In 1995, Eva and Sonu Shivdasani opened Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. It was to revolutionise the concept of the luxury island resort. Using the moniker – no news, no shoes – guests were encouraged to immerse themselves in their holiday and forget any and all troubles. Footwear was discouraged, as were telephones and the internet – they still are today. Soneva promoted sustainability when that word was hardly uttered. It also lavished all its guests with the kind of service you would expect in a palace hotel. An original desert island hideaway. 

There are 63 Robinson Crusoe style eco-chic villas hidden among dense tropical foliage – many built to resemble tree houses – and 8 Water Retreats. They range in size from one to nine bedrooms and are designed to offer maximum luxury, space, privacy and unforgettable views. They all open to their own private stretch of sugar-white sand and most have their own private seawater pool. Activities include a spa, private beach with water sports facilities, bikes on loan, an observatory, open-air cinema, floodlit tennis court, group yoga, tai chi classes, jogging trail, ice-cream parlour and library. The resort can organise scuba diving, motorised water sports, and local boat trips. Soneva Fushi is reachable by scenic 30-minute seaplane flight directly from Malé International Airport, or a 12-minute speedboat ride.

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