LUX* South Ari Atoll: where ‘lighter, brighter’ luxury comes with ‘surprises’
The moment I entered the brightly lit, heavy on white lounge of LUX* South Ari Atoll at the Maldives’ main airport, I felt lighter. The comfortable and relaxing atmosphere was complemented by the friendly staff who offered LUX* signature coffee. A few sips of the freshly brewed authentic coffee, and I was taken to the seaplane terminal for boarding.
After a 35-minute scenic seaplane flight above the Maldives’ stunning islets, the LUX* experience continued with the very first step on the resort’s arrival jetty. Greeting me and a couple who had arrived in the island for their dream vacation was none other than Glenn Daniels, the energetic General Manager at LUX* South Ari Atoll.
Dotted at the water’s edge along two miles of pure white sand beach and perched on stilts above a crystal-clear lagoon, are 193 super-spacious pavilions and villas. The seductive flood-lit over-water villas promise freedom, privacy and intimacy. Forty-six Romantic Pool Villas each have private 7m suspended infinity pools, and three Temptation Pool Water Villas boast a 14m pool and this forms the resort’s adults-only sanctuary. These villas enjoy twin showers, private terraces incorporating a unique couples’ love nest, and a deck with steps down into the sea, perfect for enjoying the turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
The range of eight restaurants and five bars includes a sophisticated take on a bustling night market; guests can head to East Market where they can enjoy flavours from Vietnam, Thailand and Sichuan among others. Umami promises fine dining from the open sushi kitchen, teppanyaki and robata counters as well as the Maldives’ largest selection of sakés and Japanese whiskies. Allegria, Senses and MIXE satisfy international palates with Mediterranean to Maldivian specialities and the new Beach Rouge introduces fresh beach-club dining experience to the island.
The LUX* Me spa and its overwater treatment villas set the tone for a Zen-inspired reboot of its own. The facility incorporates a traditional Chinese teahouse, a dedicated zone for brand new skin and body care experiences and an extended lagoon-view relaxation area. For those in search of the ultimate personalised spa experience, try the once-in-a-lifetime 10 hands massage. A Zen wellness pavilion accommodate a wide range of alternative wellbeing activities including yoga, meditation, pilates, tai chi and qigong, all of which are overseen by an expert wellness concierge. LUX* Me is all about a tailored approach to your wellbeing, whether it be spa, fitness, yoga, meditation, nutrition or a unique combination tailored especially to your needs.
LUX* South Ari Atoll, run by Mauritius-based hospitality group LUX* Hotels and Resorts, has been entirely re-imagined in a chic beach-house style, and reopened late last year. The relaunched resort adopts a “Lighter, Brighter” theme, which in itself pays homage to a rare combination of elements found only in the Maldives; tropical warmth, white sand, pristine reefs, teeming marine life and a great unimpeded vault of sky. With these vast Maldivian panoramas of aquatic purity coupled with the LUX* experience, the soul begins to lighten.
But every resort in the Maldives boasts similar natural characteristics such as white sand beaches and turquoise waters as well as world-class facilities such as overwater villas and so on. This is where LUX* South Ari Atoll is making a difference by offering more Reasons To Go LUX*. Spontaneity and surprises are in the resort’s DNA with LUX* South Ari Atoll presenting a unique range of Reasons To Go LUX*.
“… It is the small surprises that truly set us apart. I want to surprise my guests. Guests can go to a resort operated by a big international chain, which deliver on their promises every single time. But as a guest, I do not want to go to a place that delivers exactly what I expect. I want to be surprised,” Glenn tells me over coffee at the resort’s beachside cafe.
“The reality is that the success of any property here in the Maldives depends on making small differences that add up to an entirely unique, personal experience for the guests. We all have turquoise waters and white sand beaches. So what is gonna differentiate us from our competitors?”
At two kilometres long and only a few hundred metres wide, the island is large enough to offer freedom and variety. Everyday, four bottles bearing messages are placed around the resort entitling the finder to a small gift: a facial, a bottle of good wine, a linen shirt or sarong, a jet-ski ride. A small, light-filled and air-conditioned Wanderlust library offers more than 120 travel books. A squat banyan “wish tree” is garlanded with the hopes of hundreds of guests inked on strips of weatherproof vermillion cloth.
The lighter and relaxed feel of the relaunched LUX* South Ari Atoll extends to the experiences offered for the artist in you as well. The resort has introduced a service called Photo Fanatics, a unique image-capturing experience that helps guests seeking to create and capture the moments that matter using a smartphone or a camera. The new Junkart Studio and Gallery, meanwhile, invites guests to have fun making one-off artworks and sustainable souvenirs from upcycled materials, providing the perfect opportunity for everyone to explore something new or revisit old skills and passions.
The reimagining of LUX* South Ari Atoll does not end with just the look and feel. The resort is one of the first properties in the LUX* portfolio to offer a unique calendar of expert-led workshops designed to inspire creativity and boost guest health and well-being. Designed in partnership with Sydney-based organisation Work-Shop, these workshops mirror latest research revealing everyday creative activities such as performing music, painting or drawing, writing short stories, songs and poetry can ward off stress, leading to an upward spiral of increased emotional well-being.
As well as being exceedingly laid back, there is very much a spontaneous atmosphere seen everywhere at the recently renovated LUX* South Ari Atoll with impromptu cinema screenings on the beach, pop-up musical performances, surprise secret bars and much more. This marrying of contemporary Maldivian hospitality with little surprises creates a new brand of “lighter, brighter” luxury, which will continue with the launching of LUX* Hotels and Resorts’ second property in the Maldives, the LUX* North Male Atoll in November.
ELE | NA launches OceanFlow Therapy to honour World Ocean Day
ELE | NA has unveiled OceanFlow therapy, a remarkable and awe-inspiring inward expedition that submerges individuals in the comforting embrace of ocean water. On the occasion of World Ocean Day, an invitation was extended to guests, urging them to embark on a life-altering encounter designed to nurture their mind, body, and soul. Exclusively available at OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI and OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, this pioneering therapy presents a captivating and unmatched chance to rediscover oneself, all the while enveloped in the serene cadence of the ocean’s gentle waves.
OceanFlow therapy is a captivating fusion of various therapeutic modalities, including Watsu, Water Dance, Ayurveda, Shiatsu, Craniosacral, Manual Therapy, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, and Trigger Point Therapy. These carefully curated elements enhance the holistic Aquatic Bodywork, bringing forth refined techniques and unlocking its full therapeutic potential.
One of the remarkable benefits of OceanFlow therapy is the high magnesium content found in saltwater. As our guests immerse themselves in the ocean or simply bask in its proximity, their muscles and nerves are regulated, blood sugar levels are moderated, and sleep quality is improved. The result is a profound sense of rejuvenation, complemented by the soothing rhythm of the waves, which harmonize their circadian rhythm.
“Vitamin Sea” is not just a playful ocean pun; it highlights the essential role of saltwater as a nutrient for our body’s largest organ – our skin! Abundant in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium, saltwater boasts remarkable healing properties. It aids in reducing inflammation, safeguarding the skin, and promoting the healing of scrapes, cuts, and sores. Furthermore, saltwater enhances the flow of lymph fluid, potentially reducing the appearance of cellulite.
OceanFlow therapy is particularly effective in addressing a wide range of conditions, including stress symptoms, limited mobility, arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, chronic ailments, headaches, migraines, insomnia, post-operative rehabilitation, accidents, trauma, fear of water, and even during pregnancy. Each session, lasting for one hour, provides a dedicated space for healing and rejuvenation, followed by a further 45 minutes for quiet integration.
The therapeutic benefits of OceanFlow extend to pain management, sleep management, and stress management. By immersing themselves in this holistic approach, our guests can alleviate physical discomfort, improve their sleep patterns, and effectively manage stress levels. OceanFlow therapy facilitates a profound connection with our guests’ inner self while harnessing the therapeutic potential of saltwater and gentle manipulation.
ELE | NA is an acronym for Elements of Nature, which refers to the five elemental forces of nature – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, helps in healing as these energies flow all around and within every individual.
Offering bespoke wellness journeys under the “Wellness Your Way” program, itineraries are designed specifically for the guests’ individual needs, highlighting holistic treatments, alternative health therapies, and gourmet plant-based cuisine throughout the all-inclusive
At ELE | NA, guests embark on a holistic journey of wellness, healing, and relaxation,
feeling rejuvenated and refreshed as a result of life-changing experiences, where local
healing traditions are combined with international beauty and spa treatments to provide a
Kandooma’s sustainability efforts recognised at annual ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ Impact Awards
Mark Eletr, General Manager of Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, has been recognised for efforts in sustainability at the annual InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Impact Awards, Southeast Asia & Korea.
One of just 14 accolades presented on the night, Mark and his team were recognised in front of their colleagues and peers at a glittering awards ceremony held at the InterContinental Landmark, Hanoi, in Vietnam.
On collecting the award on stage, a thrilled Mark Eletr said,
“To receive an award amongst all of you in this forum, with talented people doing great things it’s an honour. It’s a reward for the whole team, for their creativity and all these great ideas they come up with. And also for our owners who support what we want to do in this very important regard. We operate, particularly in the Maldives, in a very unique and fragile environment, and I’d like to say that as a nation, we are getting it right, but there is a long road ahead, and with what we are doing, hopefully, that sets the standard and encourages others to follow.”
Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives works across many different areas in the sustainability space, from providing filtered water in reusable glass bottles to the sandbar and island clean-ups and investing in solar energy. The resort is also an eager participant in studies to measure the effectiveness of alternative renewable energy sources such as waves. Reef regeneration projects, creating an island farm and working with the natural island environment to create regenerative spaces all contribute positively to the resort’s overall goals.
“Coinciding with World Environment Day, this accolade encourages us to continue to grow in this space and to search out collaborations with organisations such as our recently announced and formalised partnership with Parley Maldives.”
“We measure most of our activities; I think this act helps drive us harder towards our goals. We share the information in an easy-to-understand format with our guests to amplify the message wider, touching and shaping opinions of guests experiencing the Maldives,” says Mark.
Two years ago (February 2021), IHG Hotels & Resorts launched ‘Journey to Tomorrow’, a series of ambitious new commitments to make a positive difference for people, communities and the planet over the next decade. Guided by IHG’s purpose to provide True Hospitality for Good, hotels and resorts work with those who stay, work and partner with them to help shape the future of responsible travel.
Journey to Tomorrow sets out five clear ambitions, building on the progress and achievements made against IHG’s 2018-2020 targets:
- Champion a diverse culture where everyone can thrive – with 400,000 colleagues worldwide, we can create a future where all experience equality, inclusion and fairness.
- Improve the lives of 30 million people in our communities around the planet – with hotels spanning 100 countries; we’re proud to be at the heart of our communities and recognise how our global reach presents opportunities to shape a positive future.
- Reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science – we know the hotel sector accounts for 1% of global carbon emissions, and we’ve set science-based targets to maximise the use of renewable energy, reduce emissions of existing hotels and to target new builds to operate at very low or zero emissions by 2030.
- Pioneer, the transformation to a minimal waste hospitality industry – with only 9% of plastic currently being recycled and around one-third of food produced being wasted across the globe, we’re passionate about providing our guests with a more sustainable stay. We’ll also form partnerships to create circular solutions for major hotel items that work for the greater good.
- Conserve water and help secure water access in those areas at greatest risk – demand for water often exceeds supply in many parts of the world, with the UN predicting an increase of 20-30% by 2050. So, it’s never been more critical for us to find ways to reduce our usage and work with others towards sustainable solutions that create water access for all.
Each of the ambitions and commitments in IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow plan is rooted in understanding what is most important to colleagues, guests, hotel owners and investors when it comes to operating thoughtfully and growing sustainably. Our plan also contributes to the universal framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to provide a blueprint for a better, more sustainable future for us all by 2030.
Located in the South Male atoll just 40 mins from the airport by boat, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives is a beautiful island paradise. White sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and turquoise waters form the backdrop for various leisure pursuits and some of the best diving in the Maldives. Guests can choose from Garden and Beach Villas, two-storey Beach Houses and the popular Overwater Villas for their stay. Families are well catered for with a choice of 2- and 3-bed villas and the Kandoo Kids’ Club and its full activities programme. Six food and beverage outlets ensure healthy appetites are satisfied and the flavours of the Maldives are explored. For guests who desire the ultimate in relaxation, sun loungers and hammocks are located around the island. The Kandooma Spa by COMO Shambhala offers the ultimate tranquillity and escape for body and mind. Visit www.maldives.holidayinnresorts.com
“Each and every one of us has a part to play. Working collaboratively to find new sustainable solutions, sharing ideas with colleagues, friends and guests, and supporting our local communities, I believe together we can shape the future of responsible travel.” said Mark Eletr, General Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives.
Kuramathi spa offers complimentary yoga sessions: Find serenity, inner balance
Kuramathi Spa has announced the introduction of complimentary yoga sessions, designed to help guests find serenity and inner balance amidst the tranquil beauty of the island paradise. Since 1st of May, guests have embarked on a journey of self-discovery and wellness through a series of rejuvenating yoga classes held at the breathtaking Yoga platform, Monday to Saturday.
At Kuramathi Spa, the team believes in the transformative power of yoga to harmonise the mind, body, and spirit. An expert yoga instructor will guide guests through a variety of yoga practices, each tailored to cater to different needs and levels of experience. From the serene practice of meditation to the invigorating discipline of Power Yoga, there is something for everyone.
The Complimentary Yoga Schedule is as follows:
- Monday: Basic Yoga – Ideal for beginners, this session focuses on building a strong foundation in yoga postures and breathing techniques.
- Tuesday: Pranayam – Explore the ancient art of controlled breathing techniques in this session, enhancing vitality and increasing mental clarity.
- Wednesday: Suryanamaskar – Start the day with a series of sun salutations, a dynamic yoga practice that energizes the body and awakens the senses.
- Thursday: Meditation – Experience the profound benefits of mindfulness and introspection through guided meditation.
- Friday: Power Yoga – Ignite your inner strength with this energetic and challenging yoga practice.
- Saturday: Asthang Yoga – Delve into the traditional practice of Asthang Yoga, which combines flowing movements, breath control, and meditation.
In addition, Kuramathi Spa offers the availability of private yoga sessions at an additional charge. This allows guests to enjoy personalised attention and guidance during their yoga practice. Whether you prefer a one-on-one session or wish to share the experience with a small group, the option of private yoga ensures that your specific needs and preferences are met.
Complimentary yoga sessions are held from 0600hrs to 0700hrs, providing the perfect opportunity to embrace the tranquility of the morning and start the day on a positive note. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a beginner seeking to embark on a wellness journey, Kuramathi Spa invites you to participate and discover the profound benefits of yoga.
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