LUX* Grand Gaube, which unveiled its Kelly Hoppen look December 2017, is Mauritius’ taupe-and-white luxury resort, with hints of sea blue and, in one instance, a riot of colour. This is the magnet for South African millionaires and British lords and anyone who feels in tune with the look of the Hoppen design, the softness of fabrics, the emotion of the sunrise – as above. The sensitivity started the moment the gal arrived. A welcome line-up, led by the GM, Brice Lunot, from Brittany, was all the more striking because nearly all the 546 people who make this 15-hectare resort work wear the simple white cotton robes that are so suitable in this climate.
Gardeners, not surprisingly, are not in white: they have a non-stop job as they are supervised, sometimes in person, by London floral-darling, Stephen Woodhams. Although all 92 rooms are predominantly taupe and white, with lots of mirrors and wicker, in some areas every rainbow hue is boldly shown. French artist Camille Walala has turned the lunch restaurant below the pool into a Frank Stella look. Street artist Jace has covered the static Citroen that serves as a bar in the adults-only peninsula with graffiti – there are so many different areas In the entire complex it is not surprising the hotel was 95% full my night, with average stay eight nights.
The adult-only area also has a high-up treehouse bar, and a burger joint, where the crab, or smoked chicken, are favourites of the seven cooked-to-order options. There is a really great line up of F&B experiences, devised by Patrick John of EPJ and LUX* food specialist Walter Lanfranchi. The all-day Palm Court has numerous live-theatre kitchens – see a video below. We dined in the colourful mostly-red INTI, a South American restaurant with an equally-colourful Argentinian chef (the hotel’s top chef, by the way, was formerly at La Mamounia in Marrakech). The next day we lunched in the blue and white Bodrum, seemingly cantilevered over the blue sea: the chef who prepared the tara, and subsequent Iskander kebabs, naturally was Turkish.
Today’s activities that Sunday included biking, coconut sculpting, a mixology class, beach volleyball and tai chi. There are four tennis courts, and paddle tennis, as well as a first class LUX* Me Spa, with Murdock barbering and Essie nails (the fact there are 13 treatment rooms shows the popularity of this spa). On my way back it was very tempting to stop off for at least one scoop of icecream from a beach-side cart that sensibly allows you to pay by swiping your room key card, thus no excuse for not having any money. Some would also dally to try one of the hundred-plus gins from a nearby gin bar. LUX* is a really clever concept. Subtly, you pay for things here and there though you note, more obviously, the fact that telephone calls worldwide are, thanks to VOIP, free in the London-red telephone kiosks that are a LUX* feature. HERE WE HAVE THE INTERACTIVE BREAKFAST SPACE