Introducing Soneva: the latest BIRD client and pioneer in barefoot luxury

Celebrating its 25th anniversary over this past year, Soneva was the first barefoot luxury resort of its kind, setting the blueprint for sustainable tourism in the Maldives with the opening of Soneva Fushi in 1995.  It quickly became an iconic brand, paving the way for a new breed of hotels that prioritised sustainability and paired desert-island fantasy with intelligent luxury.

Today, Soneva’s family of resorts spans three trailblazing properties and a luxury yacht including Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives, Soneva in Aqua and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. The brand continues to innovate as a world leader for guest experiences and sustainability with an array of new concepts and initiatives set to launch throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022. Each outpost is a one-off, but all channel Soneva’s signature SLOW LIFE philosophy.

Since its beginnings, Soneva’s visionary co-founders, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, have held their roles as custodians of nature with the utmost integrity; committed to operating with the highest ethical standards and growing their business in a way that protects the environment for future generations.  In 2008, the Soneva Foundation was established, a not-for-profit organisation investing in ground-breaking initiatives that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact, including the Myanmar Stoves Campaign, Action Against Hunger and the Forest Restoration Project.

In 2015, Soneva developed the hospitality industry’s first Total Impact Assessment report.   In 2019, the brand launched Soneva Namoona, a partnership between Soneva Fushi, three neighbouring island communities and international NGO Common Seas, with the partnership providing a blueprint for how all Maldivian islands can phase out single-use plastic, introduce recycling and inspire a new generation of ocean stewards by fostering a love for the ocean.​

Equally famous for its fun side and pioneering spirit, Soneva’s often-imitated concepts include treetop dining, zip lining, gleeful waterslides, al-fresco bathrooms, private observatories, over-water cinemas, chocolate rooms and dazzling Dens for little explorers. The brand is also renowned for its progressive approach to health, with an ongoing commitment to holistic wellness at its heart.  We are delighted to announce our appointment to represent Soneva as it enters its next chapter of evolution, and to share news from the trailblazer as it continues to innovate:


  • Chapter Two at Soneva Jani: In January 2021, Soneva Jani ushered in a new era with the launch of Soneva Jani Chapter Two, which spans 27 dazzling new Water Reserves and a trio of ambitious dining concepts, including plant-based Overseas by Mathias Dahlgren, So Wild by Diana Von Cranach and fire-toting So Primitive.
  • Sofa travel: Soneva’s new, pioneering VR experience. Soneva has partnered with a UK-based studio to create a best-in-class, personalised VR content series that showcases Soneva Fushi’s considerable charms to a global audience. The Soneva VR headset overcomes current travel restrictions, bringing enchanting island insights into viewers’ homes.
  • New oceanic adventures at Soneva in Aqua: Guests staying onboard Soneva in Aqua can expect a captivating selection of new, one-of-a-kind activities, such as coming face to face with curious dolphins on the Dolphin Sled experience or encountering nocturnal sea creatures on a moonlit snorkelling expedition. Inventive watersports include wake skating, skurfing or fun tubing, and slower-paced pursuits include desert-island picnics, sustainable fishing, dolphin-spotting from the bowsprit nets, or stargazing on deck.
  • The Den at Soneva Jani: Great news for jet-set junior explorers: Soneva Jani is set to launch a new Den for youngsters and teens in the middle of 2022.
  • Makers’ Place studio at Soneva Fushi: is a fully carbon-neutral recycling studio that transforms waste into works of art, objects and building materials. This partnership with British artist Alexander James Hamilton launched in August 2021 to tackle the problem of discarded aluminium and plastics by inviting artists and guests to get creative, as well as engaging with the wider community via Soneva Namoona involving neighbouring islands.
  • Flying Sauces new zipline dining experience at Soneva Fushi: Soneva is famous for its culinary creativity and spontaneity with experiences ranging from floating breakfasts to castaway-island picnics, jungle feasts and Full Moon Dinners. The latest addition is Soneva Fushi’s Flying Sauces zipline dining experience, launching later this year, which will combine vertiginous thrills and gourmet cuisine.