When the One&Only Le Saint Géran first opened in Mauritius in 1975, it was celebrated as the most iconic luxury retreat on the island. Fast-forward to the present and – following a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2017 – this title still stands, and it isn’t difficult to see why. The resort’s extravagance isn’t in flashy features and over-the-top architecture, but quite oppositely: in its modern, beach-inspired décor that embraces Mauritian materials and culture, and its exclusive location on a tropical peninsula, flanked by the ocean and a tranquil lagoon.
Nestled within lush tropical surroundings, the resort’s original colonial-style architecture has been preserved with references galore to the traditional Mauritian lifestyle and architecture, including local plantation manor houses, sugar cane kilns and soft palm-thatched roofs, while its interiors boast a more contemporary approach.
Soaring wooden doors open up to the reception area that automatically reveals unobstructed views of the ocean, while the high-ceiling stone and wood breezeway is interspersed with vast dome-shaped open windows, letting in natural light and air flow. Floors of silver travertine and white-washed walls echo the ripples of the seashore, and further add to the brightness and welcoming atmosphere of the space.
The guest rooms feature spacious living spaces design with muted hues of warm white marble, teak and greys, creating a relaxed island feel. dsgn from South Africa worked closely with the resort team to ensure that the interior design and architecture of all spaces truly captured the essence of the island, while keeping One&Only’s guidelines in mind. A strong focus has been placed on showcasing the serene views and surroundings of the resort, with furnishings, fabrics and colour schemes reflecting the lush tropical landscapes, the vibrant turquoise Indian Ocean and the bleached white Mauritian sand. Natural materials such as timber, stone, leather and linen are used across the interiors, with bespoke furniture and locally crafted lithographs selected to resonate with the tropical Mauritian environment.
The hotel’s Villa One – a private two-bedroom secluded island home on the property – is understandably the most desirable living space in the resort, and features bespoke furniture, locally crafted artworks, handmade ceramics and opulent natural materials such as marble, silk and leather. Artworks throughout the resort pay homage to the island. These include the starfish artworks by Dong Sculpture that adorn the walls of the entrance gallery and celebrate Mauritian marine life. Outside, a stainless steel spherical sculpture – also by Dong Sculpture – stands in the shape of a palm frond blowing in the wind.
For Villa One, the design team has selected a number of works by Mauritian artists, connecting guests to the heritage of the island and its culture. One such artist is Sarah Thompson, who designed two abstract ceramic pieces for the master bedroom and the dining room, inspired by the underwater treasures of the India Ocean, utilising a sea urchin application on white, with touches of glaze and metal.
Also in the master bedroom is the work of local artist Hélène de Senneville, who looks to tropical gardens and nature for inspiration. Her figurative acrylic gold and silver leaf painting is displayed on the wall. The second bedroom additionally features a collection of her handmade ceramic plates that evoke the colourful indigenous flora and fauna. In the living room, a selection of paintings reflects the resort’s legendary history, which has now been artfully retained through its remarkable attention to detail, its respect for culture and tradition, and its understanding of the modern-day luxury-loving traveller.