RUNNER-UP: BEST SMITH HOTEL – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2015
RUNNER-UP: THE ECO AWARD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2015
Dotting the powder-white beaches of a private island in the Maldives, boutique hotel Soneva Fushi’s eco-chic villas are the stuff of romantic Robinson Crusoe fantasies. Cast off your shoes and your worries: with a superb spa, mesmerising house reef and ask-for-anything butler service, you won’t need either in this laid-back playground of desert-island indulgence.
Rustic hideaway villas
The fabulous spa
One dinner (at Nine or By the Beach) and a cookie-making class for children
In the know
Also need to know:
Each villa has its very own Mr or Mrs Friday, a private butler to look after guests’ every need. Craving a refill from the ice-cream parlour? Just ask. With clear skies and hardly any light pollution, you’ll get spectacular views of the starry night from the resort’s telescope-equipped observatory.
It’s more about what not to pack: for a truly blissed-out castaway experience, leave the phone charger at home. And don’t bother with shoes – no one on the island wears them.
Bare feet and a dab of Nuxe oil on the collarbone – the resort’s casual-chic vibe extends to its restaurants.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this eco-chic hotel in the Maldives and unpacked their snorkels and sarongs, a full account of their barefoot luxury break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside/postcard from Soneva Fushi in the Maldives…
Driftwood, billowing mosquito nets, a shower nestled under palm trees. A stretch of soft white sand, a hammock, sheltering walls of untouched jungle, and then a slice of translucent turquoise ocean. This is it: the stripped-down luxury of boutique hotel Soneva Fushi, lost somewhere on a private island in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll. Dotted along the coastline, the romantic and secluded indoor-outdoor villas are the perfect setting to play out Robinson Crusoe fantasies, but with the convenience of a 24-hour butler to fulfill every whim and fancy. There’s a whole playground of lush greenery, unspoilt coral reefs and fresh-from-the-net beach-side feasts to enjoy, and a lavishly indulgent Six Senses spa to soothe aching muscles and sun-kissed skin. At night, popcorn and tropical cocktails are served at the open-air cinema, but the world-weary might just want to wander back to their villa for the island’s most spectacular show: a star-studded sky stretching over the gently lapping waters of the Indian Ocean, miles and miles away from any worry.
Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll, 2233
71.2 mi / 114.8 km from city centre
- Aerobics instruction
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Tennis court
- Onsite laundry
Six. With chunky wooden furniture set right on the beach, Mihiree Mitha (meaning “Here it is”) is the laid-back setting for a leisurely breakfast or lunch with your toes in the sand. The breakfast buffet is a generous affair of just-baked pastries, home-made jams, and egg-cooking stations; at lunch it transforms into a grazing feast with barbecue, stir fry, and salad stations, as well as wood-fired pizzas and a fresh pasta bar. Nearby, restaurant Nine serves dinner, with lavish buffets on Tuesdays and Fridays. High over the jungle canopy and open to the sea breeze, Fresh in the Garden’s daily-changing dinner menu uses only local produce and the fresh fish, prepared with Maldivian sambals and garden herbs. For straight-from-the-net Japanese and Korean inspired tapas, head to one of By The Beach’s candle-lit tables on the sand, where the catch of the day is turned into sharing plates of ceviche and soft-shell crab. So Hot and So Cool’s 60 flavours of ice-creams are available between 12.30 and 3pm, or can be ordered throughout the day from the main bar. So Delicate’s cold rooms are open from 7.30am to 9pm and are stocked with hams, cheeses, cold cuts and preserves for the peckish.
If dining under a star-speckled sky isn’t quite romantic enough, the hotel can also set up your very own dining nook on the island’s sandbank.
10.30pm. Fresh in the Garden and By the Sea are closed during the buffet nights on Tuesdays and Fridays. The bars close when the last guest leaves.
In-villa dining can be ordered round the clock from any of the restaurant menus. Breakfast can also be served in your villa at any time of day.
While the night away at By the Bar, with its large cushions right on the sand and deep comfy wooden seats and tables with backgammon or chess boards built into the wood. The barman conjures heady concoctions using home-made spirits such as damson gin and passion fruit vodka. With its cushioned hammocks strung right over the water, Bar(a)bara is the perfect place for a sundowner: grab an organic cocktail and watch the dolphins’ frolics silhouetted against the setting sun.