We flew into the island nation’s capital of Male via Singapore. The mood on the plane when flying from Singapore to Male was noticeably more jovial and energetic than on your average flight. Most of us on board were flying towards the holiday of a lifetime. The closer we got to Male, the more excited we became, especially as we began to catch glimpses of the famous luminous blue water and coral reefs out the window.
LUX* NORTH MALE
Upon touching down in Male we were met by a representative from LUX* Resorts where we would be staying and were taken straight outside and across to where the boats were docked.
We jumped on board a luxury speedboat where we set off for a quick, smooth one hour journey to LUX* North Male.
The exciting thing about LUX* North Male is that it had only opened its doors to guests just a few months before we arrived. It is LUX* Resorts second property in the Maldives and it is truly unique.
You won’t find any traditional thatched roof villas here. Nope, this resort is home to 67 over-sized double-storey, penthouse residences each with private pool. Their design is said to be inspired by the curves and lines of a luxury boat and its sails! Sexy or what?
I’d been seduced by the images of this resort, but actually approaching it via speed boat for the first time felt totally surreal. You have to do a double take to really believe your own eyes at how stunning this place is.
Once we docked at the resort we were greeted by none other than our own island host. Yes, all guests get their own host here who caters to your every need throughout your stay.
We jumped straight on the back of his buggy for a tour of the six-hectare island fringed by powder soft beaches. We were in awe but this feeling was only elevated further when we arrived at our very own overwater villa.
When our island host guided us inside we were both astounded at just how luxurious it was. This place is what the sweetest honeymoon dreams are made of. Neither of us were sure where to look first, desperate to drink it all in.
I spotted a giant terrace with a huge private infinity pool overlooking the turquoise lagoon, a spacious and stylish open plan bathroom with a huge egg-shaped freestanding bath which looked out on tropical plants and our very own outdoor shower. There was just so much space and it was all for us!
Our island host did an in-villa check in with us and the moment he zipped away on his buggy we both just giggled and screamed and wondered aloud how somewhere this perfect could exist. We let no time slip away before we popped our first bottle of champagne and slid into our private pool.
Shortly after we ventured up our own outdoor stairs where we discovered that we had our OWN private rooftop terrace and planned a star gazing session come nightfall. We were only at LUX* North Male for a few nights but we sure made the most of every moment.
I started each day with a morning yoga session, I never managed to convince hubby to join me unfortunately – but he was happy to have his morning workout at the gym instead. We are both early risers so after our morning exercise we’d opt for an awesome, barista made coffee at Cafe LUX* before wandering over to breakfast at Glow Bar. This was definitely a daily ritual I could keep up.
Another ritual we enjoyed at LUX* North Male were our visits to the day spa. The over-lagoon spa’s treatment rooms are positioned right over the water. There’s even a glass floor at eye level on the massage tables so that you can see the colourful marine life passing by during your treatment. Unwinding here was just too easy.
A really cool option at the spa was the aromatherapy bath full of floating flower petals (and yep, you can get all romantic and share this treatment with your significant other). As the treatment rooms are encased in glass windows we also got to take in the gorgeous views of the bright blue lagoon at the same time.
Our favourite meal during our time at LUX* North Male was at INTI, the resort’s Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant with an open sushi bar in the centre. We are seafood lovers and our meal choices leant heavily towards the ceviche (a classic peruvian dish of raw fish cured in citrus juices). The seafood is just so fresh, and the all the ingredients work so beautifully together. This place is seriously fine dining! We truly didn’t want to leave LUX* North Male, but luckily for us it wasn’t the end of our honeymoon, next stop LUX* South Ari Atoll!
LUX* South Ari Atoll
To get to LUX*’s original Maldives’ resort, we took the speed boat back to Male Airport and boarded a Transmaldivian seaplane for a very scenic half hour ride. Taking off from the water was an unforgettable experience. A were both super excited to experience the seaplane ride. The pilots were so relaxed and even fly bare foot. They seemed so at home behind the controls in these tiny planes that it definitely made me feel comfortable.
