Few tropical islands have seen luxury hotel openings quite on the scale of Mauritius or St Lucia in the past year, both of which look set to be hot destinations this year.
A thousand miles off the east coast of Africa, in the midst of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has long had more than 100 mostly luxurious resort hotels around its 330km coast. Yet the past few months have witnessed three high-end openings. The Anahita Residences (anahita.mu) at L’Adamante has a resort village complete with shops, restaurants, bars, a beauty centre and Ernie Els golf course, fronted by a 6km beach, while the new Four Seasons Resort Mauritius (fourseasons.com) has a wilderness sanctuary and spa. Starwood has also unveiled its 193-room Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa (luxurycollection.com), close to the area of Balaclava overlooking the Baie de l’Arsenal, or Turtle Bay as the tourist office prefers to style it.
We’ll have to wait until 2010, however, for what promises to be the most architecturally stunning hotel and villa complex on the island: the Banyan Tree at Corniche Bay (cornichebay.com), designed by star architect Norman Foster.
St Lucia becomes that much closer this winter with the launch of British Airways’ direct flight. Arguably the most beautiful of the Windward Islands – its rainforest interior is as impressive as its coast – it has had two high-profile openings: Cap Maison (capmaison.co.uk) on a bluff in the north of the island facing Martinique, and The Landings (landings.rockresorts.com), also on the north coast. This year is set to unveil the glitzy new Ritz-Carlton (ritzcarlton.com) in Half Moon Bay, near the fishing town of Laborie.