Your wellness matters to us
Soneva's response to COVID-19
Updated: November 9, 2020
Although the ‘New Normal’ in the Maldives will be different from the normal life we enjoyed before COVID-19, the country remains extremely lucky as its 1,200 islands provide a natural defense against the spread of COVID-19. The Government's policy of ‘One Island, One Resort’ has served them well. Due to swift and effective action from the Government, the Maldives has been able to successfully contain the spread of the virus, mainly through extensive testing and a significant increase in the capacity of its hospitals. To ensure the highest standards of safety and wellness for our guests, we have made some changes to our existing procedures, which are outlined below. Soneva tests all guests upon arrival using our very own PCR testing machine. Watch our CEO demonstrating how fast and efficient the PCR sample collection is.
These have been made following best practices recommended by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) as well as our numerous consultations with leading experts in both Virology and Infectious Diseases in the United States, Singapore, India and the United Kingdom. Our goal is to make our private island homes COVID-19 free environments, so that all of our guests can truly relax and feel comfortable in the knowledge that we are doing everything possible to prevent COVID-19 reaching our shores.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has recognised the efforts of the Maldives in implementing enhanced health and safety measures, in line with the WTTC global Safe Travels protocols, and creating a safe plan by rebuilding confidence among travellers and ensuring a coordinated approach in restarting the Tourism industry. The Maldives achieved the Safe Travels Stamp, which is endorsed by the World Tourism Organization and more than 200 travel companies. The objective of the Safe Travels Stamp is to provide consumer confidence and ensure travellers enhanced standards of hygiene are in place. It is the world’s first-ever global safety and hygiene stamp for the Travel & Tourism industry, designed to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.
• All guests landing in the Maldives will be greeted by one of our Airport Hosts. All our Airport Hosts, lounge Hosts and transfer Hosts will all be wearing masks, disposable gloves and follow highest standards of wellness at all times.
• In accordance with the health requirements of the Maldives Government, all guests travelling to the Maldives are required to submit the health declaration form at this link within 24 hours prior to their departure to and from the Maldives.
• All guests must present a negative PCR certificate, and the test must be conducted within a maximum of 96 hrs prior to departure to the Maldives. **
• Screening procedures are in place for passengers on arrival, with quarantine facilities set up to isolate any suspected cases of COVID-19.
• All passengers and airline crew are also required to complete an Immigration Arrival Card when arriving in the Maldives
• Travellers presenting symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival will be subjected to isolation until testing has been completed.
• We would request that, until the test results are received, all guests wear a face mask. Our Hosts will also be wearing masks until the results are received.
• All vehicles being used by Soneva for airport transfers (including our Tesla cars) will be operated leaving the windows down and are thoroughly sanitised after every ride.
• Soneva aircraft and transfer/excursion boats will also be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised after each ride.
AT OUR RESORTS
• On arrival at the jetty, the guests will be greeted by a Barefoot Butler who will be handling all arrivals for that particular day and who will take guests to our private island.
• All our Hosts at Soneva resorts will be wearing face masks and we would ask our guests to wear mask at this point as well.
• The guest luggage will be thoroughly sanitized before it reaches the resort or the villa. The guest villas are exhaustively sanitized / disinfected and are thoroughly cleaned before and after every check-in and check-out.
• Soneva’s exclusive safety & comfort privilege No. 1: Guests will be escorted to their villa, where they will be tested, and we request that they remain there until the test results are received and are negative. We expect this process to take no more than 24 hours. As a result of this inconvenience, we will offer all guests a credit voucher that can be redeemed against food and beverages or experiences. Guests can order from In-Villa Dining menu at the normal published prices and the food will be delivered according to our health and safety protocols designed protect our guests and our Hosts. On receiving NEGATIVE test results for COVID-19, our Hosts will come to the guests’ villa to extend a warm welcome. This is Soneva’s exclusive safety practice for our commitment to the safety and well-being of our guests.
• Soneva’s exclusive safety & comfort privilege No. 2: In case the COVID-19 test result is POSITIVE, the resort will ask the COVID positive guests, his/her family, friends and other travelling together to isolate in their villa. As an exclusive privilege, (i) Soneva will immediately waive the daily room rate of the villa for the next 14 days and the only charges will be meals and other incidentals; and (ii) all guests under isolation are welcome to make full use of the facilities within their villa, the surrounding private gardens and adjacent beach. To ensure guests’ comfort and enjoyment, even while in isolation, our full In-Villa Dining service, as well as general housekeeping services, will continue to be available to isolating guests, delivered in line with our strict delivery and service operating procedures.
