Wellness here isn’t just about the state-of-the-art spa. Expect a full wellness package with personal training, vegan dining and mocktails laced with antioxidants, says Clare Vooght
The dark blue hue of my drink turns a lighter shade of purple as barman Eddy pours a small bottle of lemon and sugar syrup into it. “You said you wanted something dark, but always after the dark comes the light,” says Eddy.
I’d asked for a healthy, non-alcoholic drink that was dark, savoury and smoky, to fit the surroundings: sleek, black-walled and gold-accented Asian fine-dining restaurant Ai Kisu, at the recently opened Lux Grand Baie in Mauritius. And while I’d known butterfly pea – the ingredient responsible for my cocktail’s colour change – was popular in the food and drinks world, I didn’t know about its health benefits.
This antioxidant regulates the sugar in the body and wards off diabetes, says Eddy. The cocktail still tastes quite indulgent – a theme for the whole experience at Ai Kisu, whose USP is a lively open kitchen showing off its Japanese warayaki straw fire cooking, done with the Mauritian twist of using sugar cane leaves instead of straw, served alongside other east Asian dishes including fluffy, carby dim sum. But amid the many indulgences, there’s attention to detail for the wellness-minded guest here too.
While you’re free to enjoy a Wagyu steak or a burger whenever you please, healthier choices are also made easy with the hotel’s ‘Keen on Green’ programme, which essentially means 35% of the menus are vegan and vegetarian.
“We decided post-Covid to work on a project that emphasised vegan and vegetarian food. With more people becoming health‑conscious and conscious of the environment, we feel it’s very important,” says Dave Minten, the Lux Collective’s corporate chef, who created the menus for Lux’s three restaurants. Food is organic where possible, and Minten is working with the spa to create tailored nutrition programmes that work alongside the hotel’s wellness programme.
Said spa, Lux Me, has everything you’d expect of a state‑of‑the‑art wellness space. Uncluttered, minimalist interiors are white and beige, mixed with cool concrete. And a tranquil outdoor pool in the spa garden features soothing water fountains and tension‑releasing pebbles to walk over.
Half an hour here sets me off to a good start, but the tailored signature treatment truly hits the spot. Before treatments, guests at the spa fill in an extensive mind‑and‑ body questionnaire so their session is tailored to their exact needs. This covers everything from eating habits to stress levels, digestion and sleep over the past three months, to determine which element (fire, earth and air) might be out of balance.
Apparently I’ve got too much fire, says spa therapist Anita, so she picks cooling coconut oil for my massage. And for my dodgy back, she lays out hot stones for me to lie on for the next blissful 90 minutes. I could snooze here all day, though it’s just a small part of what’s available at Lux Me.
As well as eight high‑tech treatment rooms, including two double spa suites for couples, there’s a hammam, and a ‘hydrothermal bath journey’ with steam room, sauna and a sensory bath (in essence, the fanciest shower you’ve ever had, featuring sound, scents, colour and different water pressures). And then there’s the fitness suite, with a rooftop element comprising not one but two 30‑metre Olympic‑ standard running tracks and the MyBeast fitness frame, equipped with 12 workout stations including a punchbag, plus a spin studio (with music, visual effects and performance data – for competitive types), and a gym, where I take part in a tailored core fitness session with personal trainer Jeetesh.
It’s a motivating way to earn some ‘rest and recovery’ time – an intense 45 minutes of planks, leg raises and a hell of a lot of sit‑ups. “Just lie down like you’re at the spa,” says Jeetesh, as we start a welcome assisted stretching cool‑ down to help increase flexibility and protect from injury.
A tranquil outdoor pool in the spa garden features soothing water fountains
This, combined with a guided 45‑minute meditation, which therapist Pushpa tells me can reduce stress and boost the immune system, accompanied by the sounds and vibrations of brass singing bowls, provide the perfect workout-rest balance for a wellness stay.
A stay at Lux is as relaxed as you like: pools for lounging by are teamed with complimentary watersports, from windsurfing and waterskiing to stand-up paddleboarding. I take a kayak out to explore the bay the property is built around, the waters sheltered by a coral reef a little farther out to sea. Paddling around the gentle turquoise waves is just as immersive and stress-relieving as the meditation session.
It’s enough to work up a solid appetite. Which is just as well: there are more restaurants to try. Bisou is the most relaxed, fun option – you can even eat your lunch on a lounger in the infinity pool, which has its own swing (though the fun bit is roping someone into lifting you up to it for your Insta shot).
Tapas-style dishes with international influences here range from delightful delicacies for omnivores – the likes of oysters and lobster rolls to beef kebabs – through to healthy vegan options such as houmous with carrots. Beach Rouge, on the other hand, is the main, day-to-night restaurant, where breakfast options include a fluffy egg-white omelette turned green with spirulina, vegan acai and coconut and chia bowls, plus all kinds of house-made kombuchas (red fruit, lime and passionfruit were among the flavours).
As well as a substantial wine list, there’s a range of not-too-sweet mocktails
There’s a protein shake station (Minten’s favourite, as a keen runner and cyclist) with everything from chia and linseed to acai powder and nutritional yeast. Burgers, steaks and pasta dishes come alongside seafood grills with healthy veggie sides (from asparagus to foraged mushrooms).
As well as a substantial wine list, there’s a range of not-too-sweet mocktails. Calories are listed on the menus next to each dish, for those who feel the need to count. However, you could absolutely come to Lux and indulge: barely move a muscle, visit the gelato stand every day for the freshly made scoops, wallow in the spa and lounge by the pool.
The wellness and fitness offering is far from rammed down your throat, but it’s there if you want it. I choose to do both: what’s the point in sweating it out in the gym if you’re not going to have double helpings of dulce de leche ice cream of an afternoon, followed by wine with dinner? But I leave feeling healthy, relaxed – and very, very well indeed.
Wellness packages at Lux Grand Baie
The hotel currently offers three wellness packages, based on rebalancing elements in the body. These cost from £635, and are tailored to each guest based on the results of extensive questionnaires done by spa staff on arrival. All packages include a 45-minute hammam bathing ritual, one-hour fitness session, 30-minute breath awareness session, a nutrition workshop, access to the hydrothermal bath journey and a wellness gift pack.
Tried and tested: Lux Grand Baie
The fourth Lux hotel in Mauritius, Lux Grand Baie opened in December 2021. The property, with interiors by British designer Kelly Hoppen, is all trendy concrete, wood and neutral tones, with black and white photography in the rooms – a marked contrast to the many other Mauritius hotels that take inspiration from the island’s colonial past.
All 86 Junior Suites, with their sheltered, glass-walled balconies, are ocean-facing. The 30 pool residences, villas and penthouses have the same look and feel, with two or three en-suite rooms and private pools. Not that the main property is short of pools – besides the infinity pool at Bisou, the curved, palm-lined family-friendly main pool is fringed by plenty of loungers.
And for guests more interested in retoxing after their detox, Beach Rouge has a swim-up bar with a DJ booth for sun-drenched daytime parties. All in all, Lux Grand Baie has a young, fresh feel that’ll suit both young families and couples, who are – thoughtfully – placed on separate floors of the property. Rooms start at £400, based on double occupancy on a B&B basis.
Inspiring Travel Company offers five nights from £1,639 per person based on two adults sharing a Lux Junior Suite, including daily breakfast, return economy-class flights from Heathrow and private transfers.
PICTURES: Tom Fallon