We arrived at the much lauded Lux* Belle Mare just after dark to be greeted by a beautiful candle lit open passageway with, at its end, cold towels, a local drink and pineapple skewers. Having been lucky enough to be able to upgrade to an Ocean View Villa we were whisked off there by our Butler, Chandan, who stayed briefly to show us around our wonderfully appointed accommodation. It was like all of our dreams coming true at once – we even had waterfall taps in the bathroom - the height of my ambitions. Whatever you might think of Kelly Hoppen on Dragon’s Den she certainly knows how to design a room.
Having met some of the Management team at their weekly reception we ate at Beach Rouge where the food was excellent although a little disappointing in terms of choice. Being close to Easter all of the restaurants were busy most of the time which did sometimes lead to delays in being served. Having an open bottle of cold white wine just out of reach has to be one of life’s most frustrating things.
Most days we breakfasted under the gazebo in our villa and when all that is needed to bring it is a quick phone call to your butler, why not? The food selection was excellent with all of the normal early morning offerings, including bacon, eggs, pastries and some of the most exotic fruit we had ever seen. Perfect, but not as perfect as doing the whole thing on the water’s edge which you can do on request. Now that’s perfect!
The thing to do after breakfast is of course to hit the beach. It really is like paradise with beautiful white sand, just perfect for sandcastles, a bit late for our group but fantastic is you have young children in tow - and many did. It’s amazing what the Lux Belle Mare can do for you as, to be honest I would have been horrified had someone told me just how many young children would be staying at the hotel when we were there I (it was Easter School Holiday time in France & the UK) but somehow it all seems to work with plenty of quiet places if you look for them. This is advertised as a luxury family hotel and that is exactly what it is with Couples, Families, Honeymooners and Staff all existing in what seemed like perfect harmony.
Back to the beach and there were plenty of activities on offer at the boat house including Scuba-Diving, Water Skiing, Parasailing, Snorkelling, Glass Bottom Boats and a particularly entertaining Inflatable, towed at speed through the water (no waves as we are in a lagoon). I’m afraid I can’t say much about the pool other than it looked nice but was generally busy with those pesky children I was keen to avoid. If you don’t like the sound of children enjoying themselves, go to the beach – its big and has plenty of sun loungers and bean bags for everyone (especially if you have a villa as you get your own exclusive ones plus a waiter on hand all of the time to serve drinks and generally pamper you beyond what is reasonably expected).
Our lunch was either taken at Beach Rouge or served to us on the beach (the menu was, I think, the same). Strangely we thought the lunchtime menu in Beach Rouge was better than the evening one and the atmosphere better during the day too. If you need sustenance in the afternoon either head for ICI with its hand-made ice cream which is just fab, or Café Lux with its coffee made with beans roasted on site. The flat white is to die for!
You have a choice of 4 venues for dinner; the Kitchen buffet which just about passes muster in terms of choice although the quality is very good, the aforementioned Beach Rouge, East, which combines the food of China, India & Thailand and Senses where you pay a supplement for all of the available dishes even if you are an all-inclusive guest. Not surprisingly the best food is to be found in Senses which quite frankly served up some of the best, if not the best, Indian food I have ever tasted. I particularly enjoyed the moment when, on arriving at our table on Easter Sunday to find a restricted Easter menu our disappointment was quietly noticed. No sooner had we adopted a glum look on our faces than a regular a la carte menu was proffered with a smile.
There was entertainment most evenings either near the bar or on the beach in front of Beach Rouge. Mostly this took the form of men twirling fire around and beating drums whilst pretty young ladies danced, so not bad at all really. Some of the sporting entertainment provided by guests playing Volleyball & Tag Rugby was entertaining too, as was my tennis I might add. Did anyone notice I hadn’t picked up a racquet for 40 years? Yes, they probably did!
The glue that holds the Lux Belle Mare together is the staff. Having read previous Trip Advisor reports we could have been disappointed when a few things didn’t quite come up to expectations but somehow the staff hold it all together and create an atmosphere that is welcoming to all not just a chosen few. What really makes the difference is the way they are able to make everyone feel as though they are the most important people there.
As an example we had cause to visit the medical centre one day with our daughter who was feeling under the weather. Some hours later my wife and I we were greeted by a the Villa Manager who asked after our daughter’s health and offered to arrange for the chef make some soup for her. From that moment on we met several members of staff who asked after her and seemed genuinely concerned for her welfare. I’m not sure how they even knew who we were. Incredible!
Our Butler, Chandan, deserves special mention, along with Rao, his deputy who looked after us famously without ever seeming intrusive. We loved the early evening and late night canapés and the glasses of champagne he delivered to our room. We loved the "Come Back Soon" and "Happy Easter" messages made with leaves on our beds too. I have never known a hotel staff that inspire such loyalty as those at Lux Belle Mare it feels like treason to criticise anything at all!
In conclusion I would have to say that this is not the 5 star luxury of an exclusive city hotel or the luxury of a romantic retreat in The Maldives but the luxury of people, enjoying the best of all worlds in a setting that looks and feels like paradise.
Someone asked me when I got home how my holiday was – I said it was all of the best bits of all of the holidays that went before, all wrapped up into one. That can’t be bad can it?
If you would like more information about Lux* Belle Mare, Mauritius or other luxury destination please contact me here) or call me on my Freephone number.