The Maldives-based hotelier shares everything from his Sunday routine to his favourite tipple.
What is your morning routine?
I am usually up at 6:30am with the sound of the birds. I read somewhere that birds tend to wake up half an hour before the sun rises as they are roused by the trees emitting a high level of oxygen. I take my morning supplements (a prebiotic, a tonic that is good for stimulating gut bacteria, cod liver oil and glutathione). Nowadays, if I am meeting people, I also take Andrographis Paniculata, an anti-viral that has been extremely successful in fighting COVID-19. I then sit on a sun lounger on the beach and look through my emails that have come in overnight. At 8am, it’s either 40 minutes of yoga or an hour in the gym, followed by 30 minutes of meditation.
What are your style signifiers?
I tend to wear white Bermuda shorts and coloured linen shirts, which Eva designed for me and our tailor makes. I read that one’s brain only has the capacity for so many decisions per day. So, I try and take the decision-making out of my choice of clothes. When I wear shoes, it’s always Tod’s unless I am wearing a suit and it’s a formal occasion. My shirts and jackets are always collarless. When I graduated from university and started work, I used to collect Hermes ties. Now they sit there in the cupboard unused.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I ‘eat to live’ during the week and ‘live to eat’ on the weekend. My guilty pleasure is fine wines. I am very blessed to be based here at Soneva Fushi where we have more than 1,000 different labels. Seventy percent are based on biodynamic farming.
On a Sunday what is your favourite thing to do?
Eva and I make no commitments on a Sunday. I love to read for pleasure and it’s sometimes difficult to find time during the week. Paddle boarding around the island is relaxing if the weather is nice. I love designing buildings and structures. So, I will pour a glass of rosé and snack on some seed bread with hummus and sketch out designs and ideas.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
We love where we are here in the Maldives but summer in Sweden at Eva’s house is such an incredible change; it’s so wild and natural.
What is the best advice you have been given?
I am a big fan of the quotes of Einstein. There are two that really resonate with me: “One has to give up who one is in order to become who one will”; and “When one stops learning, one starts dying.”
Who would be your perfect dinner-party guests?
I am sure that Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde would have been very amusing guests. It would have been fantastic to listen to Nelson Mandela recount his history.
What great gift did you give recently, and what did you receive that stood out?
My recent gift to Eva was a beautiful piece of driftwood. My brother-in-law is always fantastic at giving me sweaters. He is from Biella, the home of Zegna and Loro Piana.
What was the last good book you read?
Drive by Daniel Pink is a good exploration into what really motivates people.
What would you like to achieve this year?
At a personal level, I would like to try Psilocybin, which they offer in a clinic in Holland and I would also like to attend the Wim Hof camp. I have subscribed to him online and my experience of implementing his programme has been remarkable.
Sonu Shivdasani is the co-founder of Soneva, which owns luxury resorts in the Maldives and Thailand.