LUX* South Ari Atoll - Maldives

Five-star UNIQUE luxury resort

- Step in to a tropical utopian lifestyle -

Our opinion

As Maldives specialists, Invite to Paradise founders Reece & Claire Turvill have stayed at LUX* South Ari Atoll and reviewed the resort, so we can really advise you on what the island is like and what will be best for your holiday, vacation or honeymoon. Here’s a sneak peak at our review of this resort...

“On the long and narrow island of Dhidhoofinolhu, in the South Ari Atoll of the Maldives, lies the clean and slick luxury resort LUX*. Just a 25 minute seaplane journey from the airport (during daylight hours), the moment you step foot on the arrival jetty and immerse yourself in to this resort, you think ‘am I dreaming?’ Nothing you have seen before can prepare you for how beautiful this Maldivian paradise is. It ticks every holiday fantasy box you could have imagined. The resort has been completely renovated and reopened in October 2016 in a coastal beach-house chic style. Keep your smart phone charged - you will not be able to stop taking photos here.

When staying at LUX* South Ari Atoll in the Maldives it feels like you have stepped in to a unique tropical utopian lifestyle. The resort is very relaxing, yet has an edge of excitement, luxury and fun about it, which is why it’s widely considered one of the best hotels in the Indian Ocean (it was presented with the Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel award in July 2017 at the World Travel Awards ceremony).

Its creators have left no stone unturned, the architecture and interior design is suitably outstanding, yet the concept of the island resort doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s lighthearted with features like the palm leaf thatched ‘phone home’ red phone box where you can call home at anytime for free. The CAFE LUX* coffee shop serves blends of coffee, roasted in house (we’re impressed), that you just wouldn’t think could be this good on a desert island in the middle of nowhere. They even push the coffee boundaries with impressive Cold Drip coffee. The resort lets its hair down with fun twists like fantastic...

"Read our full review on LUX* South Ari Atoll by getting in touch with us today"

Contemporary design

My oh my what a wonderful design. The villas at LUX* South Aril Atoll immerse you in an inspirational world of design.

restaurants and bars

The food and drinks here are superb. The variety of restaurants and bars is even better. Head below to read all about them.

beach and waters

4km of perfect white beach surrounded by some of the best waters in the world for seeing unique tropical sea life.


The luxury accommodation sets LUX* apart from the crowd, it’s not traditional, it’s contemporary, clean design that is full of luxury touches and sticks to the philosophy of ‘lighter and brighter’. The accommodation comes in the shape of 187 spacious and private villas. Dotted along the water’s edge of the 4 kilometers of powder fine beaches and also perched on stilts floating above the crystal clear waters of the lagoon, the room types include beach pavilions, beach villas and over water villas, including 62 with private pools. On the island or above the water, facing the sunset or sunrise, these super pavilions and villas are the place to be in the Maldives.

The fittings, fixtures and furniture of the room interiors is very impressive, there are great touches of well thought out and well executed design everywhere. We enjoyed the modern use of natural materials in the different rooms such as wood slab vanities combined with stone basins and illuminated modern mouldings in the bathrooms of the Temptation Water Villa. The way colourful sculptures adorn the ceilings and walls, the subtle use of concealed lighting and the considered touches of fresh colours in the gradient rugs, edges of wooden shelves, organic shaped handles and coral reef inspired ornaments.

Overall with the design it’s fair to say that nothing is standard here - everything looks and feels bespoke. Design has been applied in a considered and clever manner. The refurbished fitting has been very well executed and it all comes together to make your stay feel special. This makes the resort stand out from so many of the other Maldives resorts, which aren’t always able to break the mould in the same way that LUX* does.

General facilities for all room types include:

  • furnished terrace

  • king size bed

  • air conditioning

  • ceiling fan

  • bathroom with separate shower and separate toilet

  • bathtub

  • LUX* bathroom amenities

  • slippers

  • bathrobe

  • television

  • minibar (refilled daily)

  • complimentary tea and coffee facilities

  • complimentary bottled water

  • safe

  • hairdryer

  • shaver sockets

  • 220-240v electric sockets

  • wifi access

  • private sunbeds


Beach Pavilions (60 m²)

As with all the room types at LUX* South Ari Atoll these lead-in room categories have beautifully appointed bedrooms and gorgeous bathrooms. The Beach Pavilions are interconnected and located right on the beach so that you can stroll right out on to the sand from your individual outdoor terrace.

