Island luxury at LUX South Ari Atoll in the Maldives

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Advisor - Arlette Diederiks
Curated By

Arlette Diederiks

  • Couples Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Boutique Travel

  • Maldives

  • Island

  • Relaxation

  • Hotel Guide

Island luxury at LUX South Ari Atoll in the Maldives
Curator’s statement

In April of 2023, I visited the beautiful LUX South Ari Atoll with my three children. Island luxury at its best with several restaurants, pools, a kids club, beautiful beaches and of course the most amazing water. Whether you are looking to relax or want to spend your days being more active, LUX South Ari Atoll has plenty to offer.

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Where to stay

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Nestled on Dhidhoofinolhu Island in South Ari, LUX offers the epitome of barefoot luxury. Whether you prefer strolling along the 2 km stretch of pristine sandy beaches or traversing the main sandy pathway at the heart of the atoll, you'll find no shortage of scenic routes to explore. And if you're not in the mood for walking, fret not, electric carts are readily available throughout the day to whisk you effortlessly from one end to the other.

The resort is conveniently accessible via a short seaplane journey from Malé International Airport. Upon our arrival at the airport, we received a warm welcome from our host, who guided us to the Trans Maldivian Air desk. From there, we embarked on a brief transfer to the seaplane terminal, which is situated on an adjacent island. LUX has thoughtfully arranged its own guest lounge within the terminal, where you can relax while awaiting your seaplane departure. The lounge offers complimentary snacks and beverages, all while affording scenic views of the seaplane docks. Moreover, there's a designated area for children to unwind and play, providing parents with a well-deserved break.

Sea and seaside view
Sea and seaside view
Sea and seaside view

The seaplane journey to the resort lasts about 30 minutes, during which we were warmly received by the exceptionally friendly LUX* South Ari Atoll staff. The check-in process was a breeze, with a refreshing cold beverage provided and the kids were presented with their very own "Little Explorers" booklet. This charming booklet comprises eight missions, such as reading a book at the library, making a wish at the Tree of Wishes and discovering a message in a bottle. Each accomplished mission earns a stamp, and with eight stamps, a delightful surprise awaits. It was truly heartwarming to witness the children's enthusiasm as they eagerly pursued completing all the missions. One particularly memorable activity involved inscribing our wishes on special ribbons provided by the resort and hanging them on the island's Tree of Wishes.

LUX South Ari Atoll boasts a selection of 193 pavilions and villas thoughtfully positioned both on the beach and over the crystal-clear waters. Two distinct jetties accommodate these villas, with one exclusively reserved for adults. During our stay, we chose the Water Villa option, a spacious 98m² retreat featuring a bedroom suitable for up to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children, a generously sized bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub, and a terrace equipped with comfortable seating, a suspended net, and direct access to the pristine waters below. An exceptional feature of the bedroom is a captivating glass floor window, affording the unique opportunity to observe fish and baby sharks gracefully glide beneath your villa, all from the comfort of your bed. In total, the resort offers a diverse range of 9 villa categories, some with private pools or jacuzzis. Regardless of your choice, each villa promises breathtaking ocean vistas and showcases an airy, pristine white design.

The resort has eight restaurants, two of which offer buffet dining experiences, as well as several inviting bars. The resort also features two main pools, a well-equipped gym for fitness enthusiasts, a dedicated kids club for the young ones and a spa that offers both overwater and garden treatment rooms, providing the ultimate relaxation.

Guests have the flexibility to choose from various meal plans, ranging from Bed & Breakfast to All-Inclusive, with the added convenience of the resort's dine-around concept, which includes six of its exceptional restaurants. Notably, Mixe and East Market serve as the buffet options, with East Market standing out as a favorite due to its impressive selection of Asian delicacies and beloved Western staples like pancakes and made-to-order eggs. The breakfast highlight for me was the indulgent offerings of kombucha, iced coffee and freshly cut fruit. What a delightful treat!

For those seeking an à la carte dining experience, the resort presents an array of options, including Senses (offering Indian cuisine), Beach Rouge (Mediterranean fare), Allegria (Italian specialties), Lagoon Bar (a charming beachside bar), Umami (Japanese cuisine) and Veli Bar (a relaxing poolside bar). The culinary choices cater to every palate.

Beyond the dining delights, the resort offers an array of recreational opportunities. Guests can bask in the beauty of the stunning beaches, graced by the softest white sands imaginable, take a refreshing dip in the inviting pools or embark on underwater adventures by snorkeling along the house reef, where a mesmerizing coral garden awaits exploration (more on this in a moment).

beachside view resort entrance board
View of a drink glass
View of sea from glass floor

For those with an appetite for adventure, the resort provides a wide range of activities, such as whale shark snorkeling excursions, enchanting sunset boat tours and various water sports that include jet skis, paddleboards, hoverboards, flyboards, wakeboards, water-skis, knee-boards, windsurfs, kite-surfs, sailboats, banana boats and various tubing experiences. Additionally, there's an on-site dive center where you can arrange diving courses and diving expeditions to explore the 50 surrounding dive sites—an especially appealing prospect considering the resort's location within a Marine Protected Area. Moreover, young adventurers aged 10 and above can partake in a Bubblemaker dive to discover the wonders of diving right on the house reef.

Need to Know

LUX South Ari Atoll is the perfect resort for not only honeymooners or romantic getaways, but is also a great destination for families with children.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maldives. In need of further inspiration? Check out Judy & Glenn Tudor’s guide, Paradise Found in the Maldives: A Tale of Two Islands.

Advisor - Arlette Diederiks

Travel Advisor

Arlette Diederiks

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