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LUX* South Ari Atoll

South Ari Atoll, Maldives


  • Family Friendly
  • Fine Dining
  • Retreat
  • Wellness


  • Pool
  • Thermal Facilities

To Do

  • Gymnasium
  • Personal training
  • Pool – Outdoor
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Watersports
  • Yoga

Located on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu, LUX* South Ari Atoll is a luxury resort that effortlessly combines desert island fantasy with a relaxed vibe and contemporary edge.

The 193 private villas, dotted at the water’s edge along two miles of powder fine beaches and perched on stilts above a crystal lagoon. On land or above water, sunset facing or sunrise, these super spacious rooms and suites bring an entirely original vibe of coastal, beach house chic to the Maldives.

The LUX* lighter, brighter ideal is evident everywhere from the modern villas through to its bars and restaurants and the Reasons to go LUX* concept so expect island-roasted coffee in Café LUX* or impromptu screenings at Cinema Paradiso in the sand. It’s an ideal spot for spotting whale sharks too.

The Spa

The LUX* Me Spa is made up of 11 garden and 4 over-water treatment villas designed for couples. The over water villas feature glass floors for guests to view the sea life in the ocean below from the treatment bed. With a range of yoga classes held daily, the spa also includes a beauty room and Tea House offering tea ceremonies.

Spa Facilities

  • Relaxation area
  • Plunge pools
  • Sauna
  • Steam rooms
  • Showers and changing rooms with separate sauna and steam bath.
  • Beauty room
  • Spa Boutique
  • Tea House
  • Yoga Grove

Spa Products

  • LUX* Me range
  • Shirley Page
  • Nigiro Tea

To Stay

The super spacious rooms and suites offer a slice of coastal, beach house chic with white décor and furnishings. It’s one of the largest resorts in the Maldives and the accommodation options are vast. Choices range from Beach Pavilions and Villas to Water and Pool Villas. For ultimate luxury opt for the LUX* Villa – with a panoramic sunset view at the jetty’s end, glass floored living and dining room, an extensive outdoor terrace and a lounge area with infinity pool.

To Eat

LUX* South Ari Atoll boasts seven eateries and five bars. East Market is a sophisticated take on
a bustling local night market. Umami offers fine dining from separate sushi, teppanyaki and robata counters as well as the Maldives’ largest selection of sakes and Japanese whiskeys.

Then there’s Italian at Allegria, Sri Lankan curries and Persian cuisine at Senses and MIXE combines international buffets with special Maldivian themed nights. The new Beach Rouge is part club, part beach bar and restaurant with tapas style small plates.

Facilities and Activities

  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling
  • Paddle boarding
  • Kayaking
  • Whale shark watching
  • Jet Ski
  • Canoe
  • Diving
  • Windsurfing
  • Waterskiing
  • Personal Training
  • Yoga
  • Catamaran trips
  • Kite surfing
  • Kid’s Club

Getting There

Dhidhoofinolhu South Ari Atoll Republic of Maldives

A 30-minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport

Mark SmithBy Mark Smith

Arriving by seaplane at LUX* South Ari Atoll in the Maldives you catch your first glimpse of paradise. Home to whale sharks and an abundance of tropical fish, the azure sea and pristine white sand is anyone’s idea of heaven.

LUX* South Ari Atoll is the perfect tropical island getaway and introduces the LUX* concept of a lighter, brighter holiday. The island’s stylish beach villas (just a few metres from the warm sea) and the over water villas (many with private pool) offer the ideal escape for honeymooners (naturally) couples and families alike. The resort occupies the whole island of Dhidhoofinolhu, one of the largest in the Maldives at 2km long it boasts the most pristine white sandy beaches that hug the outer edges of the island. Whilst it has 193 villas and beach pavilions, even at capacity, it never feels busy. And the size of the island means there’s always something to do. Definitely books a few excursions. The whale shark trip is worth the effort, and South Ari Atoll is home to the shark. We ventured out, just off the island and after an hour managed to spot and snorkel beside the huge sea creature. It was a highlight of the trip. Snorkelling on the house reef is equally satisfying. Imagine you are in an episode of Blue Planet.

The Spa

The spa at LUX* South Ari Atoll is positioned on the beach with a commanding view of the sea. Promising to be a sanctuary of the senses, the reception is light filled with floor to ceiling windows and is surrounded by lush green gardens. There are 15 private spa villas and 4 exclusive over water villas and the spa also includes steam, sauna and two plunge pools. You can visit at any time without a reservation to enjoy the facilities.