Family Lagoon Pavilions (130 m²)

Take the kids with you to paradise and enjoy one of these stunning and comfy two bedroom villas located on the soft white sands of the beach. They come with a common entrance and a separate terrace. We think these rooms are ideal if you want to go on a Maldives family holiday with the children as you will all have your own space but you can rest assured that you are still all together.

Beach Villas (95 m²)

The Beach Villas are gorgeous. The design of the interior, as with all the rooms here, is clean, tasteful, modern and luxurious. The bathroom is fantastic with large outdoor oversized bathtub and high curved white walls for privacy and also has a dressing room area. The huge glass doors at the foot of the bed mean that you wake up to stunning beach and sea views and direct access to the beach and lagoon. The best way to start your day in the Maldives is to step straight on to the beach and take a dip in the calm warm waters of the blue lagoon. The best way to end your day is on the private veranda which comes furnished with comfy cushioned sofa and wooden table and chairs for two.

Beach Pool Villas (116 m²)

Get all the benefits of the gorgeous Beach Villas, such as direct access to the beach, but with the added luxury of your own private plunge pool in the court yard. Located on the sunset side of the island.

Water Villas (98 m²)

For many the Maldives dream is all about walking along a wooden jetty directly over the ocean and staying in a water villa on stilts. That’s exactly what these Water Villas are. Located at the West Point end of the long island, they offer perfect privacy as well as direct access to the lagoon so you can take a dip in the tropical fish filled waters straight from your own room. Bliss.

Romantic Pool Water Villas (110 m²)

Located on the long wooden jetty, cast away from the island at the East Point end lies the Romantic Pool Water Villas. Perched above the Indian Ocean waters these over-water villas are very luxurious with a private plunge pool for lazing the day away in style. They allow for wonderful views of the morning sunrise and also give you direct access to the blue lagoon. The double shower with odd shaped windows are a great touch

Temptation Pool Water Villas (220 m²)

On the same jetty as the Romantic Pool Water Villas lies the Temptation Pool Water Villas, which are double the size and double the wow factor as they are so spacious and come packed with features and design touches such as a round bed and a huge 14 metre long private infinity pool that stretches out over the lagoon. The separate living room with glass floor is really well designed and two semi outdoor areas house a jacuzzi and table and chairs that create extra little pockets within the villa, whilst the outdoor sundeck has a 4 poster sun lounger and cocoon like hanging swing big enough for two and pretty enough to make all your family and friends envious when they see your snaps on facebook, twitter and instagram. These impressive over water villas are topped off huge outdoor partitions for maximum privacy, sunrise views and direct access to the tempting lagoon below and beyond. Warning: you will use up a lot of memory on your smart phone photographing this room.

LUX* Villa (360 m²)

This is the one and only utterly magnificent and large LUX* Villa located at the West Point end of the island at the very end of the jetty so it enjoys a panoramic sunset view. This 360 square meter villa comes with a glass floored living and dining room, an extensive outdoor terrace with infinity pool and a huge lounge area. Luxury at its finest, which has to be seen to be believed.


Restaurants & Bars

At LUX* South Ari Atoll you can really indulge in non-pretentious luxury island dining at its finest. There are an impressive 9 outlets for you to discover, so you certainly won’t suffer from boredom here (and if you do then head to the disco toilets for a dance!)


East Market

This over-water restaurant immerses you in a complete culinary tour of the South East Asian foods. The detail in the interior design makes you feel like you're on the set of a movie production. The live cooking stations are manned by professional cooks who want not only to serve you but also to show you how the cooking is done and can even let you have a go yourself - for example you can pick up great tips for making proper Thai red curry back home!
130 seats


East Bar

Social over-water bar with beautiful eastern design influences, instagram worthy seating and furniture at every turn, live music and fantastic sunset cocktails. Be sure to have a drink or two floating above the shimmering water on the catamaran net loungers for two.
50 seats





Barbecue Kobe beef, sakés and fine Japanese whiskies... This is Umami, the resort’s contemporary chic Japanese restaurant with big flavours, moody interior design and dramatic knife-wielding chefs that create fresh sashimi, nigiri and maki. Located over-water at the East Point end of the island, Umami delivers a unique onslaught on the senses.
40 seats



