Mauritius and escapist, barefoot luxury have long gone hand in hand. Not short of grandiose resort properties fronting pristine white sand beaches and emerald sea, the island nation’s top tier hotels offer up a safe pair of hands when it comes to traditional, castaway hospitality. The danger of resting on your laurels – particularly when the travellers keep coming – is that it sometimes stifles innovation. But it seems the pandemic has changed that. Realising that the global travel “reset” means a far more competitive marketplace than ever before – not to mention the opportunity to look at things from a different angle – it seems that there’s a change afoot in Mauritius. And leading the charge, is a brand new resort built from the ground up, the LUX* Grand Baie Resort and Residences.
We’re not surprised to hear that it is LUX* that is pushing the envelope on luxury hospitality in Mauritius. After all, their current LUX* Grand Gaube Resort & Villas is known by the Experientialist as an off-grid paradise curated for seclusion, but full of fabulous surprises or so-called ‘reasons to go LUX*’ (did you know that its 14 hectares are home to over 240,000 honeybees that produce the liquid gold for its wellness and food and beverage outlets?)
But the big news ahead is the launch of its all-new LUX* Grand Baie Resort & Residences, due to open this winter. Billed as a “brand flagship,” the Jean-Francois Adam and Kelly Hoppen design collab, next-gen boutique resort is – on paper – everything the discerning OutThere traveller will want from a Mauritian resort: high chic, ultimately private, with a dedication to wellness and escapism. Yet it is connected to local culture and lifestyle on the island’s Northern quarter and the diamond in its crown, Grand Baie.
The LUX* Grand Baie looks to make the most of its enviable location, yet be a jewel and destination in itself. The architectural concept plays right into that, championing outdoor-indoor harmony with a contemporary and elemental edge, a world away from the more traditional resort feel of other properties on the island, but still paying tribute to Mauritius’s raw materials and sustainable design heritage.
The hotel’s interiors echo the grand structures, encapsulating the essence of relaxed Indian Ocean living, private seclusion and open space, a key demand from travellers after all this time in the pandemic. The all-suite property has been developed to offer a holiday home vibe in its accommodations. This is most evident in the resort’s top-tier, two-bedroom pool residences and villas, perfect for OutThere families, or friends travelling together. Bigger groups will love the one-off, three-bedroom LUX* Grand Beach Pool Villa.
It’s still a little early for us to comment fully on the LUX* Grand Baie’s experiential edge, but already, we’ve heard that its bar and dining spaces will bring the very best of the world in. We like the idea of its adults-only rooftop restaurant, ‘Bisou’, with what promises to be stunning and effortlessly romantic sea views. Many of the hotel’s spaces have been built to a “chameleon” concept, offering the opportunity to change the vibe from castaway to cosmopolitanista at a drop of a straw hat. With this sort of thinking, we can only expect that there will be plenty of exciting programming at the resort.
It’s good to hear that there is to be a lean towards privacy and an adults-only consideration at the property. With Mauritius being quite a mainstream destination, its resorts are generally geared towards families. So it’s nice to see that the LUX* Grand Baie is looking to up the stakes. It will mean that others will follow suit and hopefully Mauritius can establish itself better among ultra-premium, non-traditional luxury travellers.
But what we’re most excited about is the resort’s strategic approach to wellness. Well thought through, the property’s LUX* ME Spa and Fitness (the two are both symbiotic and mutually exclusive) will span a staggering four floors with cutting edge technology and contemporarised holistic therapies matched with immersive wellbeing experiences including hydrotherapy, a Kneipp walk, a Turkish Hammam and Tepidarium soaks. On the fitness side of things – often an afterthought by resorts – the concept meets a growing trend for escapist exercise, particularly from longer stay, more nomadic travellers of the post-pandemic era. It will be home to the Indian Ocean’s first fully outdoor rooftop wellness space, featuring two 30-metre Olympic-standard running tracks and a MyBeastFunctional Fitness Frame equipped with 12 workout stations. Sweating it out on vacation has never been this fabulous.
Our virtual hardhat tour showed that there is still a lot to be done ahead of the stated opening date in just a few months. But the potential is exciting nevertheless, even if they may push into 2022. Mauritius needs a new story and moreover a reason for tourists to return after the hiatus. If LUX* Grand Baie opens on time and ahead of what we hope will be the great bounce-back for travel in the new year, it will no doubt capitalise on the pent-up demand for barefoot luxury. We can’t wait to see it for ourselves and will report back on opening.