One day, we will be allowed to travel again. But until that day comes, those of us who have itchy feet as well as deep pockets can live vicariously by buying a villa in the Maldives. Introduced in 2011 in response to requests from returning guests, the pioneering villa ownership scheme made Soneva the first and only company to offer Maldivian real estate to foreign buyers.
Today, its portfolio includes expansive private villas at Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll and Soneva Jani in the Noonu Atoll.
A sanctuary of tranquillity, all the villas have been positioned to ensure the utmost privacy and seclusion for owners and their guests.
The interiors of each are personalized to owner's needs - from furniture crafted from reclaimed natural materials to playful touches such as treehouses, dining towers or waterslides into the private pool.
Built to the same sustainability criteria as Soneva's resorts, the private residences are designed to have minimum impact on the Earth.
Since the scheme started, 31 residences have been sold to buyers from across the globe, with the most popular being the three-bedroom properties. All are sold on a renewable leasehold and are fully maintained by the resort.
Among the properties up for sale is Villa 65 at Soneva Fushi. The three-bedroom Crusoe Suite is a beach-front property comprising two duplex villas with whitewashed walls and thatched roofing that blend in perfectly with the island setting.
Located on the sunset side, with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, the property takes full advantage of its surroundings by having a private pool, an outdoor bathroom and a huge outdoor sitting area - perfect for days when all you want to do is relax in your sanctuary.
Early risers can go for the new, four-bedroom Villa 38 as it is located on the sunrise side of the resort. Partly encircled by a huge private swimming pool, the 16,415 square foot villa has open-plan living spaces, terraces and balconies and large outdoor bathrooms, as well as a fully-equipped private gym, spa suite and steam and sauna facilities.
Why live near the water when you can live right on it? Soneva Jani's beachfront Island Reserves are nothing to sniff at, but the one most guests drool over is the over-water villa, ranging from one to four bedrooms. A four-bedroom over-water residence in the market is the last word in over-water luxury. Perfectly private, the 13,197 sq ft villa commands unmatched views over the lagoon, with its own private infinity pool and a slide that plunges straight into the ocean.
A wealth of living space, both inside and out, includes large al fresco terraces with plush daybeds and catamaran nets, light and airy bedrooms, a library, a private fitness room and an outdoor bathroom.
Prices are upon request on soneva.com but you know the old saying: "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." You can join the rest of us in ogling the photos of the properties instead.