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Discovering eco-luxury with Soneva

Soneva define luxury as ‘Peace, Time and Space’. The Soneva team work tirelessly to ensure that their guests experience this self proclaimed trio of definitions, which are ever present at their trio of unique, barefoot luxury resorts. From the moment of your arrival you will be invited to remove your shoes and embrace the ‘No News, No Shoes’ philosophy that encourages guests to disconnect from the pressures of life. Instead, reconnecting with the earth as you enjoy the sand between your toes and begin to appreciate the luxury of peace, time and space. Whilst a stay with Soneva is all about luxury, relaxation and wellness; the unrivalled commitment to the planet, the environment, the oceans and the local communities is omni present. Not satisfied with token gestures of ‘green-washing’ as is sadly common in the industry, and not resting in their efforts to innovate and improve, Soneva continue to trail blaze with their ideas and initiatives. Tackling the plastic problem Soneva have been tackling the plastic problem since 1998 when they banned plastic straws, and continued efforts have led to single use plastic being phased out at each of their resorts. This included a ban on imported bottled water in 2008. Drinking water is now filtered, mineralised and bottled on site, before being served to guests in reusable glass bottles. Not only does this reduce the reliance on single use plastic, but the proceeds have been used to fund more than 500 clean drinking water projects in 50 countries. Creating wealth from waste Guests staying at any of the Soneva resorts are encouraged to visit and learn about ‘Eco Centro’. This is where food and organic waste is composted to be used as fertiliser, and where metal and glass bottles are repurposed and turned into items of economic value or commercial use. This ground breaking and planet friendly initiative is playing a pivotal role in allowing each of the Soneva resorts to ‘tread lightly’ and have as minimal environmental impact as possible. During 2020 we saw the first ‘Eco Centro’ complex launch on the island of Maalhos in the Maldives. This enabled the island to be the first to end the open burning of refuse including plastic waste. Further islands in Baa Atoll are to follow with continued support from the the government, Soneva and Common Seas, an NGO that tackles plastic pollution. Changing the way that we eat With a continued commitment to serving organic and sustainable food that has a reduced environmental impact, it only makes sense that an exciting array of plant based dishes are on offer to Soneva guests. In recent years, this commitment has been taken to the next level with plant based restaurants opening at each of their resorts. ‘Shades of Green’ was first to launch at Soneva Fushi and this was followed by ‘Colours of the Garden’ at Soneva Kiri and ‘So Wild by Diana Von Cranach‘ at Soneva Jani. Each of these experiential restaurants present guests with the opportunity to dine on a selection of nutritious and innovative plant based delights. This summer sees new plant-based creations at ‘Shades of Green’ in the Maldives with a series of brand new menus from Danish chef, Carsten Kyster. Each based on the vibrant colours of the freshly picked produce that form the dishes, they promise to further display the trail blazing approach to serving healthy and nutritious plant based food. Protecting the marine environment With Soneva resorts being surrounded by the beautiful Maldivian ocean and the vast Gulf of Thailand, it would be amiss for them not to care dearly about these marine ecosystems that are under constant threat from the lives that we live. Soneva employ a team of passionate marine biologists who monitor the oceans and implement initiatives to protect these delicate environments. These projects include coral restoration, turtle nest monitoring and tackling ocean pollution, whilst at the same time educating the local community and guests in order to increase understanding and respect for the oceans. Soneva Foundation The myriad of projects that Soneva Foundation support each aim to create positive environmental, social and economic impact. Whether it is teaching local Maldivian families to swim and removing their fear of the ocean, or planting in excess of 500,000 trees in Northern Thailand in order to reverse deforestation and improve air quality, each of these projects is equally as important. Other initiatives include partnerships with ‘Action against Hunger’ and ‘Care for Children’, also the excellent ‘Myanmar Stoves Campaign’ which will see more than 200,000 families receive ‘five minute stoves’. These energy efficient stoves will see each family save 2.5 tonnes of wood per year and reducing air pollution by 80%. Since 1995 Soneva have been welcoming guests who have enjoyed imaginative and engaging luxury experiences during their stay. Enhanced wellness offerings and a commitment to the environment have always been at the fore, which combine to ensure a reduced impact on the planet and the community. Long may Soneva continue to lead the way with their innovative, eco-luxury and sustainable initiatives, in simply sublime and unique locations. To discover eco-luxury with Soneva you need to head to the Maldives or Thailand, where your wildest eco-travel dreams will be realised. Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani are located on private Maldivian islands that have to be seen to be believed, whilst Soneva Kiri is in Thailand, on the island of Koh Kood. Easily accessible via taxi and private speedboat transfer from Bangkok, or for those of you that really enjoy the finer things in life and want to arrive in style, a private plane that lands on the adjacent island. Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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  1. Interesting how some travel destinations create their own definition of luxury which is clever market segmentation as consumers’ interpretation of luxury vary greatly. Though I have to say that personally I would be very content at Soneva resort.

