A true tropical wonderland, Soneva Jani impresses with its 24 ultra-luxurious villas, ice cream, chocolate and cheese parlours, a working observatory and multiple world-class restaurants that are frequented by Michelin-starred chefs. This 5-star resort has long been a favourite with the jet-set crowd: Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, and Dakota Johnson have all vacationed at Soneva Jani over the past few years. Even Madonna once stayed in an overwater villa, and called it ‘the definition of heaven’.
Soneva Jani is the sister resort to the eye-poppingly beautiful Soneva Fushi, and both have earned five-star ratings and countless rave reviews on Tripadvisor. But what’s it really like to stay in one of the Maldives most glamorous mega-resorts? Read on to find out all about the rooms, restaurants and facilities at Soneva Jani in the Maldives.
Let’s start with what is arguably the highlight of this resort, and that is the rooms. Perfectly positioned amongst the crystal clear waters of the Noonu Atool, Soneva Jani is home to 24 villas that are divided into seven different room types.
Soneva Jani certainly isn’t somewhere you’d want to visit on a budget, but if you’re looking for the most affordable room option of the lot then we recommend for one-bedroom water retreat villa. This spacious private hideaway is set out on the jetty in the midst of a shimmering azure lagoon. The villa comes with a master bedroom and lounge area, a study, dressing room, private pool decking area with two steps leading down into the water, as well as a sunken chill out spot.
A lovely touch is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which allows you to sleep under the stars, while the private roof decking area lets you dine under the stars too. It also comes with its own kitchen and pantry which is filled to the brim with treats, snacks and other goodies (the staff can even pre fill it with your favourite items). There’s also tea and coffee making facilities, as well as a popcorn machine! In the sunken seating area you’ll find a clear glass panel just below the table, so you can have a lovely view of the colourful marine life below.
“Miniature castles, water slides, swimming pools, a pontoon similar to a sea snake, this is image of this 5-star resort captured from the sea plane. The beautiful construction of the resort as if arisen from the imagination of a big child”. – Anne-Marie Cattelain
You have probably seen the images online of those enormous over water villas that have a water slide coming out from the main bedroom down into the ocean. These photos are actually of the Soneva Jani, and the villa in question is the 4 bedroom water retreat villa with slide. More of the palace than a villa, this is the place to book if you’re travelling with a large family or a group of friends, although it’s not suitable if you have very young children. The villa contains everything that you’ll find in the one bed water retreat, as well as an outdoor catamaran net where you can lounge over the beautiful turquoise waters, a day bed area for chilling out in the golden rays, and 3 bedrooms – one of which is a sleeping area for children. In total, this huge villa covers some 625 square metres. The three bedrooms are able to accommodate 6 adults and 2 children.
If you’re travelling with younger children, or just fancy a stay on dry land, then go for the 4 bedroom Island Reserve (which also has its own water slide too)! This is your own beachfront mansion, where you can be steps away from the ocean as well as a private pool. The villa has many of the features of the over water villas, but it also includes a steam room, sauna as well as a wine cellar. It’s one of the largest private residences available to hire in the Maldives at 1752 square metres, and it can accommodate 8 adults and 2 children.
All rooms come with access to a private butler, who is on hand to tend to your every wish and need. The rooms also come with personal bicycles or tricycles for each guest, so you can easily explore the island. WIFI is available in all of the rooms, as well as in the main public areas, but to be honest with views like this, the last thing you want to be doing is looking at your phone.
Seven Star Facilities
This may be a 5-star resort, but the facilities on offer here go above and beyond after you would find in similar rated resorts in the Maldives. One the best things about staying here is the homemade chocolate and ice cream parlours that will make you feel like a kid in a candy store. Here you can sample on some incredible delights like French macaroons, chocolate-covered nuts, and over 60 different flavours of ice cream including vegan options.
The resort has a water sports centre, where you can rent non-motorized water sports equipment including windsurfs, canoes, and paddle boards. The centre also offers catamaran sailing tours that available on request.
There is a wonderful house reef located just a short swim away from the island, so you can hire snorkels and flippers and head out to explore the underwater world too without having to swim far. If you want to learn more about the sea life, then you can take a class offered by the resident marine biologist.
Soneva Jani has a huge cinema screen located out on the Lagoon where they show silent movies and serve up complimentary gourmet popcorn and ice cream.
And something truly special is the full working observatory. They also run regular introduction to astronomy classes with a resident astronomer, so you can learn all about the starry night sky.
Yoga-lovers are also looked after here, as there are daily yoga and meditation classes available. If you fancy a private lesson or two, then the on-site yoga instructor is able to come to your villa in order to offer a personalized class for you. There’s also a gym with rowing machines, weights, treadmills, bikes and everything else you need to have a workout in paradise.
Dining here is an absolute delight; Soneva Jani is famous for being one of the most-loved foodie destinations in the Maldives. They’ve recently set up a partnership with the Michelin Guide, in which visiting Michelin-starred chef come and creates and fabulous tasting menus for guests at the resort. Crab lovers will be spoilt for choice here, as the resorts signature restaurant serves everything from Sri Lankan mud crab curry to enormous seafood platters. They also have a wonderful selection of rose wine that perfectly complements the Seafood dishes.
The So Fresh restaurant is centred around open kitchen, and features bright and airy decor that helps to make that already turquoise lagoons look even more beautiful. There there’s indoor seating as well as overwater netting, where you can kick back with a handcrafted cocktail or two.
If you’re travelling with a big group of people, and you want to enjoy a special celebration then you can hire out ‘So Imaginative’ private room. Here, famous chefs are on hands to design a menu that perfectly accommodate you and your guests tastes. This stunning dining area also comes with several sommeliers who are on hand to create wine tastings and pair the perfect drinks to your dishes.
Another dining event, is called the ‘So Engaging’ package, and this is where you get to sit at the chef’s table. The chef will offer a fun mystery menu, which is a complete surprise for you and for and your guests! It allows you to really have the best seat in the house, as well as talk to the chef about the food.
The Observatory is an amazing facility, but did you know that you can actually walk up to the top of it and enjoy a dinner there? With only four dining tables, all centred around a telescope, this is a truly special place to wine and dine. The dishes on offer here are international delights with a Maldivian and Asian Twist.
If it’s drinks and nibbles are what you’re after then head for the Gathering Bar which is set over the water and features some stunning glass sculpture work. Here you can find organic aperitifs, as well as a huge selection of spirits and liqueurs from around the world. A nice touch is the extensive tapas menu, and that the bar stays open until the last guest leaves.
There is a Director’s Cut Restaurant which is open five days a week and serves up a selection of Japanese inspired dishes including sashimi, black cod, and other contemporary fusion foods. You can actually dine here while watching a film in the overwater silent cinema.
The chefs at Soneva Jani cater for guests with special dietary requirements, they say that:
“Be your needs allergy related or rooted in your religion or culture, at Soneva we can cater to your dietary requirements. All we need is time to plan ahead, so don’t hesitate to let Reservations know of any special preparations that you need or foods that you don’t eat in advance”.
How to Get to Soneva Jani
In order to get to Soneva Jani, you will need to take a sea plane from Male International Airport on the main island of Hulhule. As soon as you arrive at the international airport, you’ll be greeted with a representative who will help to escort you to the private seaplane lounge where you can sip on light refreshments and enjoy some snacks while waiting for your seaplane departure. Seaplane transfers are in addition to the cost of the room, and prices will vary depending on if you are if you are travelling in low season or High season.
Soneva Jani Overview
Did you know that the Soneva Jani resort was actually the originator of the ‘no news no shoes’ policy? This perfectly sums up the lovely laid-back vibe of the beautiful resort, and unlike other ultra-glam Maldivian hideaways, it is rather unpretentious and you can enjoy a casual vacation with your family or a loved one without that stuffy vibe. It does a perfect job of capturing Robinson Crusoe deserted Island feel, while mixing it with modern luxuries and royal-worthy service.
The downside? Well it is pretty hard to think of any negative points about this resort, apart from the cost. Soneva Jani isn’t it by any means wallet-friendly, but you can view the latest deals by clicking here. If you are travelling on more of a limited budget, then we can recommend Milaidhoo Island, which still offers incredible over water villas and private pools but at a fraction of the price.
Overall, if the budget allows it, then Soneva Jani is sure to tick all the right boxes and then some. It’s an amazing tropical paradise, and probably one of the best places you’re ever going to stay in the world. Are you thinking of booking a trip to Soneva Jani? Click here to see more images and book now.
If you need a little help and in booking your vacation to the Maldives, then we’ve got the wealth of articles to help you to plan a magical and memorable trip in no time. Check out this article for everything you need to know before you go, as well as this one for the complete guide to packing for your Maldives holiday. If you’re still stuck on where to stay then check out this article which lists our favourite resorts in the Maldives.
Have you stayed at Soneva Jani before? What did you love most? Let us know in the comment section below.
Maldives Hotel Finder: Find Your Hotel On the Map