Both properties are often in lists for the Best Luxury resorts in the Maldives. We've stayed at both so here's our thoughts.
The word “luxury” is undoubtedly overused when it comes to the Maldives. And I know from personal experience that not all Maldives properties are equal. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to and stayed in many different Maldives properties over the years with my partner. But when it comes to the realm of luxury travel in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani are two jewels that epitomize the pinnacle of 5* serenity.
I can vouch that you will have an incredible stay no matter which property you opt for, but there are some key differences to be aware of and I hope this guide helps inform you a little more about which Maldives Soneva resort is better for you. If you’d like any further information then please do reach out to one of the Out Of Office team to run through your options.
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Out Of Office is a luxury tailor-made travel company with a focus on delivering exclusivity and inclusivity. Our passion for global adventure is matched only by our deep commitment to delivering exceptional five-star service.
Everything we do is customised and designed especially for you – our valued customer – based on your exact personal requirements. Each member of our team is widely travelled. This means you get access to first-rate travel insights and the best possible advice from our team of luxury travel experts.
Island and Beaches
Located on one of the Maldives’ largest islands, Medhufaru, Soneva Jani is known for its two overwater jetties – North and South – and mangrove ecosystems. Although you will likely spend most of your time in your room – why wouldn’t you when they are so big!? – there are beaches that you can enjoy.
Set on its own island, this resort is a tropical paradise with a lush jungle and stunning, palm-fringed beaches. If you like the beach then this property is for you – its beach villas offer direct access to its idyllic sands, promising privacy and exclusivity.
Lagoon and Views
Its vast, mesmerizing lagoon, known for its clear waters and uninterrupted views, is the resort’s highlight. This lagoon is perfect for guests seeking a secluded overwater experience. The resort’s crown jewel is its vast lagoon, encompassing crystal clear waters and presenting an almost surreal palette of blues. The sense of space and openness here is unparalleled, making it an ideal setting for those seeking an expansive overwater experience. I was impressed that no matter where I looked it was rare to be able to see anything but blue water and the open ocean on the horizon.
While it also boasts a beautiful lagoon, the sunset side of the island includes the nearby local island of Eydhafushi, slightly reducing the castaway feel but don’t let that put you off – you are still in an island paradise and the villas and facilities more than make up for this.
I stayed in a two-bedroom overwater villa on the South Jetty at Soneva Jani. The villas on the South Jetty are slightly newer than those on the North, but they are almost identical. Check out my room tour in the video below.
Predominantly featuring overwater villas, renowned for their size, luxury, private pools, and direct lagoon access. These villas, known for their spaciousness and luxury features like private pools and slides directly into the lagoon, are among the largest in the Indian Ocean. Plans to add beach villas are underway, promising to extend its luxurious offerings.
At Soneva Fushi, I stayed in a one-bedroom overwater bungalow. Whilst the resort only has a few overwater villas the feel is very similar in the beach villas, though obviously you have direct beach access which is really useful. For those travelling with children, we’d always recommend a beach villa from a safety perspective.
Known for its luxurious beach villas, Soneva Fushi offers a Robinson Crusoe-like experience with modern amenities. There is not a bad villa at Soneva Fushi. I promise you will have that jaw-dropping moment when you walk into your villa for the first time. Each villa is designed with privacy in mind, surrounded by dense foliage, and steps away from the beach. In addition, the resort recently added a few overwater villas, drawing inspiration from Soneva Jani’s renowned overwater accommodations, albeit with a more rustic touch.
It’s not an exaggeration when I say that we did not have a bad meal at either Soneva Fushi or Soneva Jani. Both resorts pride themselves in offering a culinary journey that tantalizes the senses and showcases the best of local and international cuisines, blending sustainability with gourmet dining experiences.
- So Engaging: This intimate chef’s table experience allows a small group of guests to savor a mystery menu, witnessing the culinary artistry up close.
- So Cool: Dive into a delightful selection of over 60 flavors of homemade ice creams and sorbets, along with gourmet charcuterie, cheeses, preserves, and chocolates.
