Step inside: Soneva jani



New over water homes at Soneva Jani in the Maldives are designed to enable owners to reconnect with nature in every way possible. From star-gazing in bed through a retractable roof, to seeing fish swimming below the villa floor, the homes capture rare and inspiring experiences with nature..

Inspired from the Sanskrit word for wisdom, Soneva Jani, is located in a 5.6-kilometre lagoon of crystal-clear waters with uninterrupted 360 degree views of the Indian Ocean on the island of Medhufaru. The main island is fringed by pristine beaches and blanketed with lush tropical greenery.

The interiors were designed by Soneva’s co-founder Eva Shivdasani and resemble a luxurious white-washed beach cabin. Eva comments: “It was important for us to capitalise on the naturally beautiful setting and I wanted to encapsulate luxury but in a simple and natural way, providing guests with an opportunity to embrace the surroundings.”

One of the ways this has been incorporated is to have a retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button, so that guests can lie in bed and enjoy gazing at the stars and night vista. Sensors pick up any rainfall and will close the roof automatically, while owners sleep.

Another example is the way the views have been maximised. From the lounge on the ground floor there is a view outwards through wall to ceiling windows and also downwards through windows in the floor – to reveal the colourful marine life in the clear blue lagoon below.

High quality sustainable materials are used throughout. Driftwood has been used for stylish furniture and lampshades, sandblasted pine for the floors, wood from red river shingle gums are used for the roofs, and recycled glass, made from the Glass Studio at sister resort Soneva Fushi, is used throughout.

Natural linen fabrics are used for the soft furnishings, predominantly in white with lime and mauve accents.

Other thoughtful features include direct access to the outdoor bathroom through a staircase that comes from the lagoon below ensuring swimmers can shower and dry off before entering the villa.

Adding a playful touch for many of the villas, is a curved slide from the first floor into the lagoon below, which will surely be a favourite feature amongst younger occupants, as well as the older but young at heart.

Keeping to the parred back, natural look, technology is hidden away, with end of bed television screens cleverly disguised in leather suitcases which open and reveal the contents at a flick of a switch.

Spread across two floors, the One-Bedroom Water Retreat comes with its own private pool surrounded by ample areas for sunbathing and taking in ocean vistas. In addition to a spacious master bedroom and a kids’ sleeping area at the back of the master bedroom, there is also a study, walk-in mini-bar with espresso machine and private wine cellar selection, a dressing room, outdoor bathroom with direct lagoon access, and living area with sunken seats. Upstairs there is more seating and a dining sala with roof deck.

In constructing this and other villas the owners were mindful of maintaining the environment as Mother Nature intended. The villa is built over the sandy floor of the lagoon, ensuring there is no damage to any part of the reef, for which The Maldives is famous for. Soneva’s Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth Centre will ensure that waste is recycled, while the extensive vegetable garden will give local produce for the restaurants based on organic principles. Power is partly provided by solar panels with the resort aiming to be 100 per cent solar powered in the near future.

Facilities and amenities include a private butler, a spa, dive centre, an observatory, a children’s den, an outdoor Cinema and five dining outlets throughout the resort.

With cooling tropical breezes and average temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius during the day and 23 degrees Celsius at night, the Maldives offers an ideal climate in which to own a home.

Prices start at US $3.5 million for an over water villa. The villas are sold on a renewable leasehold basis.







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