Get ready to feel good with a stay at Salt of Palmar in Mauritius, where the big-hearted philosophy just keeps on giving. The palm-tree-lined paradise has more than a passing Moroccan influence from the outside, but the interiors are more rainbow than riad. There’s a rooftop bar, spa and pool, and sugar-white sand a few steps away. You can pay it forward with trips to the sustainable Salt farm, skill swaps with islanders and donating your favourite holiday read to the library for the next guest to enjoy. It’s more of a mindset than a hotel, and boy, is it well seasoned.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability and an extra charge. Earliest check-in, 2pm, also flexible on request.
Double rooms from £80.24 (€90), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates usually include à la carte breakfast.
If you’ve got a skill, share it: the hotel runs a ‘skill swap’ enterprise, where you can trade your knowledge with a local that can do something you’d like to, whether it’s fishing, basket-weaving or pot-throwing.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, beach, gym, valet parking. In rooms: iPod dock, Roberts radio, beach bags, air-conditioning, tea and coffee kit. Suites also have Dyson hairdryers and Netflix-enhanced iPads.
Our favourite rooms
If opening your doors and stepping straight onto some Indian Ocean sand sounds about right, go for a Bang on Beach; if the budget’s a little bigger, make it a Best on Beach and ask for one with a terrace. If securing a sunlounger’s a priority, go for a Poolside, so you can get to the pool first.
There’s a heated, palm-tree-lined pool a few steps from the beach.
The Salt Equilibrium spa has a salt – of the pink Himalayan variety – room, of course, along with regular wellness retreats, yoga classes and treatments that can be in-room on request.
Bring colourful kaftans and bold bikinis to match the vibrant design; brands with similarly noble initiatives, such as Toms, will get brownie points.
There are specially adapted rooms for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. Some rooms have sofa-beds, and there are inter-connecting options. Children are welcome in the restaurant, but there’s no special menu. Kid-friendly activities include cupcake and pizza-making classes.
The hotel has already won awards for its community efforts, which include charitable local partnerships, development projects and a foundation. Much of the produce is locally sourced or grown on site, fair trade and organic, and cleaning products and light bulbs are eco friendly. Single-use plastics are banned, straws are made of paper and bamboo, and you can even buy a pair of recycled-wood sunglasses.
Starlight and swimming pools make for a romantic mix.
The beach may be in reach, but be sure to change out of the swimwear for breakfast and lunch (and dinner, obviously).
Produce is king around here, and the chances are it’s local: the hotel prides itself on knowing its farmers and fishermen by name. There’s a herb wall and vegetable cellar, and guests are welcome to wander in and have a peek. The flavours are from all over, with special nods to the Med, the Middle East and, of course, Mauritius. Expect a whole lot of smoking and slow-cooking. There’s even a Parisian baker creating Francophile-pleasing croissants and sourdough.
There’s a breezy rooftop bar overlooking the ocean, and another by the pool to keep those cooling cocktails coming.
Opening hours are subject to change, but they’re roughly: 7am to 10.30am for breakfast; noon to 3pm for lunch; and 7pm to 10.30pm for dinner.
Salt of Palmar is on the easterly edge of Mauritius, overlooking the Indian Ocean on Quatre Coco beach.
The island’s international airport is an hour’s drive south (there’s a motorway, but the coastal road is prettier). Hotel transfers start from £60.
The hotel is in the Flacq District, and it’s a 15-minute drive to the nearest town. You’ll probably want to fly and flop, but there’s valet parking if you are coming by car.
Worth getting out of bed for
Salt of Palmar is on Quatre Coco beach, which is a great starting point for any Mauritius holiday. There’s also a pool a few steps from the shore, and a salty spa to get you squeaky clean. The hotel can help to arrange sunrise horse rides, watersports and yoga. The skill-swap programme is an inspired idea – and the staff are so seriously well-connected that they’ll be able to find an islander equipped with your desired talent, however niche; more mainstream suggestions include soap-making and pottery lessons. If you fancy a change from the beach on your doorstep, head to Belle Mare, which is as attractive as its name suggests. Venture across the turquoise waters off the coast of the Flacq District to Île aux Cerfs, where you’ll find even more sandy beaches, a cerulean lagoon and a golf course.
The hotel is home to some of the best coffee and cocktails on the island, so you won’t have to forage far for refreshments. For a toes-in-the-sand lunch, head to La Plage, where you can enjoy super-fresh seafood and sushi on the edge of the ocean. Just along Quatre Coco beach at Lux Belle Mare, Beach Rouge brings the French Riviera to Mauritius shores, with a breezy, beach-club decor, DJ sets and island produce.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this beachfront hotel in Mauritius and unpacked their surfboards and swimwear, a full account of their island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Salt of Palmar near Quatre Cocos…
This is a decidedly good hotel. The philosophy behind this concept stay on the eastern edge of everybody’s favourite Indian Ocean isle is so heart-warming, we’re still beaming. A stay here is designed to enrich your life in various ways: Janine the potter regularly teaches guests how to make ceramic pots, for example, though an assortment of another life skills are available; the only catch is that you share your own talent in return. You can learn how to make curries with the chef, and how to play the maravanne rattle or the moutia drum. Trips to the salt farm, fishing trips at dawn and cleansing salt-based treatments at the spa are also on the agenda. Instead of plastic bottles, the hotel has a water station, where fresh ’n’ filtered H2O is free-flowing. They’ve even enlisted a Parisian baker to set up a boulangerie on-site, so you can enjoy authentic croissants and other patisserie perfection. Gold stars all round.