Where to Stay in The Maldives: Lux South Ari Atoll Resort

Lux Maldives Water Bungalows

Lux South Ari Atoll Maldives Resort & Spa

Being in a long distance relationship isn’t easy, but it helps that we can plan trips together to make our times together more special. We decided to visit the Maldives and I couldn’t have been happier! A first for us both, we spent days researching the best resorts, location, amenities, and out of dozens we always kept coming back to the same resort: Lux* South Ari Atoll.

Formerly known as the Lux Maldives (they have a new property opening in the North Ari Atoll next year), it is a luxury resort located on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu, brought to you by the trendy Lux* hotel group. The one resort-one island concept gives you the feeling and ambiance of being on your very own deserted island #NoCastAway. They are currently renovating all of the units over the summer and will reopen in September. How could they ever top perfection? Well, here’s a sneak peep of what’s new to come!

Getting There

There are direct flights from Dubai (DXB) via Emirates. Once you arrive at Male airport, you’ll need a transfer to the island via seaplane or ferry. Seaplane (via TransMaldivian Airways) is the fastest, more scenic option, but of course the most expensive. We booked the seaplane transfer thru the hotel and I highly recommend taking this route. The views are unbeaten and the extra time means more cocktails on the beach!


As a special treat, we were upgraded into one of the newly renovated over-water Prestige Beach Villas. I had seen photos of over-water bungalows, but photos do it no justice. The room was a dream come true! Not sure if I could choose my favorite part of the room. The peek-a-boo glass windows on the floor to see your underwater neighbors? The humongous stone bath tub? The indoor/outdoor rainforest shower? The terrace with a catamaran lounging net? The options were endless, so I’ll let you decide.

Property & Facilities

The Lux South Ari Atoll property offers two infinity pools, floodlit tennis courts and a fully equipped fitness center, while the LUX* Me spa, is host to a wellness concierge and a menu of indulgent and stimulating treatments. We had the chance to try one of their amazing 90-minute Deep Tissue massages, which was a perfect end to another perfect day in paradise. We restored out auras in one of the relaxation villas where we were offered a range of detox waters, hot teas and dried fruits. And the clean, white sand beaches can speak for themselves…

The Food

If you’re like me, you definitely enjoy your eats during a long vacation. And Lux* certainly doesn’t disappoint in this area. The property houses several options from causal pizzas and bar snacks to all-day dining to romantic candlelit dinners on the beach. The choices of cuisine were also varied, including Asian, Mediterranean, and International options. We took the all-inclusive food and beverage package (recommended) which allowed us to have our pick of all of the restaurants except for one restaurant and in-villa dining. We had 9 days so we made sure to try out every dining option. The all day dining restaurant, Mixe, offered a different menu each night. I highly recommend going on the BBQ grill and local Maldivian cuisine nights. The meal that absolutely blew me away as actually on our last day. Being lazy and not wanting to leave our gorgeous villa, we ordered breakfast from in-villa dining services. A delicious breakfast catered on the terrace overlooking the water. All I could think was”Is this life?” We also took advantage of a dinner on the beach at their Allegria restaurant offering Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisines. They also have an amazing cafe, Cafe* Lux, in the lobby, where they roast and brew their own beans.

The Service

The service we received at Lux* was truly a stand out from any of property I’ve stayed at. From the time we disembarked from the seaplane, met on the jetty by several staff members and managers, we immediately felt that we were in good hands. All of the staff were so helpful, welcoming and always smiling. Over a few days, you begin to start remembering names and friendly faces, but don’t worry if you don’t because they surely remember you! Riding your bicycle thru the property, you are sure to receive a smile and wave at any given time. From check-in, to booking dinners, transport, and water activities to the on-site medical services (yeah, I had a bit of a biking accident), I couldn’t believe the level of care and commitment they took with each task. One day it rained most of the afternoon and when we arrived back to our villa, there was a surprise hot bath and wine waiting on us me! Oh and who doesn’t love some first class towel art?


The Maldives has some of the clearest, bluest, cleanest water I’ve ever seen filled with a variety of marine life, from sea turtles, whale sharks, reef sharks, sting rays and a range of tropical fish. Nearly every morning after breakfast, we went snorkeling behind our water villa. Being that it’s so shallow up to 20 yards out, we needed some help seeing some of the bigger fish. We booked a private speedboat to go whale shark diving, which is the most popular adventure for the region; unfortunately that was a failed mission. The next day ,we booked a jet ski snorkeling tour. The jet skis allow you the flexibility to go further, faster, and easier to some really cool dive sites. We were able to see turtles, dolphins, beautiful coral reefs and a plethora of colorful fish. We loved it so much, we did it twice! We also went paddle boarding (only my second time) which ended in a bunch of laughs and many, many graceful attempts to balance falls. The property also has shark and sting ray feedings everyday. Never thought I’d be able to actually feed a shark and not BE the food! Check out our video from the snorkeling tour.

Overall Rating:     A-

The only thing that I would say this property could improve on would be the nightlife. As a young couple, we like to hang out at the bar, have drinks and enjoy some music. Unfortunately, we often found ourselves the only ones or the last ones at 10pm. Really could just depend on the crowd at the time (some families with young kids and older, married couples). Then again, it’s the Maldives, not Cancun. Everything else about the resort was modern, trendy, and on the spot, from the decor to the styling to the small touches. Every thing was done with the guest in mind.  So stop reading and go NOW!!!! We’ve already decided that we have to revisit the property to check it out after the renovations, along with their other LUX* resorts in Mauritius and China.

For bookings and quotes, visit the Lux South Ari Atoll official website. When making your booking, please mention this blog!

Beach Pavilion rooms starting at $566 USD/night, double occupancy, excluding taxes & fees. Prestige Water Villas starting at $807 USD/night, double occupancy, excluding taxes & fees. All-inclusive packages are also available at an additional cost.

Disclosure: I was compensated in exchange for writing this review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

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