Eco-friendly holidays: Inside Salt of Palmar, the hotel ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor in Mauritius


It’s fair to say that Salt of Palmar isn’t your typical Mauritian hotel. While many of its neighbouring hotels on Mauritius’ stunning east coast are sprawling resort hotels with multiple pools, restaurants and bars (and golf buggies to ferry you from one end to the other), Salt is far more compact, with its 59 bedrooms surrounding the central (and instantly Instagrammable) swimming pool.

With its beachside location though, you certainly won’t feel short on space and the roof-top bar, open-plan restaurant and ultra-stylish design throughout give Salt a luxury, boutique feel along the lines of Soho House – an inspiration in the design of the hotel.

But there is far more to Salt – which opened in 2018 – than meets the eye. This is Mauritius’ first ‘luxury eco-hotel’ and means you can enjoy the perfect relaxing break without feeling you are adding to the planet’s burden (assuming you’ve offset your airmiles getting to Mauritius in the first place, of course).

Salt, pictured above, is Mauritius’ first ‘luxury eco-hotel’ – you won’t find any single-use plastics here

Salt, located at Coastal Road Palmar, is the number-one-rated hotel on Tripadvisor in the whole of Mauritius

Salt, located at Coastal Road Palmar, is the number-one-rated hotel on Tripadvisor in the whole of Mauritius 

Sarah recommends downloading the Salt app, which contains everything you need to know about the hotel - including the restaurant menus

Sarah recommends downloading the Salt app, which contains everything you need to know about the hotel – including the restaurant menus

You won’t find any single-use plastics here and as much as possible the hotel uses local, sustainable resources, from food and fuel to toiletries to textiles. 

That’s not to say a stay at Salt is a joyless experience and indeed the hotel is full of little luxuries and thoughtful touches which have propelled Salt to the lofty heights of number-one-rated hotel on Tripadvisor in the whole of Mauritius (out of 216 properties) – no mean feat considering the competition.

On arrival, guests are welcomed with a healthy cocktail – mine was garnished with salted baked pineapple, cloves and wild basil – and checked in via iPads, thereby avoiding unnecessary paperwork. 

The bedrooms are ‘simple spaces with all the essentials’ which means no energy-consuming minibar or even a TV

The bedrooms are ‘simple spaces with all the essentials’ which means no energy-consuming minibar or even a TV

Certain hotel rooms have an ocean view, whereas others look out over the back of the hotel

In the rainfall showers in each room, you’ll find toiletries in refillable ceramic jugs

Certain hotel rooms have an ocean view, and the rainfall showers in each room feature toiletries in refillable ceramic jugs

According to Sarah, you are likely to spend most of your time at Salt outside your room, 'possibly lying on one of the swimming pool's luxury striped loungers'

According to Sarah, you are likely to spend most of your time at Salt outside your room, ‘possibly lying on one of the swimming pool’s luxury striped loungers’

The ultra-stylish design throughout Salt creates a luxury, boutique feel along the lines of Soho House

The ultra-stylish design throughout Salt creates a luxury, boutique feel along the lines of Soho House

Downloading the Salt app is also recommended, which contains everything you need to know about the hotel including restaurant menus, spa treatments (of which more later) and local information. 

Everyone is given an aluminium water bottle that can be refilled at the hotel’s filtered water stations, there are contactless phone-charging stations everywhere and other thoughtful additions such as lens cleaner for when you get sun cream on your sunglasses and aloe vera for sunburnt skin.

Hotel rooms often have complimentary shower gel and hair products but in the rainfall showers in each room at Salt you’ll find shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a hair mask and even salt scrub, all in refillable ceramic jugs – no plastic here. 

The loofahs and cotton pads are 100 per cent organic, the earbuds, combs and toothbrushes are from sustainably-farmed bamboo and if you need a quick clothing repair, you can borrow a kit from the reception without the need for a disposable sewing kit. 

Beach bags are handmade by a local basket weaver, bathrobes are made from unbleached organic-cotton derived from coffee grounds (this gives it anti-bacterial properties apparently) and even the shower caps are made from corn starch rather than plastic. 

