by Pooja Suresh HollannavarJun 07, 2023
It is breezy, it is bohemian and it is every bit the perfect beach resort that it has been designed to be. The 168-room LUX Grand Gaube resort in Mauritius quite literally celebrates everything Kelly Hoppen in design and style, on, well, holiday. The blend of earthy textures and mixed accents infuses the ambience of the retreat with an attractive air of laid-back luxury, with quirky details and pops of colour that make the setting come alive.
On her first visit to the location — because she likes to get a sense of the space, especially if it is a hotel that she’s designing — the space simply called out to Hoppen. The scale and proportion of the resort is magnanimous, with various individual spaces and sections that have their own distinctive air. Once she had seen the property and got a sense of what the location was looking for in its design, the resort was built in almost six months.
A thoughtfully curated boho-chic vibe envelopes the resort and that marries well with the setting to deliver an eclectic retro style, which is effortlessly sophisticated, and delightfully informal all at once. Hoppen’s design allows guests to feel at home and at the same time transports them to an extraordinary world which stays true to local architect Jean-Francois Adam’s vision of ‘contemporary yet timeless Indian Ocean living.’
Reminded of her experiences in Africa as a child, Hoppen says she was blown away by the hotel’s location, its light, smell and foliage. She knew instantly that she would be designing an experience through her work on the property here — and we have to say, she has stayed true to her instinct. An avid traveller herself, the designer appreciates the importance of comfort and ease in a hotel, and kept putting herself in the guest’s shoes throughout the design process. Every single detail then took on the kind of importance and attention that one would give to designing one’s own home! From the bedroom decor, to the restaurants and even the walkways from the hotel to the beach, to the spot where you enjoy your morning coffee, every aspect and angle has been taken into consideration at the design board.
The interiors enjoy the designer’s signature neutral palette, which seems perfectly natural and at home here with its sense of timeless luxury. The multiple shades of neutrals create layers of contrast, both in tone and texture, all of which are complemented with splashes of colour around almost every corner. When you see the overall picture, the design evokes a sense of rich tranquility that is most becoming of the setting.
Inspired by the gifted natural landscape, elements of nature are inevitable in the styling of the private living areas. All rooms, suites and villas open out to jaw-dropping sea views and airy verandas. Outdoor baths and sun decks edged by the resort’s private cove beckon with their easy-chic flair. The spindrift-white bedrooms score high on charm with unexpected home-away-from-home touches like wicker baskets and succulents in ceramic pots. Some en-suites are fitted with geometric encaustic tiles, lending a modern, graphic edge to the spaces — we can certainly imagine the bespoke Victorian bathtubs being quite a hit with the guests.
The open public spaces, with a choice of six restaurants and seven bars, also effortlessly emanate the air of barefoot luxury, offset with bursts of quirk. It is true, the design is entirely about the experience without trying too hard. Inspired by the surrounding tropics, Hoppen says, “The collaboration to me is very organic. For me when designing a project, especially a hotel, my love for the end result and how people will feel is what I love most. An experience is the strongest feeling to have…going to a place like Mauritius, you don’t need shoeshine in your room. You’re coming to take your shoes off, put your feet in the sand, and relax. All I had to do was create really chilled-out interiors that look like they belong in Mauritius!”