- So Fresh: The day begins with an extensive breakfast buffet, featuring a variety of international and local delicacies. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy fresh fruits, organic salads, and live cooking stations.
- Director’s Cut: This modern Japanese restaurant offers a menu filled with favorites such as sashimi and black cod, all enjoyed in an open-air setting.
- The Crab Shack: Voted one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, this venue offers a unique dining experience focusing on various crab dishes.
- So Starstruck: An overwater observatory offering guests the chance to dine under the stars. The resident astronomer guides diners through the night sky, making it a truly cosmic dining experience.
- So Imaginative: This experimental tasting room offers a unique gastronomic experience, where guests can indulge in imaginative culinary creations.
- Down to Earth by Ravi: Enjoy a diverse menu inspired by different cultures and cuisines, catering to various palates and preferences.
- Overseas by Mathias Dahlgren: This restaurant offers a pescatarian and plant-based menu created by the Michelin-starred chef, featuring fresh, local ingredients.
- So Wild by Diana Von Cranach: This fully plant-based restaurant is set in the resort’s organic garden, offering a unique ‘garden-to-table’ experience with a menu of raw and cooked dishes.
- The Gathering Bar: Perfect for enjoying drinks and light snacks throughout the day, this bar transitions smoothly from day to evening, offering organic aperitifs and a range of cocktails, spirits, and liqueurs.
- Wine Cellar: Featuring a selection of organic and biodynamic wines from around the world, the Wine Cellar offers an opportunity for private wine tastings and wine dinners.
- Flying Sauces: The world’s first fine dining zipline experience combines a sustainably sourced gourmet menu with breathtaking views.
- Out of the Blue: This offers modern Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Thai cuisines, complemented by a selection of cocktails.
- Shades of Green: An innovative food journey set in lush organic gardens, where a plant-based bistro menu fuses Maldivian and Southeast Asian flavors.
- Fresh in the Garden: Dine above the gardens, enjoying the aromas and Chef Chinthaka Sampath’s pop-up restaurant offerings.
- Carne Diem Grill by Dharshan: A unique charcoal grill experience that enhances the flavor of meats and seafood.
- Cinema Paradiso: Offers a serene atmosphere with a diverse menu inspired by Australia’s eclectic cuisine.Once Upon a Table: A culinary theatre with no fixed menu, showcasing the creativity and skills of renowned chefs.
- Mihiree Mithaa: A buffet with a wide range of options, including a salad room and wood-fired pizzas.
- Out of the Sea: Specializes in the freshest, sustainably caught seafood with Mediterranean flavors.
- So Hands On by Akira: A sushi counter offering an intimate experience with some of the world’s best sushi masters.
- So Bespoke: An open-air teppanyaki table offering a unique dining experience with unspoilt views.
- So Cool: Over 60 flavors of homemade ice creams and sorbets for those with a sweet tooth.
- So Delicate: Offers an extensive selection of gourmet hams, cold cuts, cheeses, and preserves.
- So Guilty: An endless selection of chocolates, truffles, pralines, and more for chocolate lovers.
A delightful highlight at both resorts is the complimentary chocolate and ice cream parlors that are open 24/7. These indulgent treats add a sweet touch to the luxurious experience.
Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani are family-friendly, offering complimentary stays for children under 15 in certain villa categories, along with child-friendly experiences and babysitting services. Both resorts ensure a fun and educational experience for young guests, with both properties boasting The Den which are the largest kids’ clubs in the Maldives. The kids club at Jani is a two-storey awe-inspiring playground that has a zipline where children can zipline through a waterfall and for teens there is a music room, telescope deck, pool and pinball machines and much more to stay entertained.
At Soneva Fushi, children have the free run of two pools, a water slide, an eight-metre tall pirate ship and rooms for dressing up, Lego, music and much more. The club spans the size of six tennis courts.
