An Ode to Soneva Fushi

The Maldivian resort of Soneva Fushi is somewhere quite extraordinary. Offering barefoot luxury and total seclusion, the resort is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Following her recent engagement there, luxury travel expert Jules, pays homage to the resort’s magical setting and the people who make it so special.

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Soneva Fushi of Maldivian fame
Is the juxtaposition of twin souls’ names
The island that was destined ‘never to be’
For how could you reach it over the sea?

So I suspect that, the blood, sweat and tears
Have all been shed these last 22 years
Creating this paradise, this magical idyll
Needed Sonu’s dreams and Eva’s strong will.

As despite its growth it had to keep its soul
Not to compromise harmony or nature became the goal
To bring comfort and luxury to justify prices
But never would integrity ever be sacrificed.

Which is why the villas are all hidden away
Behind glossy emerald palms that gently sway
Over bunnies and birds and the crabs on the beach
That nature remains undisturbed is the lesson they teach.

We are as a race, somewhat ruining the world
The seas and the turtles and the coral and pearls
Here at Soneva Fushi every day they make sure
That even saving a little – will one day mean more.

And riding through the paths every morning on my bike
I shed so many thoughts which seemed suddenly trite
Instant communication, emails, phone calls and news
Have gone out through the shutters along with my shoes!

I sit drinking fresh juices along with the view
As the sea changes color I debate what to do
To just sit and ponder seems almost a sin
But day after day something is quietening within.

The soul of this island brings the slow life and peace
Stress ebbs away like the tides on the reef
Incredible white beaches whichever way you turn
Vibrant green palms, flowers and ferns.

Ali in his garden is such a special sight
The curries cooked by Sira were a culinary delight
The dinner at Dolphin Beach lit by lanterns oh so bright
Never dimmed the stars which like diamonds shone that night.

Fresh in the Garden is a dinner with a twist
Then a sky full of stars upon which you can wish
Seven Sisters and Casiopia and the Andromeda Cluster
Are all seen from the Observatory where after dinner we muster.

Billions of light years and galaxies away
We watch through the telescope as we twiddle and play
Can anyone out there see us, I wonder but ‘hey’
If they can they would be jealous – of another perfect day.
Each incredible breakfast starts with Sira’s yummy fruits
Indian curry or even dim sum – their breakfasts are a hoot
Out with boring cereal and a nice cup of tea
Here its glorious fresh fruits juices and a Hopper for me!

The first day we arrived we discovered the Soneva ‘Elves’
Suitcases mysteriously emptied – clothes appeared on our shelves
Towels on the loungers appear before sunrise
I tried lying in wait – but they disappear before your eyes.

Aravind and Areen look after us at Villa Five
And my birthday this year was a never-ending surprise
Champagne and Sira’s curries in the Garden of Delight
Cocktails with Shiyam at Bar (a) Bara – as the sun slid out of sight.

And just when I thought there was nothing more to come
Aravind dreamed up Dolphin Beach for a barbecue and fun
After dining on ambrosia by the light of the stars
All I could hear was Sinatra’s song about Jupiter and Mars.

“Fly me to the moon” might be old blue eye’s favorite croon,
But “fly me to Soneva Fushi”  is surely better than the moon?
On that little Red Sea Plane that skims across the seas
Landing like a dragonfly to bring paradise to me.

Yes you see that was the problem all those years ago,
When they said Soneva would not work – with a big fat NO
How do you get there? A boat will take forever?
But of course they had reckoned without Sonu and Eva!

So they started with helicopters landing at Cinema Paradies
Which led to the seaplanes that now criss-cross the Maldives
Now Cinema Paradies is much quieter – never fear
As we sat watching ‘The Intouchables’ – through laugher and tears.

So just as I thought – nothing could get better,
We set off for a Sandbank Cocktail in very mixed weather
The cocktails with Evan were as good as we had been told
As we watched the magnificent sunset sketched in colors so bold.

The Asian Market dinner – was a street of food desire
Tempura, Sashimi and meats and fish – all grilling on the fires
Sitting on the beach looking at the wine dark sea,
The moon sailing overhead – through the coconut trees.

To be invited to share this wonderful jewel, this island Shangri-La
Where all the materials are natural, nothing is plastic, nothing in jars
The recycling plant is a masterpiece – rejuvenating wood and glass and bricks
The beautiful recycled glass a testimony to the gin and wine bottle trips!

Everything here is in harmony and it gave me back ‘time’
For one blissful week it is totally all mine
And walking along Nibiligaa’s white powder deserted beach
You felt that every dream and wish was easily in one’s reach.

A castaway island lapped by the sea and cries of birds
Left us both totally speechless, beauty beyond words
Where in the world on earth – can you shed real life for a day?
With no Wi-Fi or outside contact – would they had left us there to stay!
Lunch was as usual wonderful, a picnic second to none
The cobalt skies and aqua waters all glinted in the sun
Then Patrick’s surprise proposal, the Soneva magic was surely there
Along with rosé, a perfect view and romantic setting to be fair!

Sadly they did not forget us and the boat came back at four
What an end to a perfect day, but no, as usual there was more!
A cake with congratulations and on our bed was a work of art
We fell into a dreamless sleep – tomorrow a new day to start.

Tonight will be the Dolphin Cruise and I hope the clouds will clear
To reveal another sunset – as tomorrow will I fear
Will be our last night on paradise before the magic ends
Then ‘bye bye’ to the team – now old friends.

Soneva Fushi will stay in my heart until we meet again
Above all will stay the memories and the new found friends
The gentle smiles and ‘anything goes’ will stay with me forever
As we sadly wave the dock goodbye and prepare for English weather! 

Soneva Fushi in pictures:

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