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Soneva Jani opens in the Noonu Atoll, Maldives

·         24 water villas and 1 island villa in the 5.6km Medhufaru lagoon

·         Most overwater villas feature a retractable roof for stargazing and waterslides from top floor into the lagoon below

Bangalore, November 08, 2016: The Soneva story continues with Soneva Jani, the luxury resort operator’s newest property, located in the Noonu Atoll, Maldives. The primarily overwater resort comprises 24 water villas and one island villa situated in a 5.6km lagoon, one of the largest in the Maldives.

Soneva Jani opens in the Noonu Atoll, Maldives

The resort is built around the 150-acre island of Medhufaru, and surrounded by four other untouched islands within the lagoon. The resort comprises 18 units of one-bedroom water villas, four two-bedroom water villas, one three-bedroom and one four-bedroom water villa, as well as a four-bedroom island villa. At more than 410 square metres, the one bedroom villas are the largest entry-level villas in the Indian Ocean.

“It has been said that if Soneva Fushi was its own island, Soneva Jani is its own ‘atoll’, as it’s actually a small archipelago of five islands (four of them deserted) within the Medhufaru lagoon,” said Sonu Shivdasani, the CEO and founder of Soneva. “In fact, Medhufaru island is the largest tourist island in the Maldives. Plus, the lagoon is huge; more than 7,000 Olympic swimming pools can fit inside it.  In this massive space with the islands and the lagoon, there are only 25 villas. It’s one of the lowest density resorts in the world, by far.”

“My wife Eva and I have spent many years travelling the world and searching for the perfect spot to open our next resort after Soneva Kiri. When we saw this lagoon, with the bluest water we had ever seen, we knew this was the place,” he added.

All villas include a 13m private pool on the outdoor deck, a walk-in mini bar, uninterrupted lagoon views with direct access, and many of them have water slides from the top deck into the water below.  This is in addition to a top deck dining area, an outdoor patio with a sunken dining table, a study and a sleeping-area for children (conveniently located within the main bedroom so that parents can be assured their children are never too far from them in an overwater environment). Three different glass-bottomed areas in each villa guarantee that the underwater world is never too far away. Soneva’s ubiquitous chocolate parlours, ice-cream rooms and Mr./Ms Friday butler service is also provided to all guests.

With sandblasted pine decking and Shingle Red River Gum tiles adorning the outside of the fairytale-esque villas, the insides are made from subtly weathered woods and natural materials in a colour palette of white, pastel greens and mauves. The overall effect is ethereal, light and airy to encourage the ultimate state of relaxation. Like all other Soneva properties, the spacious villas feature beautifully designed interiors by Eva Shivdasani, one of Soneva’s co-founders, and are made from the highest quality sustainable materials.

Another unique feature of the villas are the retractable roofs in the master bedroom, which slide back at the touch of a button to reveal the night sky for stargazing. If guests want a closer look, they can visit Soneva Jani’s Observatory, which is the first overwater observatory in the Maldives. A sophisticated telescope rises through the floor of the observatory deck, surrounded by four dining tables, where guests can dine and watch screens on the tables linked to the view from the telescope. The resort’s resident Astronomer is available to help guests discover the secrets of the universe.

The resort also features the largest overwater structure in the Maldives. At three storeys tall, The Gathering is the heart of the resort and houses the various dining outlets, which serve global cuisine, as well as the spa, library, retail area, wine cellar and Children’s Den.  A Soleni Dive Centre and Marine Biology Champa are located next to The Gathering.

All guests are provided with bicycles or tricycles to help navigate the fun, snaking jetty that connects to the main island, home to Cinema Paradiso, Screwpine Alley, the Gardens and Labyrinth, and various walking and cycle paths.  A shuttle boat service is also available to transport guests around the resort, should they prefer. Cinema Paradiso is an open-air, overwater cinema, where guests will be given Bluetooth headphones so as not to disturb the nesting turtles and other wildlife in the area.

While being a luxury resort, Soneva Jani’s eco-credentials strongly reflect the brand’s ‘intelligent luxury’ ethos, with fresh organic produce grown in farms on the island, as well as a
recycling program and recycled glassware made at Soneva Fushi’s Glass Studio.  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 significant source of power generation at the resort, all waste-water is collected and treated on-site, and water is also produced on-site, including drinking water, using desalination.

Located only 40 minutes from the capital Male, guests can arrive by seaplane, which lands at the floating airport situated in the deepest part of the lagoon, or by a 60-minute speedboat journey from the sister resort, Soneva Fushi.

