After a week on the boat we treat ourselves to a few days of pampering at Soneva Fushi. This is a ‘barefoot luxury’ island, with secluded villas adorning its outer edges like a string of pearls, encompassing verdant rainforest, populated by fruit bats, bunnies, a few chickens and white-breasted waterhens which cluck around followed by fluffy tweeting chicks, and poo liberally on the verandahs. This is our third visit; the last time we came was within a few weeks of Louise’s death so it has bittersweet connotations. But we do remember it being a place of beauty and tranquillity.
This time we are even in the same villa as before, complete with a Mr Friday to look after our every whim, and soon we have booked some dives and are settled into beach life.
The days pass seamlessly – here they call it slowlife – the routine only alters depending on whether it’s a yoga morning or a dive one; lunch at the overwater bar, or in the cool of the main area; the choice of a massage or a dive in the afternoon. Ross’s photos of the diving are here.
Otherwise we vary our evenings by eating at each of the four restaurants; a trip to the observatory where we get a clear view of the moon; and catch up on the last two episodes of Line of Duty! Wi fi works, despite the manufactured simplicity of the place.
Transport around the island is by bicycle – in the old days buggies were shunned – now they are becoming more popular to my disgust.
The only amusement is people watching – and the weekly sandbar cocktail party is a great venue for that. Since our last visit the Russians have come, this week in large family groups, with grannies, bling and extraordinary beach garb – in fact I rather thought of renaming the island Soneva Fushki until the manager told me the Brits were still topping the visitor numbers, though not much in evidence at this time of year as it’s term time, and the Russians are only at number three.
However the prices for champagne point to an upwardly mobile clientele with Krug at $5800 a bottle…a simple glass of wine is $25 so we find it better value to buy a bottle of gin for $40 and mix it in the privacy of our verandah and watch the sun set. You can also have lunch on the Soneva Aqua, a fancy yacht, for $2500 per couple or spend a night there for $5000. I’m not sure who’s paying these prices but the yacht seems to come and go!
Due to a snafu over our transfer, and as a loyalty bonus, we get some treats – cocktails and canapés at the Bar(a)bara; a bottle of fizz on arrival; a free massage; free lunch and fizz on the last day; a champagne candlelight dinner on the beach; but best of all is the room upgrade to a pool suite – if only I had complained earlier!
So despite it being a self-indulgence Soneva is a place we will come back to when we feel we need to move into the slow lane. We probably won’t leave it six years though….