From marrying my long time love and best friend to going on journeys which we ticked right off our bucket-list; 2016 was an unforgettable year! While we’ve known each other for 8 years now, friends who know us, know how much this guy has changed me. Only for the better 🙂
So to refrain from being indebted for the amount of love I have received, I decided to do the unusual this year. And because my not-so-ordinary man deserves something extraordinary; I surprised him with an extravagant getaway to the romantic island of Maldives to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. What a great way to recreate that honeymoon feeling, right?
Our journey to LUX* South Ari Atoll, Maldives began with a 2 hour flight from Bangalore to Male via Air India. Honestly, we aren’t big fans of Air India, but to our surprise the flight was breezy and comfortable. LUX* Resorts all over the world have an inimitable stamp when it comes to service and facilities, which you feel right as you touch down Male Airport. The resort’s dedicated airport butlers escort you to their lounge that is nothing short of a gourmet cafe. After relaxing with some coffee and macaroons they whisk you away into a seaplane operated by Trans Maldivian Airways, which in 25 mins takes you to your heavenly abode.
The journey from Male airport to the resort is so exhilarating, especially when you watch the seaplane land on water. You realise how beautiful our planet is from above, that every passing island makes you wish you were there. As the seaplane make it’s way to the jetty of the resort, you are welcomed with bright smiling faces, waving with vigour. Furthermore, you are hydrated with homemade infused teas, bursting with colours and flavours that’s oh so refreshing.
Resort & Rooms
The picture-perfect island of Dhidhoofinolhu is home to LUX* South Ari Atoll. A villa-only luxury resort where your fantasy of a laid-back, tropical island paradise is bound to come true. The first thing you notice as you check into the resort is the beautiful melange of interiors and it’s surroundings. As we made our way to our private villa, we couldn’t help but gaze at the sight of the extensive lagoon with an array of multi-coloured fish.
Dotted at the water’s edge and perched on stilts above a crystal lagoon, we opted for the Romantic Pool Water Villa. This luxurious villa comes with a private plunge pool offering gorgeous views of the sunrise. Wait, that’s not all. It truly had the works of a private hideaway. From furnished terrace, direct lagoon access, generous wardrobes, king sized beds, coffee machines, free minibar, 48-inch curved television to a dreamily suspended gazebo, this uber cool, Maldivian chic villa provided the perfect space for a couple’s getaway that would force one to never venture out. But take it from us, nothing competes with watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S reruns on a 110 projector screen embedded in your room! #thegoodlife
Spa & Well-being
On taking up the All-Inclusive package we were offered a complimentary couple’s spa massage. Now, the LUX* Spa is the perfect sanctuary for your health and well-being. They offer a personalised approach, whether it be a spa, fitness, yoga, meditation, nutrition or a unique combination tailored specially to your needs. Only the best of skin and body care products are used to create a rejuvenating experience. As for the body massage, it was one of the most relaxing we’ve ever experienced. The masseuses hands worked such magic, that I actually fell asleep at the end of the 30 minutes.
Sports & Leisure
Chasing whale sharks has been on my bucket list for sometime. While I make a good swimmer and Prashanth can’t swim to save his life, we still decided to embark on a whale shark snorkeling trip. They say love can conquer all – I guess that’s what made my man take the plunge. Thanks to the training and support from the diving team (and of course a life jacket) he was ready to swim in a jiffy. He ticked off overcoming his biggest fear i.e. swimming in the deep sea alongside a tortoise and many colourful reef fish. Whereas for me, chasing whale sharks still remains on my bucket list.
For the love of speed, Prashanth ventured into jet-sking. Slicing his way through the surf, while I sat behind with my eyes closed hoping I don’t fall off and drown. If soft adventure is your style, then try out stand up paddle boarding. Just paddle your way through the calm turquoise waters and experience the thriving nature of the lagoon at its best, while benefiting from a total body workout at the same time.
Restaurants & Bars
If you love your food, then this is the place to be in Maldives. With an extensive choice of 8 restaurants and 5 bars, one can enjoy the very best dishes, flavours and textures that the island’s many cultures and influences have to offer. We opted for an All-Inclusive package that allowed us to wine and dine at any of the restaurants. For our daily breakfast we alternated between MIXE & East Market. At MIXE, tables are set out on the beach under thatched roofs, where guests can sink their feet into the warm sand below while tucking into mouth-watering fresh buffets. Follow the scent of baking to croissants, baguettes, pastries and seeded loaves, fresh from that glass-fronted oven.
While at East Market, one can savour authentic tastes from Thailand, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. Think noodle dishes and stir-fries whipped up in woks with unadulterated views of the Indian Ocean. Dim sums for breakfast? Why not!
For lunch we would stop over at the casual and fun Lagoon Bar for some burgers and fries; or at the upscale Senses Restaurant for some Middle Eastern and Indian-fusion delights.
The Ultimate Dining Experience
And finally for dinner we hopped between East Market (Asian), Beach Rouge (Mediterrenean) and Allegria (Italian). We chose to dine at Allegria on the night of our wedding anniversary and it was the best decision ever! Mr. Vijay Rao, Mr. Umashankar Bathina & Chef Nicholas Coelho wowed us not just with the food but with the beautiful beachfront candle light set up right under the stars. The salmon carpaccio, beef pasta and meat filled artichokes were the biggest highlights of our 5 course meal. A true Italian feast that instantly took us back to our roman sojourn. Furthermore, imagine sommeliers treating you to some of the best South African wines the region has produced. We happily ordered 3 of a kind and raised a toast to more love and abundance 🙂
Luxury of Doing Nothing
According to us, the biggest luxury in life is the ability to do nothing, and the slow island life at Maldives provides the perfect atmosphere to do so. As you walk back to your room every night, the white sand cool beneath your feet, a blanket of stars above, the breeze messing up your hair, you realise the satisfied fullness you feel isn’t because of the exquisite meal you just devoured in, but because of a deep sense of gratitude that you’re here. That for just a few days, this paradise is yours!
Quick Notes & Tips
- There are frequent direct flights to Male from most international destinations including India, Sri Lanka, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia. Air India, Spicejet and Sri Lankan Airlines offers fantastic frequency of flights from India to Male.
- Couples should vie for the Romantic Pool Water Villa or Temptation Pool Water Villa. Room rates start at $2000 per night during high season.
- We recommend booking the All Inclusive package so that it covers all your meals and unlimited alcohol. If you don’t fancy alcohol too much, opt for the half board package and pay for drinks along the way.
- While booking your package, make sure to add in your sea plane transfers. The hotel staff will take care of your luggage, check ins, on boarding and logistics from Male airport to the island. This will also give you special access to their lounge at Male Airport.
- The currency of Maldives is the Maldivian Ruffiyaa (MVR). USD and international credit cards widely accepted at the resort. However, there are no ATMs on the island.
- The tropical climate is influenced by monsoons, although bright sunny weather with a light sea breeze can be expected most days. So don’t forget to carry your sunbathing essentials. Temperature: 30°C all year round & Sea temperature: 22°C to 28°C
- Water is chargeable at the island and it doesn’t come cheap. Hence, if you bump up your booking to an All Inclusive package, you need not worry.
- For special rates and bookings you can write to us at email@example.com and we will be more than happy to help!
Disclaimer: We had an amazing collaboration with LUX* South Ari Atoll and the people working there. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.