Sonu Shivdasani, a well-known hospitality and wellness industry tycoon, has been awarded as an officer of the order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to tourism, sustainability and charity by the King of England. He has found a place in the King’s New Year Honours 2023 Overseas and International List.
Shivdasani is the founder and CEO of barefoot luxury hotel and wellness brand Soneva Resorts. He is also the founder of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. He started his journey in the hospitality industry way back in 1995, with the first-ever luxury resort in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi. He paved a way for other luxury resorts and to make Maldives a travel hotspot. He also set a new standard of sustainable tourism with the ‘no news, no shoes’ policy.
Later, Shivdasani developed the Six Senses brand that was sold to private equity group Pegasus in 2012 and further on to IHG in 2019. Presently, Six Senses manages two Soneva’s spas. Besides this, there is Soneva in Aqua, a chartered yacht in Maldives with onboard treatments and a glass-bottomed spa. The fourth resort is Soneva Jani in the Maldives, with a wellness center, and Ayurvedic clinic.
Speaking about his latest achievement, Shivdasani feels that this honour cements his founding vision of purpose over profits. At their resorts, the main aim is to make each moment count with the intention of contributing towards the environment. All his resorts are carbon neutral and a 2% environment levy is added to every stay. All the money collected from this is given to the Soneva Foundation, a not-for-profit, UK-registered trust that funds sustainable projects and offset carbon emissions.
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