July 9, 2018

Soneva Jani – Waterslide fun and barefoot luxury in the Maldives

It’s impossible not to be floored when you first catch a glimpse of the glowing 5.6 km turquoise lagoon surrounding Soneva Jani and those “insta-famous” water villas where most come complete with waterslide. On arrival to the resort’s seaplane dock you are met with a smiling Mr/Miss Friday – your personal butler.  Your Friday will hand you a cotton bag printed with “No News, No Shoes” to place your shoes in and you do not wear any shoes for the duration of your trip after that! Instant relaxation! Soneva Jani has the same breathtaking first impression we experienced when we arrived at their other Maldives resort SONEVA FUSHI and also their Thailand resort SONEVA KIRI.


Currently Soneva Jani comprises of 25 villas, all except for one are built over the water.  There are plans for additional beach and water villas to be built over time.

Four Bedroom Island Reserve:

On our first night we stayed in the 1,424 sqm four-bedroom island reserve/beach villa, which also has a huge waterslide into our private free-form swimming pool. Internally there is a full kitchen, wine cellar, a dining room and an air-conditioned lounge room opening out to the pool area.  Downstairs there are two master bedrooms with ensuites leading to open air sunken bathtubs surrounded by water. Positioned between the two bedrooms are a private steam room AND a sauna and open-air foyer.

Upstairs there are two further bedrooms separated by an outdoor sun soaked deck and lounge area overlooking the pristine lagoon. Again each bedroom has it’s own ensuite. There’s also an air-conditioned gym and a games/media room, both enjoying that fabulous water view!  This enormous villa sleeps 8 adults and 2 children and there is plenty of space inside and out for everyone to have their own “zone” including a poolside cabana with sunken lounge and numerous sunbeds dotted around the villa.

Two bedroom Water Retreat with Slide:

Two Bedroom with Slide

After we picked our jaws up off the floor upon entering our water retreat with slide we went and explored our villa, giggling with delight like school children. The 555 sqm villa sleeps 4 adults and two children. This villa is the best of the best with its bright airy interiors is calming natural tones with a pop of turquoise here and there.

The villa was two levels with the master bedroom on the ground floor along with two air-conditioned living areas, walk –in mini bar, children’s sleeping area (my 6 year old’s favourite thing out of the whole three week multi-resort trip!) and a separate office (with a view I might add!).

Of course then there’s that famous and fun waterslide!!

The master bedroom had a separate toilet and an air-conditioned dressing room, which was welcome when getting ready for the evening and trying to apply makeup out of the heat.  The ensuite bathroom was open air and flowed out to a private sunken bath with enclosed swimming area with ladder into the lagoon so you could have a dip in the ocean in total privacy. Located upstairs is a dining sala, roof deck and another bedroom with ensuite and a balcony overlooking the villa swimming pool and waterslide.

The piece de resistance of the water retreat is located in the master bedroom. At the press of a button the roof over the bed retracts enabling guests to sleep under the starlit sky. The roof automatically closes if it senses rain.


One cannot talk about the dining options at Soneva Jani without starting at their complimentary gelato and chocolate rooms. You read that right! Gelato. Chocolate. Complimentary. All day. Every day! Guests can wander into these rooms and help yourself to an assortment of handcrafted artesian chocolate treats and a room full of ice-cream, sorbet and gelato including vegan and non-dairy options to suit all tastes. We also REALLY love that Soneva Jani serves their Coronas in mini ice buckets to preserve the optimum drinking temperature!

Whilst we enjoyed most meals at So Fresh, the main dining space in The Gathering, there are so many dining spaces at Soneva Jani including destination dining, in-villa, a wine-cellar dinner.  The focus at Soneva Jani is fresh, seasonal, organic produce and, as a vegetarian, I am in heaven! At the start of each meal we were presented with little shot glasses of the health juice combination of the day – always so yummy and nourishing!

The Gathering waterslide at Soneva Jani

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a villa with a waterslide Soneva have thought of everything and they placed a waterslide at The Gathering so that every guest has the chance to embrace their inner child and slide into the warm Indian Ocean.