Regarding LGBTQ+ rights, it’s crucial to note that while the Maldives as a country has conservative laws, we were completely welcomed as a same-sex couple and these luxury properties go to great lengths to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for all guests, including LGBTQ+ couples. The emphasis is on privacy, luxury, and comfort and that’s why it’s so important to choose the right property and why we visit them ourselves to recommend to our clients. Read more: The reality vs the law: Gay travel to the Maldives.
Spa Treatments at Soneva Soul
Both resorts feature the renowned Soneva Soul, specializing in holistic wellness experiences and I tried an Intuitive Massage at both properties. These spas offer a range of treatments aimed at rejuvenating the mind, body, and spirit, further enhancing the luxurious experience of your stay.
Soneva Soul Spa at Soneva Fushi
Nestled in the midst of lush greenery, the Soneva Soul Spa at Soneva Fushi is a sanctuary of tranquility. The spa is designed to blend seamlessly with the natural environment, offering treatments that use only ethically sourced and natural products. Guests can indulge in a range of therapies, from traditional massages and Ayurvedic treatments to high-tech wellness solutions like cryotherapy.
Soneva Soul Spa at Soneva Jani
Overlooking the serene waters, the Soneva Soul Spa at Soneva Jani is a haven of peace. Here, treatments are conducted with a view of the ocean, providing an incredible visual and audio backdrop. During my treatment, there was no background music, but it was totally peaceful as I could hear the ocean waves throughout. The spa offers a large menu of treatments, including rejuvenating facials, detoxifying body wraps, and energy healing sessions.
Guests at both resorts’ Soneva Soul can expect more than just spa treatments. The experience includes wellness activities like yoga, meditation, sound baths and fitness sessions. These activities are designed to complement the spa therapies, providing a comprehensive approach to wellness.
Astronomy and Stargazing
Stargazing in the Maldives is an incredible experience because of the lack of light pollution. You are in the middle of the Indian Ocean after all and so at night, you can look up for 360° views of the galaxy.
Both resorts have their own telescopes (Soneva Fushi’s is slightly bigger!) and whilst we were there we were able to see both Jupiter and Saturn – complete with its rings!
Soneva’s commitment to sustainability is deeply ingrained in its core philosophy, making it a leader in eco-friendly luxury hospitality. Soneva resorts are designed to blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings. The use of sustainable materials and construction methods minimizes environmental impact while enhancing the guest experience. The resorts’ innovative waste management strategy transforms waste into wealth. This includes recycling and upcycling waste materials, ensuring minimal waste is sent to landfills as well as using glass waste at Soneva Fushi’s on-site glass studio.
Both resorts cultivate extensive organic gardens. These gardens not only supply the kitchens with fresh produce but also help reduce the carbon footprint associated with importing food. The brand also actively participates in marine conservation efforts, including coral reef restoration and protection of marine life.
Both Soneva Jani and Soneva Fushi stand as the epitome of luxury living in the Maldives, each offering a unique yet equally mesmerizing experience. I loved both of them for different reasons. I loved the lush green jungle feel of Soneva Fushi, being able to dine in the treetops and zipline to breakfast. At Soneva Jani, the fact that all rooms are overwater (for now) is a bonus for some – you only have to look at my room tour of the villa to understand just how big the villas are.
Soneva as a brand is committed to sustainability is definitely something that is worth noting. Whilst it’s hard to be truly sustainable at any island resort, Soneva Jani installed solar panels during our stay which the manager told us would make the island 60% powered by renewable energy.
Both resorts, with their exquisite attention to detail, personalized service, and a wide range of activities, ensure that every guest, whether traveling as a couple or with family, experiences the pinnacle of luxury, relaxation, and adventure. The essence of Soneva Jani and Soneva Fushi lies not just in their breathtaking locations or luxurious amenities, but in their ability to create unforgettable memories, making them both incredible choices for a Maldivian getaway.
So all-in-all, which one do I recommend? Without wanting to sound like I’m not committing, I’d definitely say try both. Three nights at one and four nights at another is a good combination. Soneva offers a speedboat between the two properties (just under an hour’s travel time) and I’d recommend opting for a beach villa at Soneva Fushi and then an overwater villa at Soneva Jani.