With a strict "no shoes, no news" policy, tickle your toes and indulge your senses at these two spectacular Maldivian resorts: Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili.



When your vacation begins by seaplane and your castaway castle stands on stilts, fantasies of Robinson Crusoe on a deserted island naturally come to mind. The image is exactly what Sonu and Eva Shivdasani envisaged when the founded the exceptional Six Senses Resorts & Spas chain in 1995. "I was blown away by the white beaches but fed up with the tile floors and plastic roofs at the places where we stayed," Sonu says of the Maldives, home to Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili, two of the couple's most sensational creations. Designed by the couple to suite their unique taste for "intelligent luxury" — blending simple sophistication with back to nature philosophy — the Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili resorts provide the ultimate word in eco-luxury.

Echoing the topography of the island-rich region, Soneva Gili, which opened in 2001, is a small archipelago of 44 villas and residences and the first completely over-water resort in the Maldives. Crafted in traditional style, Gili's thatched-roof water villas and residences — linked to the adjacent island by a series of wooden jetties — offer rooftop and over-water sundecks, open-air bathrooms, and removable floorboards for a bedside dip into the crystalline turquoise lagoon. For those who have always dreamt of living the life aquatic, Gili's stand-alone Crusoe Residences are ultimate seaside sanctuaries — majestically looking out beyond the coral reef to the open sea, each water mansion comes with its own private boat. Gili's latest temptation is the 1400m2 Private Reserve: in complete retreat, the presidential villa contains two spacious suites, four guest rooms, private indoor and outdoor relaxation areas and sundecks, a deep-water coral pool with underwater speakers, private wine cellar, a spa with sauna and steam room, and in-house "Mr and Mrs Friday" butlers on call 24 hours a day.

But don't stay shacked up in private bliss for too long — it's more than worth a trip ashore. Sitting out over the lagoon, offering unsurpassed views of the deep blue horizon, the resort's Six Senses Spa promises exceptional treats such as the signature Maldivian sand massage, Kurumbaa Kaashi Coconut Rub, or the especially popular Adam and Eve Aphrodite massage for two.


As part of the resort's strict "no shoes, no news'" policy, toe tickling is encouraged as you stroll barefoot between beach, bar and villa at Soneva Fushi, Gili's sister resort, located in the North Baa Atoll region of the Maldives. Founded in 1995, the 65 residences that make up the 100-acre island's lush tropical village — which range in size from 48m2 to 700m2 — each come with their own private stretch of white sand beach. The villa's sublime eco-elegant décor principle features televisions tucked away under wicker baskets, and Crusoe-inspired hand-carved finishings from coconut wood lamps to palm-thatched roofs.

Considered one of the world's best resorts for its five-star services, tantalizing organic, regional cuisine, bountiful international wine cellar (despite the country's ban on alcohol), deep-sea activities, and rustic charm, Fushi tops the charts with its signature Six Senses Spa. Set around a central pond with waterfalls, candles, and aromatic plants, the full-service spa offers a menu of rejuvenating, pampering, and holistic wellness treatments that raise indulgence to an artistic high. Jet-setters in need of instant reprieve turn to the renowned "Jet Lag Neutralizer" before embarking on a 90-minute, full-body 'Sensory Spa Journey' replete with four-hand massage, luxurious foot bath and skin renewal treatments.


Soneva Fushi Resort & Spa
Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll
www.sixsenses.com/soneva-fushi


Soneva Gili Resort & Spa
Lankanfushi Island
www.sixsenses.com/soneva-gili