Nothing says luxury beach holiday quite like an iconic image of thatched roof villas floating on the Indian Ocean. So when LUX* recently revealed their latest resort on North Male Atoll in The Maldives and there wasn’t a wisp of thatch to be seen, you could almost hear a collective gasp from a world’s worth of seasoned luxury travellers. What were LUX* thinking?
Well there’s no doubt it’s a bold move, even with all the other #paradiseisland essentials like silvery sand beaches, blue seas and stately palms very much in place. Though if any brand can pull off daring, it’s LUX*. The big question is: have they?
Since LUX* North Male Atoll doesn’t officially open until 1 February 2019, you’ll have to hang on a bit to find out for yourself. Still there’s nothing stopping you having a sneaky pre-launch peek at the rule-breaking resort right now.
It’s true, LUX* have indeed nixed the much loved custom of thatched villas on gorgeous, six hectare Olhahali island. But you probably won’t miss them considering the alternatives are a collection of 67 detached, two-storey penthouses; beachfront or overwater and all with private pools; broad, beautiful roof terraces and the type of views to crush all thatch-centric yearnings completely.
Should you still hanker for tradition, it’s interesting to note that Miaja – the Singapore group who designed the new penthouses – cite the ancient art of seafaring as one of their main references, and the resemblance to classic sailing yachts in the penthouses’ sleek lines and subtle, airy curves is hard to miss. All that’s needed is a dash of the Indian Ocean’s natural colour palette of ethereal greens, blues and whites, which Olhahali Island happily supplies to excess.
In another break from tradition, the penthouses all have upwards of 350m² living space and come complete with decadent touches like stargazing telescopes, indoor and outdoor showers, oversized bathrooms, butler service or your own bartender, on request.
In fact, nothing seems to be too much trouble here, the resort will even organise personal penthouse barbecues, tailored spa treatments in your own space, babysitting if you want to be grown up for the night, or any baby equipment you need – right down to sturdy buggies.
LUX* North Male Atoll might be changing the face of luxury holidays in The Maldives, but the resort’s clearly keen to keep what’s great about the LUX* brand in terms of kid-appeal. So its famously playful and creative children’s activities and dedication to making families feel utterly cossetted and cared for, are all present and correct on Olhahali Island.
Three to 11 year olds have their own club, aptly named PLAY, where they can get up to all sorts from cake-making to Maldivian art projects, under expert supervision. Older kids and teens have a pick of water sports or snorkelling and diving adventures round the house reef, plus a fresh-every-day activity programme. And family movie night, under starry Indian Ocean skies, is brought to you by the resort’s very own Cinema Paradiso.
Living up to its French heritage, LUX* North Male Atoll has paid a lot of attention to kids on the food front as well. It might be too much to expect them to come home as fully-fledged gourmands, but the resort’s thoughtful child-size menus, healthy disguised as delicious ingredients and plenty of treats are definitely heading in the right direction.
Of course, luxurious and detached penthouses with private pools, roof terraces and open views of the Indian Ocean do make it incredibly easy to cocoon in your own little world. Which you’re more than welcome to do, if you want. But, should you feel like venturing further than poolside or your own slice of beach now and then, the rest of the resort is pretty seductive too.
You don’t have to wait too long to test out the new traditions at LUX* North Male Atoll, the stunning luxury resort launches on 1 February 2019.
And if the idea of spending more than six nights in paradise sounds appealing, book a longer family holiday between 2 February and 31 October 2019 and you could save up to 40% – plus there’s an additional saving of 15% on 6 day or more breaks booked before 31 January 2019.
Olhahali Island, North Male Atoll, The Maldives
One hour from Male International Airport by private seaplane or speedboat.
How to get there
Direct UK flights to Male International Airport take from 10 hours, 20 minutes.
LUX* North Male Atoll opens on 1 February 2019.