We (my husband, 4 month-old baby and I) arrived at Male Airport at 2PM local time. At the airport we were greeted by the Soneva Jani staff who welcomed us, like family would, to the Maldives. Our bags and check-in formalities for the sea plane journey were completely managed by the Soneva team. We were briskly taken to the Soneva Lounge where we were administered a Covid Test (hotel rules), given refreshments and within 15 minutes boarded the seaplane that lands directly at the property (after a 40-minute flight).
After 5 visits to the Maldives – all of which have been spent at uber luxury hotels – you should know that Soneva Jani is in a league of its own. We stayed in Water Villa 98 at Chapter 2 (the upcoming part of the island). While we were a 20 min buggy ride away from the hotel’s largest common area (aka The Gathering which is also the largest over water structure that has been built in the Maldives), the privacy that we got at our villa was unmatched.
The villa had a massive infinity pool, water slide into the ocean, panoramic electric roof in the bedroom, private lagoon, outdoor shower area, hot tub, massage bed, deck that could accommodate a party of 30+ people, fully stocked bar and kitchenette and they even provided us with all the essentials for managing a baby such as baby monitor, sterilizer, bottle warmer, crib, changing station, infant toiletries among others. In short, we were short of nothing and to top it of, we had a Soneva Team member aka. Barefoot Butler to manage our every need during the trip. Our Barefoot Butler (Falak) took care of our hotel tours, activities, F&B requirements and even stepped in to baby-sit our 5-month infant so that we could get some down-time. Falak treated us like family from the moment we arrived till long after we left (still messages us to check how are baby is doing!).
With a variety of 8 restaurants (many of which have been cured by Michelin and world-renowned chefs) to chose from, SO WILD and DIRECTORS CUT were our favourite. SO WILD offered a set meal prepared in Soneva’s organic garden (where we dinned under a star-filled sky). 90% of the food that we were served was from the organic garden. The flavours were explosive. Do try the seed bread. It was exceptional and the chef even baked us a loaf to carry home at the end of our stay. As for DIRECTORs CUT, its some of the finest and freshest Japanese food that can be enjoyed while watching a movie on the largest over water screen in the Maldives. When dining here, ask Evalyn (the wine sommelier) to get you Meiri Hyakunen Umeshu (the best plum sake I have tasted). While these meals were our favourite, every single dining experience was outstanding. In-villa dinning is a must so that you can enjoy the villa pool over the course of the entire day. When doing so, try the Truffle Mushroom Rigatoni – I ordered it 3 times over the course of our 5 day trip. And the best advice I can offer – do not miss breakfast at the Gathering. It is the freshest and most awakening spread you out there!
With tennis courts, spa, children’s den, dolphin (watching) cruises, snorkelling and dive trips, 24/7 ice cream and chocolate rooms to indulge in and a dream water sports shed that houses most motorized and non-motorized water sports, there seems to be something for every person visiting the island.
Yet, after all this, what stands out the most is the hospitality – It can’t really be described, so my strongest suggestion is, go experience Soneva Jani!
We were dreaming to have an amazing holiday in Maldives and we chose this hotel because of the beautiful photos on instagram and nice reviews but it was a total disappointment. We are on our 10th trip to Maldives and we stayed on many different islands but the experience at Soneva Jani wasn’t a nice one- we could not sleep the whole time because there is no phonic insulation in the villa and at night is very noisy and because of the waves the furniture- the living room table is vibrating and making different noises at night, the pool from the vila is very cold and the pool is not well maintained. There is no main beach where people can meet and have drinks because this main beach has dirty water and very shallow. There is no service on the beach. Our daughter wanted to do
some water sport- wakeboarding but she could not do it because the boat was not available- she could do it only with a jet ski. The options of restaurants and menus were very poor and the cooking was not satisfactory. The only positive thing I must say was the staff. People were very nice and kind but unfortunately they could not save our holiday. I will definitely not recommend this hotel for a family holiday.
