Remarkable Renaissance: LUX* Belle Mare Emerges Stronger, Grander, and Uniquely Mauritian

The resort’s reinvention is a testament to Mauritian resilience and elegance, where every corner tells a story of revival and tropical splendour

By Dean McCoubrey

Mauritius is back. According to Trading Economics, tourist arrivals on the island rose by over 20.7 per cent in September of 2023, the highest level for that month since 2019. A favourite destination of South Africans, with new routes from South Africa’s leading airline, Safair, the island is breathing a sigh of relief. Forced disruption can be incredibly powerful in the hands of innovators, and the island’s most progressive brand, LUX* Resorts, used the time courageously for re-invention, launching the island’s truly impressive first new build in over a decade, LUX* Grande Baie, in February 2022. While basking in the glow of this endeavour and enjoying global publicity from its breathtaking design, just a few months later, its sister property, LUX* Belle Mare, was razed to the ground in a devastating blaze. Just 15 months later, the new and revitalised property re-opened its doors, and having visited twice before the fire, the magnificent property is better than ever.

With the dynamic and sophisticated PR Manager, Vanessa Ke, they share the renaissance story rich with resilience and innovation. Within its walls, every nuance, from the grandeur of architectural design to the subtlety of interior touches, whispers tales of Mauritian history, cultural diversity, and a spirit unbroken by misfortune. It is evident here that a crisis can break you or make you. LUX* Resorts chose the latter. “Our majestic LUX* Belle Mare is open; 174 suites and 12 unique villas, each a haven of spacious luxury that does not merely accommodate, but celebrates an essence deeply embedded in the island’s ethos.

In the crucible of revitalisation, Jean-Francois Adam, a celebrated Mauritian architect, was called upon to re-consider the space, having been a part of its original design,” explains Indian Ocean Cluster Public Relations Manager, Elvis Follet Every step through the LUX* Belle Mare is a journey through carefully curated design stories, wherein Mauritian designer Jean-Marc Tang’s meticulous touches speak volumes of the island’s rich narrative. The arrival is an invitation into a tropical dreamscape, as guests meander through a vibrant pathway flanked by a verdant embrace, gradually unfolding into a panorama where palms sway, and the azure ocean kisses the sky at the horizon. It’s everything you imagine Mauritius to be.

“The brief was not to make a radical change, but to upgrade existing spaces and elevate them. We started by understanding the brand, the people who loved the hotel and those who regularly stayed there. We wanted to be sure that when guests come back, they would feel a sense of surprise and delight, that their beloved hotel has been transformed, yet the space is somehow familiar,” says Tang. “Belle Mare is an incredible setting, where nature is in perfect balance. We wanted to showcase this in our design by inviting nature inside. You have the coral lagoon, the white sand beach, gardens of palms, and tropical sunlight, all combined to delight our senses. So, we began the process of transporting these sensations and translating them into the design to create a unique tropical environment that elevates and inspires us.” In the heart of the resort, the Riyad-style lobby reveals a tale of craftsmanship and local artistry, with arches swathed in hand-glazed tiles reflecting the gleam of the Mauritian sunlight. Each tile, a fragment of the island’s rich palette, guides the way toward the Aperitivo Bar, where rose-hued counters crafted from reclaimed, pink-tinted sand invite guests to bask in the warm, ambient glow.

Inhaling Belle Mare’s natural setting, Tang exhaled a revised, fresh and modern re-interpretation of the highly successful resort. You enter the lobby, greeted by the striking Maison LUX* coffee bar and tropical Riyad-like lounge area with comfortable seating, grouped around a water pond. An array of hand-glazed green tiled arches and tropical greenery connect the gardens to the interior space. Aperitivo, an altar for refreshment, presents a bar cast in rose-tinted, reclaimed sand with an accompanying lounge finished in pink and coral hue fabrics, perfect for fruit-infused smoothies in the morning and cocktails in the evening. Beach Rouge, the ultimate beachside venue showcases a new take on ‘Rouge’; the margarita pinks and reds highlight the space, matching the beautiful Mauritian Bougainvillea flowers. Duck Laundry immerses into rich emerald greens, deep reds and dark wood, transporting you into an imaginary world drawn by a display of the restaurant’s signature Peking Duck.

Amari, from the world’s first Indian cuisine Michelin-star restauranteur, Vineet Bhatia presents the enfilade of intimate dining rooms framed by ornamental wood and rattan screens, adorned with clay lamps and ceramic tables. The earth tones complement the immersive fresco; inspired by traditional Indian folk art, painted in natural dyed colours. This is genuinely a hand-crafted sight to behold. “My favourite area of the hotel are the rooms and suites,” adds Tang. “They have been designed to transport your senses through a whimsical yet soothing palette of colours and textures. We reimagined what tropical décor could be and wanted to draw the idyllic beachside into the room. The living area is inspired by a beach cabana, in shades of white sand, coral and citrus accents. The special collection of furniture is made of our local reclaimed sand, and chairs and benches are finished in whitewashed wood and woven by local artisans with nautical ropes. The coral closet will even immerse you in an underwater coral world. We want guests to leave feeling special, transported, uplifted and have had time to create truly memorable moments.”

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