Meet Our Soneva Stars

Jill Banwell

Jill’s work draws upon a holistic range of modalities that she has been exploring for over 20 years. With each treatment, she guides her patients towards a deeper, more harmonious level of existence, enabling them to feel more open-hearted and in flow with the beauty of life. After studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, Jill became a social worker in London where she first encountered complementary therapies and the healing arts. She embraced learning about Eastern and Western approaches to spirituality, healing and self-development. Jill’s journey of discovery has also taken her on pilgrimages to sacred sites across the world, which have enabled her to become more open to healing energies.
Learn more about Jill Banwell

Claude Simard

Claude is an internationally acclaimed massage specialist and meditation teacher, with more than three decades of experience. Specialising in remedial massage, he expertly combines therapeutic massage with his extensive knowledge of inner child meditation, dream work and psycho-energetic massage to guide his patients to a profound level of healing. Claude has been committed to helping others from a young age, previously working as a social worker in Canada and as a leader of cultural exchange programmes for young people of different nationalities. He continues to harness the intuition and sensitivity developed during these early years of his career through his own extensive meditation practices.
Learn more about Claude Simard

Judy Joo & Esther Choi

Chefs Judy Joo and Esther Choi will conduct a spectacular four-hands dinner at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani. Their dishes will showcase their amazing talent and rich Korean heritage. Chef Judy Joo In 2003, following an engineering degree at Columbia University and a career on Wall Street, Judy Joo decided it was time for a change. Realising that her passion was in cooking, she enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York, and received her Grand Diplome in Pastry Arts before becoming a test kitchen and editorial assistant at SAVEUR magazine. Excited about the thriving UK food scene, Judy moved to London in 2007, and joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as a pastry chef. For the following few years, she also worked throughout other Gordon Ramsay restaurants including Maze, under Jason Atherton, Claridge’s, Pétrus, and Boxwood Café as a chef and pastry chef. Judy also staged around the world at restaurants including 3 Michelin-starred The French Laundry in Yountville, California; Heston Blumenthal’s 3 Michelin-starred The Fat Duck in Bray; as well as Bangkok’s 1 Michelin-starred Nahm restaurant. In 2011, Judy became a regular face on TV, starring in Iron Chef UK and securing herself the title ‘Iron Chef UK’, becoming the only female Iron Chef in the UK and the second female Iron Chef worldwide. Off the back of her success in the UK show, Judy became a resident judge on Iron Chef America. Her expertise in Korean cooking led to her own shows: Judy Joo’s Return to Korea and two seasons of Korean Food Made Simple. Since then she published her debut cookbook, Korean Food Made Simple and has made regular appearances on numerous programs in the USA including The Today Show, Wendy Williams, The Talk, and various Food Network shows, and in the UK she has popped up on Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch,  James Martin’s Saturday Morning and ITV’s Cooking with the Stars. Having settled in the UK, London was the obvious choice for Judy’s first restaurant as Chef Patron, and she opened the doors to her modern Korean restaurant Jinjuu – meaning ‘pearl’ – in 2014. Judy’s cooking is focused on the flavours of her childhood – raised in a Korean-American family in New Jersey, her back porch was lined with her mother’s clay pots, filled with fermenting kimchi, gochujang and doenjang. The house’s garage had racks of drying seaweed, and a Korean barbecue grill tucked in the corner. Judy and her sister were often drafted in to help fold row upon row of dumplings. Her multicultural heritage and training is evident in her dishes today: from ‘disco fries’ influenced by New Jersey highway diners, and topped with spicy cabbage kimchi, to classic French pastries that incorporate traditional Korean ingredients. In 2019, Judy left Jinjuu after five years in order to start a new chapter, which included the launch of her new cookbook, Korean Soul Food in October 2019, and has since launched her latest restaurant, Seoul Bird, in Westfield and Canary Wharf specialising in the Korean fried chicken for which Judy is known. Chef Esther Choi Chef Esther Choi, owner and founder of New York City’s mŏkbar and partner of Ms. Yoo, is an influential female chef driven by her Korean roots. With a personal passion for introducing New Yorkers to the flavors of Korean culture, Chef Esther’s cooking combines traditional and modern influences with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Inspired by the old-aged techniques of her Korean grandmother’s cooking, Chef Esther believes that food is the ultimate expression of a country’s culture. From its history and social customs to its language, geography, and arts, Chef Esther seeks to offer guests an understanding and appreciation of Korean foods. Chef Esther received formal training at New York’s institute of culinary education and has worked across the kitchens of ilili, La Esquina, and the Food Network. Esther has received numerous awards for her culinary pursuits and was named “New York City’s Culinary Rock star” in Zagat’s 30 under 30.
Learn more about Judy Joo & Esther Choi