After a hard day's relaxing, hit the roof-top bar - it features spectacular views up and down the coast

After a hard day’s relaxing, hit the roof-top bar – it features spectacular views up and down the coast

The friendly bartenders at Salt's rooftop bar will be more than happy to whip up a cocktail for you, Sarah reveals

The friendly bartenders at Salt’s rooftop bar will be more than happy to whip up a cocktail for you, Sarah reveals 

Guests at Salt can sunbathe on the beach loungers and fall asleep to the sound of the waves

Guests at Salt can sunbathe on the beach loungers and fall asleep to the sound of the waves

The no-food-waste restaurant, pictured, sources ingredients from Salt’s own farm, and local farms and co-operatives

The no-food-waste restaurant, pictured, sources ingredients from Salt’s own farm, and local farms and co-operatives

The bedrooms are, in Salt’s own words, ‘simple spaces with all the essentials’; which means no energy-consuming minibar or even TV, but there are plenty of books to borrow from the downstairs library and a digital radio in each room as well as a yoga mat and block. 

Even if you have an ocean view (some rooms have views over the back of the hotel) you are likely to spend most of your time at Salt outside your room, possibly in the beautiful swimming pool or lying on one of its luxury striped pool-side loungers, or sunbathing on the beach loungers falling asleep to the sound of the waves.

After a hard day’s relaxing, there is a roof-top bar with spectacular views up and down the coast and the friendly bartenders will be more than happy to whip up a cocktail for you – the No Smoke without Fire arrives in a smoke-filled cloche and is inspired by Mauritius’ sugar-cane industry.

The hotel has 59 bedrooms surrounding the central (and instantly Instagrammable) swimming pool, pictured

The hotel has 59 bedrooms surrounding the central (and instantly Instagrammable) swimming pool, pictured 

There's a digital radio in each room as well as a yoga mat and block. Pictured is a 'pool plus' room at the hotel

There’s a digital radio in each room as well as a yoga mat and block. Pictured is a ‘pool plus’ room at the hotel 

There is a strong emphasis on salt at the spa (pictured above), and treatments begin and end with salt

There is a strong emphasis on salt at the spa (pictured above), and treatments begin and end with salt

Sarah reveals Salt's skill swap initiative means that guests can learn local skills from local people

Sarah reveals Salt’s skill swap initiative means that guests can learn local skills from local people

Salt - which opened its doors in 2018 - was named one of the ‘World’s Greatest Places’ by Time magazine

Salt – which opened its doors in 2018 – was named one of the ‘World’s Greatest Places’ by Time magazine

TRAVEL FACTS  

SALT of Palmar is located at Coastal Road Palmar, Belle Mare, MU 41604 Mauritius. Rooms start from £130 a night. 

Getting to Mauritius: There are is no requirement to quarantine on arrival for fully-vaccinated visitors.

British Airways and Air Mauritius fly direct from London Gatwick and London Heathrow to the UK from Mauritius while indirect flights are operated by Air France (via Paris), Emirates (via Dubai) and Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul). 

The no-food-waste restaurant (no buffets here) sources ingredients from Salt’s own farm or local farms and co-operatives and offers a fresh, eclectic mix of Mediterranean, Mauritian and Middle Eastern flavours. 

In between daytime naps, you can always check out the spa. Fittingly there is a strong emphasis on salt here and treatments begin and end with salt. Before massages guests can enjoy a soothing foot and calf scrub – first choosing between Fleur de sel, Dead Sea salt, Himalayan salt, lava rock salt or Epsom salt, all of which have different therapeutic properties – and at the end are ushered to the ‘salt room’ to breathe salty air for 15 minutes. 

If this sounds too relaxing, then there is a full schedule of activities laid on by the hotel every day, such as a morning ‘serenity walk by the sea,’ shadow boxing, cookery classes and sunset yoga (there are many activities for kids and teens too) and the hotel even offers five and 10-day ‘wellcation’ packages. If you want to be even more active then you might want to hire a bike to cycle into the nearby town of Palmer, try stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking or explore the lagoon by pedalo.

However, Salt wants to offer much more than a mere beach holiday and its skill swap initiative means that guests can learn local skills from local people – everything from fishing and basket weaving to soap-making and painting – or can even offer to teach a skill themselves. Previous guests have taught cookery, photography and writing.

‘We want our guests to experience all of Mauritius rather than just Salt,’ says general manager Raj Reedoy. ‘It’s very different from a normal guest experience.’

Different it might be, but with its coveted No.1 Tripadvisor stop and other accolades including being named one of the ‘World’s Greatest Places’ by Time magazine, Salt certainly seems to be doing something right.

Sarah Bridge is a travel writer and founder of travel reviews website ALadyofLeisure.com.



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