No news, no shoes in the Maldives
When somebody asks us where to go for a relaxing beach vacation, we always answer: Maldives! There is no other place that combines such incredible white sand beaches with no crowds, unbelievable turquoise water, luxurious hotels, great snorkeling, and breathtaking sunsets. We visited Maldives twice and would return in a heartbeat.
Choosing the right hotel is always important for us, and we spend a lot of time browsing through reviews and hundreds of photos. In Maldives, where all of your vacation is on the same tiny island, selecting the perfect hotel is even more important than usual. For our second visit to Maldives, that time with kids, we selected the LUX* South Ari Atoll resort.
LUX* South Ari Atoll is a 25-minute seaplane flight away from the capital island of Male. Most of the luxury hotels have their own lounge at the Male airport, making the wait for the transfer easy and enjoyable.
LUX* South Ari Atoll occupies Dhidhoofinolhu Island and is one of the biggest resort islands in Maldives. It features four kilometers of white sand beaches.
If you get tired of walking, there are bikes available. A golf cart shuttle also runs around the resort.
In terms of rooms, there are 193 private villas in the resort. Families consisting of two parents and two kids can stay in two interconnecting beach pavilions, one of the 45 beach villas, or the LUX* Villa, which is the most luxurious overwater villa in the resort.
We stayed in a beach villa. It’s not big, but it worked well for us.
Unfortunately, we forgot to take photos of the outdoor bathroom. For the last day, we had a Junior Suite as a day room and took a few shots of it. The bathroom is not the same as in beach villa, but it has similar amenities and style.
Before coming to Maldives, we emailed the resort and requested to be allocated on the sunset side of the island. That was exactly what we got. The beach on the sunset side is wider, better, and just perfect. Who doesn’t like to watch a sunset from their own terrace?
When it comes to eating, assuming we counted correctly, there are six restaurants and five cafés and bars. It’s easy to miscalculate with such a variety! Different food plans are available, but because we are not big eaters, we decided to go with a bed and breakfast and try à la carte dinners at different restaurants. The quality of food in all the restaurants is superb!
For lunch, our kids’ favorite restaurant was a pizzeria on the beach. We enjoyed salads and sandwiches at The Lagoon Bar.
For a special treat, head to ICI, the resort’s very own ice cream brand! The ice cream is served either in a cup or fresh waffle cone baked right in front of your eyes.
For dinner, we recommend making reservations beforehand at Japanese restaurant Umami and Italian restaurant Allegria. Make sure you try them out.
The main activity in Maldives is to enjoy the stunning beaches and clear tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. And we did a lot of that.
For those who prefer swimming pools, there are two of them at the resort. One is in the central part of the island, near the Veli Bar and The Kitchen restaurant. Another one is at West Point.
A huge plus of a big island is that you can explore it for days!
We went on several snorkeling excursions. Before participating in any of the resort’s snorkeling tours, you first need to pass the exam! It’s very easy; you just swim in pairs for a short distance, show some signs in the water, and swim back. It took us two minutes.
Traditional Maldivian boats are used for transportation. They are so colorful.
Snorkeling at a house reef is a daily activity and is free of charge.
Several paid tours are available. We participated in turtle and whale shark tours, both with a marine biologist. Unlike standard tours, those with a marine biologist are done in much smaller groups, and a qualified person is always there to answer questions about marine life. These tours are a little more expensive, but they are totally worth it.
South Ari Atoll is a unique place for watching whale sharks all year around. The whale shark is the largest fish, typically growing to about 10-12 meters long and weighing up to 15 tons. In South Ari the whale sharks are young, three of the ones we saw were about 5.5–6 meters long.
The boys also participated in a traditional Maldivian bottom line fishing activity with the option to cook caught fish afterward.
The two fish our son caught were grilled for his lunch the next day! He was so proud of himself for being a provider!
For kids, there is a great kids club in LUX*. Our kids had so much fun! They had a pizza cooking class, cookie decoration activity, treasure hunt, henna tattoo opportunity, movie at the beach with popcorn, and so much more.
More reasons to go to LUX*
What we also liked about LUX* South Ari Atoll is that the staff surprises you with delightful pop-up treats! How about unexpected prizes hiding in a bottle or a photo booth?
The most fun attraction was the “message in a bottle.” Several bottles are hidden around the island daily with one usually somewhere near the kids club. If you find it, the prize is yours. Also, you always can exchange your prize for a soft toy for your child. Our little one was the happiest girl in the world when she got a soft whale shark instead of a sarong intended for the mom.
Another possible surprise you may stumble upon while walking around the island is the hidden bar. It is filled with everything you need to make your favorite cocktail.
The cold water and juice provided at the beach were perfect for hot days!
Good to know:
- There is no bad time to visit Maldives. The period between October and April is the dry season, with February to April being the hottest and driest time of all. The months from June to October are the monsoon months, during which rain is more likely to occur; however, it is still warm, and weeks can often go by with no sign of inclement weather. Our first visit to Maldives was in July, during the wet season, whilst the second time we visited was in April, one of the driest months. During both times, the weather was just perfect.
- LUX* South Ari Atoll is currently closed for renovation and will resume operations in September 2016.
Visited April 2014