LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas
Best Experience: Couples, Family, Value, Diving, Whale Sharks, All Inclusive
Updated May, 2020
LUX Resorts & Hotels has introduced new developments for LUX * South Ari Atoll after its reopening in late 2016. From the full reconstruction of the resort, LUX South Ari Atoll, the largest of LUX Resorts & Hotels' fastest growing portfolio, has now completely changed its face to a stunning chic beach house. Located on one of the fabulous islands in the Maldives, the 5-star resort offers to the avid epicureans a chance to enjoy both a peaceful haven and water adventures, including world-class diving.
LUX * South Ari Atoll is located on Dhidhoofinolhu Island. This island is one of the longest in the Maldives, 1.8 km long and 200 m wide. It is the perfect getaway with the 4 km of white sands fringed with tropical vegetation. As the only settlement in South Ari Atoll, this luxury resort offers the real Maldives experience. A relaxed atmosphere provides refinement at every step with anything from an impromptu movie theater on the beach to pop-up music performances. The lagoon is ideal for snorkeling with whale sharks, and two swimming pools and a spa on this idyllic island offer a guiet break from the beach. Explore the secret paths through tropical gardens, or delicious fare in numerous restaurants. Wherever you go to LUX Maldives, everywhere you can expect pleasant surprises.
A home to LUX* South Ari Atoll, Ari Atoll also known as Alif or Alifu Atoll is one of the natural wonders of the Maldives. Being one of the largest atolls in the Maldives, it stretches from north to south in the western part of the Maldives archipelago in 30 minutes by seaplanefrom Male airport. South Ari Atoll, a Protected Marine Area, remains one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks, which are spotted year-round on the outer reef, while North Ari Atoll is famous for its hammerhead sharks, although these are far more elusive and require deep diving to see. Most of the islands are home for the luxury resorts while others are uninhabited, the rest are inhabited by local residents. The main occupations of Ari Atoll are fishing, sailing, harvesting and processing of corals. READ MORE
LUX* SOUTH ARI ATOLL enjoys a private, tropical location that is remarkable both for its beauty and for its proximity to rare and spectacular marine life. The resort is 25 minutes seaplane journey from Male airport during daylight hours, or 20 minutes scheduled domestic flight + 10 minute speedboat option also available late evening.
Villas and Suites
Whether it's hanging over water or scattered along the beach, every room and villa in LUX * South Ari Atoll is designed to reflect the best part of the island's enchanting setting. Stretched along the beach line and standing on piles over a crystal clear lagoon of swarming fish, live 193 pavilions and villas. On land or water, overlooking the sunset or sunrise, the full re-design of these spacious rooms and suites was occupied by the famous design studio P49 Design, presenting for the real estate a fresh marine atmosphere. Light, fresh and spacious, with splashes of bright colors of the island each room has a sophisticated sense of simplicity with a stunning view of the sparkling lagoon and white beach.
On the east side of the island, 46 Romantic Pool Villas each with a private seven-meter pool and 3 Temptation Pool Water Villas each equipped with a 14-meter infinity pool form the LUX area - adults only (from November 2016). These villas offer two showers, and terraces with a unique love nest for two, plus a small staircase from the villa to the lagoon, and are ideal for relaxing with a drink. DOWNLOAD RESORT MAP
Two kilometers to the west, 38 water villas and two-bedroom LUX Villas will complement 105 Beach Villas, 12 of which have their own pools. Both categories of villas are designed to be an ideal place for families or small groups.
Restaurants and Bars
Of course, what is luxury accommodation without good food? Food and drink quickly become a way of life on the island in LUX South Ari Atoll. Seven restaurants and five bars received serious conceptual updates and design under the leadership of corporate chef Walter Lanfrenchi and studio P49. Delicious and compelling LUX restaurants, all offer exceptionally sumptuous meals that should not gut your budget.
Enjoy the best dishes, flavors and cuisine, with recipes from many cultures and influences in any of eight authentic restaurants. New Asian flavors will abound in the East Market restaurant, presenting a modern look at the bustling local evening market.
Uma-mi is an elegant and refined setting with beautifully presented and quality Japanese haute couture food. It's a small place that holds about 30 people, including a bar area if you wish to sit around the chef and watch a Teppanyaki display. The main menu items include special sushi, teppanyaki and robatayaki, accompanied by the largest selection of sake and Japanese whiskey in the Maldives.
There are two places for breakfast, but the mos gouest are patron of the East Market. Although it serves a great deal of continental food, it is more focused on Asian style food which we are pleased to say is delicious. The stations are personally manned by chefs so when you ask for stir fry or an omelette you choose the ingredients and it is made before your eyes.
