Soneva, the resorts operator behind Soneva Fushi, which was placed seventh on the first World's 50 Best Hotels list last night, is opening another, ultra-luxe property next year.
Soneva Secret, located in Haa Dhaalu, one of the most remote atolls in the Maldives, is set to officially launch in January, with bookings now open. It can be reached by a 75-minute seaplane flight from Velana International Airport in Male, or guests can fly into Kulhudhuffushi Airport on the atoll and take a one-hour speedboat ride to the resort.
The exclusive property has only 14 beach and overwater villas. This includes the lagoon Crusoe, which is only accessible by boat, and a floating villa called the Castaway.
The group says it's been 30 years in the making and is set to focus on personalised service amid unspoilt natural surroundings.
Each of the villas offers direct access to the beach or lagoon. They encompass master suites, adjoining bedrooms, gyms and spa treatment rooms, as well as a sliding roof that can be opened so guests can see the sunny sky during the day or stargaze at night.
Bookings also come with a dedicated Barefoot Guardian and Barefoot Assistant, who will curate a personalised stay, including "one-of-a-kind" experiences for every guest.
Every villa also comes with a private chef, who will curate bespoke dishes that can be eaten in the villa or in choice spots around the island.
There are also a number of dining outlets, including Out of This World, which is described as a "castaway dining tower, observatory and wine cellar" located in the lagoon and reachable by zip-line. Then there's the firepit dining experience called So Primitive and casual lounge venue The Living Room, which is also a library and boutique, as well as home to ice cream, chocolate, and cheese and charcuterie rooms, where treats are complimentary.
A marine biologist will lead guided snorkelling sessions where guests can see manta rays, dolphins, whale sharks and more, while a resident astronomer will offer visitors lessons on how to navigate the night skies.
This will be the fourth property from Soneva, which focuses on sustainable and luxurious experiences. Alongside Soneva Fushi, which is on the Maldives' largest island, the Baa Atoll, a Unesco-protected biosphere reserve, there's Soneva Jani on the Noonu atoll and Soneva Kiri, located in a rainforest in Thailand.
The group also has a 23-metre private charter yacht in the Maldives called Soneva in Aqua.
It's all the brainchild of hoteliers Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malmstrom Shivdasani, who opened Soneva Fushi in 1995, the same year they launched the Six Senses Resorts & Spas brand. Sonu is so renowned in the hospitality field today, World's 50 Best on Tuesday awarded him their inaugural SevenRooms Icon Award, the only one given to an individual as opposed to a property.