Press Releases

Soneva Celebrates 20 Years in Style

November 2015

Looks to the future with innovative concepts and to inspiring new generations with inspirational and rare experiences

(November 25, 2015): Soneva, a world-leading sustainable luxury resort operator, celebrated its 20th anniversary in style with a memorable party at the award-winning Soneva Fushi resort located in the Baa atoll in the Maldives.

During the festivities that went on for five days, celebrities, Soneva enthusiasts and selected media spent their time enjoying some of the unforgettable experiences offered at the luxury resort.

The guest list included: Paloma Picasso and her husband Dr Eric Thevenet; Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two men to walk on the moon in 1969; actress Naomie Harris, who plays Miss Moneypenny in the new Bond film, Spectre, came along with her mother and brother; adventurer, author, broadcaster and writer, Ben Fogle, and his wife Marina; Jodie Kidd, fashion model, race car driver and television personality, who came with her friend, Victoria Cassidy; singer and television personality, Nicole Scherzinger, was accompanied by her sister Keala, and a friend.

“My wife Eva and I are really delighted to be able to share this momentous occasion with our friends and enthusiasts,” said Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva, speaking on the occasion.

“It’s been a long journey, but we are truly blessed that we were able to create our own personal slice of Paradise in this and other breathtaking locations and in turn offer our guests a lifetime of rare experiences which include chic accommodation, incredible food, truly memorable activities, an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is truly intuitive,” he added.

Guests arrived on the 19th of November and spent the day relaxing in their luxury multi-bedroom villas and enjoying the culinary delights from the In-Villa dining menu.

Buzz Aldrin also took some time to visit the resort’s new children’s playground, The Den, and read to a group of children from his new book, “Welcome to Mars: Making A Home On The Red Planet.”

In the evening after cocktails at the resort’s Bar (a) Bara, they set off on a sunset cruise to watch the dolphins. This was followed by an amazing dinner in Fresh in the Garden, followed by a moon gazing session with the legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

The next morning after a leisurely sumptuous buffet breakfast, guests were given a tour of the Glass Studio, where they were introduced to the fine art of glass blowing, and the chance to create their very own objet d’art. For lunch, the resort’s award-winning Chef Sobar took guests to the vegetable garden; he taught them how to make freshly picked produce into mouth-watering Maldivian delicacies. After a brief rest, celebrities Jodie Kidd and Ben Fogle teamed up with other guests to take on the resort hosts in a fun volleyball match, which was won by the visitors.

In the evening, cocktails and fine wine preceded the spectacular Asian Dinner created by Soneva Fushi’s top-notch Japanese chef, Kengo, and guest chef Dharshan Munirdasa, owner/chef of the Nihonbashi and Ministry of Crab restaurants in Sri Lanka, both of which are on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

On the November 21, the day of the main celebrations, the media were given a preview of Soneva’s newest experiential concept, a boat villa, and later adventurer Ben Fogle kept a group of children spellbound with tales of his adventures.

At 6pm, all the guests were ferried across to the resort’s private sandbank, where they sipped Champagne and delicious tropical cocktails and nibbled on ceviche of salmon, wahoo and tuna, Wagyu beef tartare, and tomato tartare with truffle foam. A traditional Boduberu troupe of musicians and dancers entertained them, followed by a group of Maldivian children who danced to the reggae-flavoured “Sonevanized Song” composed specially for the occasion by singer Unoosha.

As a magnificent sunset coloured the skies, boats ferried the guests back to Cinema Paradiso, the resort’s open-air cinema for the beginning of the fantastic “Magical Journey”, which would take them right through the centre of the island.

The “Magical Journey”, took guests on a sumptuous whirlwind culinary tour of the world that began in Spain, and took in Japan, France, Sweden, Italy, the Maldives, Vietnam, China, Thailand, the Middle East, India and Sri Lanka. These food stations were followed by Surf & Turf counters that served mains of Slow-cooked lobster in Champagne sauce; Prawn in hot oil with avocado; Seared scallops in seafood bisque; Kebabs of Angus tenderloin; Wagyu beef sausage; Chicken popcorn; Slow-cooked Lamb Roll, and much, much more. All long the journey, entertainment was provided by a jazz band, a local Maldivian band, and even an opera singer! Soneva hosts served specially created cocktails and amazing wines such as Muga Rioja Reserva Especial, Chateau Guiraud Sauternes,  Barolo Borgogno, and Chateau Giscours Margaux.

