What We Love
- Around-the-clock butler service
- Retractable roofs on all the villas
- An overwater silent cinema, the first of its kind in the Maldives
- Complimentary scoops (more than 50 flavors to choose from) at the onsite ice-cream parlor
What To Know
- Visit between December and April to skip the Maldives’s rainy season
- Each residence here contains a private pool
- Almost all the produce used in the resort’s five restaurants comes from an onsite vegetable and herb garden
- A resident marine biologist is available to accompany guests on guided snorkeling tours
From the moment you step off your private seaplane onto this jetty, floating atop a three-mile lagoon just forty minutes north of the Maldivian capital of Male, you’ll be gob-smacked by the sheer solitude of your surroundings. For starters, your shoes will be whisked away for the remainder of your stay, giving a literal spin to the phrase “barefoot luxury.” The villas, a winding sequence of pitched roofs and turrets, took cues from Indian Ocean sunsets with their magical palette of periwinkles and silvers. Whether you’re absorbing the many extravagances in your impeccably designed overwater villa, dressed with bamboo floors and rattan furniture (and include water slides and catamaran nets on your private deck), or paying a visit to the resort’s lavish cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie lounge, the sense of castaway cool that infuses every nook of this secluded island paradise will floor you.
In the Area
Made up of five palm-fringed islets, the Noonu Atoll, an especially remote slice of the Maldives, is best explored by speedboat, which the resort provides (the main island, however, is accessible by bicycles or golf buggies). The visual highlight is undoubtedly the azure lagoon that surrounds Soneva, and the extracurricular indulgences here are an inspiring mix of over and underwater activities: hop aboard a dhoni, a traditional Maldivian fishing boat, and spy on frolicking dolphins; snorkel around the reefs of the lively Medhufaru Lagoon, or arrange for a chef-made picnic lunch (he only uses what he can catch or forage) on nearby Zuhair’s Island.
How to Get There
This place is incredible. Lost for words... The incredible scenery, the villas but most of all the incredible people who makes this place so unique. Especially a huge thank you to Nasra, Shimmi, Ansari, Kitty, Aswad, Francis, Adil and many more-you are all amazing!
There are holiday resorts where reality exceeds expectations and no photo could truly capture their splendour; Soneva Jani is one of the coveted few.
Everything was impeccable right from the moment we landed at the atoll where our private butler greeted us. It also has one of the most extraordinarily lavish breakfast for such a private and exclusive resort.
We were not merely guests in Soneva Jani instead, we integrated with the hosts and experienced their way of life. It has been nothing short of magical.
We are great fans of the Soneva brand, sort of self-proclaimed brand ambassadors, and intend to return, so when I will write critically below – it will be from a positive, sad place.
We had to cancel our scheduled trip on Soneva in Aqua due to bad weather, and they offered us alternative villas on Soneva Jani. The Soneva staff was more than just fair, and while we had to move villas twice due to availability issues, we were given very good villas and they did the best they could, given the weather and given the unplanned nature of our arrival in Jani.
While cancelling in Aqua was disappointing, we understand that the Soneva group cannot be held responsible for the weather, and as a businessman myself I understand why a hotel cannot given a rain check or underwrite the weather. My prime take away is never again to go to such places on the low season. There is a reason why it is a low season. Never take the risk. The family disappointment is too great, and if you divide the cost by the number of effective sunshine hours, you find the low season vacation to be extremely expensive.
Turning to Jani: while Soneva Jani is a new resort, it feels below the Soneva standard in both terms of service and maintenance. Our Mr. Friday had too many guests concurrently, and it was often difficult to get answers or even service for quite some time. It was pouring rain and we could not get to the restaurant for lunch other than by a buggy, yet there was no buggy service other than with Mr. Friday and he was busy with other guests. We waited for 1.5 hours (!) to be taken for lunch.
We got confusing answers from different staff members to the same questions, such as what's included in the price and what's not, and we waited for 1.5 days to find out if the spa offered hairdressing services or not (the answer is no). We ordered wine, a fly fell into it, and we were charged $50 for the substitute glass of wine. Its just $50, but it can really piss you off.
The air-condition leaked, and in the morning our little daughter found herself in a totally wet bed (due to the AC leak). The rain also penetrated into the villa, and there watery patches near the doors and windows. Even though the place is only 2 years old, it feels somewhat worn-down.
We are now moving to Soneva Fushi. Yesterday we were told we will be travelling on a seaplane. We are now seeing the seaplane taking off without us. They say we need to wait for additional 1.5 hours for a boat that will take another hour to get to Fushi. Overall, a disappointing experience. We expected much more from Soneva.
Hope service will be better at Fushi.
Cannot say enough how excellent this trip was to Soneva Jani. From spending months going through photos and websites we were expecting to be let down as everything looked so beautiful on the Internet and we doubted it could live up to the hype..
Luckily we were blown away by the island, the people, the food and the accommodations.
Soneva Jani is truly spectacular.
- Service from our Man Friday (Yessir) was amazing. Everything was arranged perfectly on our arrival and was kept that way throughout. Whilst being attentive and ensuring our trip was amazing, he was also extremely personable and friendly without being fake or over the top. Well done Sir!!
- The room was the highlight of the visit. Spacious, private and very glamorous. The pool and deck area will remain as a great memory for years to come. Compared to many other islands the space is huge with plenty of spaces to relax, have a drink, sunbake etc.
- The resort and island are huge, brand new and have all the high level luxury items you would expect in this price bracket. Fully equipped gym, fine dining restaurants, WiFi etc
- Cinema Paridiso is an outdoor Cinema where you can watch movies under the start and is a must do. Another must do is the weekly social party the island throws for its guest on one of the main beaches
- Food was exceptional throughout the length of the stay with most options being done via the central Gathering. In room dining was also excellent and the room has an extensive food offering in the Kitchenette
- Being the Maldives, the beaches, water and weather were of course world class and make for some epic photos.
- We wanted this trip to relax and not do a lot of activities, but for a family/group looking for many things do Soneva Jani might not be the best choice, it has more of a laidback vibe rather than the noise of JetSkis and parties etc.
Overall its a 10 out of 10, the only sadness was having to leave.
Great job Soneva, thank you!
It’s hard to “rate” this resort. A rating high enough doesn’t exist.
We went there for my 50th birthday. From the moment the seaplane lands to moment that you leave, you are so completely welcomed and taken care of. Our Ms Friday (I personally dislike this term because it’s so impersonal) Khajja, was wonderful. So warm, friendly and personable; a complete joy to be around. She has this beautiful personality that makes you feel that you’ve been friends forever.
Ibrahim, the housekeeper of our villa, was also super friendly and kept our place spotless. It was magically cleaned by the time that we came back from breakfast. He also came back for the turndown service and left everything in perfect order for the evening.
Noah, who was one of our many servers, was a standout. So very friendly and kind. These are just a few names that I recall but every person that we encountered were excellent.
I must confess that we didn’t participate in many activities because the villa was our sanctuary. Who would ever want to leave it? We did do the beach Maldivian BBQ. An absolute must. It gives you a small glimpse into the local culture through dance and food. We also took out the kayaks which was very enjoyable.
The food was always excellant from the completely over the top breakfast buffet to the a la crate and theme night dinners. Not too mention the decadent chocolate and ice cream rooms. I’m actually writing this review on my treadmill!
I’ve run out of adjectives to praise this paradise.
The resort has one flaw however, I’ve never felt so sad leaving anywhere like I did leaving The Soneva Jani.
Thank you to the visionaries who created this masterpiece and to all who staff it. It was our pleasure and honor to be welcomed into your family. We will be back.
Sincerely, Richard and Michael