For those in the know, the One&Only Le Saint Géran Mauritius is the be-all and end-all in this land of luxury. And for a limited time, the iconic hotel is home to a world-first pop-up with the most famous female chef in the world, Anne Sophie Pic — and she̕s bringing her famed food and 10 Michelin stars along with her
Located on its very own exclusive peninsula and nestled under 4,000 palm trees, the One&Only Le Saint Géran was the first hotel to open on the island of Mauritius in 1975, and very quickly got its global reputation as the go-to getaway for refined luxury at its best. Some 47 years on, the hotel remains an iconic destination — that some of its very first guests keep returning all these years later is testament to the destination and its team of talented staff. Sailing through the decades with style, the property was completely transformed with a multi-million refurbishment in 2017.
There are very few ultra-luxury hotels in the world that tick all the boxes, for all the people, but Le Saint Géran must get very close. Unspoiled beaches with never-ending views, comfier-than-a-cloud beds and bountiful breakfasts are all present and correct to get your day rolling. Not forgetting the gym, hotel activities and spa experiences, all important ingredients for luxury R&R. The 142 redesigned guest rooms and suites really are something else. With sweeping ocean views and grounds, all guests have private balconies or terraces. Marble bathrooms meet gold-detailed rain showers and bath tubs big enough for two, while separate wardrobes with dressing rooms are full of flattering light and custom-made beauty bureaux. Fresh flowers and fruit greet guests on arrival along with local delicacies and gifts made on-island by the locals. For those who want a little more privacy, Villa One is the real deal. Set amidst the tropical gardens, the two-bedroom villa has its very own private entrance, 24-hour butler, chef and valet. This hideaway has certain Robinson Crusoe vibes, but dialled up to luxury at its most magnificent.
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From yoga to stand up paddle board, Club One at the hotel is equipped for the sportiest of guests and professional trainers are on hand to walk or train you through any request. The gym is fitted out with TechnoGym equipment and has two studios for HIIT, Zumba, spinning and kickboxing. Those that practice Pilates will be happy to know the studio has two Reformer machines for perfecting that perfect stretch. If guests are up for a game of tennis or volleyball the courts are all theirs, and if golf is your game, a putting green has also been put in place for use at leisure. The resort is also home to the first padel tennis courts in Mauritius. Club One is also home to KidsOnly and One Tribe (ages 8 to 17) which offers young guests complimentary activities including art classes, movie nights and DJ parties. Table tennis, beach football and life-size Jenga, chess and Connect 4 also win the popularity contest when it comes to activities that transcend age groups. Kayaking and stand up paddleboard are also up there on the list of things to do in the hotel, especially when you can scull yourself out to the stunning mangroves which surround the peninsula. Post- workout, the One&Only Spa is an experience in itself so be prepared to never want to leave. With its very own lap pool looking out to the lagoon, 13 treatment rooms, steam and sauna rooms, the spa spans over 1000 square meters and its treatments are inspired by holistic Mauritian traditions.
When it comes to food, the One&Only Le Saint Géran is second to none. Always a step ahead, from this month until the 4th of March 2023, guests will be in for a world-first epicurean pop-up experience. The iconic Mauritian hideaway’s signature restaurant Prime will transform into La Dame de Pic at Prime, and at the helm is the world’s most awarded female chef. With no less than 10 Michelin stars, Anne Sophie Pic knows what’s what when it comes to fine cuisine. With authentic and local ingredients sourced from the island, the specially devised menu consists of 15 dishes with eight desserts and has been a labour of love for Pic who visited the island and stayed at the One&Only Le Saint Géran shortly after she was married. “I came after my honeymoon, and we kept coming with my husband very often, almost each year,” explains Pic. “I discovered the restaurants as a guest and, you know, when I would pass through I would think ‘oh I would be so happy to have a restaurant here one day’. Honestly! And now time has passed, we have a good relationship with the One&Only and after beginning to talk about doing this project together a long time ago it has finally happened.”
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In order to get the menu to a 10-star Michelin level, the Mauritian team went to Pic’s HQ in Valance, France for over two weeks to work with her and her team to perfect the techniques and dishes. “We did a lot of things together,” says Pic. “I changed a lot of dishes while going through this process because I was thinking about the ingredients. I had in mind all the ingredients I wanted to use, as last year when I visited the island I discovered beautiful octopus and langoustine, not the same as in Europe of course because of the sea temperature but it’s very good and very fresh. So it helped me a lot when it came to building the menu. We devise all the dishes together, so we are building together, which is very important because each chef gives a part of his or herself to each dish and I’m here to give input for the combination of flavours.”
This exclusive, one-off menu includes authentic locally-inspired dishes with a Michelin-starred twist. Grilled octopus and foie gras, bouillabaisse jelly served with heart of palm salad, confit leg of lamb with roasted eggplant and saffron gel and marinated ‘coeur de boeuf’ tomato, Burrata and smoked vanilla chantilly are just some of the melt-in-the-mouth dishes. The detail that has gone into this collaboration goes all the way from fruit from the local markets to glasses all the way from Merano. “It has to be a bit cool and also a bit professional and the hotel allowed us to order some things for the table settings,” shares Pic. “We used some of the plates from the hotel and we bought a few things, like the glasses from Merano — we love them. And for the knives, we have white ones which were made especially for the opening. We have exactly the same kind in Valance, made by a French artisan.”
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With restaurants around the world, books and guest-star appearances on Netflix, Pic is the most modest of celebrities. Loved for her personal touch, whether it be in person or in a recipe, the esteemed Pic never has a dull moment and puts it down to being extremely organised: “It’s a question of really anticipating everything,” she muses. When not at work Pic has some go-to dishes that she loves to make for family and friends. Crayfish gratin, sea bass with caviar or pastry stuffed with truffle are her menu favourites, although her husband always has some words of caution for her. “He says ‘please do something very, very simple otherwise you won’t be able to be with your friends, and you’re never at the table with them’!” she laughs.
So is Pic a difficult dinner guest herself? She says that the simple answer is no. “My childhood friends don’t care about my job, but for the new friends — maybe,” smiles Pic. “This summer, I wentto Corsica with some friends. At the beginning of the trip, we made salad every day, but by the middle of the week I was thinking; ‘we are in Corsica I have to find fish!’ So finally, I bought some langoustine, made a bisque and I was so happy. We worked all morning in the kitchen, but my friends were happy to cook with me.” Anne-Sophie Pic’s culinary residency will be taking place at Prime restaurant for dinner Monday to Saturday, until 4th March 2023. Reserve a table
- Words by Sophia Serin