Dragon's Den investor Kelly Hoppen talks about re-inventing a luxury resort in Mauritius
Dragon's Den panellist Kelly Hoppen is a renowned designer and her most recent project has involved refurbishing the luxurious Lux Belle Mare hotel in Mauritius. Located on the east coast of the island, the luxury resort has a village-style layout with thatched-roof suites and villas overlooking the azure sea.
Kelly Hoppen has become well known as one of the Dragons on the BBC's popular Dragon's Den series after a successful design career, and her latest project has been the transformation of an island resort in the Indian Ocean.
Hoppen was part of the team that designed the five-star Lux Belle Mare Resort in Mauritius and to date, it has been the biggest project she has been part of.
Talking to a reporter from City AM Miss Hoppen explained:
"It was a very different place before. It was hideous. There was a lot of orange wood and it was dark and oppressive. It was not at all what you would want in a resort – we have lightened the whole thing up.
"When you go to an island in the middle of nowhere with sandy beaches, you've got this idea of barefoot luxury. The question was, how could we create this five star hotel that was understated, a breath of fresh air?"
Located on the east side of the Indian Ocean island, the luxury resort sits in the relaxed village of Belle Mare and features 174 thatched-roofed suites and 12 Lux Ocean Villas that overlook the sparkling turquoise sea.
Accommodation has been decorated with Hoppen's signature neutral colours and splashes of traditional Mauritian shades of blue, green, orange and pink in the furnishings, and bathrooms with taupe wood clad walls. Miss Hoppen explained:
"The look of every room is pared-down simplicity. You don't want lots of fabric around you when you're in the heat. I wanted to capture the feeling of getting off a plane from a city and shedding all that ‘cityness', being able to relax, do nothing. That's really what we created."
The beachfront resort has three gourmet restaurants including Amari by Michelin-starred Indian chef Vineet Bhatia, and Duck Laundry, with contemporary-style Chinese cuisine.
K Bar - named after Hoppen - overlooks the sea and has its own microbrewery with a variety of craft beers as well as cocktails. Beach Rouge's decor features white sofas and hexagonal tables on white-washed wooden boards and is the place to go for late night drinks. She also added:
"For me, time is the most precious thing of all. Being able to go on holiday and not be interrupted is so important. So every time you want something, it's just there – that was the brief."
Like many other luxury resorts in Mauritius, relaxation is at the forefront, and guests will find plenty of ways to do this from watching movies on bean bags on the beach, to enjoying veggie burgers delivered straight to sun loungers via a Mauritian food truck towed by a Rolls Royce.
After three years in the making, Hoppen put the finishing touches in place at the end of the 2014 and she celebrated its completion over Christmas with guests including Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon and his model wife Yasmin.
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