A radical re-conceptualisation of the tropical island holiday is unveiled on 1 December 2011, when Naïade Resorts Ltd re-launches as LUX* Resorts.
The new brand represents the total transformation of the company and the culmination of an intensive twelve months of preparation and rehearsal by the new CEO, Paul Jones, and his team. Jones, a passionate hotelier and travel industry expert, was previously a key member of the team responsible for launching the highly aspirational One&Only brand.
The LUX* portfolio includes three hotels on Mauritius: LUX* Belle Mare, (formerly Beau Rivage); LUX* Le Morne, (formerly Les Pavillons); and LUX* Grand Gaube, (formerly Legends). In addition, there is one property in the Maldives, LUX* Maldives (formerly Diva), and one in La Réunion, LUX* Ile de La Réunion (formerly Grand Hôtel du Lagon). The three other resorts in the Naïade Group - Tamassa, Merville Beach and Hôtel Le Récif - will retain their names, but will be represented by the new Company as ‘Produced by LUX*’.
The new name marks a fresh start for the company, which was struggling under the previous management. Prior to Jones being appointed in October 2010, Naïade had achieved positive income in only two quarters of the preceding three-year period. Jones made it his mission to push up occupancy figures from a stagnant 70% to close to 100% within months of taking over. So successful was he that under his leadership, figures have been back in the black consistently. The re-branding of Naïade into LUX* is much more than a name change, as Jones emphasises:
“The immediate goal was to return the business to profitability, which we did. However, even in these uncertain and turbulent times, it is important to have more than a short term goal. In the medium to long term, we want to raise the level of what we offer and create a new type of experience that will lift our reputation above the ubiquity of other island resorts. We want to be the number one choice for customers looking for the vacation of a lifetime”.
Central to LUX* - which takes its name from the Latin for Light – is a concept the company has named Island Light. This focuses on creating original, unexpected and delightful additional experiences for LUX* customers, be it on-beach film screenings and pop-up bars or retro-styled ice-cream parlours and laughter yoga classes. Jones compares the Island Light concept to a musical production, where each resort is a theatre and staff are the cast producing a show-stopping performance of Island Light ‘scenes’ every day.
Island Light is a direct response to Naïade’s previous managerial direction, as Jones explains: “When I took over the company, I found that staff were under a lot of pressure to cut costs, but without any real rationale. The first challenge was to re-calibrate how we thought about the customer, because that reflected in the financial results. I have always believed that what counts is people – whether it is the people who are delivering the experience or the people who are benefiting from it. We started with eight fantastic properties, all in beautiful locations and all on the beach. What distinguishes LUX* from all the other 5-star resorts in the sector is the level of investment in service we are bringing to the operation, because it is the interaction between people that I believe really makes a difference. My mantra from day one has been ‘value for money’ – you don’t give that by cutting corners and reducing the experience, but by delivering something remarkable, memorable and wholly delightful”.
While the company has invested significantly in the new brand and its core concept, it has made savings across the board by paring away what Jones describes as “the unnecessary, the fussy, the pretentious and the wasteful”. So confident is he that Island Light will translate into hard cash for LUX* that there are already plans to roll out the brand at other resort island destinations across the globe. “This is much more than a superficial name change”, says Jones, “because Island Light makes hard business sense. It is a unifying concept encapsulated into a brand, which will provide a strong argument for us to attract more guests into our hotels. We have progressed from having no concept to having a really strong and inspiring one. That in turn will help us become recognisable to consumers as offering great value underpinned with truly amazing service. We are moving at an incredible pace, and I am happy we are able to move so swiftly, because now is the time”.