Travel: Island life, upgraded
This Mauritius resort is the perfect escape
Set in the Indian Ocean’s sparkling sapphire and aquamarine waters, Mauritius spells ‘utopia’. Ubiquitous palms, mango trees and sugar cane plantations form a brilliant green canopy that feels almost over-saturated, as if nature has gone into retouching overdrive. Glinting in the tropical sunlight, the sea turns to a vivid shade of dazzling lapis lazuli so unaccustomed, my city eyes need to refocus. A volcanic island of lagoons, golden sands and the dreamiest warm zephyrs, Mauritius’s jaw-dropping natural beauty will vivify even the most jaded longhaul frequent flyer.
Situated on the south west coast of the island – site of the most Instagrammable sunsets – LUX* Le Morne is in perfect sync with its surroundings’ natural beauty. Grim and gaudy high-rises are not the thing here; instead it’s all about chic, chalet-style suites surrounded by lush tropical gardens and facing onto a magnificent beach. Rooms are pared back, elegant and well-considered. Think richly polished wooden floors, minimal clutter, marble bathrooms and majestic beds fit for an emperor. Designed by a former aeronautical
engineer, the enveloping dream mattresses are so coveted by guests that LUX* can arrange to ship one home to wherever you choose to lay your head.
After a 12-hour flight, an alfresco shower in a stall carved out of rock was the ideal exotic introduction to our island paradise. LUX*’s signature products by renowned aromatherapist Shirley Page are, hands-down, the best own-brand hotel products I’ve yet discovered. The Maldives Citronella Body Wash and Indian Ocean Peppermint and Menthol Shampoo are particularly good: they’re parabenfree, made with all natural ingredients, and their scent is divine.
For LLM’s discreet, ultra-professional sunny staff, nothing is too much trouble. This helps create instant switch-off so you fall straight into exactly the type of break you crave. Whether that’s lounging by one of the four swimming pools with a fresh coconut and a book from the hotel’s boutique library, being a spa junkie and surrendering to relaxing holistic treatments at the renowned eight-room spa or staying active with complimentary windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing. Mauritius is famed for its waves – the 1974 cult movie Forgotten Island
of Santosha cemented its reputation as a surfer’s paradise. The isolated peninsula that hosts the hotel is not only World Heritage-listed but has some of the best surfing conditions on the island, perfect for the board boys (and girls), especially between May and December.
LUX*’s focus on wellness and premium service extends to its three restaurants. East dishes up zingy Thai cuisine, The Beach offers simple, healthy Mediterranean-style cooking, and the running buffet at The Kitchen includes just about every delicious dish you can imagine, from grilled seafood and Californian-style salads to rich, aromatic curries and the most sumptuous desserts. Talented chefs customise dishes to your personal tastes: our simple shrimp linguine with chilli, fresh herbs and garlic became a nightly staple, as did LUX*’s creamy homemade ice-cream served at a dinky ice cream parlour and throughout the hotel’s restaurants.
Cool touches include nightly beach bonfires, complete with marshmallows to roast while the picture-perfect sunset unfolds. The hotel’s open-air Cinema Paradiso, with its beanbags, popcorn and more of that delicious ice cream, screens an eclectic mix of movies. Hollywood stars under the stars: bliss. A particularly charming custom is LUX*’s ‘message in a bottle’. Bottles containing surprise and totally gratis treats for guests are buried on the beach or hidden within the gardens. They might be a romantic candle-lit dinner for two in the lapping surf, a therapeutic spa treatment, or a scuba-diving lesson. These extra touches add another level of magic and surprise to an already out-of-this-world experience, and are indicative of LUX* Le Morne’s personalised approach to pampering their guests. In paradise, expect nothing less.
Relax with a fresh coconut by the pool