The Gathering

Cocktails and beach buffets

Every Friday management host a cocktail party for guests and you can then indulge in a buffet dinner complete with live music at Zuhair’s beach. Soneva Jani had thoughtfully set up games and activities for the children such as giant Jenga! our whole family played a few games of this with the staff which was lovely to do together and not one piece of technology in sight for the kids! The children felt so grown up with their pretty mocktails too!

One experience we’d love to try is the unique So Startstuck dinner. Guests are seated at one of four tables around Soneva Jani’s telescope (the largest in the Maldives) and the resident astronomer guides diners through the different planets and constellations that can be seen during the course of the evening meal.


When you are at a resort located on the best lagoon in all of the Maldives what better activity is there to do other than watersports! We took the children out in the complimentary quaint wooden speedboat and then jumped aboard the “big” speedboat for some thrills (and spills!).

The older children loved the assortment of inflatable tubes and the banana ride and I’m sure they helped tipped the tube over just to immerse themselves in that warm crystal clear lagoon one more time!

My son had an incredible time wakeboarding with the calm waters perfect for gliding across at high speed.  Just look at that pristine lagoon!!

We also loved the sunset dolphin cruise where we sipped champagne as beautiful dolphins danced around the boat right near the surface.

Cinema Paradisio

A really unique experience in the Maldives is the silent cinema, Cinema Paradisio. The set up of the outdoor cinema is really gorgeous.  Out on the water is a huge screen and guests can enjoy the movie from overwater netted hammocks or, like we did, from the comfort of the adjacent restaurant. Everyone is handed Bluetooth headphones on arrival so you can hear the movie at the level of sound you prefer but the overall cinema experience is silent which is perfect for the surrounding native wildlife going about their evening business without disturbance.


Whilst we did not have time to experience the spa on this trip (we will save that for our next visit) it looks beautiful. Located in the main resort building the Gathering, the spa has a focus on wellness. Guests can complement their spa treatment with a workout at the gym, find their zen at the yoga pavilion or immerse themselves in the outdoor spa, or enjoy the steam and sauna rooms.

For Children

Our boys spent some time in The Den, the kids club at Soneva Jani. There were two very attentive staff members when my two boys were there and the kids stayed a lot longer than we had planned and I went to collect them and they did not want to leave! They were immersed in a new board game (being led by a member of staff) that was educational and both my 6 yr old and 12 year old said they were not ready to go until the game was finished! The lovely Den staff said not to worry, she will drive them back to our villa on the buggy whenever they were ready, and we left them there knowing they were in great hands and very happy. As Soneva Jani is a new resort the current kids club will be expanded over time and we know it will be spectacular and along the lines of the INCREDIBLE kids club at Soneva’s other Maldivian resort Soneva Fushi (click here to read about the best kids club in the world!)

At Soneva Jani our children entertained themselves in and around our fantastic water villa – with all that crystal clear water, ladders, sunken lounge with glass floor, waterslide – they had an absolute ball!

What you’ll love

  • The most stunning 150 acre fluorescent aqua lagoon
  • The waterslides off the Water Retreat Villas and The Gathering
  • The fresh organic produce most of which is grown on the island
  • The eco-friendly sustainable concept that all Soneva resorts follow where everything possible is re-used and recycled
  • There’s no dark heavy wood in sight and the soft pale tones of all the wooden structures makes the spectacular water colour the hero of the resort

Getting there

Located on Medhufaru Island in the Maldives, Soneva Jani comprises of five small islands in the Noonu Atoll.  You’ll experience magnificent views on the 40 minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport. Future plans for Soneva involve building their OWN seaplanes so the journey to both Soneva resorts in the Maldives will go from great to spectacular on the personalised trip with private luxury Soneva seaplane!

I hope this has given you a great insight into a stay at Soneva Jani and I’d be happy to answer any questions, just comment on my INSTAGRAM photos @luxefamilytravel 


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