The SALT of Palmar hotel on the east coast of Mauritius has recently been named one of Time Magazine’s “Greatest Places” by renowned Mauritian architect Maurice Giraud and Mr & Mrs. Smith’s “Local Hotel Hero” by the French living in London Artist Camille Walala gives the hotel a touch of color with its 59 rooms and public areas.
Walala and longtime collaborator Julia Jomaa worked closely with the Mauritian architect John-François Adams to realize a vision for the dramatic geometric building that was inspired by both the natural landscape and the artificial environment of the surrounding island, “I was overwhelmed by the many vibrant and bold colors you can find on the island,” said Walala. “People paint their houses in the most amazing colors that really stand out from the lush tropical surroundings. From the emerald green of the plants to the ever-changing colors of the sky, I wanted to combine these warm natural tones with my typical pop colors. ”
Described by Time Magazine as a “sensational Instagram bait”, SALT of Palmar beauty is more than screen-deep. The hotel is designed to promote sustainability, connect with the local community, and introduce culturally curious travelers to the real Mauritius. “This is not a hotel that grudges the environment reluctantly,” said Mr & Mrs. Smith jury. “Salt of Palmar literally exists to serve the community and reduce the region’s carbon footprint. With a lot of creativity and style, from beach chairs made from recycled flotsam to the travel guides of the island, written by a team of talented locals. “The hotel also has all food waste and disposable plastics and sources, eliminating food for the in-house restaurant from an organic farm.
After working in the LUX * Grand Gaube, Walala was invited to redesign the interior of SALT. She created a spectacular mural for this Beach Rouge Beach Club. However, this is her first architectural collaboration. Still, it was the obvious choice for The Lux Collective CEO and SALT inventor Paul Jones. “Camille Walala’s relationship to color is exactly the same as most Mauritians,” he explains. “For both, color is a vehicle of joy and a means of expressing positivity. She is the ideal artist for the SALT of Palmar; I must have been to the hotel 100 times as it has developed over the past few months, but every time I see her, her designs make me smile. ”
With such a natural fit, Walala might have been forgiven for resting on her laurels, but she and Jomaa were still doing their homework – exploring the island’s food, culture, and neighborhoods to get a real feel for them to get Mauritian aesthetics so that she could weave that into the fabric of her interior and help guests make a meaningful connection to their surroundings. “I really wanted to bring what we saw on the street back to the hotel,” she says.
This approach involved recruiting local artisans to design bespoke pieces for the project, including basket maker Reotee Buleeram, potter Janine Espitalier-Noel, and rattan artisans Mawlabaccus and Said Moosbally.
The geography of the island prevented the procurement of many of Walala’s preferred materials. “Mauritius is a remote country, and although there is a wide range of products and materials, I had to think of many alternatives to things that I would have liked to use in styling and building,” she explains. “Since SALT is by the sea and under the strong sun, we had to work with materials that could not be damaged by wind, heat, water, or light. However, I grew up to enjoy the challenge of finding alternatives in the region – that’s what the SALT philosophy is all about. ”
Salt of Palmar Hotel
What: SALZ from Palmar Hotel
Where: SALZ from Palmar Coastal Road, Palmar 41604, Mauritius
How much: From $ 195
Highlights: The black and white striped fountain in the heart of the riad-style hotel.
Draft: Head south to explore the most pristine parts of Mauritius and Mauritius. Don’t miss the World of Seashells Museum, where Eric Le Court has collected over 8,000 shells.
Book it: SALT of Palmar Hotel
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Photography by Tekla Evelina Severin. Film from Zetteler Films.