18 December 2018
A resort & the people behind it
SALT OF PALMAR
There are new resorts opening across the world all
the time, so, to stand out, there needs to be a point of difference. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not easy to accomplish at a time when eco-tourism and sustainability are becoming mainstream.
Idyllically positioned on the white-sand beach of Palmar on Mauritius’ east coast, SALT of Palmar is a game-changer. It’s the first hotel of the newly launched hotel brand SALT (which is part of the LUX* Collective group) – and it comes with many other firsts.
It’s different right from the very start: there’s no traditional check-in counter – instead guests step into a multi-purpose space where they can sample fresh-baked goods (yes, there’s a bakery as soon as you enter) and peruse a gallery-like shop (no sales assistants here, though, so if you want to buy something just put some money in the honesty box).
The actual check-in (and also the check-out) process involves a beachside meditation – a nod to SALT’s ethos.
Pops of vibrant colours left, right and centre are thanks to London-based French artist and designer Camille Walala, who created a modern Mauritian composition inspired by the colourful houses scattered all across the tropical island.
There’s a rooftop pool (Mauritius’ first), where daily happy hour not only entails enticing cocktails made from local ingredients, but also complimentary shoulder massages. There’s also a sparkling blue ground-level pool and the ocean right at the resort’s doorstep.
Although the space is absolutely stunning, guests are encouraged to get out of the resort and explore the island. There’s a carefully curated guidebook in all the rooms, compiled by in-the-know locals. Guests can rent bikes
and even ask their SALT ‘friend’ (every guest is assigned a ‘friend’ for the duration of their stay) to accompany them on an adventure. The SALT ‘friend’ could be the bartender, chef or anyone at the resort; it’s part of their job description to head out and explore with guests when time allows. How’s that for different?
THE SALT SHAKERS
How does a great concept come about? It’s all about the people. In fact, SALT Shakers – as they are cleverly referred to – make SALT of Palmar what it is. From the local fisherman and the architect to the wellness expert and the cheesemaker, SALT celebrates the individual skillsets of their team members. In fact, when a skill might be of interest to a visitor, SALT shares that with guests.
Want to learn how to weave traditional Mauritian baskets? You can visit Reotee, who has been hand-crafting traditional bags and baskets for 40 years. Want to learn more about the fresh produce you’re eating? Culinary expert Dave will show you around the kitchen. Want to get out of the resort and hang out with a local family? Mirella will welcome you into her home for an authentic dining experience. Want to learn how to make the soap found in your room or the cheese served at dinner – or anything else? Just ask!
I met Reotee and learned about basket weaving. I spent time with Nathalie, who handmakes beautiful soaps with her daughter, Sarah. And Dave showed me around his kitchen, taking time out of his busy schedule simply because I asked.
SALT of Palmar is physically beautiful, but it’s thanks to the SALT Shakers that it’s so much more than bricks and mortar. SALT is a destination – one that travellers come to and hopefully one they take home with them too. saltresorts.com