The views were incredible: stunning reefs, bright blue water and a glimpse of other islands and resorts.
As we came in to land at LUX* South Ari, we were greeted by several smiling staff, waving in unison, welcoming us to their beautiful island. This island is bigger than LUX* North Male at around four kilometres. It’s all powder soft white sand beaches and luminous blue water dotted with LUX*’s trademark “playful luxury” daybeds and overwater swings and hammocks.
The entire island felt like something I’d dream up but would never truly get to see in real life. We felt so lucky to be spending the second half of our honeymoon there. We stayed in the aptly named Romantic Overwater Pool Villa suspended over a sparkling turquoise lagoon.
Our favourite place was the villa’s front terrace with an oversized daybed-style swing, an infinity pool overlooking the water and steps leading straight down to lagoon. We were able to hire snorkelling gear for our stay, which meant we had the freedom to snorkel straight off our front deck. We didn’t have to swim far to find a colourful assortment of fish and coral.
South Ari Atoll is the prime spot to snorkel with whale sharks (no these aren’t the scary kind of shark – they are giant, friendly fish) all year round. We did take a boat trip from the island to look for whale sharks, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see any. We did, however, get to snorkel with dolphins and turtles which was breathtaking.
The water was a giant playground for us during our stay. One day we tried parasailing. Surprisingly it wasn’t too scary. Hubby and I got to go up together. It was such a romantic experience being gently suspended into the sky, floating up high behind a speedboat, looking down on our island paradise. Another day we hired paddle boards. The water was so clear we could see fish swimming around our boards.
We also hired push bikes for our stay, which made getting around the entire island a breeze. It kind of reminded me of summer holidays as a kid where you’d zoom about on your bike. Again we were following our routine of rise and shining early to cycle the island and enjoy an early coffee at the cafe LUX* (can you tell we’re obsessed with coffee yet?). They even roast their own coffee beans here which is certainly a gourmet touch.
One morning we had an outrageously luxury experience for breakfast – a FLOATING CHAMPAGNE BREAKFAST in our own pool!
I’d seen the phenomenon on Instagram, but I could hardly believe we were truly experiencing it. The kind LUX* staff set up our breakfast of fruits, pancakes, eggs and of course bubbly on a floating tray in our pool. Full disclosure I did take about 100 photos of the stunning floating breakfast before we dug in. Hubby wasn’t particularly impressed, he was keen to get started on the feast! It was definitely one of those mornings where you had to pinch yourself to believe it was real. Especially when it was followed up by massages at the spa and a private cooking class.
A blissful way to end the day at LUX* South Ari is with a cocktail in hand watching the sunset. It was hard to pick between our two favourite bars.. Beach Rouge or East Bar. At Beach Rouge a house DJ plays tunes and Instagram sunset shots are in full swing along the picture-perfect beach, filled with day beds and a colourful assortment scattered cushions. There was a definitely a party vibe there.
Over the other side of the island on East Bar, which is closer to our accommodation, there was a more chilled out vibe with live acoustic music and we laid on suspended nets over the lagoon, sipping Pina Coladas. What a place to celebrate love! One night we also did a wine tasting there and were so impressed but LUX*’s house ScruCap and PopCap ranges.
Another major highlight of our trip was Teppanyaki at the Japanese restaurant UMAMI. Our teppanyaki chef Allen was such a character. We were in stitches the whole evening with his jokes and tricks and yes, we attempted to catch food in our mouths, and failed miserably at the task! The food itself was absolutely stunning – especially the moist and juicy Tooth Fish which we have pretty much talked about every day since!
Ms Zebra Says: WOW! What a honeymoon!! Congratulations to Nathalie and Ben – and thank you for sharing your incredible Maldivian honeymoon with us.