    1. Thank you for commenting Roger. We often discuss the meaning of ‘luxury travel’ and have decided it has a myriad of definitions that are ever changing. Luxury could be a fresh coconut, sat beneath a palm tree on a deserted tropical beach, or it could mean private jet travel, butler on hand and Michelin starred fine dining. For us, to enjoy luxury there needs to be respect for the environment and an understanding of the impact that our travel choices has. Therefore, one of our personal versions of luxury is certainly staying with Soneva where their eco and community efforts are superb. But of course, that coconut on a deserted beach or a plant based fine dining experience are also more than welcome options!

  2. Lovely set of pictures, big advert for the resorts. I’ll keep them in mind when booking the next big, big trip. Thanks a lot.

    1. Thank you Julian, yes, the pictures certainly speak one thousand words. The toughest thing was selecting which images to use as Soneva resorts and their culinary creations are all so photogenic. Let’s hope we can all start to travel again soon…

  3. I always knew how amazing Soneva is, but reading about the length they will go to make sure your stay is as close to perfection as possible, is truly reassuring there are still hotels/resorts that have the right values and priorities.

  4. Creating wealth from waste has got to be the way to go on being environmentally friendly. Recently saw some flip-flops made from plastics taken out of the ocean selling at a good price. I also saw a woman buying a pair too, she was happy to pay a premium to help out with something that was a good cause.

    I believe that you always need a profit incentive to get people really committed to a cause.

    1. Thanks for your comment Craig. Yes, you are right that incentive$ often make it more attratcive for people commit to a cause, but if that’s what it takes, we’re all for someone making money from an initiative that is planet friendly and environmentally sound.

    1. Hi Donna, we are so happy that you liked our Soneva article. Writing about something that is close to our hearts and we are passionate about certainly makes it easier. Please keep up with all the good work, and we hope that travel continues to become easier so we can all get back to doing what we love. Stay safe and sending positive, plant based vibes to the Soneva family!

  5. What a fantastic article of what’s clearly a market-leader !

    Finally a hotel brand thats acting before they talk. Soneva should teach the other brands on how its done !!

    The Soneva philosophy should be the standard. Plus its obviously a spectacular property

    1. thank you for commenting! indeed, Soneva are “acting before they talk” and that in itself will educate others as to the correct way to so things. their approach to sustainability and the environment is the future for the travel industry (hopefully)…

  6. Great to see businesses taking the lead in helping to restore and improve our world. We need many more to do the same, oh yes and a few more governments could help too.

    1. That’s so true Terry about governments. We need our leaders to be passionate about the environment and implement positive changes at all levels. This can be by partnering with industry stakeholders and also by incentivising hotels and resorts to make the necessary changes.

  7. After reading this post I checked out the Soneva website and the resorts look incredible. Would love to visit Soneva Kiri next time I’m in Southeast Asia. Thanks for sharing this post!

    1. We are sure you will love Soneva Kiri Jamie, it’s a wonderful property and just a taxi and short boat ride from Bangkok making it super easy to access.

    2. Thank you but just want to clarify that Soneva Kiri is actually a one-hour flight from Bangkok or a 5 hour drive to Trat and then a 1 hour ferry ride to the island.

    3. Hi Donna,

      Sorry if my reply to Jamie was not clear, i’ve re-read it and can see that it needed clarifying, thank you!

      The fact that Soneva Kiri is accessible via taxi/boat combination makes it an attractive option for those who wish to limit the flights they take.

      Early breakfast in your Bangkok hotel, taxi/boat combo, followed by a late lunch at Soneva Kiri sounds like the perfect way to start your day…

  8. It truly is amazing to hear of the initiatives Soneva resorts have implement to combat what is a global problem .
    I wish more companies would take up the reigns in this fight against plastic pollution.
    When it comes down to choosing where you holiday, it’s becoming increasingly likely that many people want to stay at resorts which place are actively look to reduce their waste & recycle as much as possible.
    Soneva are one company which is heading high on the list of resorts is certainly be checking out soon hopefully.

    1. thank you for your commment Paul. Soneva certainly lead the way in many areas, but it is these eco and planet friendly intiatives that are the most exciting during these times when we are all becoming more aware of the impact our travels have…

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