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Crafts and tourism in Beachcomber hotels in Mauritius

Mauritius reopened its borders in October 2021. The country took advantage of these months without tourists to refurbish, remodel or quite simply build tourist infrastructure, while the population diversified its activities: good news for the manual arts. Previously perceived as an unsustainable source of income, Mauritian craftsmanship is of growing interest to young people. A sector highlighted in Beachcomber hotels since the launch of the group in 1952.

Beachcomber Hotels

In Mauritius, Beachcomber hotels all share a common DNA. Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels

Pioneer of the Mauritian hotel industry — the group was created in 1952 —, Beachcomber has no less than eight addresses in Mauritius. Far from the logic of mass tourism, it is in a virtuous and environmentally friendly approach that each of its hotels is part of. Recycling of water, reduction of the flow of sinks and showers, abolition of plastic and single-use products (as far as possible)… If noneand destination accessential in long-haul flights cannot boast of being exemplary in terms of ecology, the efforts made by Beachcomber are no less commendable.

Eight hotels therefore, for as many possibilities of stays. The group’s DNA does indeed flow through the veins of each of these exceptional establishments – we find in particular the same idea put forward for the exteriors and a location always close to the ocean – but each address offers a different perspective. Another point in common between the stopovers: the presence of many artisanal pieces, from a soap dish to a suspension, mostly from the program Beautiful Localhands (see below) which helps local craftsmen to make a living from their know-how.

Nature and craftsmanship: two pillars for Beachcomber

In each room, the details of the decoration are often shaped in the wood, whether it is driftwood or exotic.

In each room, the details of the decoration are often shaped in the wood, whether it is driftwood or exotic. Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels

Built before Mauritius became a tourist paradise, the addresses of the group imposed their standard. Generous in size – often several hectares requiring golf carts to get around – these hotels nonetheless remain havens of peace, anchored in their territory. At Dinarobin, with 172 suites and 3 villas, the Morne-Brabant mountain that borders the property is highlighted in every possible way; from the bathroom skylight to the orientation of the pool deckchairs. No building of more than two floors was built so as not to obstruct the line drawn by the coconut trees.

The Dinarobin Beachcomber has Le Morne-Brabant as its direct neighbour.

The Dinarobin Beachcomber has Le Morne-Brabant as its direct neighbour. Aurelie Michel

At Dinarobin as in the other Beachcomber addresses, and all the more so at the neighboring Hôtel Paradis, the decoration is oriented towards endemic materials (wood, stone, linen). Both for an aesthetic question but also to support local trade. If they are not always made in the workshops of the Beautiful Localhands association, the furniture is mostly produced on the island by local brands.

When it comes to style, Beachcomber hotels respond to local folklore with simple lines, plays of chiaroscuro and a particular emphasis on white.

Beautiful Localhands inspires Mauritius

Mashrabiya effects and designer furniture adorn the bathrooms.

Mashrabiya effects and designer furniture adorn the bathrooms. Aurelie Michel

Beautiful Localhands, non-profit social project, was created in 2006 to support local artisans (about fifty in the project), often from vulnerable backgrounds, so that they can access the tourist market and sell their products. These are then resold on local markets, to Beachcomber addresses or sent to the various international brands that place orders at the workshop.

Beautiful Localhands, the association of Beachcomber hotels, welcomes amateur and professional craftsmen.

Beautiful Localhands, the association of Beachcomber hotels, welcomes amateur and professional craftsmen. Aurelie Michel

Why did you set up such an initiative? Deeply involved in the development of its island and the blossoming of its talents, Beachcomber created the Fondation Espoir Développement Beachcomber (FED) in 1999 in order to support the process of social and economic integration of vulnerable groups, on which Beautiful Localhands depends. My local population is invited to come and use the association’s ovens, turners or other welders in order to facilitate their integration into the professional creative world. Thus, weavers, ceramists and jewelry designers find themselves around the same vocation: to create from local and virtuous materials, whether upcycled or recycled.

What crafts in Mauritius?

Ceramics is one of the fastest growing arts in Mauritius, thanks in particular to Beachcomber and its association Beautiful Localhands.

Ceramics is one of the fastest growing arts in Mauritius, thanks in particular to Beachcomber and its association Beautiful Localhands. Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels

Sophie Muthens in charge of the Beautiful Localhands project. If she cites vacoas leaves, coconut and driftwood as privileged resources of traditional Mauritian crafts, she admitsand that its overall style has been standardized to meet tourism demand. Thanks to the association, craftsmen are encouraged to give free rein to their imagination in order to attract outside contractors who are constantly browsing the catalogs made available to them by Beautiful Localhands. Lwhich creations are often fashioned from recycled materials gleaned from Beachcomber hotels, such as fabric scraps, magazines or even corks.

Youth is also a key element of this renewal. We see a growing interest on the part of young people for trades related to crafts and manual arts in general. With Covid-19, border closures, difficulties in obtaining supplies elsewhere and the increase in freight, there is a renewed interest in local consumption, and therefore craftsmanship explains Sophie Muthens, delighted to see part of her association’s workforce getting younger. ” Beautiful Localhand joined forces last year with a training institution, the Fashion and Design Institute. This collaboration has allowed young people to be accompanied on the design part of their products, and thus develop their own style.

Thus, Maurice could see hatch international brands in the coming years. In the meantime, Beachcomber and its association are continuing their commitments and benefiting positively from the reopening of the island’s borders to spread their crafts.

Website.

Getting to Mauritius

The French company Corsair operates flights from Paris Orly, Nantes, Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux on board more environmentally friendly aircraft (reduction of carbon emissions and noise footprint).

  • Paris/Mauritius from €686 incl. VAT (return trip in economy class with checked baggage).
  • Marseille/Mauritius from €745 incl. tax (return trip in economy class with checked baggage).

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