The orange sun is going down over the clear waters surrounding Mauritius. Vik, the Urchin Master, is wading into the water and retrieving fresh urchins from the sea bed. With the swift flick of a knife, he shucks the urchin, serving the slippery crustacean to us with fresh lemon juice drizzled on top. We sit on beach chairs, glass of champagne in hand, watching the glowing sunset – while further up the sand, children are roasting marshmallows with staff, and parents are enjoying mulled wine around a bonfire. Holidays don’t get any more idyllic than this.
The setting of LUX* Le Morne in Mauritius is hard to beat. Set in a UNESCO world-heritage-listed location beneath the imposing 556-metre-high Morne Mountain, LUX* Le Morne overlooks the lush green vegetation of Le Morne on one side and is framed on the other side by an endless stretch of white sand and the calm, clear turquoise waters of the Indian ocean.
The resort is located on the western side of Mauritius island – considered one of the best positions with long sandy beaches, a reef and diving spot known as The Aquarium. Alongside the resort’s beach is One-Eye, one of the best kite-surfing locations of the island. Guests can go with the resort’s Pryde Kite Surfing School crew to tackle this internationally renowned kite-surfing region.
One morning, we venture with the resort’s water sports crew via speedboat to head further down the western coast to view dolphins in the wild where they gather at Le Morne and Tamarin to sleep and rest before making their way into the deep sea. After about an hour of hurtling through the water, watching for whales as we go, the various tour operator crews all share with each other where the dolphin pod is gathered. Sure enough, a large number are splashing about playfully and people dive into the water to swim with them.
Nearby, guests can also access Casela Park: a bird sanctuary built on eight hectares where you will spot African animals. Further inland is the Black River Gorges National Park which is highly popular for trekking.
Many guests at LUX* Le Morne opt to hike Le Morne mountain, travelling with LUX* Le Morne staff on either a two-hour adventure hike or a more challenging three-hour hike.
On my trip, I choose the gentler option: a Morning Detox program hosted by the resort’s wellness concierge, Vincent. The session begins with yoga and meditation at the LUX* Me Spa, followed by a healthy breakfast served in an outdoor pergola by the spa’s pool.
“I like people to take something home with them that they can use in their everyday lives,” says Vincent.
For guests really wanting to up the ante on a fitness regime, Vincent and team can run them through seven different fitness and wellbeing tests to design a tailored wellness program.
I’m excited by what is to follow – water yoga in the resort’s main pool. The boards are attached to a central rope so there’s no risk of floating away. Still, I’m a little wobbly at first, eager not to be the one to topple into the water.
“Don’t look up, look straight ahead,” Vincent cautions.
Soon, I’m mastering downward dog, almost like a pro. But I’ve got nothing on Vincent’s impressive technique. It’s as if he’s on rock, solid earth as he contorts into a series of expertly demonstrated yoga poses – not once creating so much as a splash of water.
There are three main dining areas at the resort: The Kitchen, with its buffet is where breakfast is served, along with lunch and dinner (a popular choice for families); Beach is located just off the sand and has a relaxed vibe – expect fabulous seafood here. Meanwhile, East is the resort’s a la carte Thai restaurant. I particularly enjoyed the crispy duck salad; a spicy Papaya salad with chilli dressing; a beef stir fry with black pepper; and selections from the lobster menu.
The room interiors are clean, spacious and have a traditional design aesthetic. There are dark timbers, verandah daybeds and deep tubs big enough for two in the bathroom. Some villas open directly onto the grass where it’s just a few shorts steps to the beach and daybeds. LUX* Resorts & Hotels offer guests the opportunity to partake in their Tread Lightly program which aims to offset 100 per cent of carbon emissions. Guests can opt to pay an additional one Euro a night per room.
This resort somehow manages to be ideal for both families and couples. There are several weddings taking place during our stay. Likewise, families are making the most of activities such as ice-creams from the ICI ice-cream station with fresh waffles cones made in-house; swaying in the submerged hammocks on the shoreline; enjoying the outdoor swinging lounges; taking a guided horse ride along the beach; or setting up for Cinema Paradiso on the beach with free popcorn. Australian parents will appreciate the freshly roasted LUX coffee available at Café LUX*, using its own special blend of coffee beans that are roasted daily at sister property, LUX* Belle Mare. There’s also a kid’s club called PLAY with a gorgeous garden area set beneath the mountain. Here, little guests can take part in cake-making sessions or teddy tennis.
For couples, there’s private breakfasts on the beach; cocktail service from your beach lounge; quiet reading at the Wanderlust library; a private ‘Honeymoon’ bonfire dinner on the beach; or a couples massage in the LUX* Me Spa garden. It’s here where two ladies wash our feet before we descend into a blissful massage session, our skin soaking in their signature range of spa products and oils, before being woken with the chime of a singing bowl, prompting us to move on to make use of the Hamman spa, sauna and steam room.
We make it back in time to our room to catch yet another picturesque sunset from the daybed on our balcony. Life is for living and slowing down at Le Morne.
Rates start from €164 per person, per night (about A$267)
Find out more: luxresorts.com/en/mauritius/hotel/luxlemorne