Soneva Gili Resort & Spa in the Maldives takes centrestage once again as the benchmark of over-water resorts.
The resort had been closed since the December 26 2004 tsunami, during which time it has undergone restoration and refurbishment plus it added several exciting and unique features.
Opened in 2001 and named as ‘Hotel of the Year’ by the Tatler Travel Guide 101 Best Hotels just two years later, Soneva Gili consists of 44 over-sized villas plus a stunning new Private Reserve covering 1,400 sq m. “The villas are a theatrical triumph,” wrote Tatler Travel Guide.
The villas continue the Soneva philosophy espoused by its sister resort, the multi-award-winning Soneva Fushi Resort & Six Senses Spa, of Intelligent Luxury. They are crafted from natural materials, yet offer every creature comfort including a personal entertainment centre. For the ultimate privacy, seven Crusoe Villas and the Private Reserve are only accessible by motor boat. Mr and Ms Fridays add a personal level of anticipative service to the guest experience.
The resort also features an award-winning over-water Six Senses Spa, which offers everything expected, and some things unexpected; glass floor-panels beneath massage tables heighten the sensual experience, whilst a Maldivian sand massage is included in the vast menu of holistic wellness and rejuvenating treatments on offer.
Among the several dining alternatives, there is an over-water restaurant and lounge. Ashore, there is some wonderful dining and equally great wines. Or guests can choose to enjoy a romantic moonlight dinner delivered right to the villa. The food is imaginative and fresh. Much of the produce is grown in the resort’s own vegetable garden. “It’s an outrageously spoiling experience,” writes Victoria Mather in the Tatler Travel Guide.
It is a 15-minute speed-boat ride from the Maldivian capital, Malé to Soneva Gili, passing en route a string of islands, each surrounded by a turquoise lagoon. During this short journey, guests are invited to remove their shoes as they prepare to enjoy the Soneva lifestyle of No News – No Shoes.
The Maldives is a paradise for under-water activities and the resort has its own fully–equipped PADI diving school plus a variety of water sports and, at Soneva Gili, all pleasures can be achieved horizontally – whether it’s swimming, snorkelling, scuba-diving or sunbedding.