Soneva Fushi’s new Water Retreats are soon to be ready to welcome guests, adding yet another facet to the original barefoot luxury resort. Guests can expect innovative designs and some new changes to the iconic Water Retreat designs that can be found at Soneva Jani. Reached by a gently curving jetty near Dolphin Beach, at the opposite end of the island to the Out of the Blue dining destination, the eight Water Retreats have been designed to ensure the utmost privacy for guests, as well as to make the most of the picture-perfect ocean vistas.
The 1 Bedroom Water Retreats (584 sqm./6,286 sqft.) and 2 Bedroom Water Retreats (857 sqm./9,224 sqft.) are the largest one- and two-bedroom overwater villas in the world. The spacious interiors and exterior living spaces give guests more to love, as well as making them perfect for families. As each of the rooms in the Water Retreats can be sealed off, the doors out onto the deck can be locked, and the children’s room is located at the back of the master bedroom, they are child-friendly and suitable for young Soneva guests of all ages. The 1 and 2 Bedroom Water Retreats, all have water slides, will open their doors to guests on September 25, 2020.
“We are very proud to announce this exciting new phase for Soneva Fushi,” says Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s CEO and Founder. “When we first launched Soneva Fushi in 1995, we redefined tourism in the Maldives with our unique vision that pioneered the concept of sustainable luxury. After 25 years at the forefront of the global luxury tourism sector and as a bucket-list destination in the Maldives, we are always striving to evolve with our guests’ ever-changing needs. While we will always remain true to the much-loved spirit and laid-back ethos of Soneva Fushi, the new Water Retreat villas will elevate our offering. Having overwater villas gives our guests the luxury of choice, to stay amongst the deep greens of the jungle with the beach just steps away, or wake up to panoramic views of the ocean.”
Noticeably different from Soneva Jani’s iconic Water Retreats, these new overwater villas at Soneva Fushi are not whitewashed, so the browns of the natural and sustainable wood panels are visible through the interior finishing. Furthermore, the 2 Bedroom Water Retreats have both bedrooms on the ground floor, while the pool has been moved to the front of the pool deck, where it is now suspended over the ocean. The pool deck has been extended for more space for sun loungers and daybeds, with extra overhangs that create more shade. Catamaran nets let guests sit above the waves, while curved steps lead from the pool deck to the water below.
When it comes to the interior, the colour palette consists of light blues, greens, and soft beiges, bringing to mind the colours of the ocean around Soneva Fushi and the verdant island jungle. The décor is true to the rustic castaway style that Soneva Fushi is known for, similar to the resort’s newer villas (Villa 38 and 43). The lighting systems are from PLH Italia, known for their sleek and discrete design.
“I wanted to keep Soneva Fushi’s natural beauty, so it looks almost the same as the day we found it, with the villas hidden amongst the vegetation. When we had to add more villas, we didn’t want to touch the beach, as we believe it should be for our guests and the turtles that visit our shores. So, we built over the ocean. We hired all the right people to come and assess the proposed location, ensuring there would not be any live coral in the area.,” said Eva Malmstrom Shivdasani, Soneva’s Creative Director and Conscience.
“The new Water Retreats are very spacious and have been finished in Soneva Fushi’s rustic style. Everyone involved in building these overwater villas has done a fantastic job. Everything is bespoke and the joinery craftsmanship is amazing. Our guests can now stay in an island villa or a Water Retreat without moving between resorts” she added.
These Water Retreats have been raised high enough above the ocean so that the waves do not break against the underside like most overwater villas, thus reducing noise and vibrations. The walls use recycled Styrofoam as insulation, which helps keep the interiors cooler and serves to muffle the sound of the wind and waves. With a push of a button, the retractable roof slides back above the master bed to reveal sunny skies or starlit nights. The new mechanism is now made using aluminium, rather than steel, making its operation even smoother and quieter. The curving jetty that links the Water Retreats to the island has been redesigned with the jetty planks laid lengthwise rather than width-wise to reduce the noise of buggies and bicycles riding along them.
With a choice of either sunrise or sunset views, the villas feature a large al fresco deck, which includes plush sun loungers, a sunken seating area and catamaran nets. Choose between swimming in the ocean or the private pool, while a curving 19-metre slide plunges into the waves from the upper floor. Both villa types feature an expansive upper level with a dining sala, as well as Soneva’s signature outdoor bathroom with direct access to the sea. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the spacious dining and living areas with natural light, while a fully-fitted pantry with wine fridge and minibar provide gourmet snacks and drinks. Flanked by an en-suite bathroom, dressing room and children’s sleeping area, the master bedroom suite features a king-sized bed for the ultimate in comfort. In the two-bedroom villa, a second guest bedroom also includes a king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom and dressing room.