Published: 11:58 EDT, 23 October 2020 | Updated: 13:06 EDT, 23 October 2020
They say size doesn’t matter, but it’s hard not to be impressed by these vast new overwater retreats in the Maldives – which UK holidaymakers can now visit via the freshly opened travel corridor.
They aren’t the most enormous overwater villas in the world – that honour seemingly goes to the 18,300-square-foot Private Reserve at Gili Lankanfushi – but it’s claimed that they are the biggest one and two-bedroomed overwater villas. They opened earlier this month at Soneva Fushi, on Kunfunadhoo Island Baa Atoll, with the one-bedroom villas covering 6,286 square feet and the two-bedroom retreats covering 9,224 square feet.
Each one of the eight new retreats boasts a 62ft (19m) waterslide that plunges directly into the ocean, a retractable roof – which slides back above the master bed to reveal sunny skies or starlit nights – a private swimming pool and see-through glass flooring so guests can peer at the fish without having to move a muscle.
One of the new water retreat villas at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. Each of the eight new villas comes with a 62ft waterslide
The new one-bedroom villas measure in at 6,286 square feet while the two-bedroom retreats are 9,224 square feet
According to Soneva Fushi, the villas come with a spacious living area as well as a large al-fresco deck. Note the glass floor – so guests can peer at marine life below in comfort
According to Soneva Fushi, the villas come with a spacious living area as well as a large al-fresco deck that has ‘plush sun loungers, a sunken seating area and catamaran nets’ and an outdoor bathroom with direct access to the sea.
Natural and sustainable wood panels are visible throughout the interiors, we’re told, and the colour palette consists of light blues, greens and soft beiges ‘staying true to the rustic castaway style that Soneva Fushi is known for’.
According to the resort, the ‘spacious interiors and exterior living spaces make the villas perfect for families’.
It says that a children’s room is located at the back of the master bedroom and that ‘each of the rooms in the water retreats can be sealed off and the doors out onto the deck can be locked to ensure they are safe and suitable for all ages’.
The resort adds: ‘These water retreats have been raised high enough above the ocean so that the waves do not break against the underside like most overwater villas, thus reducing noise and vibrations.
Each villa has a retractable roof that slides back above the master bed to reveal either sunny skies or starlit nights
One night in a one-bedroom villa starts from £2,262 ($2,952), while a night in a two-bedroom villa starts from £5,623 ($7,336)
‘The walls use recycled Styrofoam as insulation, which helps keep the interiors cooler and serves to muffle the sound of the wind and waves.
‘The curving jetty that links the water retreats to the island has been redesigned with the jetty planks laid lengthwise rather than width-wise to reduce the noise of buggies and bicycles riding along them.’
One night in a one-bedroom villa starts from £2,262 ($2,952), while a night in a two-bedroom villa starts from £5,623 ($7,336).
Eva Malmstrom Shivdasani, Soneva’s creative director, said: ‘I wanted to keep Soneva Fushi’s natural beauty, so it looks almost the same as the day we found it, with the villas hidden amongst the vegetation. When we had to add more villas, we didn’t want to touch the beach, as we believe it should be for our guests and the turtles that visit our shores.
The resort says: ‘These water retreats have been raised high enough above the ocean so that the waves do not break against the underside like most overwater villas, thus reducing noise and vibrations’
‘So, we built over the ocean. We hired all the right people to come and assess the proposed location, ensuring there would not be any live coral in the area.
‘The new water retreats are very spacious and have been finished in Soneva Fushi’s rustic style. Everyone involved in building these overwater villas has done a fantastic job.
‘Everything is bespoke and the joinery craftsmanship is amazing. Our guests can now stay in an island villa or a water retreat without moving between resorts.’
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Soneva Fushi, Maldives
World news – GB – The incredible new villas in the Maldives that boast 62ft waterslides