Dan and I are both total foodies, so when it came to booking our honeymoon in the Maldives, we knew we would need to choose a resort with multiple high-quality dining options. When we came across LUX* we knew we were onto a winner, as it is one of the largest island resorts in the Maldives. With an extensive choice of 8 restaurants and 5 bars, we knew we had found the resort for us! Every restaurant and bar at LUX* had a unique style, vibe and cuisine and we loved them all for different reasons. One of the best decisions we made prior to our trip was booking an all-inclusive package which meant we could enjoy any of the restaurants and bars on the island without having to worry about the cost. Here is our guide to wining and dining at LUX* South Ari Atoll, a haven for foodies and honeymooners in the Maldives.
Lagoon Bar was one of our favourite bars at LUX*. Other than East Bar, it was the closest bar to our water villa and we loved the chilled-out vibe. We spent many hours relaxing in the bean bags on the beach, working our way through the cocktail menu and basically sliding into the water whenever we needed to cool down. It is the perfect beach bar and we loved the mellow, island tunes that would play all day, every day and Dan was obsessed with all the surfboards! Lagoon Bar was also a great spot for burgers, wraps and salads and we enjoyed a few delicious lunches there during our honeymoon at LUX*.
We also spent a great deal of our days relaxing by the pool at Veli Bar! The bar was located next to the stunning infinity pool which overlooked the lagoon (and I honestly don’t think views get much better than that)! We loved swimming in the pool, relaxing on the sun beds and then wandering over to the bar whenever we needed drinks or lunch. The staff at Veli Bar were always very friendly and attentive, and the food menu was larger and more varied than the menu at Lagoon Bar. We had some incredible lunches at Veli Bar and it was definitely one of our favourite lunch spots on the island.
MIXE is a stunning open restaurant with a traditional thatched roof and sandy floors! We loved that the tables were set out on the beach so we could enjoy the sand between our toes as we enjoyed our meals. MIXE is a buffet restaurant and it was our favourite place for breakfast. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, then you will know that we are big fans of breakfast, it is probably our favourite meal of the day… and we especially love buffet breakfasts! We’ve dined at some pretty incredible hotels and been treated to some amazing buffets in our time, however none of these even gets close to the buffet at LUX*.
Literally every type of food and drink you could possibly want is available, everything is so fresh, beautifully presented and there are chefs available to cook your eggs, pancakes, waffles etc to order! MIXE is also open for dinner and the live cooking stations offer dishes that range from traditional Maldivian cuisine to wood-fired pizzas and stir-fries, in addition to the endless offerings of the buffet itself. Throughout the week, on various nights there is also traditional entertainment by local performers. I honestly cannot believe I did not take any photos of the buffet at MIXE because it was honestly the best buffet we’ve ever eaten at and I think I was just too busy trying all the amazing foods on offer.
We didn’t eat at East Market until a few days into our time at LUX* and we were so disappointed in ourselves that we’d waited this long to experience it! East Market is open for breakfast and dinner and is a stunning, over water Asian-market inspired restaurant! The overwater setting was truly stunning and the food was divine. We loved trying all the authentic Asian cuisines from Thailand, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines and having them cooked in front of us! My favourite food station was the stir-fry station where you could choose your meat, vegetables, noodles and sauce and have it whipped up in front of you! The chefs were brilliant and very friendly and on our first visit when we wandered around a little lost, multiple staff members came up to us to explain how the market-stalls worked.
In addition to the live cooking, there was also a wide range of foods to choose from at the buffet, and at breakfast there was also European options, with divinely smelling freshly baked breads and pastries. I also loved the fresh juice station, where the staff would make you a fresh juice from whatever fruit and vegetables you wanted! We loved both breakfast and dinner at East Market and it was also wonderfully close to our water villas.
East Bar was the closest bar to our water villa and was always our first stop each evening and our last stop on the way home for a night-cap. The bartender at East Bar was one of the friendliest staff members we met on the island and he could certainly make a cocktail! The bar itself is truly stunning and we loved the deck with the nets that seemingly float over the water! At night the fish would be attracted to the lights and we saw so many varieties of fish and a few little sharks too! East Bar is such a cool little bar with an amazing atmosphere (make sure to check out the toilets too…) and we just loved it!
