Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa is hoping the UK will be the number one market when it reopens in Mauritius on November 1.
The hotel’s general manager Gabriele Lombardo was in the UK this week to launch the resort for trade partners, former guests of the hotel and the media, with parties held at the group’s Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard in London.
He said: “There is an historic love for the hotel here, and we hope the UK will be the first market for us.”
He added that practically all staff of the old resort had been retained and given Shangri-La’s training and said that once fully open, the resort will have 580 staff on property for 200 guestrooms.
“The staff are one of the hotel’s major assets – along with the history of the hotel and its well-known brand name, all of which we have had to preserve, while instigating a contemporary rebirth for the hotel,” Lombardo added.
All elements of the hotel have been renovated and enhanced, but one of the most significant additions is Republik Beach Club & Grill, designed to be a more informal space for guests to relax.
Republik will host live music, themed nights and performances by local and international DJs – it will offer a choice of 20 tequilas as well as boasting a champagne, Bellini and Bloody Mary bar.
“We think it represents bohemian chic perfectly, with a very relaxed spirit, sunken firepit guests can sit around together and musical performers to enhance the atmosphere,” he said.
“Of course the suites and villas are beautiful spaces, but we want to create places where people can enjoy themselves with other guests in a relaxed, fun atmosphere,” Lombardo said. “I think that’s what was missing before – and perhaps on the island generally.”
He said the hotel would be encouraging locals to visit its bars and restaurants so guests could experience a more lively and engaging atmosphere.
“Locals love to eat out and experience luxury hotels, but for so long there was a kind of invisible barrier to them enjoying these places – we will be changing that,” he said. “We want guests to look around and see locals enjoying themselves too.”
Entertainment will be another key element of the resort experience, he said.
“There will be plenty of live music and performances that seem spontaneous that will surprise our guests – all this is an important part of the repositioning of the hotel,” Lombardo explained. “We want to bring Mauritius into the hotel and make it a real hot spot.”
The hotel is working with Mauritian artist Gael Froget – who describes his work as “art vandalism” – to create pieces for the property. The artist was in town to help promote the hotel and some of his pieces were on display at the Shangri-La in London.
Also new is a suite experience for guests in the Frangipani Wing, who will receive champagne on arrival, complimentary mini-bar and evening cocktails, the opportunity to have breakfast on the beach at Republik and a range of other benefits.
The resort’s three signature villas have also been renovated and now include space for a personal gym.
Also new is Japanese restaurant Kushi and a relaxed cafe culture serving snacks and refreshments. “That’s another part of the more relaxed approach we are taking, but something that will also appeal to families who just want casual snacks and drinks to have in the room perhaps, and at reasonable prices.”
Le Bazar will offer all-day dining, while Safran keeps its Indian cuisine, but has been renovated too.
What was a Givenchy spa is now the eight-room CHI Spa, in keeping with Shangri-La’s global spa portfolio.
The rustic feel of Ilot Mengenie has been retained, with few changes to the resort’s little private island.
“We’ve added a few cabanas, but we wanted to keep the charm of the island, which guests have always loved,” said Lombardo. “But there is technology added so that guests can just order from a mobile we provide them with on the island.”
He said all guests would also be able to scan a QR code when at the resort to provide them with a full digital programme of all that’s available, as well as daily updates on activities or happenings at the hotel. Free Wi-Fi – not previously available – is also being rolled out.
“Much of what we have done is to appeal also to Gen Y guests – but actually it’s all what Boomers want too; relaxed spaces, chances to socialize,” Lombardo said.