Leave it to a small island to do big things (in bed). Mauritius has welcomed the well-to-do for decades, and still appeals to the affluent with newly renovated stalwarts One&Only, Lux Grand Gaube and Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, whose villas will don a new set of glad rags in November. But the island isn’t resting on its luxe laurels — enter SALT, The Lux Collective’s fledgling brand that makes its Palmar debut on 1 November.
The 59-room beachside beauty is a far cry from the fly-and-flops the island is famed for. The concept hotel has amassed a collection of bikes and convertibles for hire, and gives guests a local SIM card, along with a bespoke guidebook written by islanders. The love of all things local is strong here: Mauritian sega musicians play live; a library is stockpiled with books documenting the island’s heritage; and the hotel’s organic farm supplies fresh produce for its kitchen. SALT aims to put down roots in Asia, Africa and the Middle East with its next boutique bolthole set to open in 2020 near a wild panda reserve in Sichuan, China.
The three-star Veranda Tamarin Hotel, meanwhile, is opening this month on the island’s west coast with affordable rooms (from €75/£67) in pops of playful yellow. Cool young things can also flock to Thomas Cook’s boutique brand Casa Cook next winter when its first long-haul hotel opens in Turtle Bay, touting beach-side swim-up rooms.
One&Only Le Saint Géran
Last year, the island’s grande dame had a £41m makeover, inspired by the island’s former plantation houses and thatched roofs. It meant new suites, marble-lined bathrooms and plush private balconies. In place of the golf course are 50 pool villas, while Michelin-starred chef Marc de Passorio has designed the menus at all five restaurants, and a new active zone includes aerial yoga. Namaste, indeed.
Lux Grand Gaube
This Insta-ready rock star reopened in March after a £24m renovation. Airy, wedding cake-white interiors by Kelly Hoppen are dotted with hanging wicker lamps, succulents, hand-woven African baskets and lush lagoon views. The revamp brings in illustrations from French graffiti artist Jace, a pimped-up wellness space and a facelift across its retro-chic rooms and restaurants.
Got a thing for glamping? The transparent eco-domes here take it up a notch, immersing guests in nature. Bubble Lodge opened a clutch of these distinctive digs in 2016 on a former tea plantation in Bois Cheri. This year saw the opening of three more on Île aux Cerfs, off Mauritius’s east coast, with open sky showers and butler service. And the bubble shows no signs of bursting — 2019 will see more luxe lodges popping up on Île aux Cerfs and at Bois Cheri.
Published in the November 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)