Guests at luxury Soneva resorts in Thailand and the Maldives can pay for stays in crypto, rather than just use their digital currencies as an investment or something to trade. Jenny Southan reports

This summer, luxury hospitality group Soneva jumped on the “Crypto Trips” trend that Globetrender identified in its premium VOLT newsletter in early 2021, by allowing hotel rooms to be booked with Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The new payment channel is designed to make the transaction process easier and offer the “utmost peace of mind” so that guests can now confidently make secure international payments at Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand.Soneva JaniBoth Bitcoin and Ethereum can also be used for Soneva Villa Ownership, the first and only scheme that offers real-estate to foreign buyers in the Maldives, with all appropriate controls and compliance in place.

Soneva has partnered with cryptocurrency payments solutions provider TripleA and payment platform provider Pomelo Pay to expand its payment options and remove barriers to luxury travel.

As a licensed cryptocurrency payments solutions provider, TripleA enables Soneva’s guests to make crypto payments without any risk of price volatility, offering instant confirmation, locked-in exchange rates, real-time conversions and no chargebacks.

Used in conjunction with Pomelo Pay, a single frictionless payment platform, it facilitates cryptocurrency payments using secure QR code and payment link technology.

Bookings can be made directly with Soneva’s reservations department and payment links can be arranged securely, from anywhere in the world.

While any payments made using Bitcoin or Ethereum are 100 per cent non-refundable, credits can apply in line with Soneva’s flexible Payment and Cancellation Policy, which was introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to help guests book their stay with confidence.Soneva JaniBruce Bromley, chief financial officer for Soneva, says: “At Soneva, we have always endeavoured to be a pioneer in the hospitality industry, hence accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method is another example of enabling our international guests to easily make payments from anywhere in the world,.

Eric Barbier, CEO of TripleA, says: “TripleA is thrilled to partner with Pomelo Pay to allow businesses like Soneva to accept cryptocurrency payments. With our partnership, businesses get to tap into the spending power of more than 300 million crypto owners globally, without bearing any price volatility risk.”

Vincent Choi, CEO of Pomelo Pay, says: “We are excited to embark on this journey with TripleA and enable Soneva to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment from travellers across the globe. Importantly, TripleA is a reliable, trusted, approved, regulated crypto payments solutions provider entrusted by users and merchants, so it is the perfect working partnership for all of us.

“As more businesses look to innovate how they make and take payments, this is the perfect opportunity to move with the times – not only give consumers the choice to pay the way they want to but to facilitate seamless technology in the way businesses accept payments too.”Soneva FushiCryptocurrency payments are becoming increasingly popular among travellers across the world, with the global crypto market projected to reach US$4.94 billion by 2030.

According to the World Economic Forum, cryptocurrencies also have the potential to help decarbonize unreliable power grids and be a driver for countries to meet their climate goals faster, by incentivising the usage of solar and wind power instead of fossil fuels. (You can read more here.)

This autumn it was announced that Ethereum will be switching blockchain verification systems from Proof-of-Work to the more energy-efficient Proof-of-Stake. Known as “Ethereum Merge“, it could cut the network’s energy usage by as much as 99.5 per cent and be a “sea-change towards sustainability for the crypto-currency industry”.

Soneva says it is a “pioneer for responsible tourism” and claims to have been “carbon neutral” since 2012. A mandatory 2 per cent environmental levy is added to every Soneva stay, with proceeds going towards the not-for-profit Soneva Foundation to offset both direct and indirect carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights.