Before checking in to LUX* Belle Mare, I thought LUX* stands for luxury which isn’t far fetched if you’ve seen pictures of any of the LUX* properties in Mauritius, Maldives, and Turkey among other locations. However, as it turned out, the name LUX* actually means “light” in Latin which is another apt definition!
Nestled on the eastern coast of Mauritius, LUX* Belle Mare felt like a breeze of fresh cool air after you’ve been walking in the desert for a week. The lovely welcome you receive as soon as you step in from your ride from the airport says: “welcome home, you’ve made it, weary traveler”. The exterior of the hotel is designed in typical island style but the real distinction is the interior especially our room which was white and bright green — think of it as Mykonos meets Africa.
Despite having plans to see other parts of the island, it was pretty tough detaching ourselves from the bed, pool, and/or beach in the morning. But, not to worry, most if not all the hot spots in Mauritius are an hour or two away from the resort, so you won’t have to leave your comfy bed or beach lounger for long.
What really makes the place though is the staff and their smiles for miles and helpful attitude. Despite being busy when we visited, the staff were equally attentive to everyone and quick on their feet.
LUX* Belle Mare has 174 spacious rooms/suites with state of the art amenities and high end toiletries, and unlike many resorts, you won’t have to stay in a dingy room if you are not willing to splurge on a sea view room, because all the rooms here are facing the sea.
The resort also has a wide selection of restaurants and bars to ensure that you are never hungry or craving anything, and I will talk in more detail about them below. You can find more factual information about the hotel on its website. For this review, I will list the things that make LUX* Belle Mare stand out.
1. A foodies’ paradise
Although I usually steer clear from resort/hotel food, our half board package meant we could enjoy a different restaurant at the resort throughout the stay. If I were to describe our culinary experience at LUX* Belle Mare in one word, it would be: OMG! Our first dining experience was dinner at the Chinese restaurant, Duck Laundry, where we had a traditional roasted duck — succulent and melts in your mouth.
The next day, dinner was at the Indian restaurant, Amari by Vineet, where the menu is set by award-winning Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia. Our experience here was one for the books — we basically had the entire menu here (lobster, fish, chicken, and lamb chop), and it was so delicious that the waiters could not believe how fast we were eating! (Thanks to Roupesh and his wonderful team for the memorable meal).
And of course I would be amiss if I don’t mention the Ibiza-style Beach Rouge which serves an excellent collection of Mediterranean food. In short, if you come here, my advice is to forget about eating outside the resort!
Breakfast is another delicious affair with several live cooking stations and many savory and sweet options.
2. Try one of the best coffee brands and ice cream in the world
LUX* Belle Mare is home to Cafe LUX*, the hotel’s own coffee brand which gets roasted on site and is ethically and sustainably sourced. Even if you are not a coffee lover, the iced lattes sold here are just something else. If you feel like having a cup in your room, there are coffee machines with Cafe LUX* pods so you can do your own but I would still get it at the cafe itself. Coffee not your thing? LUX* Belle Mare got you covered with its own brand of ice cream which features my personal favorite: rum raisin and bourbon vanilla (they really had me at rum and bourbon!). They also have a tea house with an equally impressive selection of tea.
3. Lots of quirks and perks
In an island like Mauritius, it gets really tough for hotels to offer distinctive services that separate them from the pack, which is why you have to give credit to a hotel like LUX* Belle Mare that thinks outside the box.
LUX* Belle Mare has these cute “messages in a bottle” that the staff hides on the beach or the gardens, and if you find one you will get the surprise which is written inside whether it is candle-lit dinner for two by the water’s edge, a spa treatment, or a scuba diving lesson. Another cute thing is vintage red phone booths where you can make FREE international calls to your friends and family under one condition – “please do not call the office!” How awesome is that?
Another thing is that at every LUX* Resort & Hotel, you’ll find a specially commissioned Tree of Wishes sculpture. Upon check-in you’ll be presented with a unique ribbon or tag featuring your initials and the date of your visit. Tie the ribbon around one of the enchanting branches and make a wish. Once a year one tag will be selected and the lucky person who placed it there will win a free LUX* holiday.
4. Enjoy a vast white sand beach and one of the largest swimming pools
LUX* Belle Mare has one of the longest stretches of beach for any resort in Mauritius, and even with other guests around, you can always find a quiet spot for you to lounge in the sun. The water facing the hotel has a lagoon too so you’re also sheltered against any high waves during the windy season. On the other hand, LUX* Belle Mare is home to one of the largest swimming pools of Mauritius (2000 m²) which also has separate area for children.
5. Enjoy a relaxing treatment at the LUX* Me Spa
As I mentioned above, LUX* Belle Mare feels like a calm haven by itself so think of the LUX* Me spa as a haven within a haven. The spa features its own swimming pool which I believe is adults-only and is located in a separate section from the hotel to give you that ultimate relaxation, pre- and post-treatment.
6. Support real sustainability efforts with “Tread Lightly”
Many hotels seem to think that protecting the environment is done by placing a note in guest rooms urging people to reuse the towels. I am pleased to say that this is not the case with LUX* Belle Mare and their parent group. The LUX* Resorts and Hotels group launched the “Tread Lightly” initiative which has an ultimate goal of offsetting 100% of the carbon emitted by hotel guests. In order to further reduce its carbon footprint, LUX* Resorts & Hotels does not import mineral water but serves water drawn from the ground or desalinated on the islands themselves.
Furthermore, the picturesque looking garden sheds at LUX* Hotels are, in fact, composters in which colonies of worms work their way into recycling organic waste. The result is that LUX* Resorts & Hotels uses not one single drop of fuel for the unnecessary transportation of organic waste. Aromatic herbs and local vegetables are cultivated in the midst of hotel grounds for use in the kitchen. Thus, LUX* guarantees that the fresh produce served to the customer is carbon free.
I believe that is an excellent initiative that sets the example for other resorts and hotels especially in fragile ecosystems like Mauritius.
If you would like to know more about LUX* Belle Mare, you can email me at email@example.com or you can check the hotel’s website.