Our time in the Maldives seemed to fly by so fast. I think we all agreed that the ten days at Lux South Ari were some of the best in our lives, an absolutely unforgettable experience. My initial worry was completely dumb founded, I had imagined we would get bored and could not wait to get back home soon enough. Anyone who has been following my blog over the last two months will have noticed that we usually go for active trips abroad, where we travel from place to place and do lots of different fun activities. Do not get me wrong, I love lying on the beach, or by the pool with a cocktail and reading a book, but I also need to do different things otherwise I get bored easily and it is the same with the boys.
One of the reasons I had chosen to stay at Lux was the size of the island; there were plenty of restaurants to choose from, both a la carte and buffet style; two pool areas; an ice cream shop and a café, which roasts its own coffee. It was the little things that made our trip special and exciting though. For example, Jerome could not wait to get up in the morning, jump onto his bike and cycle all the way over the to reception area to go on the “Message in a Bottle” hunt. It took him several days before he finally found one hidden in the gardens (a few bottles with vouchers in them are hidden every day across the whole island) and he got a voucher for coconuts when what he had hoped for was a cuddly toy or a chance to go on a jet ski. One of the girls that we met and he befriended had found a bottle with a whale shark voucher and told him about it, he was jealous and desperately wanted one too…Luckily after days of searching he received some help and hints from a member of staff and finally found one!
I also loved the idea of the wishing tree, one of the trees in the middle of the island was covered in red ties. Every Monday and Wednesday we had the opportunity to write a wish onto a red ribbon and then tie it to the tree. It reminded me of the “Ema” in Japan, which we saw at all the temples throughout the country.
I had mentioned that Lux South Ari offered a children’s club PLAY, which was open to kids of the ages 3-12. There also is a teen club for the older ones, 12-17. They had a great offer of activities throughout the day but Jerome did not want to go at all. He rather wanted to spend time with us on other activities and snorkelling. Jerome did borrow a tennis racket one afternoon from the centre and went on the tennis courts with the friend he had made.
We went snorkelling every day, either straight of the beach or on the complimentary snorkel tour to one of the house reefs, a short trip by Dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) away. The highlight of our holiday was our encounter with a whale shark. You can read all about our snorkelling experiences and the whale shark on my previous post.
On our return to the resort we had a late lunch at the café next to the water sports centre, followed by homemade ice cream that tasted like proper Italian gelato. Ice cream for children was complimentary and Jerome could have had one a few times a day, if I would have let him, to try all the flavours on offer. Chris being a caffeine addict enjoyed his cup of locally roasted coffee. Jerome was curious about the rotary roaster in a glass room next to reception.
One of the other highlights for Jerome and the other children was the shark and ray feeding sessions every day at before sunset. The shark feeding spot was near our villa on the island, but we only once caught the time to witness it. The ray feeding took part at the East Bar, where we would spend our time before dinner, enjoying a drink on the loungers extending over the sea, while playing board games.
At 17:30 one member of Lux’ staff would arrive with a bucket of unused meat scraps, then surrounded by many other children and grown ups he or she would descend the stairs to the water. They would start to throw chunks of meat into the sea and soon enough a variety of fish would start to head for the titbits from all sides. The kids would watch the feeding with utter excitement. Jerome was always most anxious for the rays to arrive. We did see one every now and then but not every day. They usually cruised in near the end, big half meter across and spotted. There were other fish though that made up for the rays not always showing up, there were a few black tipped sharks, parrot fish, large angel fish and others.
There were other activities we enjoyed during our stay at Lux South Ari. Some sports were included in our package so Chris and Jerome went kayaking around the islands lagoons and found some good spots to snorkel. We also enjoyed a ride on a pedalo but as this was hard work Jerome preferred the kayaks. Jerome also went jet skiing for a treat with one of the other girls we met. Banana boat rides, wind surfing kite surfing and scuba lessons were some of the other options of activities for older children, at a cost of course.
Most of all we were just happy to laze on the beach and Jerome loved playing with other children in the sea or one of the resort swimming pools. Luckily there was a billiard table in one of the bars, where Jerome challenged us to a few games of a different kind of pool every day. I was not a very competitive contender for him but Chris would compete more avidly. He even took up some games against other guests and children.
I had taken my yoga clothes with me and was determined to join the complimentary daily yoga sessions. I should have known better, I did not manage it once – enjoying the rest of the holiday so much. I also had dreamed of a relaxing afternoon in the heavenly spa but again the week went by without arranging a session, despite cycling past the spa a few times a day.
We also enjoyed discovering the secret bar. A bar of fresh juices was moved around the island to different spots each afternoon. Another challenge was to find special spots along the island’s shore where we would be the only ones around. We found hidden hammocks and swings amongst the palms, these were fun to relax on as an alternative to lying on the fine sandy beach. There we enjoyed our moments of solitude overlooking the clear, turquoise sea. By one picnic area there was also a cool outdoor chess set.
Jerome was always curious to get back to our villa every evening to find a new towel animal on his bed. Our room boy Ali created some of the most amazing towel animal sculptures. Besides the well known swans we found a monkey, penguin, dog and an elephant. The biggest surprise was the giant whale shark, which took up our whole bed and must have taken at least eight towels and to make.
There were film nights on the beach with films for all ages. We never went, as Jerome was not interested in the film they were showing. I would have loved to go, a film on the beach under the stars sounded like a fun idea.
One evening we joined the Maldivian themed evening dinner, where lots of food stands with local delicacies were arranged along the beach. There was face painting, henna tattoos (Jerome got a gecko and a dragon) and musicians playing traditional instruments and music. We sat on the beach and enjoyed our dinner of different local foods. It was a great way to sample many different dishes and it made a change to our usual dinner routine during our stay at Lux. There were other themed dinner nights but this was the only one we took part in.
We can all agree that our stay at Lux South Ari was one of the best holidays we ever had. Everything was perfect, but most of all it was the friendly and helpful members of staff that made our stay special and memorable. We hope we will be able to return to this paradise sometime in the future.