11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Heaven has arrived on Earth
"Well, you can certainly find heaven on earth at this amazing all over water villa resort. I was lucky enough to stay at Soneva Gili in November 2006, arriving by seaplane from another resort. I was really ties between two resorts, so my travel agent, --- suggested that I stay at both resorts !. Well that did resolve the question. Arriving by seaplane, which you don't usually do (as most people arrive straight from the airport by speed boat transfer), you can see the amazing colours of the lagoon. The hotel certainly got everything right, great attention to detail. Staying in an over water villa, the rooms are amazing, and the bathrooms are out of this world. The upper deck also offered some amazing views. You could not fault the rooms. The get away from it all concept really did do the trick. My favourite place on the island was the over water spa. Being a bit of a spa junkie, the treatments offered were varied and in the meain very good value. Pre and post treatment care was excellent. The team at the spa couldn't do enough for you. Some of the best treatments that I have ever had. I left Soneva Gili feeling totally relaxed and that I had experienced a trully relaxing holiday. If you get a chance check out the new wine cellar restaurant - its excellent and a totally different concept. I would highly recommend this resort for anyone looking to get that getaway from it all break."
- Travel date: 14th March 2007
"We had a wonderful week and the Crusoe residence was gorgeous. The food was outstanding and our Mr Friday was the perfect host. However our table waiter was nothing short of extremely irritating, my husband nicknamed him Lurch. He kept asking me if I could remember his name clearly for his tip at the end of the week! I think some of the staff are far too chatty especially if you want to be left alone, though I appreciate it may suit some people. We also thought that mobile phones were restricted but one eveing was slightly marred by a very loud American on hands free yelling down the phone that he was staying in the Moll Dives!! The head waiter told him to turn it off only afer a guest complained. All in all it was very good, and they know it as they are slightly just ever so pleased with themselves."
- Travel date: 13th March 2007
I WISH EVERYONE I KNOW COULD EXPERIENCE THIS PLACE....
"We went to Soneva Gili in November for our honeymoon. Prior to going I did endless amounts of research and was torn between Soneva Gili and Reethi Rah. Somehow the Soneva reviews and philosophy won me over but none of these had prepared me for what was to come. The Soneva experience is truely a magical one. The owners have gone the extra mile and beyond to make this a memorable experience and it becomes apparent from the minute you step onto the boat at the airport. Everything is sooo tasteful and there is so much attention to detail. I am usually very easily fussy and was waiting to get disappointed but it never happened at Soneva GIli. Instead every hour and everyday you see or experience something that surpasses your expectations. We stayed on Jetty 3 which i highly recommend if you want deeper waters for swimming (but ask not to face neighbouring island). We snorkelled everyday around our villa and saw a great variety of fish specially at the reef which is a short swim away. Also when booking I would recommend asking for a villa as far away from the island as possible. The island itself is tiny and there is nothing to do other than relax, eat amazing food (we'll come to this in a minute), go to the spa, play tennis or table tennis. We were worried we would get bored but we were in heaven the entire time and never managed to read all the books we had taken with us. The villas are very spacious and comfortable so we spent the entire day in our villa venturing out only to eat or go to the spa. The decor is rustic chic using local materials and artists wherever possible. The staff are all extremely nice and friendly and most importantly very happy to work at Soneva. Now on to the food. Being a big foodie I was dubious about the food as everything is imported to the Maldives but yet again we were very much surprised and delighted by extremely high standard of the food whether at their gastronomic buffets or a la carte menus. I usually steer away from buffets but after trying the first nights Asian buffet we were very much sold and could not wait for each themed buffet night which are great as you get such a huge variety of high quality food all from one restaurant. The breakfasts are another delightful affair with absolutely anything one could wish for breakfast. We normally ate so much breakfast we had to skip lunch to get hungry for the huge dinners. But i was told lunches were amazing too. Buffet dinners are $65 per person and worth 3 times that price. In our case it was cheaper to go on BB basis but that depends on the deal you are getting. We booked through Emirates airlines and their package was atleast Â£1000 cheaper than other agencies. The whole experience left us wanting more and sad in a way as we want to repeat the experience but know we can't afford to for a while. We will definitely go to Soneva Gili or another Soneva resort in the first opportunity. The owners have really set a new standard in hospitality and deserve all the business they get. In hindsight we thought the high price of our stay was worth every penny. Also worth mentioning is that we were unlucky with weather during our stay which normally would spoil a holiday but in this case even torrential rain and wind didnot manage to detract from the amazing experience of Soneva Gili."
- Travel date: 5th March 2007
The best place I've ever stayed!
"We decided that we'd treat ourselves and stay for a week at Soneva Gili. On arrival, we were upgraded to a Residence Suite which was at the end of the triangular jetty and just perfect. The villas have lots of room and two decks for sunbathing - one at the back of villa with access to the sea, and the other at the top of villa where you could lie on a day bed as the sun went down in the late afternoon. We did nothing but relax - and it's the perfect location to do that. We had booked a half board package, and I'd really recommend that, as everything is very expensive. We would go off to breakfast (available until 10.30am each morning) and then either relax by the pool or back at our villa all day, and then go for pre-dinner drinks at the bar before dinner. There are various options available for dinner - you can eat at the bar, which we did one evening, or you can eat in the restaurant on the beach - either a buffet (which they had on several of the evenings) or from the a la carte menu. The buffets are fantastic - we had a seafood one, an asian/indian one and an Italian one on different evenings - too much choice really and all beautifully prepared and presented (hence the need to only have breakfast and an evening meal!) We would really recommend having pre-dinner drinks. Ahmed and his staff in the bar are just fantastic - very friendly and personable. My partner had been to another resort in the Maldives before, and he thinks that the diving/snorkelling was better further south in the Maldives but I was perfectly happy with what you could see either snorkelling, or just looking down at the fish as you walked along the jetties, or even from your sunbathing deck at your villa. We saw a couple of reef sharks and a squid on one occasion. We also booked a couple of treatments at the Six Senses spa. The jet lag treatment is very good and certainly got us in the time zone and feeling relaxed from the moment we arrived. The only problem that I can think of is that my partner and I had agreed between ourselves that this would be the holiday of a lifetime ... but having been, we just want to go back again! Our other recommendation is to fly out Qatar Airways - they had a companion fare offer in first and business class when we went out, which really made for a fantastic start to the holiday (and also meant that we've come back in not too bad a state - rather than than awful tired and grubby state that you normally come back from holiday with!) If you get the chance, we'd really recommend it - you won't be disappointed!"
- Travel date: 7th February 2007
We picked this luxury resort for our hon...
"We picked this luxury resort for our honeymoon after much research and it really was perfect. It was, of course, very expensive but well worth it. Our water villa was absolutely huge and very luxurious, the food was excellent and the pool beautiful. The attention to detail was amazing and the resort staff could not do enough to help us. I have been longing to go back ever since! "
- Travel date: 15th November 2006
"We went for our second stay at Soneva Gili last november for 10 nights when I was 5 months pregnant in order to have one last indulgent holiday before parenting began! It was even more beautiful than we remembered. Only change was the coral had, of course, been affected a bit by the tsunami and there was a higher wind than I remembered but that was handy sometimes in the heat of the day! The island is just beautiful, the sea, the villas are HUGE they must be the biggest hotel room in the world. You have so much space and privacy you hardly need to leave your villa - in fact on our first stay in 2002 we didn't leave our villa once! The staff are amazingly polite amd helpful and friendly and the food is excellent, the restaurant is gorgeous with your feet burried in the sand, watching the sea and candle light everywhere it's hard to imagine a more perfect dining room. The staff were fantastic with me being pregnant and, if anything, seemed a little surprised at my tucking into prawns and the odd glass of red and tried to warn me off them which made me feel nice and guilty! The sea life is incredible - many many beautiful fish, baby sharks, trumpet fish, octupus, sea slugs, crabs, the coral is amazing. I didn't swim out to the hammock cos of the baby but my husband did and saw some huge fish! though for overall snorkelling Soneva Fushi is much better as it has deep water and masses of reef. I can't rate Soneva Gili highly enough - this time we were on Jetty 3 which does have a view of Paradise Island but only from the back of the villas and the only noise was from the football the staff played on friday nights.Other than that all you can hear is the surf. The first time we stayed on Jetty 1 which is great especially if you can get a villa near the end of the jetty. Definitely recomended and I can't wait until our little one grows up so we can dump him on Granny and go back!"
- Travel date: 18th July 2006
Out of this world!
"We chose Soneva Gili for the first week of our honeymoon because it was set on a small island and very private compared to other large hotel resorts in the Maldives which offer top class service with water villa accomodation. And we were not disappointed! The resort is out of this world! We were met at the aiport and transferred to the resort by speedboat. The trip was only 20 mins which was another big advantage of this island. We were met by the hotel manager and introduced to their 'no shoes, no news' policy. We found this fantastic and only enhanced the laid back and relaxed feel to the island. The water villas were incredible. Extremely spacious and comfortable, with all conveniences which you would expect from such a resort. Were stayed on Jetty 2 which I would highly recommend. I wouldn't have liked Jetty 3, which is facing the Paradise hotel on the next island. Apparantly Jetty 1 is quite good too and has deeper water around the water villas for the swimmers! The villa was cleaned twice per day and service was excellent. The colourful fish swimming underneath the villas were fantastic to see. The restaurant is to a very high standard with a long wine list. The food was excellent and waiting staff to match. A couple of nights every week there are themed buffet nights (seafood, asian etc). These give you a chance to sample all the different dishes on offer. The bar is also very good, and is set over the water. There is a large selection to chose from and you can have a drink while lying on a sun lounger in the bar watching the colourful sunset! The spa was a real treat! I booked a treatment for almost every day and my husband also went a couple of times. The setting is fantastic and the glass floor means that you can watch the fish swimming underneath while enjoying a massage. It is pure heaven. Each guest is assigned a rep who looks after all your needs during your stay. They will book anything you would like to do, massage in the Spa, water sports, snorkling, excursions etc. We booked the private island dining experience on our one month aniversary and it was an experience never to forget. We were transferred to small neighbouring island for sunset drinks, a private buffet and after dinner drinks. It was incredible. Overall I would highly recommend this resort. It was exactly what we were looking for - very relaxing, lots of sunbathing, snorkling, great food and drink, with superb service. The privacy of the water villas makes it perfect for honeymooners. 5* quality without the crowded hussle and bussle of a large hotel. We are already thinking of an excuse to go back........."
- Travel date: 16th July 2006
Unforgettable holidays in Soneva Gili
"I was in Soneva Gili for 4 nights in early Nov. of 2005. I was told by other travellers that the villa suites in Jetty 3 are quiet(from my observation the suites in Jetty 3 are not that quiet as it is very close to Paradise Resort) and have a sunset view. However, it was a busy season, after my arrival, I was told that they arranged me in the suites at Jetty 1. However, a very lucky thing happened to me. We were upgraded to Crusoe Residence Villa. The room was excellent. The staff was friendly, helpful and well-trained. The room was cleaned twice per day. Food was great (believe me, seafood was absolutely better than beef). I highly recommend to have dinner at Brick Wall Grill Restaurant. I almost had lobster for each meal. There were wide variety of choices for breakfast, I recommend to have breakfast outdoor to enjoy the wind breeze. Superb for honeymooner, due to the good privacy for each suite. If I have to say a drawback for this resort, it will be there were too many flies in the room (I hit about 10 flies each day). I just could not believe it happened to such a high class resort."
- Travel date: 9th July 2006
Heaven on earth
"We came back from a 6 days stay at Soneva Gili middle of November. The resort is fabulous and you have the feeling of 'escape'. You enjoyed lots of privacy and you won't see any crowds as the resort only has 44 rooms. We are staying at the Residence Suite, it's huge! and every day you will find new marine life under the villa, like porcupine fish, eel, crab (one morning it's in our bath tub!), squid, lion fish, sting ray and other coral fish.... we did our open water dive referral and enjoyed the amazing under water world with huge sea turtle, manta rays.... and we have done sunset fishing. The turquiose water is beautiful, the view is beautiful. the food and service is excellent. but to enjoy this, you have to spend more...."
- Travel date: 26th November 2005
Just keeps growing on you
"Stayed at Soneva Gili for a long weekend in July and I would rate it top notch on all fronts. The villas are enormous and feel like a home from home. The sitting rooms (on two levels) are open to the fresh air and the bottom floor one leads to a sundeck and diving platform. The longer you're there, the more you want to stay. The spa is amazing, with glass floors so you can watch the fish swimming right underneath - if you don't fall asleep, lulled by the therapist's gentle hands and the soothing music and aromas. The food is also excellent - we had butterfish, one of my favourites, which melts in the mouth and there's a home-made menu of 20 or so ice creams. But best of all was the service. Our villa had a personal, 24-hour per day butler (I guess they all do) who seemed to anticipate our every need. Being pregnant, I had to take special care on the speedboat from the airport and the staff were wonderfully attentive, slowing the boat down if I got concerned. All of this came in a very natural environment, which combined raw wood construction with IPODs in the rooms - I don't know why, but it was impossible not to relax. Wonderful!!! My only complaint isa that the villas are so big, it's a long walk to the loo in the night."
- Travel date: 15th August 2005
Heaven on earth, Robinson Crusoe style
"My husband and I spent the last leg of our honeymoon on Soneva Gili back in September 2004. An hour after we had arrived, we both had a sand massage, on the beach with the water lapping our feet. We had arrived in Heaven. Everything was done at such a slow pace that in no time you felt totally relaxed. It took a while for me to get used to going to dinner without shoes though, for somebody who takes about 20 pairs on a 7 night holiday, this was a culture shock!! but it was so liberating. We both found the idea of not carrying money but tipping at the end of our stay fantastic, there was never any pressure of trying to find change 7 or 8 times a day. This is one idea we will mention to other hotels in future. The staff were fantastic, very quiet and accommodating and would help in any manner, always stopping to pass the time of day and checking whether anything was needed. On one occasion we needed an item from the Male and our guest relations officer offered to shop for us when he was there, which meant alot and was far beyond the call of duty. The food was everything you could wish for and the wine list went on and on. Each evening at dinner, the theme was different, whether it be a buffet style or japanese cuisine. Every meal taken had a vast choice , that we could have spent our holiday just eating and still not sampled everything on offer. If you want peace and tranquility, with top of the range luxury, this is most definately for you."
- Travel date: 30th January 2005
Gili Lankanfushi is also called
- Soneva Gili Resort & Spa
- soneva gili resort
- soneva gili hotel