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Guests can lie under stars from their beds as new Soneva Jani Maldives debuts retractable roofs

Soneva's newest property in the Maldives will enable guests to lie under the stars in their beds with unique retractable roofs in the villas. Scheduled to open in November this year, the Soneva Jani resort sits on the island of Medhufaru and has 24 water villas and one island villa. The retractable roofs will be operated by pinion coupled-synchronized gear motors and will automatically close if it rains.

Guests can lie under stars from their beds as new Soneva Jani Maldives debuts retractable roofs

Watching the stars is one of the favourite past times for many, whether it’s on a beach, in the countryside, or up a mountain. Now, one resort in the Maldives is allowing its guests to stare up at the sky from the comfort of their beds.

Soneva Jani resort is scheduled to open officially in November this year, and will feature retractable roofs in the bedrooms of its villas so guests can lie under the stars at night. Using sustainable materials wherever possible, the roofs were constructed and designed to be strong and cope with the rainy season. Made from red river gum timber, the roofs rest on milled steel tracks and have rack and pinion coupled-synchronised gear motors. Built-in sensors means they will close automatically when it rains.

It is located on 150 acres on the island of Medhufaru in the Noonu Atoll. Sitting in a sheltered lagoon, the resort has been designed to respect and protect its surrounding environment, and the property feature many eco-friendly practices. Villas have been built over sandy floors of the lagoon to minimise any damage to coral reefs, and solar panels will be used to generate electricity. The swimming pools will have UV-filtered seawater, waste will be recycled, vegetables will be grown onsite in organic gardens, and waste water will be treated onsite.

Each of the hotel’s 24 water villas and one island villa will have private pools, and the water villas will open out into the lagoon, with some offering slides from the top deck into the sea. There is also an island villa, with another scheduled to open next year.

The idea behind the retractable roofs came when owners of Soneva, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, discovered that guests at its former Soneva Gili resort were taking pillows onto the outdoor deck areas of their villas to sleep under the stars. The couple decided to fit retractable roofs into the master bedrooms of villas so guests could enjoy the experience from the comfort of their beds.

In addittion, facilities at Soneva Jani include restaurants with local produce, a lavish spa, an onsite scuba diving centre, an observatory, a children's den, an eco-centre, organic gardens and an outdoor cinema. While watching films outside, guests will be given Bluetooth earphones so the noise does not disturb surrounding wildlife.

Soneva was established in 1995 and it currently operates the Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand, as well as the Soneva in Aqua yachting experience. The brand aims to combine luxury tourism with environmental responsibility. This is one of the ten worldwide luxury hotel openings to look forward in 2016.

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