When Eva and Sonu Shivdasani built Soneva Fushi as well as their home on the deserted island of Kunfunadhoo in the Maldives in 1995 they had no idea that their intensely personal vision of a locally crafted villa and environmentally responsible lifestyle would form the basis of a successful collection of world-class hotels, resorts and spas. But that's exactly what happened. Soneva Fushi was the first 'castaway' resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays.
It established a blueprint for a highly acclaimed international business, followed by spectacular Soneva Kiri on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh Kood in 2009.
The success of the Soneva brand also paved the way for Six Senses Resorts & Spas with award-winning properties in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Under Eva's and Sonu's direction the Six Senses brand gained a global following before being sold in 2012.
Today the Sonevas have many imitators, but no equals. It is still the original barefoot luxury brand, and still one of the travel industry's greatest innovators. The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) reveals/explains the Soneva philosophy. Intelligent Luxury, as interpreted by the Shivdasanis, is all about creating unforgettable, enlightening experiences that rejuvenate each guest's love of SLOW LIFE. It's about illuminating lives whilst treading lightly on the earth.
Each Soneva - three more are planned, in Sri Lanka, Maldives and a yachting experience, Soneva in Aqua - impresses on a wide range of levels. Breathtaking 'remote but accessible' natural locations, effortlessly chic accommodation, incredible food, truly memorable activities, an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is uncannily intuitive.
No news, no shoes. Before you even set foot on a Soneva you are asked whether you would like to remove your shoes. Why? Because without shoes you feel everything.