once in a life time experience. The hotel itself was breathtaking, like something out of a movie, it too had awesome food like Fushi, as well as a chocolate room (of course!) which was perfect for mine and Jacobs sweet tooth!
Our time in the Maldives unfortunately had to come to an end (too quickly in my mind) and as we were sat on the sea plane flying back to Male I had time to reflect on our incredible experience with Soneva. I felt and still feel now, so grateful that we got to see the Maldives together and of course at such astonishing resorts. Its certainly a week I will never forget and if you are considering visiting Soneva or even the Maldives in general, then I'm telling you go, book it now and get on that plane, you won't regret it!