Beach Rouge

This is the resort’s very own à la carte Beach Club restaurant, located right on the beach with sea views to die for. The wood fired oven produces delicious pizzas, combined with the relaxed setting and impressive interior design Beach Rouge delivers a great ambience for either lunch or dinner.
60 seats




Lagoon Bar

Relaxed, cool and modern beach bar right on the powder soft sand. The location is to die for, on the beach and over looking the water of the blue lagoon with views of the water villas and East Bar, it's a picture perfect scene that would make the front page of any travel magazine. It feels fun and relaxed as you lounge on the beach on a sun lounger or bean bag under the whimsical colourful parasols. Jump in the water on the back of a huge inflatable golden swan - why not, you are in paradise! You can find the Lagoon Bar at the East Point end of the island. Once discovered you may not want to leave.
70 seats


Senses Bar & Lounge

If informal is what you are after then go on over to the Senses Bar & Lounge by the pool and sample a light local inspired lunch with a cocktails, rum, liqueur, beer or spirits. If you’re not that fussed about the alcohol then you can go for a refreshing Sri Lankan tea. This is a great spot to relax so why not kick back and laze some time away in an over sized hammock.


Senses Restaurant

Specialises in Middle Eastern flavors with an Indian Ocean twist. Think tandoori prawns, tasty tagines and refreshing exotic sorbets. The Senses Restaurant is great for lunch and dinner and is ideally located near to the water’s edge at the West Point end of the island.
60 seats



If you would love to indulge in expertly crafted Mediterranean cuisine with genuine southern European recipes and the best Italian ingredients then head on over to Allegria. Open for dinner and located on beach, the open kitchen allows you to see the talented chefs at work as they create authentic pastas, pizzas, gnocchi and freshly caught seafood. The à la carte menu is popular as is the restaurant’s ability to provide superb cheese and wine combinations
60 seats



Is your idea of heaven poolside drinks, a fresh seafood bistro and breathtaking sea views? If yes then you have to visit Veli with its picture perfect round infinity swimming pool stretching out to the waters edge of the lagoon. This is yet another part of the island where you can just chill out all day long.
40 seats





Creative international cuisine serving up wicked breakfasts with live stations, all the detox juices you could imagine, a variety of honeys and heaps of nutritionally balanced options delivered by superb staff. It’s lovely eating breakfast here as the architecture is also so impressive with an amazing huge wood and thatch roof structure that manages to perfectly execute the resorts ethos of ‘light and bright’. Betsy can vouch for the yogurt and fresh fruit!
120 seats



Café LUX*

The island coffee shop located by the impressive reception, clad in white marble and natural live edge timbers. Fine quality, freshly roasted, barista-made coffee, that raises the bar for ‘hotel coffee’, is not what you would expect to find on a desert island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but it’s exactly what they serve up at Café LUX*. There is a range of island signature coffees that, rather impressively, are roasted in house at the on-site roasting room. You can go in to this room for a behind the scenes look around. It smells amazing! The resort's own unique coffee bean blends are also available in your villa (you can even take some of the coffee home). The baristas are on top of their coffee game and keep up with the latest coffee techniques from around the world including Cold Press, Pour Overs and Nitro coffee. It’s clearly a big commitment from the resort to provide coffee of such good quality, but it’s an effort that we were very impressed with and it goes down very well with guests.


Meal Plans

The meal plans are available at this resort are Bed & Breakfast, Half Board and Full Board and also an All Inclusive plan upgrade is available.

All Inclusive

The All Inclusive meal plan is a very good and is actually one of the better ones for this style of high end resort. You get real peace of mind if you go for All Inclusive in the Maldives at LUX* South Ari Atoll as everything is included:

  • Accommodation: choose from a variety of villas.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner: It has a variety of great quality dining and beverage options in the All Inclusive plan that are clearly marked on the menus in the restaurants and bars i.e. soft drinks, tea, coffee, beers, wines, juices, mineral water, cocktails and liquors. Mini-bar: water, juices, soft drinks & beers (replenished once/day) A wide selection of beverages in all restaurants & bars except Umami:

