AS our plane descends beneath the clouds, fields of green sugar cane appear in view.
We’re arriving on the beautiful island nation of Mauritius, east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, after an eight-hour flight from Perth, the Australian exit point we travelled from Sydney to.
We feel the heat in the air and a subtle wet humidity as we leave the airport guided by our driver, who meets us with a welcome sign and refreshing wet towels.
We travel 45 minutes along the coastal route on the east side of the island, passing vibrant houses painted in yellow and blue.
It’s just after sunset and as the sun begins to disappear, the locals stroll along the road with their children, laughing and catching up with their neighbours.
We spot fisherman around 100 metres offshore waist-deep in water, fishing at low tide.
Just as the sun disappears, we arrive at the grand gates of LUX* Belle Mare, the flagship of the LUX* resort collection.
Staff rush out to greet us and we follow a path of glowing lamps that lead us to the reception area.
The whole resort has recently undergone a makeover by London-based designer Kelly Hoppen, who has worked with the Beckhams.
There are 174 suites and 12 luxury villas with private pools located on the northern end of the property.
Our room is an oversized suite, with an open plan bedroom and lounge to the left and a huge bathroom, matching the size of the living area, to the right.
Though our room doesn’t have an ocean view, we have a pleasant outlook over the palm trees and koi pond below.
A freestanding bath takes centre stage in the bathroom and a rain shower is just beyond - big enough for two.
The scent we encountered in the foyer, of mint tea, is in the room, too. Fresh and tropical, it’s a scent that will forever remind us of this grand sanctuary by the sea.
The following morning, the soft light exposes a view we’ve been daydreaming about - an oversized pool that wraps around a bar, shouldering a white sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see and crystal-clear water.
Jet lag has us up at just after 6am, so after we snap a few pictures on the beach, which is illuminated with a soft dreamy glow, we head to the resorts signature LUX* café, where the coffee is brewed on site.
By the third day, the baristas know our order - a cold drip Ethiopian blend for my husband and a piccolo for me.
After our coffees, we enjoy a buffet breakfast at M.I.X.E.
A chef awaits our egg order and there are cold meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, sausages, bacon, traditional Indian-creole dishes, noodles, freshly baked pastries and a crepe, pancake and waffle station.
M.I.X.E is one of five dining options at the resort.
Others include Beach Rouge, the Rolls Royce Food Truck inspired by the movie Chef, Duck Laundry serving up Chinese cuisine and Amari by Vineet an Indian restaurant with a menu designed by Michelin-star chef Vineet Bhatia.
What makes the resort unique is that it caters for any kind of holiday you’re in need of.
If it’s rejuvenation you’re after, there’s a world-class wellness spa LUX* ME, which offers activities like a Chinese tea ceremony and yoga. If it’s romance you’re in need of, you can have the staff organise private dining on the beach before retreating to a sun lounger in the adults-only area on the sand.
If you’re travelling with children, there’s a dedicated kids’ club, a playground, an ice cream parlour and a pool they’ll love.
There are also pool exercise lessons on floating mats, morning yoga, horse riding on the beach, photographic experiences and all of the water sports you can think of.
We spend the day lying out in the sun in the secluded adults-only area of the beach ordering drinks to our lounger.
After lunch at the Roll’s Royce Food Truck, we retire to beanbags on the sand at Beach Rouge, the property’s restaurant that becomes a day bar as the hours slip away.
On the second day, we slip further into our holiday state with a 45-minute massage at the ME spa and then enjoy the peaceful dip pool in the spa’s lounging area.
We enjoy a Chinese tea ceremony in the afternoon and then indulge in a cocktail by the pool before we take part in a rum tasting activity in the Mari Kondo bar, which houses 112 rums to sample.
There are plenty of spots around the hotel to hide out and feel like you’re enjoying total seclusion - and plenty of spots to meet other travellers, too.
Whatever you fancy, you’ll find it here at LUX* Belle Mare.