30 Jan 2019 • Luxury
Is this the near-future look of the luxury beach resort?
The east coast of Mauritius is sprinkled with luxury resorts. ‘And we used to describe [this] destination as the Sea of Sameness, which more or less described the resort landscape [here],’ said Julian Hagger, the executive vice president of The Lux Collective. The company made waves some seven years ago by launching LUX* Belle Mare, Le Morne and Grand Gaube, featuring a hut-luxe aesthetic, but now they’ve gone truly bold – as in, Camille Walala bold.
For Salt of Palmar, they’re betting on a striking visual concept in order to attract a new type of traveller to a high-end destination that is better known for catering to more traditional tastes. ‘We’ve created a brand for people whose definition of luxury is not about lying on the beach for 10 days, cocktail in hand, with vast lobbies, 65-inch televisions and buffets’ Hagger explained. ‘It’s for those defined as Cultural Purists, who see travel as an opportunity to break away entirely from their home lives and engage sincerely with a different type of living.’
In other words: this is a beach resort for Millennial and Gen Z travellers, located where people twice their age tend to go on holiday. But if Salt of Palmar gets its way, the hotel might start a trend within this hospitality niche.
Complacency is the greatest threat for the Mauritius destination
So why did they go with Walala, she of the bold Memphis-like patterns, instead of more normalised Instagram catnip? Because she has, in their words, an uninhibited approach – just what they needed in order to challenge even their own views. That appears to have extended to the chosen construction materials, as they've managed to gather shine from everyday workhorses such as black-and-white ceramics and concrete, and the interiors co-devised by Julia Jomaa.
Hoteliers run the risk of falling deep inside an aesthetic limbo due to the increasingly reducing Venn intersection between their construction timeline and the shelf life of a millennial design trend. In response, the Lux Collective instead decided to break new ground themselves, shaking the destination into waking up from a comfortable lull. The small nation of 1.2 million people welcomes 1.8 million visitors per year, so tourism is understandably a large part of its GDP – to the tune of 24 per cent. Therefore, innovations in the sector are necessary, as its traditional target population ages. ‘Complacency is the greatest threat for the destination,’ Hagger agreed.
The strategy has so far worked. ‘I really love the fact that they have seemingly created a style of their own,’ one TripAdvisor reviewer said. ‘It will definitely impress an experienced traveller: this hotel has soul, which differs from others,’ wrote another. It seems that this bold move will surely set the tone for the new look of beach resorts in the near future.