The deck with sun loungers is a huge draw and the ideal place to rest pre-and post-treatment looking out across the sea. There’s a traditional Chinese teahouse where we enjoyed a tea tasting ceremony – which was fascinating.

Arriving at the spa you are welcomed with a refreshing spritz of orange blossom water and a detox drink combining cucumber, lemon and basil. It’s quite sharp on the tongue, but you know it’s doing you some good. The changing rooms are light and bright flooded with natural daylight and it’s all very modern.

Treatments are tailored around four guiding principles: relaxation and stress relief, anti-ageing and rejuvenation, cleansing and detoxifying, weight loss and toning. Over sixty beautifying and therapeutic products to choose from, as well as powerful essential oils created for LUX* by renowned aroma therapist Shirley Page.

The Treatment

I tried one of the signature treatments, a 60-minute version of the Zhengliao treatment which is said to be a deeply curative and corrective treatment which taps into several branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, harnessing the body’s own innate healing potential. It begins with a foot scrub add wash using natural sea salt with lavender and geranium oil whilst you gaze out across the ocean from the exclusive over water spa villa. Strong massage working along the meridian points releases any tension then the real action starts with some cupping. Not for the feint hearted, my therapist cupped the skin and used this as a massage technique across the upper back and shoulders. This was most unique (yes it does bruise) but wow – was a release of tension. Then she introduced more traditional cupping techniques. The treatment was balancing and grounding, yet energizing at the same time.

Other Treatments

Shirley Page Signature Facial
LUX* Me Foot Ritual
Four Hands Massage

To Stay

On the island, the beach villas and beach pool villas are hidden in lush gardens and face due East or West – benefitting from sunrise or sunset views over the lagoon. These are ideal for families and beach lovers as they are spaced apart and you have your own sun loungers on what is effectively a private strip of beach. We were lucky and had no one in the villas on either side – so it was secluded and private. Just 15 metres from the sea, we were in heaven. The coastal chic look works perfectly as there’s nothing to district your attention from the magnificent views over the beach and ocean beyond. The overwater villas are the Instagram-lovers dream location. Stretched on stilts over the glittering lagoon, the overwater Romantic Pool Water Villas and the iconic Temptation Villas are ideal for honeymooners and those after total privacy. Each villa overlooks onto the spacious terrace where the azure frame of the infinity pool merges with the colors of the Indian Ocean. It’s a pared back style and electronics are kept to a minimum. There’s a TV and plenty of changing sockets, but no sound system to tether your Spotify playlist to.

To Eat

LUX* South Ari Atoll has seven eateries and five bars on in the island and you really are spoiled for choice. Umami Restaurant is a top pick with contemporary Japanese food presenting world-class sashimi, nigiri and maki and a wood-smoky robata and teppanyaki grills. The sake menu is vast and they will combine a sharing plate to suit your preferred combination. Authentic Sri-Lankan and Maldivian curries are the highlights of Senses Restaurant. We had the Madivian Chicken curry which was a potent blend of spices in the most divine sauce.

Allegria was another favourite serving exceptional Italian cuisine like risotto and fresh fish overlooking the sea. Lunch is more casual at Lagoon Bar and Veli Bar, think tuna tartare or burgers. Beach Rouge is the place to be seen at sunset with the International DJ playing chilled house beats whilst the sun goes down. For lunch and in the evening choose from a wide selection of tapas style plates like Gazpacho, Herb Flatbreads, Chorizo, Local grilled snapper. East Market is the best breakfast spot overlooking the sea with a full choice of eastern and western tastes and in the evening, it becomes a market place with Asian cooking stations.

Facilities and Activities

There are two large pools on the island, but the sea is the main attraction. The water is a balmy 20-30 degrees all year round. Do book the Whale Shark experience, if you are lucky enough to spot one, it’s a memory to last a lifetime.

LUX* is unique in the resort world and has carved out a distinct personality with its various #reasonstogolux – from the free ‘call home’ at the Red Phone Box, it’s Tree of Wishes, ICI ice cream (made on site and absolutely delicious), the message in a bottle (with daily prizes), Cinema Paradiso (screen on the sand) and Photo Fanatics (to name a few). Oh, and not forgetting Café LUX* – roasted on site, the team make great coffee each and every day.

For the Kids

Kids play ground with organised activities and games at Studio 17.