Soneva Jani, the Maldives’ most famous resort


Wednesday newsletters at all times characteristic a resort or flight evaluation.

I just lately loved an AMAZING vacation within the Maldives. You possibly can learn my journey reviews right here:


At present: Overview of the Maldives’ most well-known resort, Soneva Jani

Positioned on an uninhabited five-island cluster within the Noonu Atoll, Soneva Jani is the Maldives’ most unique and well-known resort. The property options 51 overwater pool villas, unfold alongside two jetties that curve right into a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) magnificent lagoon of crystal clear waters. Often known as Chapter One and Chapter Tow, each jetties are linked to the Maldives’ largest resort island, a tropical paradise fringed by pristine seashores and blanketed with lush tropical greenery. Highlights at Soneva Jani embody the villas’ retractable roofs, non-public water slides, a variety of elegant eating places, customized experiences & excursions, and a spectacular new spa facility, Soneva Soul. Friends staying at Chapter Two can profit from an all-inclusive solution to expertise the very best of the resort with Soneva Limitless.  

Soneva Jani options in my high 10 lists of the finest luxurious resorts within the Maldives, the most lovely overwater villas within the Maldives, the most astonishing seashore retreats in Asia, and my favourite accommodations on the planet.

Have you ever ever stayed at Soneva Jani? In that case, what was your expertise? Depart a remark.

On this evaluation:


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Upon arrival at Malé Worldwide Airport and after passing immigration, friends are met by the Soneva airport workers members, who handle the baggage and supply help with the check-in on the Manta Air counters so safe the seaplane boarding passes. As soon as checked in for the seaplane switch, friends are transferred to the seaplane terminal, which is situated on the opposite facet of the airport’s perimeter (a 5 min drive away). Right here, friends can look forward to the connecting seaplane switch to the resort on the Soneva lounge: they’re provided a refreshing drink and a few snacks, whereas a Soneva host takes care of the check-in costs.
  • The (sea)airplane transfers preparations are very well-organized as Soneva operates its personal fleet of unique seaplanes, which implies that Soneva is sort of versatile as regards to the working schedule and baggage limits. That is excellent news for friends, as ready time on the airport is lowered and so they can take extra baggage on board. These DHC-6 Twin Otters are custom-painted in a powerful gray and purple shade livery, matching Soneva’s distinctive’s branding. On the within, these seaplanes, which usually seat 15 to 19 passengers, solely characteristic 10 VIP seats and a cabin fitted in Soneva’s signature design fashion. You possibly can learn my evaluation of the Soneva seaplane right here.
  • Attending to the resort is half the enjoyable because the 40 minute seaplane switch to Soneva Jani is a breathtaking sightseeing journey in itself. The seaplane flies fairly low over the Indian Ocean, providing an incredible view of tiny, sugar-white island rings glowing atop turquoise coloured lagoons and the good sapphire blue ocean. Flying on board a seaplane within the Maldives and admiring the picture-perfect archipelago from a fowl’s eye perspective is among the final experiences that the vacation spot has to supply.
  • After a 40 minute flight, the seaplane lands at Soneva Jani Worldwide Airport, which should be one of the superb airports on the planet: a small picket, floating deck simply off the island’s shores. From there, it’s a 2 minute speedboat journey to the arrival jetty of the magnificent resort. Through the speedboat journey to the resort, friends could take away their footwear and slip them right into a linen bag till their departure. This displays Soneva Jani’s ‘no information, no footwear’ coverage, which inspires an off-the-cuff, barefoot environment amongst all of the friends.
  • From the second friends contact down (barefoot) on Soneva Jani’s shores, a private butler is readily available to help them all through their keep. These butlers are clearly handpicked for his or her excessive likeability and their stage of discrete, intuitive service – you solely must assume it, and your want has materialized! IMHO, Soneva presents the very best service within the hospitality service worldwide.
  • One of many many highlights of the resort is its location inside a 5.6 km (3,5 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean, the biggest of its form within the Maldives. The lagoon is so big that greater than 7,000 Olympic swimming swimming pools can match inside it. It’s unimaginable to search out phrases to explain the intensely mesmerizing blue of the lagoon’s waters. This fifty shades of blue strike the whole Maldivian archipelago and are current within the shallows of each atoll’s islands, however nowhere are they as blue and clear as at Soneva Jani. In truth, these are the most vibrant shades of blue and most gorgeous lagoon that I’ve ever seen in all my years of touring throughout the globe.
  • A singular characteristic of Soneva Jani – which units it aside from all different resorts throughout the Maldives – is that its lagoon has entry to a minimum of 5 islets. The primary island Medhufaru – the biggest resort island within the Maldives – is fringed by pristine seashores and blanketed with lush tropical greenery. It was house to a farm for 10 years earlier than Soneva Jani was conceptualized, and the intensive gardens on the isle nonetheless provide the fruits, greens, herbs and mushrooms to the resort’s kitchens, in addition to to Soneva Jani’s sister resort, Soneva Fushi. Right here, friends can wander by means of the Labyrinth, a meditative maze created out of ficus hedge that follows an historical round sample. Medhufaru includes a small seashore membership on its northern tip (North Seaside), and a a lot bigger seashore membership on its southern tip (South Seaside). The opposite 4 islands within the lagoon stay completely undeveloped, so there may be at all times someplace a spot to play castaway.
  • Inside this large lagoon are 51 overwater villas and some seashore villas, making Soneva Jani one of many lowest density resorts on the planet. The size of the villas is extraordinary, with each one bed room (catering to {couples} and households with younger youngsters) and multi-bedroom villas (catering to bigger journey events) out there. The overwater villas are situated alongside two jetties which can be linked to Medhufaru island and curve over the blue water like a snake. At greater than 410 sq. meters (4413 sq. toes), the one bed room villas are the biggest entry-level villas within the Indian Ocean. Each water villa has a personal pool (which is massive sufficient to swim laps) and opens to its personal stretch of lagoon, with most villas that includes curved slides going instantly from the highest deck into the lagoon under.
  • Throughout my vacation, I stayed at a two bed room villa with slide. Unfold throughout two flooring, the villa got here with its personal 13 m (43 toes) non-public pool, surrounded by exansive decking for sunbathing and taking in ocean vistas. Along with a spacious main bedroom, there was a small glass-encased kitchenette, classroom, walk-in wardrobe, and dwelling space with sunken seats good for lounging. A sleeping space for kids was conveniently situated inside the principle bed room (so mother and father could be assured their youngsters are by no means too removed from them in an overwater surroundings). The open-air lavatory – situated adjoining to the master suite – featured a secluded, picket encompass with enough area to swim out and in of. Three completely different glass-bottomed areas within the villa assured that the underwater world was by no means too distant. Upstairs, there was a second bed room, seating lounge, and a eating sala with roof deck.
  • All villas characteristic a retractable roof in the master suite, which slides again on the contact of a button so friends can lie in mattress and stargaze. After a night within the on-property overwater observatory (cf under), you possibly can attempt to establish Orion, the Southern Cross, the Bear and extra stellar constellations out of your mattress as you drift to sleep, with simply the stress-free sound of the lapping waters open air. And there’s no purpose to fret about rain, since sensors detect an on-coming bathe and routinely shut the roof.
  • Like all different Soneva properties, the spacious villas characteristic superbly designed interiors by Eva Shivdasani, one in all Soneva’s co-founders and spouse of Soneva CEO Sonu Shivdasani. The eco-chic design enhances the gorgeous Maldivian environment and represents barefoot luxurious at its finest. The soft-colored interiors are flooded with gentle, with a couple of deep purple stains including a pleasant distinction. With sandblasted pine decking and Shingle Purple River Gum tiles adorning the skin of the fairytale-esque villas, the insides are constructed from subtly weathered woods and pure supplies in a shade palette of white, pastel greens and mauves. The general impact is ethereal, gentle and ethereal to encourage the final word state of leisure.
  • Soneva Jani options the largest overwater construction within the Maldives, the so-called ‘Gathering’, which seems like one thing out of a fairytale. At three storeys tall and situated midway the principle jetty, the Gathering is the guts of the resort. It homes the varied eating retailers (extra on that under), in addition to a gymnasium, library, boutique store, chocolate & ice cream parlor, wine cellar and youngsters membership. The Gathering includes a hovering open-sided atrium, with a maze of stairs and walkways connecting all of the flooring, amenities, inside and outdoors. There are 104,000 items of Purple River Gum Shingles from Laos on the Gathering’s roof. Additionally, there’s a big slide that delivers friends instantly from the Gathering’s second flooring to the ocean. A Soleni Dive Centre and Marine Biology Champa in addition to a bookshop are situated subsequent to The Gathering.
  • The resort options the Maldives’ first overwater silent cinema – Cinema Paradiso – on the southern tip of the principle island Medhufaru. Right here, friends can chill out on snug loungers beneath the celebrities and snack on recent popcorn. Bluetooth headphones are supplied, leaving the encompassing nesting turtles and wildlife at peace. A number of instances every week, there’s a film choice for each youngsters and adults, with a give attention to basic and inspirational films. Cinema Paradiso additionally includes a Japanese restaurant – known as Director’s Minimize – the place friends can dine on the fragile flavors of Japan’s well-known delicacies whereas taking in a basic movie.
  • Soneva Jani’s friends can gaze into the evening sky on the twinkling jewel-like stars on the first overwater observatory within the Maldives. This common expertise has awed and amazed friends of all ages at Soneva Jani’s sister resorts, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Kiri, and the resort designers have made the observatory at Soneva Jani even higher. A classy telescope rises up by means of the ground of the observatory deck, providing enchanted views of the starry sky. The deck is surrounded by 4 eating tables, at which you’ll dine if you want (extra on that under).
  • Soneva Jani is among the largest resort’s within the Maldives, and getting round does require a while. Buggy service is accessible 24/7 and bicycles (together with e-bikes) are additionally supplied to assist navigate the enjoyable, snaking jetties that join the villas with the principle island, house to Cinema Paradiso, tennis courts, abandoned seashores, the Gardens and Labyrinth, and varied strolling and cycle paths. As well as, a pace boat shuttles friends between the 4 untouched islands within the lagoon in addition to between the Chapter One and Chapter Two jetties.
  • Rooms generate income, whereas meals and beverage make reputations, and Soneva Jani doesn’t fail to impress right here as the menus are as extravagant because the resort itself. Every little thing is of the very best high quality and introduced with complete care and a spotlight, from the freshest tuna and skinny pizzas, to delicate Indian curries, sluggish roasted lamb, and scrumptious salads. Between the 2 sections of the island (Chapter One & Chapter Two), there are 9 eating retailers in complete, providing varied locations cuisines and personal eating experiences, the place the resort’s cooks trick your style buds and thoughts with elaborate disguises.
    • The primary restaurant, known as Down To Earth, is situated throughout the Gathering, and presents a luxurious breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner. Down To Earth has a myriad of nooks, boardwalks, decks and different areas to select from for eating, so each meal could be set in a completely recent surroundings if you want.
    • Overseas is the brainchild of celebrated Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren. Impressed by its spectacular location subsequent to The Gathering, this informal, overwater restaurant serves lunch and dinner menus of plant-based and pescatarian dishes, with produce freshly picked from Soneva Jani’s natural gardens, or sustainably caught within the waters across the resort.  
    • So Wild by Diana Von Cranach is a totally plant-based restaurant within the midst of Soneva Jani’s organic garden. Diana’s 50 years of expertise in plant-focused eating come to life in a menu that attracts inspiration from Ayurveda and highlights substances grown on the resort. 
    • So Partaking is Soneva Jani’s chef’s desk, which presents a thriller menu for 5 very particular friends. Right here, friends get a entrance row seat to the motion, and converse with the chef as he prepares thrilling, scrumptious dishes.
    • So Primitive’s centerpiece is a hearth pit the place completely different cooking methods are honored. Suppose roasting, grilling, searing and cooking in a kettle, clay pots (on coals), salt-crusted baking and cooking over coals. Friends select from a menu that options recent seafood, meats, and plant-based dishes.
    • Chef Nikki heads up his Japanese kitchen at Director’s Minimize Restaurant, serving trendy fashion sashimi, black cod and different Japanese favorites with a up to date twist. Friends get pleasure from a set meal whereas taking in a basic movie at Cinema Paradiso.
    • With an upstairs deck to observe sunsets from, the Crab Shack serves Sri Lankan Mud Crab curry and Alaskan crabs. A choice of rosés are the spotlight of the drinks menu. The Crab Shack was voted because the ‘world’s most romantic restaurant’ on CNN.
    • Seating as much as 20 friends, So Imaginative is a personal room good for celebrations. Soneva Jani’s sommeliers can create impressed wine tastings and wine dinners right here, deciding on the proper pairings from the wine tower.
    • So Starstruck includes 4 eating tables across the first overwater observatory within the Maldives. Right here, friends dine on an expertly crafted menu whereas a resident Astronomer is on-hand to assist navigate the skies.
  • When friends guide a keep in any of the Chapter Two overwater or island villas (known as ‘reserves’), they get to expertise Soneva Limitless, an indulgent new providing that invitations friends to enjoy each side of Soneva Jani to their coronary heart’s want, all included within the worth of the villa. Soneva Limitless consists of limitless: eating in any respect bars, eating places and in-villa eating; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in any respect bars and eating places; visiting Michelin-starred chef dinners and experiences; wines from the Soneva Limitless listingexperiencesdiving, and youngsters’s experiences; and spa therapies. Additionally included beneath Soneva Limitless is a devoted Barefoot Butler, return shared seaplane transfers from Malé, day by day laundry service, and day by day replenishment of the in-villa minibar. The complete Soneva Limitless menu could be seen here. 
  • Soneva has gained a worldwide fame for its wine assortment and Sommeliers, and at Soneva Jani, the wine is housed in a six-meter (20 toes) excessive glass tower and the listing incorporates round 50% natural and biodynamic wine.
  • The resort has its personal chocolate & ice cream parlor (situated throughout the Gathering), which is open from midday until late evening and complimentary to all visitor. There are over 20 continuously altering flavors of home made ice lotions and sorbets to select from on the ice cream room. Friends may also bask in each little one’s dream of unending chocolate by sampling cardamom chocolate truffles, passionfruit pralines, and a regularly altering profusion of confections. Additionally, bread, cheese, and chilly cuts can be found on the Gathering’s chilly room through the day (on a complimentary foundation).
  • Soneva Jani options not one however two wellness facilities:
    • The resort’s new wellness heart is known as Soneva Soul (opened in 2022). Positioned on Medhufaru island, not removed from Soneva Jani’s picturesque South Seaside, Soneva Soul units a brand new customary in holistic wellness. The power has been designed to harmonize with its breath-taking setting and options two indoor remedy rooms and three open-air therapy pavilions with unmatched views of the spectacular pure surrounds. The wellness heart features a devoted Ayurvedic Clinic in addition to an indoor session room for visiting specialists. Alongside a cross-functional health space, an open-air yoga pavilion consists of amenities for aerial yoga. The brand new advanced additionally includes a retail space, that includes sustainable attire, wellness merchandise and equipment. 
    • Soneva Soul enhances Soneva Jani’s unique overwater spa, which is situated inside The Gathering. The latter is a small intimate facility, which homes a few therapy rooms, a leisure lounge, and sauna & steam rooms.
  • In setting up the resort, Soneva Jani’s administration stored its environmental impression as little as attainable. The swimming pools use seawater with UV filtration and the villas have been constructed over the sandy flooring of the lagoon, with no injury to any a part of the reef.  Moreover, photo voltaic PV is e a big supply of energy era on the resort, all waste-water is collected and handled on-site, and water is additionally produced on-site, together with consuming water. Soneva’s Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre ensures that waste is recycled, whereas the intensive vegetable backyard offers native produce for the eating places primarily based on natural ideas.
  • The resort is managed by Soneva, my absolute favourite resort model on the planet. The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Native-Natural-Wellness Studying-Inspiring-Enjoyable-Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy: it goals to create unforgettable, innovating, and enlightening experiences that illuminate their visitor’s lives while treading calmly on the earth. The ethos and values it’s run by are what units Soneva on completely different footing as in comparison with different high-end resort manufacturers. As well as, there’s additionally loads of love and romance within the story of Soneva, which was based in 1995 by Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, and his spouse Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish style mannequin. I’ve beforehand reviewed the fabulous Soneva property in Thailand, Soneva Kiri, and its sister property within the Maldives, Soneva Fushi.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

By no means in my life have I stayed at a resort that’s fairly as lovely and mesmerizing as Soneva Jani. It’s with none doubt the visually most hanging resort within the Maldives, re-writing the principles of Indian Ocean perfection. Phenomenally lovely and thrillingly visionary, Soneva Jani raises the bar for luxurious journey, not solely within the Maldives, however across the globe. Soneva Jani will sweep you off your toes and depart you speechless, however there are some things worthwhile noting to make sure you have the proper keep:

  • Whereas extremely lovely, the lagoon shouldn’t be teeming with fish, though I famous that there’s extra wildlife current now than there was throughout my final go to three years in the past (innocent sharks and stingrays day by day frequented the waters across the villas). Because of the lack of fish throughout the lagoon, Soneva Jani presents snorkeling journeys by boat to its home reef on the outer fringe of the lagoon. Corals of all species are current right here, in addition to quite a lot of fish and big previous coral colonies creating a pleasant shallow 3D reefscape. You might also be fortunate sufficient to come across lovely sea turtles and manta rays, that are native to this space of the Maldives. There are additionally many dive websites with wealthy marine life across the resort, certain to tempt all marine fans.
  • There are two seaplane decisions out there: both the Soneva seaplane or the Manta Air seaplane. The Soneva seaplane is non-public and extra snug (seating 10 passengers in a VIP format), whereas the Manta Air seaplane carries extra passengers (15 in complete) and will cease en-route at different locations earlier than arriving at Soneva Jani. Sadly, it’s not attainable to know upfront whether or not you’ll be transferred in a Soneva seaplane or in a Manta Air seaplane (the schedule depends upon Manta Air, which additionally maintains the Soneva seaplanes).
  • Soneva Jani is an ideal resort vacation spot for each a romantic {couples}’ getaway and a enjoyable household trip. Nevertheless, mother and father with younger youngsters may really feel extra comfy at Chapter Two (which I’ll evaluation quickly in a separate article) than Chapter One, because the villas at Chapter Two (that are labeled ‘Reserves’ as in comparison with the ‘Retreats at Chapter One) provide extra shade through the warmth of the day and so they even have extra areas that are airconditioned (e.g. the lounge space within the villas at Chapter Two is airconditioned whereas that’s not the case on the Chapter One villas).
  • With a price ticket to match the expertise, Soneva Jani is one of many world’s most costly resorts although it’s tough to argue that it doesn’t provide worth for cash. It’s the final word in unique holidays and one of the divine and fabulous accommodations on the planet.
  • Be warned: all of your different journeys, whether or not to the Maldives or past, will pale as compared to the reminiscence of a Soneva Maldives trip. One wonders what comes subsequent after a Soneva vacation?

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: not relevant
  • Resort grounds (seashore): 10/10
  • Rooms (villas): 10/10
  • Meals: 10/10
  • Breakfast: 10/10
  • Spa: 10/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Worth for cash: 10/10
  • General expertise: distinctive: 10/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Get monetary savings: contact me to obtain complimentary VIP perks at Soneva Jani earlier than any reserving is made. These perks embody:
    • A resort credit score valued at 10% of the online room income (when reserving a Finest Obtainable Charge) or 5% of the overall package deal income when reserving one of many Soneva particular packages. For instance, for those who guide 7 nights at Soneva Jani at a finest out there charge of $2500 USD per evening, you’re going to get a resort credit score of seven x $250 USD = $1750 USD, which you should use on meals, spa, and actions.
    • Two customized Soneva experiences per keep (complimentary) from the Soneva expertise brochure (excluding Soneva In Aqua). You’ve gotten the chance to pick premium actions comparable to a private Cinema Paradiso expertise with dinner; father & son picnic and mom & daughter spa; non-public dinner on the Starlight Desk and a session on the observatory; cooking class for kids and household; dawn breakfast; and gourmand eating expertise which incorporates chocolate and wine tasting.
    • Finest out there charge
  • Room tip: I like to recommend to guide one of many villas with a water slide. These villas characteristic the identical format as the opposite villas, however there’s something about sliding down a tube into the superbly glowing turquoise lagoon that brings out the interior little one in everybody. Additionally, about half of the villas faces the dawn, whereas the opposite half faces the sundown (so guide or request a villa in response to your desire).
  • Learn my ideas for making ready your journey in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The very best climate within the Maldives is between January and April, which additionally means excessive season (with low availability and really costly room charges). The monsoon runs from Might to October, peaking in June. It’s value paying increased costs and sticking to the dry season as there may be nothing to do on a wet day besides drink, eat, work out or scuba dive. Particularly November and December, which are sometimes labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled in recent times.


HOW TO GET THERE

Attending to the Soneva Jani requires a 40-minute seaplane switch from Male Worldwide Airport (MLE). Examine the Wikipedia web page of Male Worldwide Airport for an up to date listing of airways that supply flights to Male Worldwide Airport.


PHOTOS

Beneath is a choice of my pictures of Soneva Jani. To view extra resort pictures (together with breakfast and dinners), click on right here.

SONEVA JANI
ARRIVAL JETTY
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SONEVA JANI CHAPTER ONE JETTY
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SONEVA JANI CHAPTER ONE JETTY
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SONEVA JANI CHAPTER ONE JETTY
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SONEVA JANI CHAPTER ONE JETTY
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SONEVA JANI CHAPTER ONE JETTY
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SONEVA JANI CHAPTER ONE JETTY
SONEVA JANI
TWO BEDROOM VILLA: EXTERIOR
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: MASTER BEDROOM
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: STUDY BEDROOM
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: BATHROOM
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: BATHROOM
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: LIVING AREA
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: TERRACE
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: TERRACE
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TWO BEDROOM VILLA: TERRACE
THE GATHERING: EXTERIOR
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THE GATHERING: EXTERIOR
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THE GATHERING
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THE GATHERING
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THE GATHERING: OVERWATER RESTAURANT
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THE GATHERING
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THE GATHERING: CHOCOLATE ROOM
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SONEVA JANI NORTH BEACH
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SONEVA JANI NORTH BEACH
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MEDHUFARU ISLAND: ORGANIC GARDENS
SONEVA SOUL
SONEVA SOUL: WALKWAY TO RECEPTION AREA
SONEVA SOUL: TREATMENT ROOMS
SONEVA SOUL
SONEVA SOUL: TREATMENT ROOMS
SONEVA SOUL
SONEVA SOUL: YOGA PAVILION

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