Artem Estafiev

Artem Estafiev is Executive Chef of Artest Restaurant, one of Moscow’s most exciting new restaurants to open in 2021. Estafiev trained at restaurants in St. Petersburg, Barcelona and Paris, including the famed Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and Le Meurice Alain Ducasse. When the esteemed restaurateur Arkady Novikov tasted his dishes, he was deeply impressed by his talents, immediately inviting him to be part of a joint project, which he named ‘Artest’ after the first letters of the chef’s name. Their combined vision for Artest has redefined fine dining in Moscow, connecting the perception of gastronomy with nature – thunderstorms, fogs and stars. Estafiev works closely with local farmers and herbalists, and has a state-of-the-art lab to develop new dishes, fermenting the restaurant’s own vinegars and miso, and maturing fruits and vegetables to create exciting new flavours. Artest’s Chef’s Table was recently awarded 2 stars by Russia’s Michelin Guide. “I want to give people an opportunity to try products that are drenched in the history of a local area, to showcase these products in my composition of textures, flavours and colours,” says Estafiev. “I always aim to give my guests something that I consider to be a part of me and a part of my own taste.” Artem Estafiev will be hosting a series of exclusive dinners at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani from February 6 to 22, 2022.  
Learn more about Artem Estafiev

Silver Heights

In 1999, the patriarch of Silver Heights, Gao Lin, had a premonition: one day, his home province of Ningxia would become a sought-after region for world-class wines. He began planting Cabernet Sauvignon vines sourced from France, and convinced his daughter, Gao Yuan (also known as Emma), to voyage abroad to Bordeaux and there to enroll in a Masters of Oenology program. While in France, Emma had the opportunity to intern at several historic Bordeaux wineries, including the world-famous Château Calon-Ségur. After returning, Emma first briefly worked for Torres China, one of the country’s most prestigious wine importers. Her true passion, however, lay in winemaking, and she collaborated with her father and husband to begin making a very small amount of wine at her parents’ farm on the then-outskirts of Yinchuan. One day, out of the blue, Emma presented an unlabelled magnum bottle of her 100% Cabernet Sauvignon to Alberto Fernandez, the managing partner of Torres China. He was blown away, and immediately proposed the following to her: she would make wine full-time, and Torres would distribute it. Thus, Silver Heights was finally born. And that first wine? It became Emma’s Reserve, and has gone on to acclaim. Since their first vintage in 2007 was met with astonished accolades by domestic and international wine experts, Gao Lin, Emma, and Thierry have continued to focus on making the highest quality wine possible and on developing the Ningxia terroir. Emma Gao will take our guests at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani on a virtual wine journey on February 11, 2022.
Learn more about Silver Heights

Jan Hartwig

Soneva Fushi: February 27-March 7, 2022 Soneva Jani: February 20-27, 2022 Jan Hartwig was the Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant Atelier in Munich’s famed Hotel Bayerischer Hof until October 2021 and is one of just 10 chefs in Germany to have been awarded 3 Michelin stars. Having gained his 3 Michelin stars at a lightning speed between 2014 and 2017, Jan has truly made his mark on the German culinary landscape. His next plans include opening a pop-up restaurant in February 2022 as well as launching his own Munich restaurant in early summer 2022, which will be the culmination of his experiences and long-cherished wish to create his own concept. The restaurant will follow Jan’s philosophy of using the best products and techniques for creating exceptional moments and tastes. Chef Jan Hartwig will host 7 exclusive dinners in total during his stay at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani from February 20 to March 8, 2022.
Learn more about Jan Hartwig


The first wine cellar was built by Giuseppe, son of the founder Giovanni, who, together with his sister Angela, extended his estate into the best soils and, in 1934, was one of the founders of the Consortium for the Defence of Barolo and Barbaresco. The family expanded the estate with the purchase of cru vineyards which are authentic jewels: Margheria, Parafada and Vigna Rionda. The history of the Massolinos and their wine became entwined with the history of Serralunga d’Alba in 1896 when Giovanni founded the Estate. Giovanni was the very first person to bring the electric current to the village. An enterprising, tenacious and creative man, progenitor of a family that has made the combination of inspiration and tradition something to be proud of. Making wine with passion, in its land of origin, preserving the typical characteristics of the autochthonous grape varieties, being convinced that there is a deep and tangible link between the vines, hills and winegrowers, made up of affinities cemented, by habit, to the land. Since 1896, the Massolino family has been making wine this way, loyal to this philosophy and to the capacity for innovation in the name of tradition. In short, loyal to itself. Franco and Claudia Massolino will take our guests at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani on a virtual wine journey on February 25, 2022.
Learn more about Massolino

February Highlights

Browse a selection of highlights from this month’s calendar, or click on the link to see the full daily programme.

