BATD ON Mar 14, 2014 AT 3:01 pm

The LUX* Maldives experience begins as you look out the window of the seaplane and look down at the most amazing views of turquoise water, scattered formations of  stunning islands and ever changing sandbanks, it’s breathtaking. A stay at LUX* is the ultimate holiday destination if you are looking for indulgence for all your senses in completely luxurious surroundings, everywhere you look is beautiful. Located on the serene island of Dhidhoofinolhu in the South Ari Atoll, it boasts whiter than white sands, sapphire blue seas and clear skies to match. You know the image of a marble white beach, with blue seas and a palm tree bowing at one side that you associated with the word ‘paradise’ as a child? Well this is it. This is truly paradise. This location is packed full of everything that makes you happy, year round sunshine you can enjoy from the most picturesque setting and delicious food, that is hard to beat. Friendly and smiling staff instantly make you feel at home, most of the staff are locals islanders and they are full of ideas of things to do and feel very proud of their islands, lush greenery and marine life that is very special to them.

The rooms are light, large and minimal, the perfect simplistic compliment to the natural beauty surrounding the location. You can decide if you want to stay on the beach or on beach huts that are on stilts on water, I went for the beach option.  I loved the idea of throwing open my doors to the most spectacular view and stepping into the sea in under a minute. Everything happens outside, so the time you spend there is likely to be few and far between (though the 24 hour room service means you might be tempted to stay up a little longer than normal!). You eat outside, you exercise outside, your whole bathroom is outside and there’s even an extra shower for you to look up at the sky while you scrub. I loved my outdoor bathroom, not something you could ever replicate in England sadly.

The word ‘activities’ may initially conjure up images of beaming reps forcing pool races and dance-off competitions on you as you attempt to feign sleeping by the pool, but here? Think more peaceful well-being, a world of choice of opportunities to make your experience of the Maldives as well-rounded, enjoyable and unique to your tastes as possible. There’s no embarrassing water aerobics in the pool, this is a individually tailored programme, with yoga, jungle gym sessions or just swimming in the sea. Bikes are available to get around the island, which I loved, no London traffic, just a nod from a local and the wind in your hair. Yoga classes are held outside by the sea, this is the most relaxing way to stretch and relax, I’ve never nodded off in a class before, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed.

Healthy eating and looking after the environment are high on the list of priorities on the island. You won’t find any plastic water bottles on the here, you have your own bottle you fill up and use for the trip. Respect and protection of marine life and a commitment to sensible recycling is taken really seriously here.  Where possible they use ingredients from their own garden, LUX* have the Jardin D’Herbes  a planted herb gardens in each of their resorts, not only to up the ante in terms of greenery and floral beauty, but also, refreshingly, to supply their kitchens with organic herbs and vegetables. As a result, as well as taking a stroll around the fragrant garden to ‘zen’ out your senses and indulge in some respite, you may also stumble across a cooking class in the shade to join in with. We did a class with one of their top chefs, healthy and delicious food. See some recipes here from our class.

You can do as little or as much as you want to, it’s the perfect place to just enjoy peace and calm and a book or you can find so many activities to clear your mind and switch off. We tried out kayaking to a nearby sandbank, spent the day on a boat to go swimming with Whale Sharks, this sounds more dangerous than it was, they are totally safe and very friendly! You can pick up a picnic bag ready made by the resort and complete with blanket, and walk to find your own perfect picnic spot, or let your hair down with an evening karaoke session. You can even head to the outdoor cinema…on the beach! After dinner sofas, beanbags, rugs and blankets form a cosy scene on the beach in front of a screen , choose from a range of films, from vintage classics, world cinema and kid-friendly movies, all to the tune of the evening breeze and gentle sea tide lapping at the sand. Now that’s what we call surround sound.

For those with a taste for adventure, the whale shark boat trip comes highly recommended. The reef surrounding the resort is home to a large population of whale sharks. Whilst LUX* delight in showing guests these fascinating creatures, they are also keen to study their activities, and to work hard and determinedly to protect both the whale sharks and their environment. They have even opened up their own marine biology centre on the island. Guests can meet their resident marine biologist who will take you out on a Dhoni boat to swim with the whale sharks. You’ll learn how to do so responsibly, listen to stories about their habits and characteristics, and if you spot and take a picture of a whale shark that isn’t yet logged on the marine biology centre’s database, you get the privilege of naming it!

Of course you may wish to spend the odd day simply whiling away the hours reading, relaxing and sunbathing at the resort. That’s what holidays are for after all, completely letting go, enjoying being free from any demands on your time and attention. That’s one other sort of activity (or should we say inactivity) that is entirely catered for at the LUX* Maldives resort. There are two infinity swimming pools, and both offer beautiful views over the lagoon. Enjoy just staring out across the seascape, with your choice of thirst-quencher in hand. Coconut water from fresh local coconuts that are cut open right in front of you are constantly to hand, as are a choice of fresh and delicious fruit cocktails. Or else opt for a cool bottle of the still Earth or sparkling Dance waters. These are sourced and purified right there on the island, a safe, environmentally friendly, and refreshing way to enjoy even more of the island’s natural resources.

If you want an escape, if you want peace and well-being,  fresh, organic, delicious food all set in paradise, then this is the place to be.

For details go to their website.

Get to know them on twitter @LUXMaldives and be ready to swoon on instagram at their daily photos @LuxMaldives too.

We flew with Qatar Airways : http://www.qatarairways.com/uk.

I had the best food and service of any airline I’ve travelled with, thank you Qatar Airways!

Our seaplane transfers were by Trans Maldivian Air www.tma.com.

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