  • Activities: such as Yoga & Stretching classes, access to the Sauna, Steam Room, Plunge Pool, and Spa Garden (adults only). Daily use of snorkelling equipment, kayaks, pedal boat and scheduled snorkelling trips on house reef as per weather and tide conditions. Unlimited access to the gym centre, floodlit tennis courts (rackets only provided), table tennis, bocce Balls, beach-volley. Daily use of snorkelling equipment, kayaks, pedal boat and scheduled snorkelling trips on house reef as per weather and tide conditions

All Inclusive Terms & Conditions:

  • Breakfast: at MIXE

  • Lunch: Senses Lounge & Bar, Veli, Lagoon Bar and Beach Rouge

  • Dinner: A la carte at Senses and Allegria; buffet at MIXE and East Market

  • Drinks: All-Inclusive beverages menu available, as per opening hours of restaurants and bars

  • Tea: afternoon tea served at Senses Lounge and Bar from 4 pm to 6 pm; tea/coffee facilities available in room

Things to do


If you want an active holiday then look no further, as this is one of the best resorts in the Maldives for those that want plenty of things to do. You can opt to try water activities like:

  • snorkelling the house reef (directly from the beach is ok but not that wonderful however there are two escorted dhoni boat trips daily that take you straight to the best snorkelling spots).

  • whale shark searching (one of the best spots in the world for watching, snorkelling and diving)

  • jet ski

  • water skiing

  • kite surfing

  • windsurfing

  • wake boarding

  • flyboarding

  • hoverboarding

  • paddleboarding

  • fishing

  • topcat sailing

  • catamaran

There’s also a large selection of dry land based activities including:

  • tennis

  • volleyball

  • beach yoga

  • cycling

- want to make it a Maldives & Sri Lanka combo? -

If you would just like to just relax whilst at LUX* South Ari Atoll and not do any excursions then you may prefer to make your trip a twin centre holiday/honeymoon/vacation and combine the Maldives with a trip to Sri Lanka first where you can indulge in the neighbouring island's wildlife and culture before coming to LUX* South Ari Atoll for complete switch off time. For more information on our Maldives and Sri Lanka twin centre ideas click here to head over to this page on our website.



LUX* is all about looking after yourself and it encourages you take care when it comes to your personal health and wellbeing. They have a wellness concierge who can create a personalised programme just for you, so that you get the very best balance for you whilst on holiday. Whether that is through the personalised over water spa treatments, the well equipped fitness centre, the nutrition advice on hand or the high quality yoga and meditation. It’s all about taking care of yourself. Other wellness features of LUX* include: Zhengliao Chinese Medicine Treatment, Shirley Page facials and signature massages (using pure organic essential oils), Balinese massage, LUX* Me signature men's facials. The fitness treatments are a particularly noteworthy feature of the resort as they have been crafted in collaboration with SP&Co the renowned London based fitness group.



The PADI certified dive centre offers 37 incredible dive sites, two wreck sites and night diving, all within a short boat ride offshore. Dive sites include Maamagili which is suitable for beginners and those who have never dived before, Aa Thila for the more experienced, and Thinfushi Beru Tila for advanced divers.

The island’s natural location in the south east of the South Ari Atoll means that it has one of the best spots in the world for Whale Shark watching all year round. The experienced team members here can take you out to search for Whale Sharks where you may get to do Whale Shark watching from above the water in the boat, or snorkel with a Whale Shark or even scuba dive with a Whale Shark. Contact us for more details.


Great reasons to go LUX* South Ari Atoll in the Maldives

  • Stunning contemporary design

  • One island, one resort concept

  • One of the biggest resort islands in the Maldives

  • Unique spot for whale shark watching all year round

  • Only 25 minutes seaplane flight from Male

  • Flyme: offering night transfers to neighboring Maamigili airport & speedboat transfer

  • Private lounge at Male International Airport seaplane terminal

  • 4 kilometers of beach around the resort

  • Extensive lagoon with an array of multi-coloured fish

  • 2 swimming pools, both on the sunset side of the island

  • An extensive choice of 8 restaurants and 5 bars

  • World-class PADI diving centre and water sports

  • Luxury accommodation is housed in pavilions, villas and over water villas, including 62 with private pools

  • 24h in-villa dining (charges apply)

  • LUX* Me Spa with 11 garden and 4 over-water treatment villas

  • Extensive child and teen facilities, including kids club PLAY and teens club STUDIO 17

  • Symbolic wedding and renewal of vows ceremonies

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the resort