So Bubbly Champagne Breakfast at North Beach – Begin your morning with glasses of Champagne and a delicious breakfast on the sands of North Beach as you watch the sun rise.

Soneva Academy Courses – Combine your stay with a fascinating learning experience for Young Sonevians.

Stargazing at So Starstruck – Join our astronomer to explore the night skies over the Maldives.

Noonu Atoll Guided Snorkelling – Let our Marine Biologist guide you through the marine world full of tropical sea life and colourful corals.

Virtual Wine Tasting – Discover some of the world’s most exceptional wines and Champagnes through our exclusive wine tasting series.

Eco-Friendly Surfing – Surf uncrowded breaks with our surfing guides and instructors on the world’s first 100% sustainable surfing programme. 

Yoga and Pranayama – Join Kamal, our Yoga and Meditation Master, for authentic yoga and guidance into yogic breathing.

View the full Programme

Fun Family Experiences

See what we’ve planned for Young Sonevians at Soneva Jani this February.

Plan Your Perfect Day

Every day at Soneva Jani is filled with inspiring experiences to make memories that last a lifetime. Click through to see a selection of daily activities this February, morning, noon and night.

Floating breakfast in your own private pool

Fun-tubing and picnics with The Den

Private sunrise breakfast on North Beach

Snorkelling the house reef

Standup paddleboarding at the Watersports Champa

Sustainable hook-and-line fishing at sunrise

Chef Priyantha’s Best Crab Dishes at Crab Shack

Soneva Jani High Tea

Plant-based lunch at So Cold

Herbal tincture class at the Down to Earth bar

Dim sum cooking class at The Gathering



So Social Cocktails at So Sandy Beach

Sunset Dolphin Cruise

Dinner and a movie at Director’s Cut and Cinema Paradiso

Gourmet dinner and stargazing at So Starstruck

Chocolate and wine pairing at So Cool

Floating Kitchen by Chef Rana

Valentine’s Day at Soneva Jani

Celebrate a day filled with love and romance on February 14. Start with a Champagne floating breakfast in your private pool. Indulge in a sumptuous seafood barbecue at So Primitive. Watch a classic film over dinner at Director’s Cut. Take a gastronomic journey around the world at Down to Earth. See what’s written in the stars when you explore constellations at So Starstruck. Or linger over a private dinner at North Beach or So Sandy.

Over-water Luxury at its Finest


Discover all of our dining destinations and experiences available at Soneva Jani and on the untouched islands surrounding us.

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Enjoy unforgettable experiences at Soneva Jani. Every experience can be customised for a special occasion, celebration, or simply just because.

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Overwater Retreats and Reserves

Among the largest over-water villas in the world, our one- to four-bedroom Reserves and Retreats at Soneva Jani offer the ultimate in luxury, space and privacy. Expansive pool decks and floor-to-ceiling windows maximise the magnificent ocean views, and water slides plunge straight into the tranquil waters of the lagoon.

View All Villas

Reconnect Mind, Body and Soul

Indulge, unwind and rejuvenate at Soneva Soul. Personalised treatments and therapies unite ancient healing wisdom with modern science and innovation.

Soneva Soul - A Transformative Wellness Concept

Exclusive Offers at Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani

Online Exclusive Rate

Book direct with for best online rates, guaranteed. You will also receive a complimentary daily breakfast and one complimentary signature Soneva experience.
Learn more about our Online Exclusive Rate

Soneva Jani

Family Offer

Escape to Soneva Jani in the Maldives for the ultimate family vacation. Complimentary full board stays for children under 15, with signature child-friendly experiences.
Learn more about our Family Offer
For Families
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The Maldives
The Maldives

Soneva Jani is nestled within the tranquil waters of the Noonu Atoll, where sun-drenched blue skies and azure seas stretch out in every direction. Stay in iconic over-water villas or vast island residences, with unparalleled access to marine experiences and exhilarating watersports.

Customise Your Stay

Contact our Reservations Team today to discover our special offers, plan your dream holiday and tailor-make your stay with a selection of exceptional experiences. Best rates guaranteed on

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