Do you have a place in your mind where you go to escape it all? For me, that place is LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort in The Maldives. Aaron and I experienced a little slice of heaven when we stayed at LUX last November.
LUX* South Ari Atoll is located on the Island of Dhidhoofinolhu, just south of India. You land on the capitol island of Malé in The Maldives and take a seaplane to your private resort island.
We've never taken a seaplane before, so I was a bit nervous. No problem! LUX*’s chic waiting area gave me time to relax a little bit after 23 hours of travel. Our seaplane arrived and off we went!
The seaplane experience was great! I loved seeing the beautiful colors of the ocean from the air - the most wonderful shades of blue in the world!
I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw the island for the first time. From the moment we got off the plane the staff welcomed us with open arms.
The first thing I noticed about LUX* was how laid back everything is. The whole resort gave off a very relaxing, beachy vibe. Natural driftwood and white furniture seamlessly blended with the topical setting.
LUX* has 193 private villas that sit right on a crystal clear lagoon along two miles of soft sandy beach. We stayed in the Romantic Pool Water Villa. Beyond dreamy!
The villa rested atop the sparkling Indian Ocean. Steps took us right into the water from our patio! The villa also had a private infinity pool, which melted into the ocean view. It was great for a late night dip.
The interior of our room was bright and super functional. Our huge shower seemed like the size of many NYC apartments! Haha! We loved coming back, rinsing off and relaxing after days full of adventure.
LUX* has a vast array of fun activities you can do during your stay. Diving, snorkeling, and boating of all kinds are offered. In fact, LUX* even has a 5-Star PADI Dive Centre. It's a diver’s dream on the gorgeous blue ocean!
We had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks and sea turtles. Swimming with these magnificent creatures was an experience we'll never forget. We also loved snorkeling and exploring the vibrant coral reefs around the island.
One day Aaron took me on a wave runner. What a thrill ride! I loved having the wind and water splash my face! Exhilarating!
We loved to chill by LUX*’s many beautiful infinity pools throughout the island (Often with a fresh piña colada in hand!). Speaking of relaxing, we also took advantage of LUX*’s serene LUX* Me Spa where we had the best massages of our lives. The spa floor was open so we could see all the beautiful topical fish swimming by. What a unique experience!
I loved all the oils and essences they used so much, I couldn’t help but buy almost all of them. I use them as much as I can stateside. The scents bring back such beautiful memories.
Now - on to my favorite part of every vacation: the food!! LUX* South Ari Atoll has seven restaurants and five bars. We loved getting the distinctive taste of each place.
East Market was our favorite spot for breakfast. Just imagine having every breakfast item you crave available in one spot: the delicious buffet at East Market. They have everything from eggs to donuts to Dim Sum, to fresh smoothies, and everything in between. I'm still dreaming about their passion fruit donuts!!!
Our lunch spot, which soon became our favorite restaurant on the island, was Beach Rouge, a bright and airy restaurant right on the beach. We loved sipping piña coladas while watching the waves crash. Our favorite dish was, hands down, the daily fresh catch. I loved getting to try native fish from the Indian Ocean.
After a nice lunch, we'd walk for hours exploring the island. One of our favorite discoveries was THE ICE-CREAM BIKE. The rider on this cute little bike peruses the island passing out free ice-cream to people with a sweet tooth! Needless to say, I loved crossing paths with the ice cream bicycle. There’s nothing like exploring a private island with an ice-cream cone in your hand.
When we were in the mood for sushi, we headed over to the restaurant Umami, which offered all the sushi and sashimi you could want. Plus, The Maldives' largest selection of sakes and Japanese whiskeys. Let’s just say -- we had many a great night there.
LUX* had all cuisines covered. If you know anything about me, you know I have a soft spot for Italian food. The Allegria Restaurant was wonderful. I loved watching the chefs cook our pasta in the open format kitchen. One time, they prepared Aaron an entire fish which looked like it could feed an entire family! They had to cart it out! That was a moment we won’t soon forget. And since we opted for the all-inclusive option during our stay... Aaron added a pepperoni pizza to go with our fish. I mean, why not?
LUX* understands we sometimes need to make a little phone call to family. They have set up a British-style phone booth in the middle of the island which allows you to call anywhere in the world for FREE. Whenever I felt like talking to my parents, I'd just pick up the phone and call Illinois. It was such a comforting feeling to know family was just a phone call away!
Aaron and I are huge HUGE coffee fans. We were pleasantly surprised to find LUX* roasts their own coffee! The process was truly fascinating to watch. I had never personally seen how much precision and craftsmanship goes into handcrafting each batch. The most beautiful part of the process was the smile on each person’s face as they worked. We were happy to take a bag of coffee home. Unfortunately, it went quickly. It looks like we'll have to plan another trip!
The thing I love most about LUX* South Ari Atoll is their spirit of giving back to the Maldives community. They understand there is a rich history in The Maldives which must be protected, both culturally and ecologically. LUX* is constantly striving to make sure their presence helps make The Maldives and the world a better place.
-- What a pleasure to discover this oasis! I can’t think of a location I could more highly recommend than a tropical stay at LUX* South Ari Atoll in The Maldives!