Newly launched hotel brand, SALT, has now opened the doors to its first resort, 59-key SALT of Palmar located on the east coast of Mauritius. It is a restful base conceived to champion sustainability, connect with the local community and introduce culturally curious, style savvy, modern travellers to the real, unvarnished Mauritius.
Its distinctive look is born out of collaboration between local Mauritian architect Jean-François Adam of JFA Architects, an award-winning visionary behind notable contemporary spaces in Mauritius and abroad; and French artist, Camille Walala, whose vivid murals adorn buildings across the globe. Camille’s first foray into the hotel world brings a stunning new addition to Mauritius’ design landscape that reflects the progressive spirit of SALT.
Devoted to the wonder of all things local and sustainable, the unconventional new hotel brand is committed to taking guests to people – not just places – and unearthing the beating heart of destinations. So, at the core of Jean-François’ designs is a desire to bring the natural environment and local Mauritian way of life to the forefront, giving every visitor a real sense of what his homeland has to offer. Taking an incredible existing geometric, riad-like building on the fringe of Palmar beach’s pure white sand, he carefully repurposed the standing structures to accentuate the hotel’s proximity to the sea.
As part of this, he orientated all beds to face the water and redesigned the pool to better its connection with the beach. In addition, he played to the island’s warm tropical light, allowing the location’s natural colours to shine. Fauna and flora have been protected throughout this project; adding a sense of timeless serenity to the scene. Jean-François’ explained,
“Everything about the hotel is designed to bring people together. From the communal tables in the bakery, restaurant and beach bar, to Mauritius’ first roof-top bar and the inviting spaces in the SALT equilibrium spa, it is all about gathering and sharing stories of travels and enjoyment of this incredible location.”
With the energy of doing things differently living at the heart of the SALT brand, it is fitting that the interiors were realised by an artist instead of an interior designer. Camille Walala’s uninhibited approach to colour married with her passion for the island of Mauritius made her the perfect choice.
Paul Jones, CEO of The Lux Collective says
“Camille Walala’s relationship with colour is precisely the same as most Mauritians’ – for both, colour is a vehicle for joy and a means of expressing positivity. She is the ideal artist for SALT of Palmar; I must have been in the hotel 100 times as it developed over the last few months but, whenever I see them, her designs still make me feel happy.”
Detailing throughout the hotel is authentic, artisanal and unique. Local ceramicist Janine designed and crafted the hotel’s tableware – a beautiful set of 950 individual pieces for SALT of Palmar; each one made entirely by hand. Janine shared,
“I wanted to deliver something really special, so we worked with a specially formulated charcoal clay combined with a grey glaze base to create an effect that showcases the Mauritian savoir-faire.”
With the support of Jean-François’ and his team, Camille met an array of local characters, such as 74-year-old basket weaver Reotee Buleeram who has crafted the beautiful beach bags at SALT of Palmar. And father and son duo, Mawlabaccus and Said Moosbally, who are the masterminds behind the rattan ware chairs throughout the resort. The result is a showcase of local talent and an authentic expression of island style. Jean-François recalls,
“visiting artisan workshops with Camille to collaborate on the intricate details was very special. These experiences were the most rewarding moments of the project.”
The culmination is a hotel that looks unlike any other on the island. Where most resorts take their own design template and transplant it into their setting, SALT has done the reverse, channelling the character of its surroundings to shape its look and feel.
SALT of Palmar connects modern explorers with communities and their way of life, which makes for meaningful travel experiences. SALT guests have the opportunity to bond with locals via the Skill Swap programme, exchanging their time and talent with local producers, designers and artisans such as fisherman, potters, basket weavers and more. The food philosophy at the restaurant is fresh, local, homemade, home-grown, seasonal and zero-waste, with the majority of the produce coming from the SALT Farm that cultivates hydroponic fruit and vegetables (opening end of first quarter 2019) and local bio-farms. Recognising the strong connections between people, plate and planet, and the fact that food choices have a major impact on the environment and on the health of its guests, SALT is committed towards Good, Clean and Fair food.
Whilst the resort’s chefs are committed members of Slow Food International and part of Slow Food Chefs Alliance, SALT of Palmar is working closely with Earth Markets Mauritius, its local official representative. SALT adheres to Slow Food Travel promoting ecotourism and providing all our guests a culinary journey, full of stories, traditions, flavours and craftsmanship. Guests can also be confident that sustainability and environmental consciousness is at the core of the hotel. Simply by staying, they contribute to empowering local communities as the hotel sources everything it can locally, creates employment, and preserves the environment by going single-use plastic free, supporting bio-farming and causing zero-waste.
All of this has positioned SALT of Palmar as a practising advocate of sustainability. Its partnership with Positive Luxury means that it proudly carries the butterfly mark awarded to brands that balance luxury with mindful, responsible actions. The team behind SALT ensure guests have truly luxurious stays in destinations they take real strides to protect.
The Lux Collective
The Lux Collective is a global hotel operator of own brands and managed properties: LUX*, SALT, Tamassa & Café LUX*. Other properties managed by The Lux Collective are Merville Beach, Grand Baie, Mauritius, Hotel Le Recif, Reunion Island, as well as Ile des Deux Cocos, Mauritius, a private paradise island. Successful hospitality experiences don’t happen by accident - they are created through hard work, passion and the collaboration of a lot of people with diverse skills. The Lux Collective work together with some of the most passionate and creative thinkers and doers. Together with their team members, stakeholders, vendors and partners they create and deliver some of the leading hospitality experiences in the world. The Lux Collective always puts people first and stays true to its values of being passionate, responsible and innovative in all that they do. The Lux Collective is an affiliate member of IBL, a major economic player in the Indian Ocean, leader of the “TOP 100” Mauritian companies. IBL is active in key sectors of the Mauritian economy, representing a portfolio of approximately 300 subsidiaries and associated companies.
SALT is a humanistic approach to hospitality created by The Lux Collective in September 2018, connecting modern explorers with meaningful travel experiences. Spearheaded by hospitality visionary and CEO of The Lux Collective, Paul Jones, SALT introduces a new breed of hospitality for the culturally curious. Devoted to the wonder of all things local and sustainable, SALT resorts take guests to people - not just places. It reveals to guests the beating heart of destinations and their communities and get them out there exploring it – the SALT way. The Lux Collective is committed to sprinkling salt all over the world: - Coming soon – SALT of Palmar, Mauritius (01 November 2018) and Salt of Wolong, Sichuan, China (2020) - An exciting boutique resort on the edge of the wild panda reserve.
Paul Jones (Chief Executive Officer)
Although he has spent five decades in hospitality, Paul Jones continues to infuse every day with passion & drive to achieve so much more in providing authentic experiences for world travellers. Prior to life at The Lux Collective, he was President of One&Only, where he was instrumental in successfully launching and growing the brand globally. Paul joined The Lux Collective in 2010, where he quickly established his mark as charismatic leader with a unique and passionate approach to hospitality management. He is all about the people, the culture, and the service. Paul directly oversees the company’s strategic direction, spearheading the collective’s global development plans. He is personally involved in every aspect of the business, ensuring that the concept development of each new brand and property is as disruptive and relevant as it can be. He is recognised as a leading figure in the establishment and development of the hotel and tourism industry in Mauritius having worked on the island for over 30 years, and was conferred the Dignity of Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Paul has also been awarded one of the highest honours by the President of the Comoros, the Chevalier de L’Etoile d’Anjouan, for his significant contribution to the growth and development of the hotel and tourism sector in the Comoros.