LUX* South Ari Atoll

LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives

Star Rating: 5 All inclusive
Number of Rooms: 
193 private villas
 From Male Airport (private lounge) to LUX by seaplane
Dive Centre:
Euro Divers

LUX* is quite different to most other resorts, decorated in light pastels and strikingly modern furniture. From ‘pop-up’ ice cream carts to alfresco cinema, this resort is all about impromptu luxury. Tailored to impress (there’s even a vintage red phone box offering free phone calls home), the pristine white sands hold special treat too; spot one of the bottles buried on the beach and enjoy the ‘on the house’ treat within, a candle-lit dinner for two by the water’s edge perhaps? With spectacular ocean views into the horizon, here is where diving meets unspoiled island living. Luxurious privacy is the by-word for these water villas.

Room Facilities: Choice of 193 private villas. Basics include air con, shower, bath tub, interactive entertainment system, mini-bar, WiFi, safe, hair dryer, private pool, balcony/terrace.

Hotel Services/Facilities: 2 infinity pools, Technogym fitness centre, wellness spa, 4km beach, lagoon, watersports, diving, kids’ and teens’ clubs, tennis, pop-up surprises, ‘on the house’ surprises.

Food, Beverage & Entertainment Facilities: 7 restaurants, 5 bars. Allegria, Senses and Island Kitchen for international palettes, Beach Rouge beach club. Weekly Maldivian cultural performance.

Dive Centre: PADI 5 Star Euro Divers.

READ Jim and Cary’s Resort Report HERE

In this third Maldives trip report, Jim and Cary find serious luxury at LUX South Ari Atoll. Get ready for ‘need to be there’ alert!

At first glance, LUX South Ari Atoll, located on Dhidhoofinolhu Island, follows the classic Maldivian layout. Yet it’s in a completely different price bracket to the other resorts we were visiting on our inspection trip, so we started to wonder how they would justify the price differential. In other words, we would be searching for ‘reasons to go LUX’.

They say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Well, LUX Resort’s first impression came long unexpectedly before we even got close to the resort itself through their Guest Comfort Lounge at Male Airport. The charming representative who met us escorted us to a sumptuous air-conditioned space where we were offered cool refreshing towels, comfy seats, free WiFi, TV, sandwiches, delicious cookies, sweets, fruit, hot and cold drinks and a genuine smile. First impressions? Gooooood!

As our seaplane came in to land we could clearly spot the classic Maldivian resort layout I spoke of earlier. However, as we walked into the lobby the first thing that struck us was that LUX décor is quite different to most other resorts, in light pastels and whites and strikingly modern furniture. Opposite the reception counter was a thoroughly contemporary coffee house, Café LUX, reminiscent of London or New York’s most stylish morning ‘meeteries’. (They later informed us that they even import three different coffee beans and grind them right on-site!) Outside under a palm tree stood a red British phone box where you could make free phone calls home should you feel a need to make someone insanely jealous (which, of course, Cary did). LUXs’ strap-line is “Lighter, Brighter”. Very apt.

As we only had the pleasure of one night on this island, we immediately took a full tour of the resort starting with the top-category ‘Temptation Pool Water Villas’, which turned out to be a rather naughty, calculated move on their part. Wow! Just wow. The doorframe of the room they showed us now has scrape marks on it where we dug our nails in as they tried to force us back out. I won’t linger too long on this room because we don’t want to rub it in and also because (let’s keep it real) there’s not a whole lot of divers who are going to fork out for this one unless they’d just received a call from the National Lottery. However, just to give you a taster: enormous private infinity pool, Jacuzzi bath on wooden deck, outdoor dining area, floor to ceiling windows, round master bed….enough said? Yep! Moving on.

I will also describe our own middle category ‘Beach Villa’ below, but will not go into the rest of the room categories as there are just too many to go through here. However, we’ll soon be adding LUX to our website. If in the meantime you’re interested in a stay at LUX, please just ask us about it and we’ll happily provide you with full details on all available room options.

