Soneva, a world-leading luxury resort operator, has revealed details of its newest resort, Soneva Jani, opening in October 2016 in the Maldives. The brand’s newest luxury resort offering will comprise 24 water villas and one island villa, with additional island villas planned at a later stage.
Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on the island of Medhufaru, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The highlight of the resort is its location within a 5.6 km lagoon of clear waters with 360 degree views of the Indian Ocean. The main island is fringed by beaches and blanketed with tropical greenery.
Every water villa has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button, allowing guests to lie in bed and stargaze. Like all other Soneva properties, the spacious villas feature interiors by Eva Shivdasani, one of Soneva’s co-founders, and are made from sustainable materials.
“When we opened Soneva Gili more than 15 years ago, it stood out as a unique and new concept in luxury travel. It is my belief that Soneva Jani is even more revolutionary. There are many small details and improvements, for example at Soneva Gili, guests would often sleep on the top deck so that they could sleep under the stars. In each Soneva Jani Water Retreat or Reserve the master bedroom roof slides back at the press of a button. It closes automatically if it rains,” said Sonu Shivdasani, founder and CEO, Soneva.
“Soneva Jani is one of the lowest density resorts in the world. Just 25 Villas are built in an area that stretches nearly five km. It is not an island resort; it is a lagoon with five private islands where only one of these will have development. When designing and building Soneva Jani, I was mindful that when we open, the area should seem as natural and beautiful as the first day I laid eyes on it. Soneva Jani is one of the most anticipated hotel openings in the Indian Ocean this year. We have already witnessed a huge amount of interest, with the first few weeks fully booked within a few days of opening the booking system to the global travel trade,” he added.
Soneva Jani will include all of Soneva’s features including a spa, a dive centre, an observatory, a children’s den, an Eco Centro, organic gardens and an outdoor Cinema Paradiso. The cinema will be the first ‘silent cinema’ in the Maldives, as guests will be given Bluetooth earphones to watch movies so as not to disturb the nesting wildlife in the area.
The resort will serve global cuisine at five dining outlets, and will feature Soneva’s cheese, chocolate, ice-cream and charcuterie rooms that are complimentary for all guests. Various destination and specialty dining experiences will also be available.
“Soneva Jani is a place of incredible natural beauty. The waters in the lagoon have vibrant shades of blue that I have not seen anywhere else in the Maldives. We have an extensive array of marine life, including turtles, rays and occasionally dolphins, and the lagoon is an excellent place for kayaking, sailing and swimming as it is calm, shallow and extends for miles and miles. The villas are stunning and include all the attention to detail that Soneva is renowned for. Construction is progressing quickly and we are on track for an opening in October 2016,” said Olivia Richli, general manager, Soneva Jani.
Soneva Jani includes 18 units of one-bedroom Water Retreats, four units of two-bedroom Water Retreats, one three-bedroom Water Retreat, one three-bedroom Water Reserve, and one four-bedroom Island Reserve.
In constructing the resort, Soneva kept its environmental impact as low as possible. The pools use seawater with UV filtration and the villas have been built over the sandy floors of the lagoon, with no damage to any part of the reef. Furthermore, solar PV will be a source of power generation at the resort, all waste-water will be collected and treated on-site, and water will also be produced on-site, including drinking water. Soneva’s Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre will ensure that waste is recycled, while the extensive vegetable garden will give local produce for the restaurants based on organic principles.
The resort’s soft opening is planned for October 1, 2016, while the official opening date is fixed at November 5, 2016. Bookings are now available from October 1, 2016 onwards.