The lagoon at Soneva Jani is literally incredible and the epitome of why you come to the Maldives for the crystal clear waters!
Not only are the villas amazing (and yes, get one with a slide), but the hosts (staff) truly love their team and it reflects on all aspects of the property through dining, spa, tours, excursions, activities, etc...
We recommend staying here and at the original Soneva Fushi for a true experience. They’re both magical properties and I can’t wait to visit again!
We stayed in a sunset villa, which was villa number 1 and had 2 bedrooms.
They’re expanding with even more water villas and beach villas and I truly can’t wait to see where their creativity takes them next!
Thanks to the whole team for an amazing stay! xoxo
When you reach Soneva Jani the sheer beauty of the place will totally overwhelm you. It's modern luxury with sustainability at it's very core. We had a 2 bedroom water vila with slide. The master bedroom has a roof that you can electronically remove and watch the twinkling stars at night. What an experience that is. The water slide in the vila itself is such a fun element. You could actually spend a lot of time in your vila itself but there is lot more to do. The experience that totally blew my mind is the overwater cinema. Imagine watching a movie with the sea in the background and a glass of wine in your hand. Mindblowing. Cant not talk about the cuisine the restaurants are one better than the other. Overall if there was more than an excellent review I would give that.
It is good that all are tested in the comfort of the villa upon arrival allowing the freedom to move around the resort without masks for the entire stay. Even the staff are tested every few days so it is a mask free natural environment which is a huge plus today. And what an environment, the resort the view and vastness of the lagoon and the meticulously done expansive villa with a water slide was comfortable for my wife and I along with the two boys.
The design of the villa is superb and is difficult to fully appreciate even with the pictures let alone words used in the review. The salt water pool in the villa, two outdoor showers a lovely study that overlooks the lagoon bedroom roof that opens to the starlight sky, a terrace on the upper floor perfect for breakfast with a view like no other.
Soneva Jani has got it right in every way possible, with the small exception of the food which is not in line with the rest of the superlative resort. Have been to other resorts in the maldives but this location and lagoon and the the generous space of the villa and it’s perfect design. The service in line with the best in the world.
The kids became friends with Yasir our Mr Friday so much so that they made a YouTube video with him during the stay. Yasir made our visit overly comfortable and was available every moment not a single call missed, every message replied to promptly and picked up the sensibilities of each kid us to ensure that we enjoyed all that was available in and around the resort.
Our younger son asked if there was chocolate fondue and a three tier chocolate fountain with flowing chocolate arrives at the villa with strawberries and marshmallows for dipping as the chocolate chef overheard the conversation in the chocolate room.
My cap flew off into the lagoon while I was on a cycle and Narindra who happened to be walking past jumped into the water with his clothes to retrieve it.
Marvin the resident astronomer at so starstruck gave us a glimpse of the magical sky above not just through the massive telescope through which we could see the rings of Saturn and the craters of our moon but with his simple wisdom of the vastness of our universe even so that the kids returned to him to chat the next day.
The restaurant staff service was impeccable just that we felt that the food could be improved specially at the main restaurant gathering. The view and ambience does more than make up for it.
Cinema Paradiso with the Japanese cuisine chef akkira (not sure of the spelling) was excellent and we went twice to enjoy dinner under the stars and a film on a large overwater screen. A pop up Swedish Michelin star chef dinner was also excellent.
Snorkelling with the resident Marine biologist was a wonderful experience for the family. Our elder son went
Diving and also sport fishing came back with a massive black grouper that was then served for lunch.
Water sports were a lot of fun specially the seabob and jet ski.
The general manager who greeted us after our Covid tests also came to see us off at the jetty upon our return. The sea plane ride was lovely as well with a superb view and very comfortable specially the unexpected soft landings. A seemingly expensive trip was well worth it.
Learning about the possibilities and reality of sustainable living at Soneva was inspiring, something all of us can incorporate in our lives.
All in all a wonderful holiday and a big thank you to a all the staff at Soneva Jani.