Written by Chris Dwyer, author and journalist.
Just as humans come in every imaginable form, so does wellness. It’s exactly what you make it – exactly what you want it to be. There’s no one size fits all, nor should there be.
In our most recent visit to Soneva Fushi, my wife and I discovered countless experiences that made us feel – well, well. It started with removing our shoes, that iconic and symbolic moment where you move from one way of life to the next. Where toes constantly in the sand or on wood let you physically connect with the earth in whole new ways.
Even more striking was the ability to wander free of any masks for our entire visit. It was a form of wellness that we would always have taken for granted, but is now a very special privilege indeed. Then there was the complete lack of any mosquitoes – let alone mozzie bites. Dr Bart Knols’ pioneering work has meant truly enhanced wellness for the island where Soneva sits – but also potentially for other islands in The Maldives – and indeed around the world.
Nothing is more important in wellness than food and nutrition, and here too Soneva delivered it in brilliant new ways. The old friends of the cheese and chocolate rooms, decadent escapes, but also brilliant new cheeses being made on site. The warm smile every morning at breakfast of all the staff, but especially the fruit master who has been working since the doors first opened 26 years ago.
As the resident bunnies investigate your toes under the breakfast tables, you sip on an Andrographus paniculata drink, an ancient ayurvedic elixir which helps defends the body against viruses – including the one we are all fighting.
As you walk back to your villa, there’s intellectual wellness. The beautiful little bookshop with a manager as passionate about books as she is erudite. Opposite, world-renowned glassmakers create their stunning works from sand and heat.
With birds always flying overhead, birdsong is more wellness for the soul, then as you walk back along the shore to your villa, baby black tipped sharks come and play in the gently lapping waves. And yes, you can’t resist singing that baby shark song to them.
After dinner on your deck overlooking a jaw-dropping sunset, you head for a drink and are serenaded by a Swedish singing superstar, before you hit Cinema Paradiso for The Usual Suspects.
With the stars above you, you inhale deeply, sit back and appreciate that every minute, every experience at Soneva is actually all connected to wellness.