Soneva Fushi, Maldives introduces new ‘Den’ concept for children
Maldives.net.mv – The endless flights of fancy, driving ideas and activities at the Children’s Den at Soneva Kiri are to be recreated by popular demand at Soneva Fushi, with the building of a second Den by the end of 2013, devoted to fun and learning for young children and teenagers.
Taking their inspiration from the dramatic Manta Ray at Soneva Kiri, as well as many discussions with young Soneva Enthusiasts over the past two years; Sonu and Eva Shivdasani and their creative team have come up with another unique concept for Soneva Fushi. When completed, it will be the most creative and large-scale dedicated children’s Den in the Maldives.
So forget classrooms and think play time! The Den is like an amusement park, eco-pod and theatre of dreams all rolled into one.
Pride of place in The Den will be a spectacular 130 square metre swimming pool complete with slide, while smaller children will have their own toddlers pool, both pools bordered with decks designed for safe sun-kissed play. Other outdoor activities revolve around a pirate ship, a zip line that allows users to whizz through the jungle and of course the ever popular games area including a large ping pong table.
Designers have invested an enormous amount of time into their plans for The Tunnel, a 14 metre corridor linking the gardens with The Den, and a treasure trove of all the activities that children MUST have at the top of their daily hobby lists. It is clad in roots and branches hiding an ‘old’ map of the Den with hints as to where the ‘treasure’ is buried. Whatever our age, we all love trying to find buried treasure!
The tunnel is also educational with sections from old buildings showing how people used to build in the Maldives, and fun with a novelty door in door in a door, plus glass peep holes in the walls. Also in the walls is a clock from wonderland.
All these features have been carefully conceived to make the Tunnel a big hit with the children, encouraging them to explore the organic garden which has flowers and Asian trees with swings and nests hanging from the branches.
Venturing inside offers no relief from the excitement. A dancing area, DJ corner, dressing up room, library and cinema provide space for music, books, films and fantasies. A music room with a small stage will house a range of musical instruments for some proper Maldivian noise-making.
Tables shaped like tropical leaves create a learning area that few children will ever have experienced, while a ‘mocktail’ bar and kitchen provide space for children to learn about food and drink. Locally crafted woodcarving countertops give these areas a distinctly Asian feel, educating young visitors about natural materials locally sourced.
For our younger guests, the Den also features a Lego room and display area where children can build on walls and show off their creations. Teenagers can enjoy their own relaxation area which provides a bit of peace and quiet for those tired from the exciting activities. There is also a peaceful sleeping area for toddlers.
Many of the ideas for the Children’s Den in Soneva Fushi have stemmed from input by children who have played in the Den at Soneva Kiri. The structure itself was the stuff of dreams after groups of younger guests were asked to imagine their fantasy play area, leaving a creative team of international architects and builders with the task of rolling out this real life manifestation of their imaginations.
It has been a stunning success. Built to appear like a gigantic manta ray hovering above the forest, it offers healthy natural light and magnificent views, appreciated as much by parents who are captivated by both concept and delivery and by the children engaged in all the activities.
Over the years, Soneva’s teams of professional child minders, who are constantly on duty at The Den, have come up with a range of clever ideas for integrated learning and play so children might learn about protecting Thai elephants while also painting them on paper or even creating their very own print in batik art. They find out about making traditional puppets and costumes inspired by cultures throughout Southeast Asia or learn more about the environment by crafting mobiles and bracelets from recycled paper or taking nature walks in the surrounding rain forest.
Diversity is key to keeping children occupied and entertained and parents relaxed and happy. The Den at Soneva Fushi is guaranteed to deliver!