The Edition


Soneva Fushi unveils biggest overwater villas in the world

Mariyam Malsa
06 September 2020, MVT 09:57
One of the recently unveiled Water Retreats. PHOTO: SONEVA FUSHI
Mariyam Malsa
06 September 2020, MVT 09:57

Luxury resort Soneva Fushi announced that eight new Water Retreats would be ready to welcome guests from September 25 onward.

Situated in Baa Atoll, Soneva Fushi's one Bedroom Water Retreats, measuring 584 sqm, and two Bedroom Water Retreats, measuring 857 sqm, are the largest one and two bedroom overwater villas in the world.

Accessible via a curved jetty near Dolphin Beach, located at the opposite end of the island from the Out of the Blue dining destination, the eight Water Retreats are designed to ensure maximum privacy, as well as to guarantee picturesque ocean vistas for guests.

The one and two Bedroom Water Retreats are well suited for families, with spacious interior and exterior living spaces, in addition to 19-metre water slides. All rooms and pool decks in these overwater villas can be sealed off, and the children’s room is located at the back of the master bedroom, ensuring that the Water Retreats are child-friendly.

"We are very proud to announce this exciting new phase for Soneva Fushi", said Soneva’s CEO and Founder, Sonu Shivdasani.

"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".

An outdoor bathroom with direct access to the sea in one of the Water Retreats. PHOTO: SONEVA FUSHI

Unlike the overwater villas at Soneva Jani, Soneva's second property located in Noonu Atoll, the new Water Retreats at Soneva Fushi are not whitewashed, with shades of brown from the natural and sustainable wood panels displayed throughout the interior finishing.

Additionally, the rooms at the two Bedroom Water Retreats are located on the ground floor and the pool is now suspended over the ocean from its new position at the front of the pool deck. In order to create more space for sun loungers and daybeds, as well as extra overhangs, the pool deck was also extended.

The colour palette of the interior consists of light blues, greens and soft beiges, designed to evoke the colours of the ocean as well as the island jungle. The décor reflects the signature rustic castaway style of Soneva Fushi and lighting systems are from PLH Italia, known for sleek and discrete designs.

"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 Soneva’s Creative Director and Conscience Eva Malmstrom Shivdasani.

Overhead shot of the 19-metre water slide installed in the Water Retreats. PHOTO: SONEVA FUSHI

"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".

The Water Retreats are built high enough above the ocean so that waves do not break directly against the underside, as with most overwater villas, reducing noise and vibrations. The curving jetty that links the Water Retreats to the island are designed so that jetty planks are laid lengthwise rather than width-wise to reduce the noise of buggies and bicycles.

Recycled styrofoam is used in the walls as insulation, which keeps the interiors cooler and muffles the sound of wind and waves. With a new mechanism using aluminium, rather than steel, the retractable roof above the master bed slides back more smoothly and quietly.

Divided into sunrise or sunset views, the villas feature a large al fresco deck, with loungers, a sunken seating area and catamaran nets. Both villa types also possess an expansive upper level with a dining sala, in addition to an outdoor bathroom with direct access to the sea. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light into the spacious dining and living areas, while a fully-fitted pantry 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. The second guest bedroom in the two-bedroom villa, also includes a king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom and dressing room.