Beach Rouge as the name states, is a red-themed restaurant on the beach, with great views of the ocean. Though these views are lost at night, one can still hear the sound of the small waves and smell the salt in the air. The restaurant is very chic and has a more cosmopolitan style, with traditional restaurant food, a loud beat and a younger clientele. The place promises the latest embodiment of the concept of the beach club, the dynamic LUX brand that first appeared in the flagship LUX Belle Mare in Mauritius. By injecting the laid-back energy of a fashionable Mediterranean beach club into this private island in the Maldives, Beach Rouge is the favorite among the golden youth. Expect ceviche, carpaccio and fried fish, in a perfect marriage with chilled pink wine and lazy dances for good chill out music.
Round out the dining options in LUX South Ari Atoll: Allegria (Italian cusine), Senses (Indian and Arabian) and Mixe (international buffet) - beach restaurants that will delight all tastes.
At Reception there is the coffee bar, Café Lux which specializes in different coffees and delicacies, all of which are free for the entire resort before 08:30, but are charged thereafter unless you are on the package.
All Inclusive Package: What's Included?
The All Inclusive package is not truly all-inclusive, but then, they never are. It is true that it includes unlimited food, water sports and even the mini-bar in the room. However, regarding the mini-bar you may only drink the drinks, but you are charged if you eat a packet of crisps. Room service is also not included. You can eat and drink about 90% of the food and drinks on the menu, but there is a chef's special that is usually outrageously good e.g. beef fillet, that you must pay for, and high end alcohol is not included.
Overall the wines okay-ish and We'd give them 6/10 overall. They are by no means vintage specials, but in general we drank a lot of soft drinks and had cocktails and various mixes rather than wine, which we reserved for meals. So if you want proper champagne I would suggest buying some there. The Japanese restaurant is also excluded, but you do get a 30% rebate on your final bill (and with the chef's special). The food there was outstanding and we went twice. There are many other restaurants to choose from though. Overall the package is definitely worth it... we paid off our daily package rate by midday and we are by no means heavy drinkers.
Ici is an ice cream parlour that specializes in various forms of gelato and sorbets. There is a ton of variation and we made a pit stop there daily. On the other hand, they have a mobile bicycle Ici that drives around and can be stopped if you want an ice cream while walking down the road.
For those who want to explore the ocean's depths, Lux * offers access to some of the most beautiful dive sites where diving lovers can see the abundance of parrotfishes, butterfly fishes, manta, tuna and barracudas, not to mention the impressive but gentle whale sharks and manta rays. You can easily come across elusive dolphins or green turtles. Popular dive sites include: Madi Varu - cleaning station for Manta rays; Maamagili is suitable for beginners, and those who have never dived; Aa Thila for more experienced and Thinfushi Beru Tila for advanced divers. The resort's dive center offers 50 incredible dive sites, where two wrecks and night diving are a few minutes by a diving boat from the island.
Whale Shark Paradise, LUX South Ari Atoll is probably the only 5 star resort that is 20 min away by boat from the Whale Shark Marine Reserve you can find in the Maldives. This whale sharke spot in south Ari atoll is the only part of the world where you can see whale sharks all year. August has a great start on the part of Whale Sharks when these gentle giants are nearby, just 25 minutes from Lux at dive sites “Back reef” and “Didhoo long reef”. The best of it… all the divers have the pleasure to meet the whale sharks while diving for at least 1, or some of them, several times! That’s what makes diving at South Ari Atoll a truly unforgettable life time experience.
Kid's club "PLAY" welcomes children aged 3 to 12 years and offers to explore an array of the wonders and delights of island life. Under the supervision of a team of highly qualified and enthusiastic teachers, children are instilled with love for incredible nature and local culture, and there are a number of fascinating programs for sports and outdoor activities. From art classes and treasure hunt, to interesting and informative tennis lessons "Teddy", PLAY is the main children's playground on the island.
Beach Pavilions are superb for families with their island chic décor and internal doors that interconnect two pavilions. For families looking for a bit more space, the Family Lagoon Villas are perfect with two spacious bedrooms, sleeping up to six people. These luxurious overwater villas have direct lagoon access and a private plunge pool, making an ideal spot to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean. For the ultimate in indulgence, opt for the Temptation Pool Water Villa which has the added benefit of a 14 metre private pool, separate living room with glass floor and a Jacuzzi!
Activities & Sports
The resort can be whatever you want it to be. You can lie around and do nothing or spend the whole day doing activities.
It's no secret that the Maldives are one of the busiest diving sites in the world, and although there are certainly a lot to do and see underwater, there are a lot of things to do in LUX* South Ari Atoll that are on the land. When it comes to spa and wellness, LUX Me Spa and its overwater treatment villas offer to experience the inspired by Zen, own reboot. This is a unique concept that combines fitness, SPA, healthy food and yoga retreats in one place. The spa will include a traditional Chinese tea house, a dedicated skin and body care area, an extended area for massages and relaxation overlooking the lagoon. The wellness pavilion Zen wellness accommodates a wide range of non-traditional medicine methods and activities, including yoga, meditation, pilates, tai chi and qigong under the guidance of the wellness concierge expert. The updated menu of treatment procedures offers a full range of branded massages and scrubs by LUX Me.
