Soneva Jani Hotel


3987 Soneva Jani Resort 4 Bedroom Water Reserve

Flying in low on arrival, you’ll know you’re close when you spot the blue slides curling out from the pattern of overwater villas below. It’s an idiosyncratic scene that sets the tone for things to come. Soneva Jani hits that rare sweet spot and combines sand-in-your-toes luxury with design nous, sustainability and hospitality to create a tropical playground that flecks the remote Noonu Atoll.

Snaking over a cyan lagoon from a large central island, the resort is split into two ‘chapters’. The second is a recent addition, bringing the roll call of overwater villas to 51. But you needn’t worry about schlepping to your abode after a long journey as you’ll be dropped off practically outside your door, with in-room check-in (and check-out) a given.

Indoor-outdoor living here is the norm, with open-air bathrooms, rooftop dining areas and pull-back glass drawing the ocean right on in – not to mention the fully retractable over-bed roof for stargazing opportunities. Villas come with a kitchenette – expect a supply of homemade chocolate, ice cream and cheeses – multiple lounge areas and a huge private pool. While you bask in the sunshine, keep an eye out for visiting guitar sharks that may flit alongside your deck from the protected reef beyond.

When it’s time for a wander, electric bikes are on hand to whizz you through the mangroves to perfect white beaches and a cluster of central facilities, such as a tree-top spa, greenery-flanked tennis court, an exemplary kids’ club and a whopping 11 restaurants. And on that note, the food is standout: from Sri Lankan mud crab at beachfront Crab Shack and easy-going lunches at breezy Down to Earth, to fire-pit fare par excellence and Mathias Dahlgren’s overwater ode to the ocean.

Opportunities aplenty to snorkel alongside turtles, take a dolphin cruise – perhaps with a sandbank picnic en route – and go diving take care of the day’s activities. Then, come evening, movies screenings projected over the ocean complete a paradisaical picture that will live on long after you’ve left.

Villas from £1,942. 00 960 656 6666,

Words by Blossom Green.

This review was taken from the Christmas 2022 issue of Food and Travel. To subscribe today, click here.

3987 Soneva Jani Resort 4 Bedroom Water Reserve

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