Asia & Australasia

My hOtel: Lux South Ari Atoll (formerly Lux Maldives)


You may already had a peek at some of my favourite moments of my recent Maldives trip. Now it is time to share details of my hotel stay at Lux Maldives.

Arriving at Male Airport, is just the first step. Yes, it takes a good 11-12h from Europe (I had a great experience with Qatar Airways) but the airport is not the destination. You don’t just get a cab to your hotel… Depending on the location of your island, you will be met by hotel representatives (this always happens) and then either taken to the pier for a speedboat transfer, or to one of the airport terminals. But as we had a fair bit of time before our flight (which usually you do not know, worth noting, and not exactly what we would have wanted, a 3h layover), we headed to the Lux Maldives airport lounge, which was just what we needed. Gave us a taste of what was to come, a chance to reconnect to the internet, and have a bite to eat and drink.

On this occasion, we were to try the new Maldivian domestic airline, Flyme, which flew us from Male to Maamigili ($167 one way), a mere 20 minutes away. We had an on-time departure and the Lux team took care of all our luggage and check in procedures – we were not to see our bags until we got to our room – I liked the sound of that! At the ‘airport’, we and other guests were welcomed by the Lux team, who took us to our speedboat, where a 10-minute journey awaited. And then… we had arrived!

All guest arrivals and departures are always an occasion at Lux Maldives

All guest arrivals and departures are always an occasion at Lux Maldives



–          Was there any pre-arrival communication by the hotel with myself via email or social media?

There was indeed. A few days prior to my departure, I got some very nice tweets which I could call teasers – of cocktails, of sunsets, of beaches. Very nice indeed.

–          Did I try to engage the hotel via Twitter? Did the hotel interact with me and made me feel welcome/special?


–          Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?

I had not asked for anything (except for a doll, for a photo stunt, don’t ask!!). Needless to say, I had a Barbie waiting in my room.




Arriving at sunset was quite special

Arriving at sunset was quite special

–          The wow factor! What was the hotel decor style?

We arrived just as the sun was setting, and I have to say it was stunning. I have a very vague recollection of the check in, for which we sat down, handed over our passport and credit card and within minutes, we were on our buggy.

–          How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?

Incredibly efficient and friendly.

–          Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)

Yes indeed. And called Ana and Simon, which was lovely and very relaxed – we loved the atmosphere at Lux.

–          Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?

I had a confirmed Prestige Water Villa and that was the room we got. Very exciting.

–          Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?

We did. Every time we walked past someone, we were always greeted with a lovely smile, and hello, of course.

–          Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? This is cultural, I know

I hadn’t seen my luggage since we arrived on the big plane to Male airport. And that was fine by me.

–          Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?

Yes indeed. It was free of charge and you just needed to log in with your email address once. Easy peasy.


Room Experience
We were driven from reception (located on the Eastern side of the island) to our Prestige Water Villa, which was located towards the West side of the Island. This little drive actually gives you a great sense of place and location – and how large the island actually is (comparing to others).

The West Point. Oh yes.

The West Point. Oh yes.

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

Our lovely water villa did not disappoint in any way. At almost 100sqm it was spacious and airy. We had the bedroom (which included also a sitting area), a fab bathroom and the deck area.

–          Welcome amenity

We had a lovely bottle of ScrewCap, a wine from South Africa blended exclusively for Lux Resorts. It was a lovely touch and we enjoyed many other varietals of this brand throughout our stay. Oh well.

–          The bed

It was very good, über comfortable and huge. We slept really well throughout our stay.

Our lovely bedroom

Our lovely bedroom

–          Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.

Plenty of space – and I also loved that is was located inside the bathroom, where one usually gets dressed. Very neat, plenty of space and hangers.

–          Iphone Charger/Dock

We had a dock for iPhone 4 which we did not use.

–          Bathrobes and slippers

Of course – and I  used them for a change. We also had some colourful flip-flops which were incredibly comfortable – I used them at the spa and then on my last couple of days when I discovered how nice the padding was.

–          Coffee and Tea

Yes indeed, but we did not use.

Small touches at Lux Maldives

Small touches at Lux Maldives

–          Free bottled water

Every day, each guest gets a 1-litre bottle of still water a day. Lux Resorts does not believe in overpriced bottles of water (it is actually one of their brand statements, alongside bad coffee).

–          Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!

Not here, but we had some books. You need to bring your own magazines and books to the Maldives, as you won’t be able to buy them anywhere.

–          Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.

Once I disconnected the iPhone dock, I had my own plug socket (UK type, worth mentioning). Mr O had plenty on his side.



I am very partial to lovely bathrooms, I have to say...

I am very partial to lovely bathrooms, I have to say…

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

Oh yes, oh yes. It was lovely and spacious.

–          Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?

Everything was brilliant and worked very well. The shower was fantastic.

–          Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?

Lots, and I loved how they were displayed (i.e. in the wicker basket). They were also lovely.

–          Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!

Unbelievable products.

Unbelievable products.

