I have grown up spending most of my summers being spoilt on East Africa’s beautiful beaches. Finding a beach that compares and a resort that meets my needs is a tall order. When I came across the Lux* Belle Mare on the east coast of Mauritius I knew this place was special, and one I would always come back to. In fact 10 years ago we celebrated my father’s 50th Birthday here, when it was known as Beau Rivage.
Celebrated British interior designer Kelly Hoppen has given Lux* Belle Mare a new lease of life. Hoppen has revitalised the hotel’s thatched colonial styles villas. Each of the 174 sea-facing suites are painted in a crispy cool white, the perfect backdrop for the splashes of colour that Hoppen uses to create a vibrant but minimalist beach villa look. I highly recommend staying in the 92 sqm honeymoon suite for ample space, your very own living room and a gorgeous spread of canapés and champagne delivered to your room every evening before dinner.
Lux* Belle Mares exudes luxury but unlike other luxury resorts brings a touch of spontaneity and creativity with it. Our days at Lux Belle Mare started off walking around the resort in search for a message in a bottle that would hold a delightful treat, like a candle-lit dinner for two, a spa treatment or scuba diving lesson.
Lux* Belle Mare likes to break up routine and has even positioned their Panama Hat station in different places every day…my favourite was finding the stylish Panama hats careful placed on the branches of a tree on the beach. The Lux* group have thought about all the small details, even taking away the hassle of staying in touch with loved ones back home.
Whilst wifi connection is great and most of us now use WhatsApp calls; there is a red British phone booth where you can make as many local and international calls free of charge. For the dreamers, Lux* Belle Mare have created their very own tree of wishes. Guests write a wish and carefully place them on the Baobab tree made of recycled metal, fibre glass and other reusable materials. My favourite Lux* touch is their very own Cinema Paradiso: an alfresco cinema on the beach with rows of big bean bags, fresh popcorn, wireless headphones and cult classics.
Being a vegetarian, food makes or breaks a holiday for me; and when at an all-inclusive resort variety is key. General Manager Ashish Modak previously used to work with the Taj Group and Six Senses group of Hotels; and thus really understands the importance of vegetarian and healthy food, so much so that every menu has a “veggie heaven” section.
Lux* Belle Mare offers ten food and beverage outlets. Whilst the resort has some wonderful dining experiences it also offers some special foodie treats. The ICI Gelateria perfectly positioned by the hotel’s stunning two tiered pool serves every gelato flavour you can imagine from Sicilian pistachio to Madagascan vanilla.
Mari Kontan, the resorts very own Rum shak has 112 rums to sample and guests can take Creole and Sega dancing lessons at the rustic Mari Kontan.
For coffee lovers, the specialist barristers at Cafe Lux* will entice you with the latest trends and techniques from cold press, pour overs and nitro coffee. My husband and I were lucky enough to be shown how Lux* Belle Mare roasts their own coffee on site, which is then supplied to the rest of the Lux* resorts. If you are not a coffee drinker, then you will be pleased to know Lux* Belle Mare has their own tea house where they have daily tea tastings. Perhaps the most surprising food outlet was the Mexican food truck serving delicious burritos, tacos and tortillas.
Lux* Belle Mare has 4 main dining options. International dining at the Mixe restaurant offers an eclectic fresh buffet for lunch and dinner. Beach rouge, by day in whites and nautical blues and by evening dressed in red and candle lit offers a contemporary menu. I still remember the quinoa spaghetti made with fresh herbs and cold-pressed extra virgin oil.
For a more fine dining experience Sichuan Master Chef Tang Xi Bing prepares the most decadent Chinese food you may taste outside of China. Lux* Belle Mare houses the celebrated Michellin Star Chef Vineet Bhatia who prepares traditional North Indian cuisine at his restaurant Amari.
The paneer tikka served with green salad, tamarind dressing and raita is fresh, soft and succulent. For special occasions the staff at the hotel will spoil you with an incredibly romantic breakfast on the beach or a private dinner for two in their picture perfect gazebo; making your stay feel extra special. For something truly unique and ultimate privacy, then The Aubergine Farm, just a stroll from the resort is a must. Dinner is served with your own butler and chef, on the veranda of a colonial style farmhouse.
There is plenty to do at Lux* Belle Mare. Horse riding on the beach and practically every water sport you can imagine from daily snorkelling to paragliding is on offer. Though the dreamy golden beaches and warm clear sea water is not the only attraction here. Every day there is a schedule of activities from aqua aerobics to yoga to Creole classes. Children have their own jam packed schedule where the hosts at the kids club keep them the kids away from the main adult areas. The luxurious spa has a wonderful spread of treatments, the hotel’s very own essential oils that will send you to nirvana and a large hot plunge pool which is the perfect way to end a day on the beach or in the pool. Every evening guests come together to enjoy the live music of the evening, a wonderful selection of local music and dance as well a musicians playing old classics. For the young at heart, once a week Beach Rouge attracts an international DJ and the beach is resemblant of an Ibiza beach bar.
The Lux* Belle Mare is the perfect family friendly and romantic hotel for a week of deep relaxation and indulgence. Each and every member of the Lux* Belle Mare family goes out of their way to make your stay feel extra special. It is really hard to find a stunning beach destination, with excellent food and outstanding service in a location that is Zika and malaria free and at a reasonable price. Lux* Belle Mare is just that and you will have the dream beach holiday here. If you go here once I am sure you will go back!