Lux Belle Mare is one of Lux Resorts & Hotels' flagship properties. Opened in 2014, the beachside property recently underwent a huge refresh and has come out looking sharp. The hotel has 174 suites, 12 villas, five restaurants and four bars.
This sprawling resort is located on Mauritius' east coast about an hour's drive from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.
Tropical gardens to meander in, one of the best-looking beaches in the country right at your doorstep and one of the largest pools in Mauritius (with various depth levels) ... am I in paradise? If you're a busybody like myself, there's plenty to see and do. At Junkart Studio and Gallery you can craft goodies using up-cycled materials – I watched a woman make herself a handbag – while in the photography studio you can learn to improve your photo-taking and photo-editing skills. There's a family entertainment space fitted out with stuff – pool table, tennis courts, table tennis tables and more – to keep even the most stubborn teens entertained. And for little people aged three to 11 the kids' club is great fun with a schedule of activities that includes cooking and massages (yep, kids get all good stuff, too). Adults also have a range of daily classes included in their stay: Yoga? Creole-language classes? Water skiing? Cooking? There's little chance you could fit in all the activities during one stay.
There are seven categories of rooms at Lux Belle Mare, and although they vary in size and layout configurations, all rooms are styled in a contemporary white-and-cream colour palette with pops of bright colours – what is often referred to as "the Kelly Hoppen treatment" after the British-based creative force behind the resort's interior design. Most rooms come with views of the sea or the well-maintained tropical gardens.
Mixe is your destination for buffet-style food. It's a quick and easy option with cook-to-order stations and plenty of choices. My favourite restaurant is Amari by Vineet, with modern Indian-style cuisine fashioned by Michelin-star chef Vineet Bhatia's team. Duck Laundry is another fancy option, with contemporary Chinese food served in Asian-inspired surroundings and, predictably, duck is the dish to order. Other dining areas at the resort include the elegantly cool Beach Rouge that serves modern fare on the beach; the Rolls Royce food truck's Cuban-inspired takeaway and snack-style food from the poolside menu of K Bar. Lux roasts its own coffee and I'd start each day with a latte from the lobby cafe, then indulge in a few more coffees throughout the day. It also serves its own house-made ice-cream at the poolside retro ICI ice-cream parlour. This, too, became a twice-daily habit.
Although there's plenty to do at the resort, there are a number of hotel-organised excursions for those who can pull themselves away from the pool. My favourite outing was a bicycle trip to bustling Flacq market. We cycled there with our guides, shopped for an hour, then took the scenic coastal route home. Mauritius is a huge island with plenty to offer and I advocate exploring beyond the resort. The staff at Lux are very forthcoming and knowledgeable, and can help with everything from advice about scenic walks to the organisation of luxury boat cruises.
If you're after a relaxed resort stay in opulent surroundings – with less starch than many other luxury offerings – Lux Belle Mare is hard to go past.
Rooms from $550 a night for two people, including breakfast. See luxresorts.com
Impeccable service by courteous staff.
I didn't get through even half the activities I wanted to, but all the more reason to come back.
Tatyana Leonov travelled as a guest of Lux Resorts & Hotels.