Feeling lucky after spending three incredible nights at LUX* South Ari Atoll, Maldives recently, travel specialist Lizzie couldn’t help but notice there were some remarkable places around this island of pristine white sands. She’s been excited to share them with you ever since she returned, so here’s Lizzie’s top five spots you simply can’t miss while you’re at this amazing resort in paradise…
1. Find an overwater swing
On a lazy morning, seek out any one of their perfectly placed overwater swings or hammocks around the island. I wouldn’t look to find one later in the day, as you’ll possibly find most of them are already taken. However, I don’t think there’s a better way to help digest your wonderful breakfast than to gently sway back and forth with a good book. It’s hard to pick a favourite as they’re all so seamlessly positioned, but if I had to it’d probably be the wide swing close to the water villa jetty near Senses Restaurant! The one with the best view is definitely the hammock closest to the northern tip of the island on its east side.
2. Snorkel the house reef
Snorkelling along the house reef was absolutely superb! We took the complimentary snorkelling trip and were greeted by a pod of dolphins breaching just on the other side of the house reef. Our jaws dropped when we saw them! They lingered for a few minutes before heading off to continue their day at sea, but it was the most amazing sighting and so unexpected. The house reef itself is teeming with more fish than you can think of – there was an incredible variety and number of them. We spotted a sea turtle and also a family of clownfish just hanging out in their anemone!
3. Beach Rouge
Somewhere between mid and late afternoon, head over to the resort’s expansive ice cream parlour ICI, located right next door to Beach Rouge, and try a selection of their tasty island-made ice creams and sorbets. I made a rookie mistake in the tropics – I chose a cone to (fleetingly) house my ice cream selection, but within seconds of stepping outside the air-conditioned parlour it started to melt. It was a race to finish it before it all ended up in the sand! So, I’d recommend opting for a cup, or you can sit at their ice cream bar and enjoy your coned ice cream looking out at the beach and Indian Ocean beyond. We went and sat in a comfy chair at Beach Rouge and enjoyed the sunshine, although most of my ice cream ended up in my lap!
For a romantic and intimate beachfront dinner experience, I would highly recommend Allegria Restaurant! It’s very popular so it’s definitely worth making a reservation to dine at your preferred time. After being greeted with the warmest of smiles, we were taken to our front-row table and enjoyed our amazing food with a warm gentle breeze. Their grilled grouper in olive oil with creamy potatoes, garlic, basil and tomatoes was one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever had.
5. Senses Restaurant
Later in the day, head over to the poolside at Senses Restaurant for a refreshing sundowner and watch the magnificent sun set on the horizon just past the beautiful water villas. They have a great variety of cocktails and other beverages on offer – even a selection of Sri Lankan teas if you fancy one – and the staff at LUX* South Ari Atoll will cater to almost any request.