Sustainable luxury in the hotels was long considered an oxymoron, until recent shifts in the hospitality industry responding to trends in luxury took green travel from niche to necessary. One such hotel is stunning Soneva in the Maldives. They say “At Soneva we believe quite strongly that we’re able to offer our guests luxuries while minimising our impact on the planet and enhancing their health.”
Soneva is considered a pioneer in “barefoot luxury”, which values pristine environments and wide open spaces.
Contemporary luxury has evolved as the wealthy have. Once rural landowners who appreciated expensive possessions, the ultra-rich are now urban – and seek luxury that is an escape from polluted, connected environments.
Luxury is exclusive, and so providing luxurious getaways is all the more difficult in an urbanising world, and barefoot luxury promises experiences that cities can’t.
Soneva Jani sits in the Noonuok atoll in the Medhufaru lagoon. Soneva owns five out of six islands in the atoll. They’ve only built on one of the islands, leaving the others for experiences rather than accommodation.