No News, No Shoes, No Worries!

June 10, 2018

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSoneva Fushi, Maldives

Outfit Details

Dresses –  Camilla A Night to Remember dress | House of Harlow Gaines dress | Astars Capitola Skirt

Anna Beck jewelryLapis Ring | Lapis Pendant necklace | Lapis Cuff | Adventure Cuff | Saddle Ring | Lapis Multi Stone Ring | Complete Ring | Howlite necklace

SwimwearCamilla Salvador Summer bikini  | Anja one piece | Waterlily bikini

Bags – Green pacha Circle Bag

Hats – Green Pacha Raw Natural | Je T’aime Hat

Our recent journey to the Maldives took us to the original castaway style resort, the inspirational Soneva Fushi, located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO biosphere reserve. It is here in 1995 the visionary founders Sonu and Eva created a sacred island paradise that inspires the imagination and deepens your appreciation for nature. It’s a place to connect and experience timeless moments. Every detail and experience helps you switch off, allowing you to melt into the slow life, and feel like you’re walking around in a constant state of meditation. It starts with the no news, no shoes philosophy. We spent 2 weeks barefoot in the Maldives and almost forgot to put our shoes on at the airport! It felt so wonderful to be so connected to the earth; absorbing all the healing energies, and connecting to the energetic footprint of this island’s history.

We loved the resort’s Robinson Crusoe feel, and our Mr Friday host, Jemco, who took care of absolutely every detail of our stay. Even before we arrived we filled in a questionnaire so our beautiful villa was equipped with all our favourite snacks, drinks, essential oils, and our preferred pillow from their extensive pillow menu. We had some of the best sleep of our life here. Each day we watched the sunrise on our balcony before heading straight into the crystalline water of our own private beach. I really fell in love with the natural design of the villa and the lush outdoor bathroom, with it’s sunken bath and the relaxing sounds of trickling water. The villa was so luxuriously appointed with everything you could need; sauna, pool, hammock, bicycles, daybeds, sun beds, indoor bathroom, a walk in mini bar kitchen, and the most grand entrance with floor to second story ceiling wooden doors. It was so easy to switch off, and we loved that we could even turn the wifi off with a single push of a button. The TV was also tastefully hidden into the interior design so you don’t even see it! As a family who barely watch TV we loved this concept so much! We are all about experience and cherishing ever-precious moments, connecting with nature and creating lifetime memories.

This truly was one of the greatest family holiday spots for us. The kids club, known as The Den, is actually the largest in the Maldives. It has a huge lagoon style pool with a much-loved waterslide, a lego room, a music room, a kitchen, and an art space where they teach the children about recycling. Some of my favourite moments with the kids were simply riding our bikes around the island on our way to our next meal at Mihiree Mitha, which means “Here it is.” This main hub is such a wonderful way to come together and connect with everyone. We enjoyed many slow breakfasts by the ocean with the most varied selection one could wish for. And honestly the best vegan food I’ve tasted! I was spoilt for choice and every dining experience was hands down the best culinary experience of my life! And if your day wasn’t already off to a fabulous start then just stop at the all-you-can-eat ice cream parlour and chocolate shop. Open all hours of the day and night! Over 30 flavour options and so many vegan options too! Like I said totally spoilt for choice.

One of our favourite days as a family was spent snorkelling with their in house marine biologist, the lovely Frederica. We explored some of the largest coral reefs in the Maldives, home to manta rays, turtles, sharks and so much more. On this trip we saw some of the biggest and most colourful fish I’ve ever seen and the kids had so much fun practicing their free diving skills. I loved watching how confident they became as they explored the underwater world. It was truly a proud mum moment for me. In the evening we dined amongst the treetops at their incredible Fresh in the Garden restaurant. To end this perfect day, Soneva’s in house astronomer guided us through the night sky at The Observatory and we even caught a glimpse of Jupiter thanks to their state-of-the-art telescope.

Our wonderful stay coincided with the opening of the amazing new Out of the Blue restaurant. More than just a restaurant, this is also a spectacular over water space with all day dining, equipped with waterslide and hammocks for some fun in the sun. This is also the most perfect spot to watch the sunset with one of their signature cocktails, while you look out for dolphins and sea turtles.

What struck me most about Soneva Fushi is how they have maintained such a high level of luxury without compromising on sustainability. They are 100% carbon neutral and they have an eco centre located on the island with an innovative ‘Waste-to-Wealth’ ethos. This is up-cycling at it’s best with up to 90% of all waste being recycled. Glass bottles from the island along with glass waste from neighbouring island resorts are used to create art and installations via the onsite Glass Studio. Styrofoam is transformed into building blocks, food waste is composted to help their organic gardens thrive. So much of the food is grown here and sourced locally, reducing the miles spent in delivering food. Using resources on site, charcoal is made and used for cooking. Water is filtered, mineralised and bottled in glass bottles on the island with proceeds providing 3/4 million people around the world with safe drinking water. And to top it off there is no plastic in sight. What I really love most about these guys is that they care beyond their island paradise. They are empowering women in the Maldives, by providing more jobs and education, they are teaching local children to swim, supporting the local islands with funds for construction of a pre-school and science laboratory, they are providing energy and fuel efficient stoves to poor rural communities in Myanmar and Darfur, reducing deforestation and air pollution. The list goes on and is truly outstanding. They have inspired me to find even more ways I can tread lightly on this earth, and reach out to help those in need. My awareness and passion for sustainability has deepened, and I will always be so grateful to Soneva resorts for this visit.

After this amazing stay at Soneva Fushi we ventured to the magnificent Soneva Jani and I can’t wait to share more of our exciting family adventures, coming soon to the blog!

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020


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