THE LUX SOUTH ARI ATOLL RESORT
Dhidhoofinolhu is one of the most beautiful islands in the Maldives and the LUX South Ari Atoll is a luxury resort where your dreams of paradise come true. We were fortunate to grab a bargain and spend 10 days there.
Upon arrival from the seaplane at the LUX South Aril Atoll resort your greeted with a warm welcome from the team and the general manager. We were taken care of by Nadine who checked us in, told us all about the resort and what it has to offer, where to find bars and eateries before driving us to our water villa where our luggage was already waiting for us.
The island it’s self is bigger than I was expecting. Probaby about 1 mile long and takes around 30 minutes to walk from one side to the other if you follow the main path that the buggies use. The resorts provides buggies that run every 15 minutes so you don’t have to wait to long if you don’t fancy the walk. We did find it was quicker to walk along the beach though instead of the main path and you get to see the beautiful views.
I had a hunch straight away this place was going to be something special with small special touches that really make them stand out to other resorts. I don’t want to give away to much as it would spoil the surprises for those visiting in the future but make sure your on the look out for hidden bottles on the island…
Our water villa was on the west side of the island and we had the very last water villa on the jetty. The villa was absolutely beautiful, as you walk in, you have your massive super king size bed that faces the sea. Next to the bed is also a glass panel in the floor that allows you to lay in bed looking for fish!
Their is a small cupboard with a wardrobe and draws to store your clothes and a small worksurface area with a fridge. Also in the room is a massive TV that gives you information of activities that are going on that week, room service options and plenty of TV channels to keep you entertained should the weather be bad.
In the next room is your toilet and shower with a big bath with glass wall so that you can sit in the bath and take in the amazing views. The toilet and shower also has glass walls but hides you so not to let passers by see you but allow you to see the fishes. Lastly you have your balcony that has a sofa in the shade, a cargo net that allows you to lay on it over the sea and 2 sun beds to soak up the sun. You can also walk down the steps to the sea from here. Words really don’t describe this paradise villa so I hope my photos below do a better job!
One of things that had been putting us off from going to the Maldives was the amount of time it takes to get there. We flew with Emirates, which was our first time with them from Heathrow to Dubai, then Dubai to Male (the main island in the Maldives) and lastly a seaplane from Male to our island Dhidhoofinolhu.
I think during the peak season you might be able to get direct flights to the Maldives from Heathrow but not at the time we travelled in October. It took around 7 hours to get to Dubai from Heathrow which wasn’t to bad. The only disapointment was Dubai airport. I was expecting something a bit more grand and more things to do like in Singapore. We had a 5 hour wait before our flight to Male which did drag a little. The last flight to Male only took 3 and 1/2 hours which was quicker than I had been expecting.
We had never been on a seaplane before so I was quite looking forward to experiencing it. My wife on the other hand, less so! It is quite cramped and noiser than a traditional airplane. It took around 30 minutes to get from Male to our island and I am glad we took the seaplane rather than the speedboat as you got to see so many of the islands that make up the Maldives. Coming back on the seaplane was a bit more problematic as we made a unexpected stop to another hotel to pick some more people up. Whilst waiting the seaplane rocked quite a bit which made my wife feel a little sea sick. One of the reasons we chose Lux in the Maldives was because of the direct flights, but I guess these things can’t be helped sometimes.
Overal the flight times were not as bad as I thought they would be, what made it a bit tough was the waiting in between them. On reflection I wished we had stayed in Dubai for 1 or 2 nights on the way back to break the journey up a bit.
FOOD & DRINK
For a small island the resort has managed to fit in eight eateries and five bars. East Market is a buffet of international food with a local night market theme. Allegria is Italian, Senses is Indian, MIXE is also international and my personal favourite was Beach Rouge with a Ibiza/Marbella beach club vibe.
For breakfast you have 2 options. East Market has the biggest range of food but less choices as it is international food whilst MIXE is alot smaller but caters for a more western approach. I enjoy a cooked breakfast and I felt I had more options at MIXE. Both equally delicious though, just slightly different.
For lunch the menus were pretty similar unless you went to Beach Rouge which served the same menu at lunch and dinner. Beach Rouge plays chilled out tunes accompanied by light bites and cocktails.
The other restaurant is Umami, which offers fine dining from separate sushi, teppanyaki and robata counters as well as the Maldives’ largest selection of sakes and Japanese whiskeys. This is the only restaurant we didn’t visit.
LUX also has its own coffee bar at the reception of the resort that even roasts their own coffee beans! The coffee was really well made with plenty of options from your typical coffee drinks like flat white to my new favourite that I have forgotten the name of! It consisted of a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a 2 shots of espresso! This was especially useful on the those early morning starts when I went snorkelling on the boat and didn’t fancy a full breakfast.
Just at things couldn’t get any better the island has it’s own ice cream shop! It had around 20+ choices and if you can’t quite make it there is a guy who cycles around the island between 12-2 offering ice cream in a cone!
If I can offer one piece of advice to anyone going to the Lux, it is to go all inclusive. The food and drinks are amazing but quite expensive as you might expect on a island you can’t leave.
We upgraded from half board to all inclusive upon arrival and I think it cost us just over $1000 to upgrade, which at the time I wondered if it was worth doing but I reckon half way through the holiday it had paid for itself mainly because of the drinks.
Because of the heat we were drinking plenty of mocktails and cocktails with our lunch and dinner and some of our bills for lunch and dinner were $150-$200. It all starts to add up quite quickly. Then again if we hadn’t of upgraded we probably would of stuck to water at lunch and a bottle of wine at dinner which would of made it much cheaper.
It was just nice knowing you did’t have to worry about your bill everytime you went to the bar or ordered food.
There are 2 swimming pools at the LUX* resort. Both are of reasonable size and next to bars on the island so you don’t have to travel far to get a drink for around the pool. They were not particulary busy either but as you would expect with a family resort they mostly contained children with adults mostly occupying the beaches.
The beaches are really clean and have that white golden sand you see in glossy magazines. The North side of the island is the best as you get to spot baby reef sharks! There is also swings, hammocks and other surprises in the shallow parts of the island so you can really chill out in the sea.
SNORKELLING & DIVING
One of the main attractions of visiting the Maldives was the opportunity to tick a few more things off my bucket list. The Lux is perfectly positioned in the South Atoll in the Maldives, which is a haven for young Whale Sharks.
Upon arrival we met with the island’s marine biologist who leads the trips to discover Whale Sharks and Turtles. I signed myself up to both in the hope of seeing them. My first attempt drew a blank and we spent the whole time going up and down the South Atoll looking for sitings. I was absoulety gutted!
My second snorkel was on a Turtle discovery and you simply snorkel over the coral reef on the look out for turtles. Just as we were running out of time and about to head back to the boat we saw a green turtle!
Luckily for me on our last day we were placed on one of the last seaplane departures, which meant I was able to sneak in another go at discovering Whale Sharks and I was in luck!
Our crew were the first to spot this teenage male whale shark and were able to put us right in front as he casually swam past us snorkeling! It was absolutely thrilling and made the whole trip to the Maldives complete.
I didn’t feel the need to dive as most things you were able to see snorkelling and whilst the island water centre offered diving you had to do a morning beginner session around the lagoon before being allowed to go out on the boat in the afternoon to dive. I didn’t want to use a whole day of my holiday doing diving but their are alot more options for those that are PADI qualified.
Being mid October we had read mixed things online and were expecting to have the odd shower of rain here and there but we were really lucky to have no rain at all during our stay. Everyday was sunny with the temperature being at least 30 degrees with the odd cloud and slight bit of wind.
Remember to put sunblock on! After 4 days I forgot to put any on my legs and feet and burnt myself quite badly whilst snorkelling in the sea.
The LUX South Ari Atoll resort in the Maldives really ticked so many boxes for me and I would probably say due to the added experiences of seeing a whale shark and a green turtle it tops it as being the best holiday we have ever had above Kenya and Borneo! The resort is as you would expect from a 5 star resort absolutely amazing but what really takes this resort above the rest is their little touches to make your holiday that even more special. We will definately be looking at staying at other LUX resorts in the future especially the brand new LUX North Male resort in the Maldives opening in January 2018.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
- The water villas on the west side of the island are a bit more peaceful than the more expensive water villas on the east side of the island. You do get a few more luxurys like a mini swimming pool on your balcony on the east side but it is also the side where the seaplanes land and take off most of the day.
- If your staying in the beach villas I would request to stay on the north side of the island as this side of the beach the water is more shallow and your likely to see the baby reef sharks. The South side of the island is quieter as there are less people there but the water is a bit deeper and less suitable for children.
- If your planning on trying to discover Whale Sharks or Turtles do it as soon as you arrive, that way if you are unsuccesful like I was you have a few more days of your holiday left to try again before you go home.
We booked our trip via Voyage Prive through a flash sale and got 58% off! It was pretty easy to book online and they were great at answering any questions we had over the phone. They sent all the details we needed via email and had no problems.
If you have any questions you would like to ask me about the LUX South Ari Atoll resort in the Maldives, please ask below in the comments.
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