Do it once, but do it right! Come to the Maldives for a breathtaking tan and a little perspective. This is how Soneva Jani did it for me.

The last two years of the pandemic have been years of trends. I mean, sure, we need trends so we don’t go crazy with cabin fever and demoralizing news. It’s the least we can do. My favorite trend, thanks to Dan Brown’s MasterClass, was internet travel. I looked and watched. I marched endlessly, never with envy but with hope. One of the most viewed destinations on my feed was the Maldives. And it has everything to do with the color blue. The warmest color has now become the color of luxury and well-being – the soothing teal and sapphire will fade into the deep azure to blend into the dynamically endless sky. Welcoming and sunny, life in the Maldives is a hedonist’s dream come true.

Soneva jani

As excited as I was to board an early morning flight from Delhi to the Maldives, I was just as nervous about reaching my dream destination. Even after a triple check of all the forms (RT-PCR, Air Suvidha health declaration, IMUGA E-visa), there is still room for apprehension. Not to mention a suitable recommendation that has certainly come in handy, and that is USD currency exchange. It’s just easier to tip and buy souvenirs.

Villa # 84 in Soneva Jani is an ambience

And finally I land. When I arrived at the airport, the right people from Soneva organized my trip to the waiting room from where we boarded a seaplane and left for a 40 minute trip to Soneva Jani, the lowest density complex in the world, located in Medhufaru Lagoon in Noonu Atoll. . The seaplane was carrying people traveling to both Soneva Fushi and Jani. While Fushi takes 30 minutes to reach, Jani is slightly further away. The magic begins in the sky as you gaze at the sparkling ocean, palm-fringed beaches, lagoons, and private villas. A dhoni (a traditional Maldivian boat) awaits us at the dock to take us to Soneva Jani Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 includes 27 cantilever villas, with expansive interiors and exteriors and a swimming pool. And it’s a stone’s throw from the south beach. Its serpentine jetty leads you to your villa which reflects the enduring architecture and living ethic of 25-year-old Soneva. The decor complements island life – from oyster-shaped rooftops and coral-type bulbs to funky fans and fishtail lamps – it’s very chic Flinstones-on-vacay here. Not to mention that nothing is in a straight line, resulting in a certain creative mindset. The beach white theme dominates my one-bedroom water supply, along with highlights such as catamaran nets, an outdoor bathroom, upper deck dining area, and a retractable roof (for that you sleep under the stars).

Prosecco on a dolphin cruise and other things to do in the Maldives

When traveling in November 2021, Soneva Jani put a “me day” on the first day of the itinerary as we had to undergo an RT-PCR test and self-quarantine in the villa. Which convinced a quick swim and nap followed by an indulgent catering service that serves delicious Continental and Maldivian cuisine. The next four days included Breakfast at Down To Earth, Lunch at Overseas by Celebrity Swedish Chef Mathias Dahlgren and Crabshack – A Pescatarian’s Heaven. Yellow Tuna and Cherry Sorbet Carpaccio, Overseas Oxalis and Bubbles and Black Pepper Mud Crab and Crabshack’s Calamari Fritti were enough reasons to consider investing in one of Soneva’s private villas.

The main hive of activity at Soneva Jani takes place in The Gathering, an imposing three-story complex housing an indoor / outdoor restaurant and bar, gallery and retail store, library, gym, sauna, hammam and spa on stilts. You taste your way at tangy live stations with world-renowned chefs as they whip their magic using tandoor and wood-fired ovens.

Soneva Jani Maldives

Between these gastronomic escapades, the visit of Barefoot Butler Island from chapter 1 to chapter 2 made us discover Soneva’s philosophy of slow living in spaces like the Eco Centro (a wellness area equipped with a sports, meditation centers, etc.), gardens and water sports center (from where you can get accessories for activities like snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing), Screw Pine Alley and Cinema Paradiso (a movie night on the water followed by dinner). It was at Cinema Paradiso that I succumbed to the romantic charm of the Maldives. And just when I thought nothing could beat that, I was on a dhoni in the middle of the ocean watching the dolphins flip. A glass of prosecco in my hand, I sighed, for it was the quietest 45 minutes.

Other activities on the list that will pique your interest, like mine, are organized experiences with heavenly, food, relaxation and wine experts.

While it is the natural beauty of the Maldives that makes it quite an attraction, Soneva Jani has put together a personal and profound experience. I said goodbye not to a destination but to memories tailor-made by the staff and locals who waved to me until I passed out in the tempting hues of the blue sea deep.

All images: courtesy of Soneva Jani