Called Salt, the new brand will be a sister proposition to Lux Resorts and Tamassa, with all three now siting under the newly created umbrella of The Lux Collective, overseen by chief executive Paul Jones, who has spearheaded the vision for Salt.
“Salt was born from a demand for something different – creating hotels that cater to an ever-growing audience of modern explorers and mindful travellers who travel to satisfy their curiosity and challenge their perception of the world,” said Jones. “They want to connect with people - not just places - and they genuinely want to give something back. We call them ’cultural purists’. And in creating Salt, I believe we can help facilitate these connections and create meaningful experiences for our guests and the communities in which we operate.”
The first property will be the 59-room Salt of Palmar opening on the east coast of Mauritius on November 1, taking over a previous local hotel.
“When deciding on the location for our very first Salt hotel it had to be Mauritius,” said Jones. “It’s a destination ripe for exploration that is too often overlooked by those who think it’s just for lazing on a beach.”
Rates for the hotel will start from $200 a night in low season; every guest gets a local SIM card to use and a guidebook with ideas and photographs created by locals, while a fleet of convertible low-emission cars can be hired, or bikes borrowed.
Key to the brand philosophy will be the Skill Swap platform, with guests able to meet locals and learn from them, including coaching the local football team or basket weaving.
Upcoming local musicians will play at the hotel and books in the library will be curated by a team of local authors. In the area of wellness, the Salt Equilibrium spa will have the only salt room in the Indian Ocean, while guests will be encouraged to join sunrise runs with the locals, or do yoga at the farm.
“Not everyone wants to sit on a beach in a resort and this is our response to that – this is just the beginning of something very special indeed,” said Jones.
Salt hotels will all be free of single-use plastics and each will have their own farm, with other produce sourced locally and the aim of reducing imports and food waste. The hotel will run regular beach clean ups, a farming school and ongoing training sessions for the community, all of which will be open to guest participation. The farm at Salt of Palmar will be run in partnership with Island Bio, a local NGO dedicated to empowering people in need via skill building programmes.
The Salt of Palmar building was originally designed in 2005 by Mauritian architect, Maurice Giraud and has been updated by Mauritian architect Jean Francois Adam in collaboration with French designer Camille Walala, known for her graphic prints; she has worked with local craftspeople to design bespoke pieces for the hotel.
“Salt of Palmar is Mauritius’ most exciting new opening, with a diverse community of local people who feel so proud to be part of a Mauritian-run hotel that will truly champion the culture and heritage of their country,” said general manager, Raj Reedoy.
Salt of Wolong in Sichuan, China – situated on the edge of the wild panda reserve – has also been confirmed for opening in 2020, and Jones said there will be more hotels in Asia, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, with a new office also being set up in Singapore in October to focus on development.
Europe, Africa and the Middle East will also be targets for new Salt hotels, Jones said, and The Lux Collective will also be ramping up its Tamassa brand and launching a further brand before the end of the year.
Jones will fly to London at the end of September to launch the new brand in the UK market.