“There are a lot of ‘biggest’ and ‘firsts’ associated with Soneva Jani, which is fascinating as it’s really a very small resort, in terms of room inventory, in the big scheme of things. However, we have pushed ourselves to create this totally unique, creative product in this incredibly beautiful location. The waters in the lagoon have the most 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,” said Olivia Richli, Pre-Opening and General Manager – Soneva Jani.

“The feedback we have received so far has been amazing, people haven’t seen anything like it. We are fully booked for parts of November and December, which is remarkable for the opening months of a luxury resorts life,” she concluded.

The resort, which celebrated its soft opening in October 2016, is open to the public however some elements of it are still in the final stages of development and are scheduled to be finished by December 2016.

In addition to Soneva Jani, Soneva owns and operates Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Soneva in Aqua, an ultra-luxurious yacht, was launched in the Maldives in 2015 and sails out of Soneva Fushi. For more information about Soneva visit

Quick facts:

The Medhufaru lagoon is 5.6km long
There are 5.4 kilometres of nature trails to be explored on the main Medhufaru Island
1.6 kilometres of jetty links the water villas to the main island
12 kilometres of reef circling the lagoon, which include corals of all species, and a great deal of fish as well as huge old coral colonies creating a nice shallow 3D reefscape.
There are 104,000 pieces of Red River Gum Shingles from Laos on the roof of The Gathering

 About Soneva Fushi

In 1995, award-winning luxury resort Soneva Fushi set the standard for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways in the Maldives. Located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi pairs Robinson Crusoe fantasy with intelligent luxury.

Fifty-seven private villas with their own stretch of beach are hidden among dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine coral reef. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers.
Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, counting Saturn’s rings in the high-tech Observatory, the home-made chocolate and ice cream rooms, five hundred wines to choose from, six different restaurants and countless destination dining options. In November 2015, Soneva have launched a floating villa concept, Soneva in Aqua, a treasure trove children’s Den and a multi-purpose facility encompasses a glass gallery, boutique and studio where guests can learn the art of glass blowing.

If the experiences are magical, the philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. No pretensions either.

About Soneva Kiri

Award-winning luxury resort Soneva Kiri is located on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood - just one hour by private plane south-east of Bangkok. It offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, an integral environmental approach, authentic Thai experiences and mouth-watering organic food.
Soneva Kiri comprises 36 vast pool villas on beach level, hillsides or cliff tops, all overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Available to rent or purchase, all have impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers.
Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, a home-made chocolate and ice cream parlour, a high-tech Observatory, a manta ray shaped children’s Den and the spectacular Treetop Dining Pod.

About Soneva Jani

Located on the island of Medhufaru in a 5.6 km lagoon in the Noonu Atoll, Soneva Jani features both overwater and island villas.  Each water villa opens to its very own stretch of lagoon and is complete with a private pool and a retractable roof to stargaze from the master bedroom. Some of the villas have slides from the top floor directly into the lagoon below.
With beautifully designed interiors made from sustainable materials, all villas are equipped with a spacious master bedroom with an adjoining kids sleeping area. All villas have an open-air bathroom with bathtub, shower and lagoon access. They also have a walk-in mini-bar with espresso machine and private wine cellar selection. An outdoor deck and seating area with sun loungers and direct access to the lagoon are also available.
The main facilities of Soneva Jani are located at The Gathering, which is a three-storey structure that hosts the main dining outlets as well as an Observatory, a Spa, gift-shop and a water sports and dive centre. There is also an overwater silent cinema, a tennis court, a labyrinth gardens, an eco-centro and a Children’s Den on the main island.
Soneva Jani offers a number of dining options and cuisines, as well as the complimentary cheese room, chocolate room and ice-cream room for all guests.
The property is a 40-minute seaplane ride from Male International Airport and 1-hour by speedboat from Soneva Fushi.

About Soneva in Aqua

Soneva in Aqua, the pioneering new concept of experiential luxury, is now sailing from its flagship resort, Soneva Fushi. An ultra-luxurious and highly refined yacht, Soneva in Aqua measures 19. 28 metres in length and 6.40 metres in width, with exceptionally spacious interiors. Highlights of the yacht include spacious decks with daybeds and dining areas, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and a glass-bottomed Jacuzzi in the master bedroom.  Our highly skilled and trained crew on board includes a Captain, a Sous Chef, a Mr Friday (butler), a Dive Instructor, a Therapist and an Astronomer (on request). The boat can be chartered for one, two, three and seven night adventures to explore the untouched beauty of far-flung Maldivian atolls.
The two-cabin yacht combines Soneva’s iconic barefoot luxury with a sense of freedom and exclusivity of a private boat charter, while being at the price-point of a two-bedroom villa at Soneva Fushi.