By OCTAVIA MUIR
Rounding off our 8-week virtual tour of the Indian Ocean, we have explored some of this region’s most sought after hotels and resorts. Last but not least, we are stopping off in Mauritius, to check in with one of our favourite resorts in the world – the One&Only Le Saint Géran.
We caught up with Cristian Fumado, the Hotel Manager, and discussed how this pinnacle of easy and authentic luxury has ranked so highly for decades.
Over the years it has earned a family of loyal returners. Including LOVE BRAND & Co. founder Oliver and his family. Oliver’s father who lived in South Africa was one of the early guests to discover this haven, when Sole Kerzner first opened Le Saint Géran in 1970’s. Oliver’s family have been going back ever since.
Last year, the resort took the top spot on Condé Nast Traveller’s, ‘Gold List’. A curation of “The Best Hotels and Resorts in the World” confirming that the One&Only Le Saint Géran, is not just one of our favourites and our first resort partner, but draws in discerning guests from all over the world for a piece of Mauritian magic.
Cristian told us “One&Only Le Saint Géran has always had a gift for making its guests happy and for over forty years now, it has never failed to delight those who set foot inside the majestic wooden doorway”.
Despite the resort’s complete transformation in 2017, the resort remains humble to its roots and traditions. Cristian explain that “the arrival of each new guest is signalled by a gong, a longstanding tradition that continues today. There is a sense of family, hospitality, authenticity, and attention, that is the magic that makes One&Only Le Saint Géran so special and remains in the hearts of those who have visited”.
Not only does this sense of family manifest itself within the resort’s guests, but it also extends to its staff, many of whom have remained working here since first opening its doors in 1975.
Discovering the Real Mauritius
Cristian explains that “One&Only resorts are set in some of the most beautiful locations in the world, each award-winning resort offers guests a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, genuine hospitality and a lively energy that is unrivalled. Guests are given an opportunity to discover the real Mauritius, for its fascinating and rich history. At One&Only Le Saint Géran, you will find local influences weaved throughout every space, showcasing Mauritian craftsmanship, materials, art and nature”.
Famed for its world-class food, the hotel has exceptional menus that nod to Mauritius’ vibrant culinary heritage. Cristian told us that each individual dining experience at the resort is unique. “From rum masterclasses to Shop, Cook & Eat, an experience led by our Execute Sous Chef Vikash, who takes guests shopping to the bustling Flacq Market for local produce, followed by a visit to the nearby fishermen to discover the fruits of their daily catch”.
For Oliver and his family, it is not just about the food or wine or dangerously good cocktails. Oliver explains “it is one of the most relaxing places on earth. I think it is to do with the hotel having a belt of palm trees through it. With the beach on one side and the rooms on other side. The sound of the wind through the palm fronds is so soporific and the onshore warm breeze has a calming rustle, from breakfast, to snoozing on the beach, to reading outside your room or walking at dusk through the trees from your room to the bar…”
More options by the day…
Relax on the hotel’s peninsula of perfect beach or by the new ‘Palm Grove Pool.’ However, it could be unlikely but if you fancy something a little more action-packed, there is also lots to do in Mauritius to get you up off those canopied pool cabanas and away exploring the island. Cristian told us that “The resort offers many experiences that are immersed in nature and are designed to instil a passion and appreciation for the exceptional local environment”.
Oliver and his family love to hop into the car and explore. Oliver says “From coast to coast the island is so different wherever you go. There are striking mountains and bustling towns, rich in history. The landscape and even the weather can change completely in just a 20 minute drive.” Christian suggests “Port Louis Unwrapped tours offering guests privileged access behind-the-scenes of the colourful island capital to experience points of cultural interest, exceptional private spaces, impressive views, and inspiring local characters.”
Tired after incredible day exploring Port Louis? Head over to the One&Only Le Saint Géran Spa and feel the weight of the day evaporate. Choose from the range of indulgent therapies, all of which are inspired by local Mauritian traditions. We love the Mauritian Fusion ritual, designed to soothe muscles with a herbal poultice.
A family, from its guests to local communities
We love the One&Only Le Saint Géran social project ‘Centre Joie Vivre’. Christian explains the project was “launched in 1987 and is the first specialist school for children with disabilities in the Eastern region of Mauritius. The school provides specialist learning and support facilities for children, and also parents to help them cater for children with additional needs. There are various initiatives planned throughout the year which include an annual sports days and excursions. The Executive Chef and his team are providing kitchen equipment for the new Joie de Vivre nursery building, which will be completed next year.”
It’s clear that One&Only Le Saint Géran is dedicated to its family. The guests, the staff, the community and the local environment that makes this place so special.
“We understand that we are privileged to operate in such a beautiful part of the world, and we want to do our part to protect it for future generations and to impart the same passion in our guests”. – Cristian Fumado
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF ONE&ONLY