THE BACKGROUND: Offering ‘Intelligent Luxury’, the resort is one of two Soneva by Six Senses properties in the Maldives (there’s also a Six Senses Latitude). There are 45 overwater villas – including some reached only by boat – built in traditional style from natural materials and ranging up to 1400 sq m.
WHERE IS IT? About 20 minutes by speedboat from the Male International Airport. The resort (the only one) is on the private island of Lankanfushi (there are another 1189 islands in the Maldives) in the North Male Atoll.
THE ROOM: Huge – at 210 sq m – and this was the ‘entry level’ Villa Suite. Natural timber and thatch is the order of the day. There’s a large bedroom with king-size bed, a large desk and chair in front of one of the wide windows which overlook the sea on two sides, and an equally wide TV screen. An open-air living room features daybeds and dining area, roof-top sundeck with day bed, over-water sun deck with sun loungers and partially open-air private bathroom with lots of storage space. Most rooms have their own bike.
THE RESTAURANT & BARS: The main restaurant, on the west side of the island, serves breakfast and dinner. Sense by the Sea serves fusion Peruvian-Japanese food to just 26 guests. The Main Bar serves snacks and light meals, while the Wine Cellar and Underground Chocolate Cave features a six-metre driftwood tree trunk table where guests enjoy wine tasting (just the 300 to choose from!).
THE FACILITIES: There’s a surprising amount to choose from including an over-water Six Senses Spa, which includes a gym and sauna; Ocean Paradise Dive Centre; water sports (non-motorised are free); book/CD/DVD library; gift and jewellery shop; tennis court; fishing; and cruises.
HIGHLIGHT: Clambering into a kayak and heading out through the shallow waters to a tiny islet and then snorkelling in the crystal-clear warm waters watching fish sporting every hue in the colour spectrum.
RECOMMEND TO: Honeymooners and couples of all ages who are prepared to pay for the ultimate in standards and service but with a ‘barefoot luxury’ approach to life..
THE COST: Villa suite rack rates range from £671 pn although a seven-night (for the price of five) packaged price – including flights – with Carrier - is from £2451 in a Rehendi Room, room only.
THE DETAILS: 2nd Floor, 4/3 Faamudheyri Magu, Male, Republic of Maldives; T: +960 664 0304;
The Soneva Gili serves up the perfect mix of environmental awareness, barefoot luxury, exceptional service and standards, and a laidback ambience which cannot fail to relax and reinvigorate.
Managing editor, Selling Long Haul