by Monica Ferry
This summer, I had the opportunity to spend a few months in paradise, while at the same time training the butlers in Soneva Fushi, located in the beautiful Maldives, and Soneva Kiri, located on the stunning island of Koh Kood in southeast Thailand. Each resort is completely different, with its own, unique features that wow a visitor from the moment one sets foot on the jetty to the moment one leaves.
I had never been to the Maldives before – it’s a gorgeous island nation that is famous for its underwater reefs and one of the most perfect spots on the planet for snorkeling and diving. I had heard a lot about it and must say that it truly lives up to its reputation as one of the most unique countries I have ever visited.
I had never been to Thailand, either – and I had heard a lot about that country, too. I found it to be enchanting and beautiful, if somewhat wet (of course visiting during the rainy season contributed to that)! But I was especially impressed with the Thai people, who are gracious and kind, and welcoming to strangers.
Soneva pursues an unusual and progressive philosophy when it comes to managing its resorts. Included in this is their “no news, no shoes” policy, whereby guests and staff literally turn in their shoes upon arrival at the resort, and walk around bare feet. When I first arrived at Soneva Fushi in June, and had my shoes taken away from me, I admit it was a slightly unnerving experience – I was not used to this as a city dweller! But I soon took to the practice and found I really enjoyed walking on the sandy pathways that crisscross the beautiful private island on which the resort is located. There are no cars in either resort, so walking and bicycling are the perfect modes of transportation and totally safe. Soneva Kiri issues its guests with electric golf carts to help negotiate the hilly walkways to and from their villas and the rest of the resort, but I admit I enjoyed walking up and down those hills – what a perfect way to exercise! In addition, each resort touts organic gardens and various other eco-friendly features – with outstanding cuisine in both resorts, whose chefs happily use all the fresh, homegrown and locally caught ingredients. Now THAT was truly paradise to me!
I spent six weeks in each resort and during that time, trained two teams of Friday, as well as managers and trainers. During this time, I had the pleasure of meeting many delightful people – professionals with big service hearts who really take pride in providing great service to their guests, giving them the “experience of a lifetime”. Not surprising, this results in a high percentage of return guests, who swear by “their Mr./Ms. Friday”!
The Soneva Fushi Friday Teams:
Now that I am back home, I savor the memories of my three months in these two different slices of paradise. And I look forward to hearing of the successes from the Fridays in each of these resorts – both Soneva Fushi and Soneva Kiri were set to take their butler service to new, stellar heights following the training and with high season around the corner, they’ll have plenty of opportunity to show just how good they are!
The Soneva Kiri Friday Teams:
- Behind the Scenes in Paradise
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, August, 2011
- The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, August, 2012
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