Header image courtesy of Scott Dunn
True to its philosophy of “no news, no shoes”, Soneva Fushi is a haven of barefoot luxury in the heart of the Indian Ocean. It’s a Maldivian hideaway where the whole family can kick off their flip-flops and enjoy the fantastic array of activities on offer for little ones, mums, dads, and everyone in between.
There’s a reason so many honeymooners opt for the Maldives—it offers the chance to be just about as romantic and indulgent an experience as can be imagined. It also works for any wedding anniversary or couple’s break. However, there’s more to a trip to a top Maldivian resort than simply picture-postcard romance—it also works for family holidays. Here are all the reasons why everyone in the family will enjoy a vacation at Soneva Fushi.
Getting to Soneva Fushi requires a 30-minute flight by seaplane from Male airport. For kids, mums, and dads, this is an incredible experience. The thrill of the taking off and landing on water is a real adventure, and the views of the coral atolls below mesmerising. That said, 30 minutes is enough and with Soneva Fushi, you are usually the first stop on the seaplanes’ resorts route, avoiding multiple take-offs and landings.
You are welcomed at Fushi by your very own ‘Friday’ (if you’re not familiar with this Robinson Crusoe character, look it up). This person is your human Siri who answers any question you might have and looks after your every need, from unpacking to booking restaurants. Your kids will get to know this personal butler well, to the point that he or she becomes a part of the extended family—they certainly make time to chat and play with them.
Fushi is a relatively big island so you need transport to get about, which comes in the form of push bikes. Each member of the family is assigned one (babies and toddlers go on the back) and happy memories are made by whizzing around the paths on them, particularly at night, when feeling the warm air whoosh about you in the atmospherically-lit resort jungle gardens.
Technically, there’s one long continuous beach that rings the island, and all accommodation is beach-front, so you hardly have to stray far to experience it. Parents can comfortably enjoy watching their kids run out of their villa to frolic in the sea—from their plush loungers.
The Den is awesome. It’s basically everything kids would tell you they wanted if you asked them what they wanted in a play space. Swimming pool with a waterslide? Check. Music room with a drum kit? Check. Dressing-up room? Check. Lego room? Check. Even so, it’s the staff that makes the place—they really engage with children. Younger little ones, aged below four, sometimes do better with a babysitter while the family is out of the villa engaged in activities.
It’s complimentary and open-all-hours—need we say more? Oh, and that there’s an Ice Cream Room next door?
One of the joys of a family trip to the Maldives is introducing your kids to snorkelling, and Fushi is one of the best islands from which to do it. It is blessed with a fantastic house reef (not all Maldivian islands are as lucky), so there’s no need to get on a boat—you can simply take a dip off one of the jetties, or swim out from the beach. Our preferred spot was the Sunset Bar, where there are steps leading directly into the sea, allowing for safe and easy access. Just by standing here, without swimming, and putting your face in the water, you can see an incredible diversity of sea creatures, including parrotfish, angelfish and a titan triggerfish.
The night sky on Fushi is awesome—unlike anything you’ll likely see back at home. Best of all, there’s an observatory to view it from. Spot Jupiter and the Great Bear formation in the company of the resort’s resident astronomer for an evening to remember.
Non-motorised water sports are available free of charge, and you’re surrounded by some of the most enticing waters in the world—so Fushi is definitely a place to try kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. The lagoon is ideal for learning as it’s calm and safe, and best of all, falling in is a pleasure.
This is one of the loveliest traditions at Soneva Fushi. Drinks and canapés are set up on a beautiful sandbar that’s a few minutes boat ride from the island. Guests are invited to join the Manager and his team to enjoy a beautiful sunset in this unique location—you really do have to pinch yourself. Best of all, the staff from the Den are there to keep your kids busy building sandcastles while you take in that view with a glass of bubbles in hand, toasting your very good decision to bring the whole family to Soneva Fushi.
Soneva Fushi, Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll, Maldives | (+960) 6600304 / 6600305