Beach Rouge would have to be one of the coolest places on LUX*. Its location makes it perfect at any time of the day, with an epic view of the sunset and music that goes until late! LUX* has a resident DJ who plays tunes at sunset and the music continues through the night. The menu at Beach Rouge is based on a tapas-like theme with small grazing plates from countless different cuisines ranging from fish to pizzas to antipasti to ribs to sweet desserts and much more! It is the perfect place to spend a few hours during the day or party at night, and we also loved the nets over the water where we could relax and enjoy a few cocktails. The staff at Beach Rouge were really fun and friendly, ensuring you were never without a drink or left hungry!
Senses Bar, Lounge and Restaurant are inspired by Middle Eastern and Indian Ocean cuisines and are located at the far Western end of the island. Senses was always quieter than a lot of the other restaurants, and we loved the stunning infinity pool and relaxed vibe. The menu is tantalising with tagines, curries, local seafood, salads, tandoori-ed meats and much more. We enjoyed a number of relaxed lunches, and one magical dinner where we were treated to incredible service and an amazing à la carte dinner under the stars. Senses is another location that is perfect for sunset and we were lucky enough to catch the best sunset of our trip from there (we’ll be sharing photos in an upcoming post). During the afternoons Senses also offers a delicious high-tea experience which we opted for one afternoon when the weather wasn’t ideal for sunbaking and lazing by the pool.
Allegria is LUX*’s Italian à la carte restaurant, that is only open for dinner. The restaurant is classy and elegant and when the weather is right, guests can also dine on the deck or right on the beach. Unfortunately on the night we dined at Allegria it was raining, but we still loved our experience at the restaurant. The menu offers authentic Italian recipes that use quality ingredients and as big fans of Italian food, we were very impressed. The kitchen at Allegria is open so that guests can watch the chefs spinning pizzas, making fresh pasta and preparing the freshly caught seafood. We had a wonderful evening of fine dining at Allegria indulging in fresh seafood, pasta and steak, paired with LUX*’s own Scrucap wines.
I think all Australians are coffee snobs but from the moment we sipped our first coffee at Café LUX* we knew they were onto a good thing. The hotel roasts its own coffee in on-site roasting rooms, which you can see on a behind the scenes tour. We loved starting our days off with proper, barista-made coffee, just as we do on weekends at home! Café LUX* is just one of the many unexpected but delightful additions that LUX* offers its guests.
Another special offering for guests at LUX* is ICI, LUX*’s very own ice cream brand! The ice creamery is located between Beach Rouge, MIXE and Veli Bar and is oh so popular of an afternoon with all guests! We counted over 30 types of incredible flavours as well as pre-made ice creams on sticks. In addition, there are retro-style mobile ice cream bikes that cruise around the island with an ice box filled with ice creams! How cool is that?! LUX* really has gone above and beyond to remake the iconic vacation ice cream! Plus, all ice creams are included in the all-inclusive package!
UMAMI is a stylish Japanese dining experience and is the only restaurant that is not included in the all-inclusive package. The restaurant looked stunning, but we are not accustomed to Japanese cuisine and so did not experience UMAMI during our stay, but from speaking to other guests we only heard amazing things about their experiences!
We were so glad that we splurged and booked the all-inclusive package for our honeymoon at LUX*, it honestly was worth every cent and I think we got our money’s worth with the amount of incredible food we indulged in and the number of cocktails we got through! Every restaurant and bar was so unique in their own way and the staff could honestly have not done any more for us or any of the other guests. Every meal we ate during our stay was of the highest quality and I think the main words we said throughout the week were “I am so full” because it was all just so amazing. It may have taken a few months at the gym when we got home to get back to normal, but it was well worth it. If you’re planning a honeymoon or holiday to LUX*, we recommend the all-inclusive package because it was wonderful not having to think about what we were spending throughout the week, knowing it was already paid for.
Have you ever had an all-inclusive holiday? Where did you go? x
The Ultimate Overwater Bungalow at LUX* South Ari Atoll