Re-Building Soneva Gili After the Tsunami
Bangkok, March 2005: Soneva Gili Resort in the Maldives, which suffered damage from
the December 26 tsunami, has deferred its planned re-opening by one month, until 01
As the Maldives’ first all-over-water resort, originally completed just three years
ago, Soneva Gili was closed following the tsunami so that restoration and additional
development could take place. Much of the building materials on hand at that time
were lost to the Indian Ocean. With a strong commitment to clients holding bookings
and to the resort’s staff, a re-opening schedule was initially put at 01 May.The resort’s commitment to the environment included sourcing timber only from
certified renewable forests. A Boeing 747 cargo plane chartered by the resort to
deliver timber and building material from New Zealand, arrived in Male at the end of
February and together with almost 300 builders and craftspeople, the work began.
Due in part to the significant ecological sensitivities associated with essential
services connected to the 44 over-water villas, Six Senses Spa and bar/restaurant,
plus an extraordinary Private Reserve complex, the manpower has not been able to
keep to the restoration schedule. Additional building materials and supplies that
were not included in the original shipment have also needed to be ordered.
“Re-opening the resort if there is still major work in progress, is not an option
for us,” said Area General Manager, Stephen Antram. “Premium guest experiences are
paramount to the Soneva Resorts brand, which is evidenced by the overwhelming repeat
loyalty that we experience at both Soneva Gili and its sister Maldives property, the
flagship Soneva Fushi – which remains fully operational”.
Every effort will be made to accommodate Soneva Gili reservations at Soneva Fushi
during the restoration period, for which free seaplane round-trip transfers from
Male will be arranged; or current reservations will be honoured following the
re-opening after June 1st.