A mind-boggling variety of desserts, confectionary, cakes and other sweet treats awaited guests at the Mihiree Mitheee restaurant, which also bordered the dance floor. Top UK DJ Lottie and her husband and Wall of Sound record label founder, Mark Jones took turns manning the decks, digging deep in to the 80s and 90s to keep everyone dancing until 4am.

Sunday dawned late for everyone at the resort, and after a leisurely breakfast, the media contingent took off for the island of Medhufaru, the location of the newest Soneva resort, Soneva Jani, while the rest of the guests took off for Nibiliga Island for a castaway picnic hosted by Sonu Shivdasani. The resort’s resident marine biologist, Frederica Siena also took guests on a guided snorkelling tour.

The evening was a relaxed casual dinner followed by a screening of the classic movie “An Affair To Remember”, a bittersweet love story starring Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, at Cinema Paradiso.

Speaking at one of the events during the celebrations, Sonu Shivdasani talked about looking forward to the next 20 years and some of the new innovations and projects lined up. “We certainly have an eye on the future and we have already begun working on some exciting new concepts that will again offer guests rare experiences,” he said. “The Glass Factory, the first ever glass studio in the Maldives is one of them. The facility uses only waste glass materials used at Soneva resorts and other resorts in the Maldives. We will have world-renowned glass artists create fabulous art pieces and also teach the art of glass blowing.”

“The new Den is the most elaborate children’s facility of any luxury resort in the world and we have spared no effort or expense in making sure that this is a truly spectacular children’s adventure-land and a source of inspiration for our youngest Soneva guests. Our goal was to create a space where families, parents and children could bond and spend some quality time together,” he said

He also spoke about another new Soneva innovation, Soneva in Aqua, the first luxury floating villa, which is now available for guests to charter from its base at Soneva Fushi. “This new concept will combine our iconic barefoot luxury with a sense of freedom and exclusivity of a private boat charter, and opens a new chapter in experiential luxury travel,” he said. “It has been designed with great attention to detail and the hardware and software that are a part of the Soneva in Aqua DNA will make this a unique experience for our guests.”

Note to editors: All photos by Richard Young

Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 57 spacious, multi-bedroom luxury beach front villas that are hidden among dense foliage for ultimate privacy. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday personal butlers who know what you want before you want it.  For more information about Soneva visit


About Soneva Fushi:

In 1995, award-winning luxury resort Soneva Fushi set the standard for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways in the Maldives. It has a pristine Biosphere UNESCO protected reef and is known for its legendary service.

Fifty-seven private villas with their own stretch of beach are hidden among dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine coral reef.  Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers.

Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, counting Saturn’s rings in the high-tech Observatory, the home-made chocolate and ice cream rooms, five hundred wines to choose from and nine dining options.

If the experiences are magical, the philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. No pretensions either.

About Soneva Kiri:

Award-winning luxury resort Soneva Kiri is located on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood; just one hour by private plane from Bangkok. The resort comprises 36 vast pool villas, ranging in size from one to six bedrooms, all of which are nestled amidst lush tropical rainforest with spectacular ocean views.  Highlights of the resort include an open-air Cinema Paradiso, an observatory, a giant moulded bamboo playground for children shaped like a manta ray, and the spectacular treetop Dining Pod.

With an unrivalled combination of luxury, authentic Thai experiences, and mouth-watering organic food, Soneva Kiri encompasses barefoot Intelligent Luxury at its best.

For more information, contact:

Gavin Nazareth
Communications Director (Interim)

Soneva Resorts, Residences & Spas
19/F Two Pacific Place, 142 Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Tel: 66 (0) 2631 9624 Fax: 66 (0) 2631 9699 Email: