Best of the Maldives: Traditional Sailing Breakfast – Soneva Gili

Soneva Gili - sailing breakfast



If you want a traditional floating breakfast with even more traditional mode movement (and more natural and quiet), then you want Soneva Gili’s sailing breakfast (you can rinse your hands naturally too by just reaching over the side). For a price of $100 per person (exclusives of 10% service charge and 6% GST)…

“We offer Continental breakfast selection for this dining experience. The selection can be offered as per the guests choice and availability and feasibility to serve on the sailing boat.”

Best of the Maldives: Breakfast Juice – Soneva Gili

Soneva Gili breakfast juices


This is photo of Soneva Gili by Six Senses is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

If you prefer your revitalising fluids inside you rather than around you, then you might want to start you day off at Soneva Gili. I was first alerted to Soneva Gili’s exceptional juice array by Sakis in a Trip Advisor Forum post where he noted proposed Gili as one of the best breakfast buffets in the Maldives: “One of the best is Soneva Gili for breakfast buffet, the choice among 60 fresh juices makes it also unique.” Few people have seen more Maldive resorts than Sakis so it’s a pretty compelling endorsement to me.

Their juice menu is full of healthy and tasty concoctions like…

  • “Ocean Basic” – Apple and Carrots
  • “Morning Berry” – Raspberry, Apple, Orange, Spirulina
  • “Bloody Carrot” – Carrot, Beetroot, Celery, Lime).
  • “Green ‘n Pear It” – Broccoli, Celery, Pear (great name for anything with broccoli in it).

As you can see, their offerings include veggie juices as well as fruit. Each item on the menu also has a complete nutritional breakdown as well as notations on benefits to Energy, Detox, Immunity, Degestion and Skin.


Soneva Gili juices

Best of the Maldives: Chocolate – Soneva Gili

Soneva Fushi Chocolate Cave 1

Happy Valentines Day!

A meal out in a romantic venue. A box of chocolates. How about a meal of chocolate?? In paradise.

Soneva Gili has an Underground Chocolate Cave.  A chocolate lair!

“Our unique underground wine cellar, showcasing more than six hundred varieties of wine from more than thirty regions around the world, has recently had a truly unique experience added. In addition to our artisanal cheese and deli room, you may now also experience our handmade, gourmet chocolate cave. Our Executive pastry chef has created a chocolate menu using only the finest chocolate, with some very interesting and unusual flavours… Have you ever tried liquid milk chocolate with earl grey tea and mango, or dark chocolate with chilli? What about chocolate truffles flavoured with coconut and coriander, passion fruit and caramel, orange and cardamom, to name but a few…?

A fuller list is provided below, but to extend taste sensations, Soneva Gili also couples bottled treats with the boxed ones…

“To further the experience even more, our Sommelier would be delighted to create a fantastic chocolate and wine pairing which may be enjoyed before or after dinner. Wine and chocolate are natural companions; they both have very complex flavours and matching these flavours is half the fun! ‘Sip the wine, let it fill your mouth, note the wines complexity and which flavours come to mind. Now take a small bite of the chocolate, let it sit on your tongue, when it just begins to melt sip the wine again and swirl together with the chocolate.’”

  • For dark and bitter chocolate – Full bodied reds (eg. 2006 Shiraz Coriole, McLaran Vale, Australia, 2006 The Chocolate Block, Franschoek, South Africa0
  • For dark and bitter sweet chocolate – Sweet fortified (eg. Starboard Batch 88, Quady’s, Madera, California USA, Pedro Ximénez, San Emilio, Lustau, Andalusia, Spain)
  • For milk chocolate – Lighter, fresher (eg. 2007 Viognier, Kumkani, Stellenbosch, South Africa)

A sample of the confections includes…

  • Sambuca chocolate
  • Lemongrass chocolate
  • Passion fruit caramel
  • Coconut coriander
  • Fennel seed chocolate
  • Mango ginger
  • Malibu chocolate
  • Cardamom chocolate
  • Cinnamon apple
  • Irish coffee
  • Orange chocolate
  • Green tea chocolate
  • Whisky caramel
  • Star anise
  • Yoghurt lassi
  • Chilli chocolate
  • Mint chocolate
  • Hazelnut chocolate
  • Roasted almond
  • Rum & raisin
  • Calvados chocolate
  • Olive oil chocolate
  • Goats cheese
  • Salted caramel

Travelscore Magazine’s blog has a great comprehensive review of the place (where the pictures are from).

Soneva Fushi Chocolate Cave 2

Best of the Maldives: Iconic Island – Soneva Gili

Soneva Gili - One Palm Island

When people ask ‘What are the Maldives like?’, my first response is always, ‘You know those pictures of a tropical island that is a plot of sand with a single palm tree like in the cartoons? That is the Maldives. Just think of over a thousand of those.’

Well, of course, they are not all that miniscule, but it gets the notion across in a dramatic way. I find that I have to add a bit of hyperbole because most people struggle to truly get their head around the smallness of the islands. When you tell people the islands are small, they think ‘oh, probably takes just a short while to drive around.’ No, it takes a short while to WALK around.

But is there an island that actually fits that iconic stereotype. In fact, I use a photograph of such an island as the background to my About page.

It turns out the name of this dollop of sand is called…wait for it…One Palm Island. Not much in the imagination department, but I guess it is what it says on the tin. It’s just off the ‘coast’ of Soneva Gili about a few hundred yards into the atoll. The Soneva site describes the private dinner you can have there…

“Private dining on One Palm Island. Imagine a tiny strip of sand with one lone palm tree. Imagine the island twinkling in candlelight, surrounded only by the sea and the stars above. A private barbeque dinner on One Palm Island is an experience you will never forget.”

New Yorker - tropical island

Best of the Maldives: Literary Event – Soneva Gili

Wye River
(The Wye River in Gloucestershire…like the Maldives an idyllic spot for some outdoor water activity as well as a literary festival)

Also winner of the small world connection is Soneva Gili’s sponsorship of the ‘Hay Festival Maldives’. The Hay Festival started as a small literary event in the English idyllic village of Hay-on-Wye. The ‘on-Wye’ bit of course being the Wye River which happens to be our family’s annual canoeing destination courtesy of friend, former colleague and master canoeist Gareth Hall. I was at first surprised to read a connection between this rather esoteric and remote Gloucestershire event and the Maldivian top flight resort, but I guess the Hay Festival has grown into a truly international phenomenon with satellite events around the world…

“Soneva Gili is delighted to announce its sponsorship of the inaugural Maldivian offshoot of the internationally renowned Hay-on-Wye literary festival which is taking place in the Maldives from the 14th to 17th October 2010. The Hay Festival Maldives will celebrate 2,000 years of Maldivian island culture and provide a platform for focusing international attention on the challenges faced by the archipelago due to climate change, bringing together international and local artists from the fields of literature, art, science, music, poetry and comedy.”

Best of the Maldives: Voluntouring – Soneva Fushi / Soneva Gili

Six Senses Voluntourism

If you fancy contributing more than an afternoon helping the Maldives through a activity like reefscaping, and more than a day doing something like Earth Hour, then the Six Senses resorts Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili are offering a special ‘Voluntourism’ rate between 1st July and 12th October 2010.

“Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili by Six Senses are offering the opportunity to give something back. For the next six months, guests are invited to stay at either resort for five nights, without charge and to spend five hours of each day working on local community projects, such as marine conservation, teaching children, planting trees and learning how to turn waste into wealth. This unique Eco Season voluntourism package includes 5 nights paid, 5 nights free in exchange for 5 hours per day of valuable and motivating work for the first 5 days of a luxurious 10 day stay.

“Guests can choose from the following areas of work:

  1. Marine Conservation
  2. Waste Management
  3. Carbon Mitigation
  4. Youth Education
  5. Boost Local Island Income”

Here are links to the documents with full offer details as well as the work breakdowns.

Best of the Maldives: 2010 Calendar – Soneva Gili and Soneva Fushi

Kingfisher Soneva Gili 2010 Calendar

Still looking for that last minute Christmas gift? Calendars for the new year are certainly popular and if Maldives is what you seek, then Soneva Gili and Soneva Fushi have hosted this year’s Kingfisher Swimsuit calendar.

What strikes me about several of the shots…is the sharks (I know most readers and my wife are thinking, 'rrriighht…you’re looking at the sharks in that picture??…hmmmm…’). The mini black-tipped reef sharks are as common to Maldives lagoon shallows as squirrels are to Central Park and just as skittish. We can never get close to the cute little sharks without them scurrying away. But the model doesn’t seem to have any problems attracting the cruisers to her. And the shot below is just too much with the shark on the left with its mouth open like it is smiling for the camera.

Kingfisher Soneva Gili 2010 Calendar 2

Best of the Maldives: Water Villas – Sonva Gili


If being just a few feet away from the edge of the Maldives’ glorious waterside appeals, then one of the special treats of a visit to the Maldives is to be in one of the ‘water villas’ or ‘water bungalows’ where you can stay right on top of the water.  These days most resorts feature water villas (you can search on this characteristic with ‘Resort Finder’), but by far the most spectacular of all of these is the 7 “Crusoe Residences” at Soneva Gili (not to mention the special ‘Private Reserve’ residence). These villas are not just off the land, but they are actually detached from the land. Guests access them by their own personal motor transport.