Soneva to launch private luxury seaplane in Maldives
Soneva has announced that it will soon be unveiling its new 10-seater luxury seaplane in the Maldives.
The DHC-6 Twin Otter, which normally seats 19, has been overhauled by the IKHANA Group in Canada, custom-painted with Soneva’s branding in a rich purple on the exterior, and outfitted with new chrome and purple leather interiors.
The aircraft has been customised to meet Soneva’s luxury brand standards, with interior panels designed to provide a smoother, cleaner look than the typical commuter aircraft interior. The seats have been reupholstered using Elmosoft leather in Soneva purple with a floor covering that mimics slate. The aircraft has 10 VIP seats (eight front-facing and two rear-facing), with two additional fold-down seats and two pilot seats. There are also signature Soneva design touches on-board, such as handcrafted lighting.
Twin Otter planes have short take-off and landing (STOL) abilities, which makes them ideal float planes as they lift off the water faster. DHC-6 Twin Otters have an average range of 886 miles, a top speed of 184 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 173 miles per hour and a wingspan of 66 feet.
This model of aircraft’s fixed tricycle undercarriage, safety record, twin turboprop engines and high climb rate have made it a successful commuter passenger airliner as well as a cargo and medevac aircraft. The Twin Otter has been popular with commercial skydiving operations, and is used by the US Army Parachute Team and the US Air Force’s 98th Flying Training Squadron.
Soneva’s plane is currently en route from Canada across Greenland to Iceland in one hop, then through Europe and the Middle East, before landing in the Maldives.
The new plane, which will be in operation by mid-December, will transport Soneva guests roundtrip from Velana International Airport to Soneva Fushi in Baa atoll and Soneva Jani in the Noonu atoll. The cost of the roundtrip seaplane transfer will be USD 1,100 return from Male to Soneva Fushi or Soneva Jani.
Soneva runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.
Established in 1995, Soneva Fushi is the original Soneva. The No News, No Shoes blueprint for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 65 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, hidden amongst dense foliage.
The iconic resort has bagged several international awards for eco-friendly tourism and green initiatives, including the 2017 Green Hotelier Award for the Asia Pacific region and the Sustainable Hotel Award by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) as well as a spot in the Gold List compiled by Condé Nast Traveler China as the Best Hotel in the Maldives and amongst the best resorts in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.
Opened in December 2016, Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property and its second resort in the Maldives.
Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of 24 overwater villas and one island villa set in a 5.6 kilometre private lagoon located in the northern Noonu atoll. The resort spans five islands surrounded by pure white beaches, covered in rich tropical vegetation, offering the ultimate in privacy and luxury.
Each of the resort’s multilevel water villas has its own private pool and a retractable roof that allows guests to sleep beneath the stars. Many villas also have slides that transport guests directly from the top level into the lagoon below. Other hotel highlights include a spa, an observatory — home to the largest telescope in the Indian Ocean — and an outdoor cinema.
Since its opening, Soneva Jani has created a lot of buzz amongst luxury travellers with its exciting features such as the retractable roofs and the water slides. It has been named the Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel of the year by Jetsetter.com, the best new resort in the world by CNN, and the Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in South Asia and Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in Maldives.