Ok, we will admit it – sometimes it’s a tough life reviewing travel destinations.
Especially if the destination is the Maldives and the work assignment in question is a LUX* South Ari Atoll resort review! Arguably some of the world’s best beaches, rich and colourful marine life, amazing weather, delicious food and hospitality rarely matched anywhere.
The thing with the Maldives is that it’s a bit of a trek to get there (totally worth it, btw!) so once settled in and jet-lag nursed, it’s nice if the resort offers just enough variety in accommodation styles, activities and dining options to keep an intrepid traveller or honeymooner happy for a week. Thankfully there are dozens of fantastic resorts to choose from to suit any style but some of them are quite small, situated perhaps alone on a tiny atoll, with not much more than the local coral reef residents for company (what esteemed company, though!)
Enter LUX* South Ari Atoll..
Unlike most five star resorts in the Maldives, which tend to be on rather small islands, LUX* South Ari Atoll is situated on it’s own private Atoll which is 1,8km long and boasts 4km of fine sandy beaches with pools, bars, spas, libraries and cafés scattered around, all within walking distance of one another but with distinct moods and vibes. Should you feel way too relaxed to actually use your own feet to walk, there are golf buggies driving up and down the sandy lanes almost around the clock and a smiling LUX* driver will whizz you to your chosen pit-stop in no time.
The LUX* brand has quickly established itself as one of the leading luxury travel resort chains in the Indian Ocean (and a couple of other outposts; at the time of writing in Bodrum, Turkey and China) with a distinct offering, which definitely goes beyond the expected. Everything is executed with good taste and there was very little wear or tear visible anywhere within the facilities. Because of its size, South Ari Atoll is a family friendly choice but dining and activity choices are more geared towards fun-loving adults looking for some modern pampering without the stuffiness or formality of some other renown five star places. Small touches will keep surprising day after day and never is the service overbearing or insincere.
At LUX* South Ari Atoll you will be able to enjoy the largest choice of water-sports of any 5 star resort in the Maldives. Actually, it’s taken pretty far with Flyboarding, Hoverboarding and a Jet-Surfboard to choose from but if that isn’t your idea of a good time, there is also a huge choice of land based activities including tennis, volleyball, beach yoga and cycling to choose from. There is also a five star Padi dive centre and an in-house marine biology centre, which organises day trips to watch whale sharks, manta rays, sea turtles and dolphins go about their life in the surrounding areas. The trip attended was highly informative and there was great emphasis placed on not causing distress to the animals or marine life in general, which Müd of course appreciates highly. The Maldives is one of the absolute top places to go diving or snorkelling and is highly recommended because of the abundance of marine life, healthy coral, warm water and quality facilities and instructors.
Back at the resort, one can pretty much move into one of the better spas in the world, with all the treatments you might ever need, whilst nestled over water in the most dream-like location. LUX* South Ari Atoll is also a world away from the usual “take it or leave it” resort dining options, with eight high quality restaurants to choose from, a beach club with proper cocktails and chilled tunes during the day and an actual DJ spinning the wheel after dark. And if good coffee is what you need in life, good coffee you will get at LUX*.
All the options are best viewed here:
If Müd gave ratings, we would give LUX* South Ari Atoll a firm 5/5 and can’t wait to visit again in the future. We flew to Male via Dubai with Emirates and took advantage of the (slightly pricey but amazing views and a bare-footed pilot) seaplane transfer from Male to Dhidhoofinolhu island where the resort is located. There’s also a cheaper speedboat transfer option available. We stayed in one of the fabulous private beach villas but would go back for the pool water villas any day. Bliss.