New LUX* South Ari Atoll intends to establish six new reasons to stay in LUX. The piquancy of staying at the resort, LUX South Ari Atoll should add a number of seminars and workshops Expert Led. Each month the resort will meet with the leading experts of creative and inspiring professions. Guests can refresh their drawing skills with the artist Corinne Dalle Ore, focus on exposure and coverage with world-famous photographer Michael Freeman, or learn to breathe more deeply and master the art of meditative techniques with Gansam Bhavnath to name a few.
Every LUX* Resort & Hotel has a tree of wishes. Tie your personalised unique ribbon around one of the enchanting branches and make a wish. Whilst they cant guarantee your wish will come true, they can promise that once a year one tag will be selected and the lucky person will win a free LUX* holiday.
On the main road between the two side of the island is a daily treasure trove of 'messages in bottles' - classic bottles that were supposedly thrown into the sea and washed up. If you find them you can claim the gift inside - anything from drinks to clothing to whale shark tours. They're limited to one per guest per stay to keep it fair, but many guests hoard theirs' to see which one was the best and to cash it in later.
Beanbags? Check. Fresh popcorn? You bet. Ice cream? Naturally. Our al fresco cinemas show blockbusters, family classics and much more - all under the stars, and completely on the house.
LUX * South Ari Atoll is the embodiment of barefoot chic on a tropical island in a luxurious resort in the Maldives, with kilometers of beaches, charming water villas and world-class diving. Suitable for couples and families alike. In general, reviews for LUX* South Ari Maldives Resort are very good, with nearly every guest reporting an ideal stay on a paradise-like island. The rooms, food, staff, and service all get high marks from most, though a few do point out that the food and some other things can be expensive, which is actually true throughout the Maldives so it's important to be prepared for that.
“Perfect holiday destination”, “I felt extremely at ease thanks to the wonderful staff and their exceptional service.”, Exceptional, “Very enjoyable but could have been even better.”, “Love - with the resort and its people!”, “Relaxing, gorgeous, quiet and unforgettable”, “Best getaway”, “Heaven on earth”, Superb, “Perfect holiday destination”
Pros: What We Like
- Private lounge at Male International Airport seaplane terminal
- Only 25 minutes seaplane flight from Male airport
- 4 kilometers of beach around the resort
- Most suites and villas offer indoor and outdoor showers
- 24h in-villa dining
- 2 swimming pools, both on the sunset side of the island
- Tons of activity on offer
- Diving: Ari Atoll - one of the best places for diving Maldives. World-class PADI diving centre and water sports.
- Senses swimming pool
- Extensive lagoon with an array of multi-colored fish. Snorkelling gear is free of charge
- Bottles with surprises (ice cream, pizza, pareo, massage, coffee, a bottle of wine).
- Massage in four hands in an elegant spa
- Extensive child and teen facilities, including kids club
- Nightlife, great bars and good music
- One of the few, the best family resort in the Maldives
- Seven restaurants and six bars where there is plenty to choose from
- Symbolic wedding and renewal of vows ceremonies
- Daily programs are displayed for adults and children. Guests are entertained by local artists and themed evenings.
- Nets over the water to lie on and watch the sunset above and the sea life below.
What You Need to Know
- The island is 28 acres
- One island, one resort concept
- The hotel really is a wonderful haven to relax and do what you want to each day.
- One of the biggest resort islands in the Maldives, with 193 rooms
- Luxury accommodation is housed in suites, villas and over water villas, including 62 with private pools
- You will find a vintage red telephone box where you can make as many international calls as you like free of charge.
- LUX* Me Spa with 11 garden and 4 over-water treatment villas
- Accommodation on the east side of the island is better than on the west
- Suitable for both families and active couples
- LUX* South Ari Atoll in Maldives can boast the world’s largest solar system floating at sea that has been installed in 2019.
- LUX * South Ari Atoll Maldives is known for its marine bio diversity, and especially for whale sharks, which divers can watch throughout the year, especially from June to November
- Flyme: offering night transfers to neighboring Maamigili airport + speedboat transfer
- On-site doctor
- There are, bars and eateries at all the pools, and there is nothing better than getting out of the pool and enjoying a drink and snack.
- The red telephone booth - free international calls 24/7 if you want to phone someone.
- There are hundreds of meters of powdery beach and the ocean is shallow for 300m out to sea. It's remarkable and surreal.
- LUX* South Ari Atoll, recently awarded ‘Leading Eco-Friendly Resort in the Maldives’ at the South Asian Travel Awards 2019, has launched new sustainability initiatives: edible straws, biodegradable cups and plant-based “beef”.
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