Not so long ago, luxury was defined by elitist fashion labels, restaurants with waiting lists, marble-clad décor and champagne on tap. However, today it reflects the realities of the new global economic order that frowns on excess and waste.
Luxury now centres on offering an experience that is more about time and thought than cash and glitz. This change can be seen across the board from the growth in demand for artisan-produced foods and bespoke design to the revival of traditional craft processes and popularity of quirky boutique hotels. Now ‘new luxury’ is making its impact on the idyllic setting of the tropical island resort holiday.
Welcome to LUX* Resorts & Hotels.When CEO Paul Jones took over the Naïade Resorts group in late 2010 – a resort company with properties in Mauritius, the Maldives and Reunion Island - he and his management team recognised that luxury itself was no longer easy to categorise.
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. Rather than opting for a straightforward re-branding strategy – Naïade by a different name - he determined on a radical and total re-conceptualisation of the traditional island resort holiday. In doing so, he posed two questions: what does luxury really mean to holidaymakers today?
And how to give them an experience that he describes as “brighter, lighter”? The result – LUX* Resorts & Hotels - is an exhilarating change of direction, both for the company and for the island of Mauritius, where LUX* operates five of its eight hotels.
LUX* launched in December 2011. Adopting a name which is Latin for light, the new brand is dedicated to staging a lighter, brighter and fresher holiday experience. Out go rich sauce-laden dishes, pretentious wine lists, corny crooners, formal butlers,
and piped muzak. Instead LUX* celebrates the idea of doing the ordinary extraordinarily, a concept the company has named Island Light.
Jones compares this signature concept to a musical production, where each resort is a theatre and its staff is the cast producing a show-stopping performance every day. Freshly-roasted organic coffee, retro-styled ice-cream parlours, on-the-beach film
screenings, pop-up restaurants, honesty bars and libraries of cool magazines may sound insignificant when taken in isolation, but the cumulative impact of these and a whole raft of other carefully choreographed Island Light experiences – more than 50 in total -add up to the simpler, more relaxed and altogether lighter luxury that Jones and his team had envisioned.
It is a change that is likely to have an impact not only on LUX* destinations, but on the luxury travel industry as a whole. Intelligent, sophisticated and well-travelled guests are looking for something different when they book a vacation – an experience that reflects their own sense of individuality and discernment.
Jones says the key to the success of LUX* is its stated commitment to Helping People Celebrate Life: “At LUX*, we define luxury as providing an uncomplicated and delightful island experience delivered with fast, dependable and heart-felt service.
I have spent 35 years designing, building, operating and managing resorts in exotic destinations around the world and this project has presented me with an opportunity to contribute all that knowledge and insight, and create something truly different
and special. I believe it will be a “light bulb” moment for our customers as they realise that this is what they have been looking for, but nobody until now has given them the choice”.