Our lovely Beach Villa for the night had French windows that opened straight onto a gorgeous white-sand beach. In the room there was a large outdoor bathtub for soaking under the stars and an indoor rain shower, whilst the main bedroom featured his-and-hers separate dressing tables, basins and wardrobes, a huge comfy bed and a brilliant interactive entertainment system through the smart TV, with mini-bar and WiFi completing the offering.

As mentioned, LUX South Ari Atoll Resort is set on Dhidhoofinolhu Island. The choice of island was a clever one – it’s long at about 1.8km from end to end and very thin. So every one of their beach villas has a sea view – two lines of villas stretched along the beach and just one path between them. Four electric buggies run a constant ‘bus’ service from one end of the island to the other, looping along the path in both directions, so you step outside the villa and simply hail the next passing buggy. This provided us with a really familiar and comforting feeling, like being residents of an island village. Of course, if you didn’t want to ride on a buggy, preferring instead to feel the sand between your toes, you could saunter down the path. Look left and you could see the beach and sea between the villas. Look right, same thing. Incredibly simply in design but a brilliantly effective result.

By now we were starting to see a few ‘reasons to go LUX’. Then our friendly tour guide stopped off at the home-made ice cream bar on one of the beaches – check another reason! Then the stunning spa with over-the-water treatment rooms, complete with glass floor to watch the fish below whilst the therapist massages your stress away – check! (No, sadly, this time Cary didn’t have time to test the spa service but from the look of the facility and talking with the Balinese therapists it was clearly in keeping with everything we’d seen so far at LUX i.e. special).

We enjoyed lunch at a Caribbean-style beach bar and a delicious dinner that night at ‘Beach Rouge’ restaurant, strikingly decorated in what we would describe as ‘Bali Modern’ style complete with Buddah Bar music and a red-lit jetty with frolicking reef sharks below. Breakfast the next morning was, simply put, one of the best buffets we’ve ever enjoyed. Foodies, take note. we’ve found an island resort paradise for you in the Maldives!

Oh yes, mustn’t forget to mention the disco toilet at one of the resort’s bars (sorry, wouldn’t be able to do it justice in a written description – you’ll just have to go there to experience it for yourself), the alfresco cinema, Message in a Bottle (free gifts secreted in bottles under the sand) and by now our list of ‘reasons to go LUX’ was beginning to acquire a bit of length.

And finally, the diving. Well, we didn’t actually dive during our short visit BUT we did look around the Euro Divers centre and meet with their manager. We did, however, dive on LUX’s local reefs the next day (with Euro Divers), from nearby Vilamendhoo Resort. This is the subject of our next report, so you’ll be able to read all about the diving around LUX very soon.

LUX clearly isn’t a resort for most divers. The price alone will account for that. What we would say is that for those with deep pockets, who seek an exceptional Maldivian holiday experience, there’s really no need to look any further than LUX South Ari Atoll. She’s classy, brave, different, memorable, cool, elegant, understated and extravagant, and surprisingly easy to discover the many reasons to go there. But we could sum up our whole, lovely experience in just one word: unique.


Prices from £2495 per person for 7 nights’ including:

  • Return flights from London Heathrow to Male, Maldives
  • All airline taxes
  • 7 nights LUX* Resort in a Beach Pavilion with breakfast
  • Seaplane transfers

Going diving in the Maldives? Now you can combine a multi-night stopover in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful, lush island with an incredible variety on offer; history and culture, nature and wildlife. Located at the toe of India, it was famously described by Marco Polo as “undoubtedly the finest island of its size in the world.”

Our Archaeological and Cultural Tours start at £620 per person including four nights’ shared hotel room (4 Star), breakfast & dinner, all transfers, private air-conditioned car with English-speaking tour guide, all tours, National Park and temple entrance fees, jeep hire and more.

Flights between the Maldives and Sri Lanka start at just £75 per person.

» Discover more here and see our sample itineraries

Ask our knowledgeable team for your tailor-made Maldives + Sri Lanka holiday.

Holly GibsonAsk the team

Contact Holly at 01473 852002 for help with your travel planning and advice on the Maldives, or send us an enquiry.

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