The own brand products were outstanding. The smell and quality were out of this world. So much so, that I begged the hotel for more – I was a happy girl when I left the Maldives only because of these goodies. I am almost through the ones I brought back, and I cannot tell you – the memories that come with the smells. If anyone goes out there, please bring me some (I haven’t got the courage to ask the hotel for more!).

–          Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.

All there and in a very colourful display.

How is this for a bath with a view? We did have one on one of the rainy days and loved it.

How is this for a bath with a view? We did have one on one of the rainy days and loved it.

–          Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?

There was one but I did not use – I went for the au naturel look.


Sun, pool and beach

No need to leave your room...

No need to leave your room…

Well well well, where do we start? We loved the privacy of our water villa – the sun loungers were very comfortable and the towels were great. With direct access to the sea, what else could you want?

Maybe a bit of sand?

Maybe a bit of sand?

We did not really use the beach, but it looked lovely. Specially at sunset. But we walked around the island and enjoyed many special moments like these…

Our beach. Lovely.

Our beach. Lovely.

We snorkeled a fair bit, and even saw a whale shark – we had a great morning on board the hotel’s catamaran and got to see even more islands and breathtaking scenery. There really are 12 shades of blue in the Maldives.

No filters or comments necessary.

No filters or comments necessary.



Where would you like cocktails today?

Where would you like cocktails today?

I can’t praise enough the food at Lux Maldives – it was outstanding. We had breakfast every day at the buffet (both the Western and the Oriental one) – and I have to say, it is the only meal where I can enjoy the variety. For lunch or dinner, to be honest, buffets are not for me. So I was delighted with the options we had – a fantastic Indian Ocean restaurant, where we tried a fab Maldivian curry and other local specialities, a great Italian meal and my absolute favourite, the Japanese, where I had one of the best things ever: foie gras sushi. As I said, if I had to die there and then, I would go happily.

Hungry? Oh well!

Hungry? Oh well!

It is worth mentioning that you need to check carefully the meal plan you choose when you book your trip – it pays to be organised (and choose the option where you can dine around). The wine selection was great (and the Screw Cap wine was $35, cocktails from $15) and all drinks were well priced.



Yes indeed. Le Spa!

Yes indeed. Le Spa!

We had a complimentary treatment courtesy of the hotel, and loved it so much we were back every day. The treatment rooms were stunning (imagine the views) and everything felt very zen. We were uber relaxed and really enjoyed the massages and foot scrubs, and the occasional glass of champagne (I kid you not, this was a package the hotel had for $219 per couple for 90 mins). What I always asked for? Separate rooms as I find couples massages the least romantic thing ever.


General thoughts

–          How good and reliable was the wi-fi?

I had some issues with it, but Mr. O did not, so I don’t understand. It worked always well in our room, but not to much in other areas.

–          Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?

Yes they did and had a bit of fun.

–          Location

As the only settlement on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu in South Ari Atoll, Lux Maldives is a 25-minute seaplane ride away from Male Airport, or 20 minutes by scheduled flights and a 10-minute boat ride.

–          Cost – rooms starting from…

Beach pavilions cost from $200 and Water Villas from $400 per night, excluding taxes (18%) on a room-only basis, for low season dates. These can increase 3-fold in high season, which runs from December to March-April.

–          Would I recommend it to my best friend?


–          Would I stay again?

I promise I will. We saw a lot of families at Lux, and the happiest children ever – and I have to say we were never disturbed. So I will go back!

Yummy lychee cocktails… I miss Lux Maldives already!

Yummy lychee cocktails… I miss Lux Maldives already!


Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?


Mrs. O


Disclaimer: I was a guest of Lux Resorts during this stay, on a room and board basis and obviously responsible for any extras, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. For more information about the hotel, visit its official website.

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View Comments (42)


  1. Victoria

    April 17, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Great write up! I am narrowing down options for my honeymoon and Lux is currently number 1. How much would you say is needed per day for food?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

      I would suggest you got the dine around plan – so it is all inclusive

  2. Julie

    March 31, 2015 at 9:47 am

    When did you go and what was the weather like? I’m looking into going in April, but the prices seem quite high. I’m tempted to wait until we are no longer in the peak season, but I’m not sure what time in the “rainy season” is best. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 31, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      In April – it is the end of the high season. Last year they had a good ‘rainy season’, but you never know. Then again, I had a day of rain in April… tough one!

      • Julie

        April 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

        Ah – you went the during the same time i’m looking into! Perhaps my rates would be a little cheaper if I were better at planning ahead! Thanks for the input – really appreciate it!

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          April 2, 2015 at 11:15 am

          My pleasure 🙂 you may be lucky with a last minute deal! I am going with Sovereign.