• Soneva’s resort medical team have been trained on how to look after COVID-19 positive guests and observe them. If there are no serious complications, guests will be allowed to socialize in the resort 14 days after a negative test or 10 days after the outset of the first symptoms, following the recommended guidelines by the US CDC. Should any guest develop severe symptoms and have to be hospitalised, the Maldives has built up sufficient hospital and medical capacity to treat COVID-19 effectively. In fact, the hospital on Eydhafushi (Soneva Fushi’s neighbouring island) only 10 minutes away by speedboat, has a new ICU Unit with 20 beds. Furthermore, there is an excellent new hospital in the capital Male’ with 159 beds and international healthcare standards. You can watch a short video about their facilities here. If required, we are also able to organise emergency, private jet repatriation or medevac for our guests. We remind guests to ensure that they organise appropriate travel insurance ahead of their visit.
• Soneva’s exclusive safety & comfort privilege No. 3: We also require that all guests have their temperature taken daily. Our Barefoot Butlers will provide a digital thermometer each morning and will be in touch later that day to ask for the results. On the fifth day of stay, we would also ask guests to take one more real-time PCR test depending on the circumstances prevailing then. To enhance our guest safety and comfort, Soneva have purchased the Life Cycler 96 testing machine from Roche, the samples will be sent to Male’ for testing at the ADK hospital and a COVID-19 lab is being set-up at Maafaru International Airport in association with ADK Hospital to facilitate safe, faster and convenient testing of our guests. Although this could be considered as being slightly excessive or over-cautious, both Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani are ‘One Island, One Resort’; it is our goal to make our private island homes COVID-19 free environments, so that all of our guests can truly relax and engage with our Hosts and fellow travellers and not feel any concern about a risk of infection. Guests will not need to isolate in their villa while waiting for the results of the second PCR test.
• We also have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols across our entire resorts in collaboration with hygiene certification organisations, and there will be plenty of hand sanitizer available for guest usage at all times. We are working with one of the world’s leading inspection, testing, verification and certification companies to provide an enhanced control in the current Hygiene Protocols to manage and reduce COVID-19 risks and to provide increased assurance to our guests.
• All cutlery and crockery will be thoroughly sanitized in accordance with internally accepted guidelines. All of our resort restaurants, facilities and experiences remain open and operational, with some modifications. For instance, our Chocolate Rooms will now be manned by our Pastry Chefs, who have moved there so that you can watch them making (and serving!) the chocolate. Our famous breakfast and lunch buffets will remain; however, our Hosts will now be there to serve guests. In our Spas, even though our Therapists will have been tested regularly, guests will still have a choice on whether they wear a face mask or gloves. All of our Hosts are very much looking forward to welcoming guests back to our resorts!
• We have strict deep-cleaning and disinfection protocols at all our common areas specifically the high-touch points such as door handles. Our Hosts are also required to undergo the same COVID-19 testing procedures as our guests, while all materials and produce brought onto our islands will undergo proper cleaning and sanitation procedures prior to being brought onsite.
Wellness has always been at the core of Soneva. This is now even more important.
From a holistic wellness perspective, clean sea air and daily sunshine that generates Vitamin D is just what the doctor ordered.
We would encourage our guests to enjoy the healthy foods we serve, whether it is the Ayurvedic elixirs at breakfast, the Andrographis Paniculata, (a known Ayurvedic immune booster) that we offer on a complimentary basis, or the many other healthy anti-viral ingredients that feature in our food such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, red onions, cinnamon and cardamom.
Furthermore, our menus are mostly seasonal, fresh, and straight from our organic gardens or waters surrounding our resorts. We limit the amount of sugar, dairy, white flour and beef, instead opting for high protein white meat and vegetable alternatives. We offer a regular programme of yoga and meditation, as well as other visiting wellness practitioners.
While there will be small changes to what would normally happen during your stay with us, on the most part things will remain the same. Which is exactly how we want it to be. Your health and wellness are our priority and we hope that our rigorous standards will reassure you that you will have a safe and unforgettable holiday with your loved ones during your next stay with us.
Based on the evolving situation, we will regularly update this document based on the latest news and recommendations.
** COVID-19 PCR Positive Test Result Variances
The Maldives Government follows the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in determining a positive case. According to the WHO, they recommend that patients that have a Real Time PCR test CT/CQ level of less than 35 should be declared positive for COVID-19. We understand that in some countries, this threshold is lower and that patients are only declared positive if their CT/CQ level is below 25 and that levels between 25 and 35 are often considered negative. We highly recommend that when you obtain your test results prior to travel, that you double-check your CT/CQ levels and confirm that they are above 35 before arriving in the country to ensure you do not test positive on arrival in the Maldives.