  3. meena

    December 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm


    you mentioned choosing your board basis wisely. We are a couple with two young kids (who generally share a main meal/pudding between them). we would drink say a glass of wine/cocktail per day and are usually happy with a late big breakfast and dinner. Were not buffet people. What would you recommend for value for money- bed and breakfast, half or full board or fully inc?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 27, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Meena hi! They had this option called dine around, which meant you could go to the a la carte restaurants each night – I am not a buffet person at all either and we always did lunch separately, and they had some lovely options too. I did not have the drinks included either, and in general found the wine and normal drinks very well priced. I tried going to their website and there is no information at all – but worth asking them as I remember it did make a difference (i.e. let’s say it would be £50/day/person for example and way better value than you would it paid for separately. It might be the half board, but has to have the dine around option (not the buffet one).

  4. Candy

    June 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

    This makes me very very excited about making our way to Maldives which we are doing in September for our Honeymoon, we will be staying in the water villas at the Conrad/Hilton. Thanks for the beautiful photos Ana.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

      My pleasure! Many congratulations and hope you have a wonderful time. I am sure you will!

  5. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    May 23, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Went to the Maldives for the first time last year and completely and utterly fell in love with it – have vowed to return one day and although I loved where I stayed last time, it’d be great to try somewhere new next time – and I think this might just be it!! Gorgeous!!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted..A Sunday in San Telmo Market, Buenos AiresMy Profile

  6. WhatKateMadeNext

    May 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Blue, blue, blue. Do you ever have boring days in the UK where you do nothing? Like just stay in front of the TV? If so, please don’t tell us and spoil the illusion! X
    WhatKateMadeNext recently posted..Blueberry and white chocolate mini sconesMy Profile

  7. Chinmoy Lad

    May 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Oh that bath tub…!

  8. Stuart T

    May 5, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Sounds fantastic. Heading out in November for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and can’t wait. One question, do you know if there are any visa or vaccination requirements for the Maldives?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 5, 2014 at 11:01 am

      It was fantastic indeed! No vaccines for sure and would think no visa (depends on your passport). All EU countries are good to go

  9. lola

    May 4, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    it looks so fantastic, just like your last Maldives visit. i don’t think i could ever get tired of that blue water!!
    lola recently posted..Lessons Learned at Boston Dive BarsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

      It’s wonderful 🙂 not hard to understand why I keep going back

  10. the lazy travelers

    May 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    can we guess what the barbie was for?!

    another mrs. o travel experience that has us feeling verrrry jealous, for sure. LOVE the photo of your welcome team on the dock. paradise!!

    xo, the wino
    the lazy travelers recently posted..sneak peek: the emerald isleMy Profile

  11. Suzanne (Travelbunny)

    May 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Looks absolutely wonderful. Note to self: must book Lux Maldives holiday in next year or so 🙂
    Suzanne (Travelbunny) recently posted..Tavarnelle Chianti – The Good LifeMy Profile

  12. Mary Anne

    May 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I am thrilled to read this article. Looks amazing and I think the best part of your whole experience was not having to lug your luggage around!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 1, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Best thing was the sun and the sea! But yes, thank God for no luggage.

  13. Fiona Fulton-Allen

    April 30, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    We are staying here in August. To say “I cannot wait” is an understatement. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think you have covered just about everything but if I think of something to ask do you mind if I get back to you?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 30, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Absolutely Fiona, not a problem. I did not mention the secret pop-up bar. Because it is secret and pops up every day at different locations around the island. 😉

  14. Becky Padmore

    April 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Wow what a place and that sunset looks incredible!
    Becky Padmore recently posted..In BIG pictures: a Gambia experienceMy Profile

  15. Simon O'Reilly

    April 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Ah this brings back wonderful memories! The Lux Resort was a perfect start to our holiday. Everyone was so friendly, the food great, the room spot on and we swam with a whale shark. Spoilt or what!? Can we go again please!?

  16. Sophie DeWitt

    April 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    So beautiful! What a gorgeous place. And an interesting, informative post. Thank you Ana! Wow this is on my travel bucket list.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      It is a lovely hotel in a lovely part of the world 😉 worth getting on that list, for sure

  17. Savi

    April 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Gorgeous pictures, Ana. Love the way you have covered every possible feature of the hotel and your room. We are fans of LUX* resorts too 🙂 Love their attention to detail and friendly staff.

    Cheers !
    Savi recently posted..Absorbing The Grandeur Of The VaticanMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you, Savi! That is the whole idea, so readers can know what to expect 🙂

  18. Jean | Holy Smithereens

    April 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Lux looks very luxe indeed! I haven’t been there but if/when I do, I imagine there will be long hours spent in the bathroom. Nothing beats a bath tub with a view 🙂 Amen to a couples spa being the least romantic thing! I cannot enjoy a treatment with someone else (apart from the therapist/masseuse of course).
    Lovely review, cannot wait for the others!
    Jean | Holy Smithereens recently posted..Subsix- The World’s First Underwater NightclubMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      I know – I seriously don’t see the point in them (but there for anyone who want to enjoy them, of course). The therapists thought we were rather weird at first!

  19. Chinmoy Lad

    April 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Can never go wrong with the Maldives! I like the look of the villas (that bathtub seals it for me!), and you’re right – there does seem to be a decent amount of privacy which is not always true at many resorts.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      The bathtub was fantastic, and no one could see into your villa, really well designed.

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