& SMITH’s identity for SALT hotel brand challenges perceptions of often unexplored places

SALT of Palmar, the first hotel in a new sub-brand from The Lux Collective, has opened in Mauritius, with an identity by London-based branding agency &SMITH. Setting the foundations for a series of planned openings within the SALT brand, this 59-key hotel introduces a new breed of hospitality for the culturally curious, challenging perceptions of often unexplored regions.

Having previously delivered the overarching identity for sister brand LUX* Resorts & Hotels, & SMITH was invited to create a completely new sub-brand for The Lux Collective that would appeal to a younger generation – one that would celebrate the undiscovered beauty of destinations where travellers may hold preconceived ideas or would traditionally stay within the confines of a resort rather than exploring the local area. 

To relay this commitment to connecting modern explorers with meaningful travel experiences, & SMITH introduced the name SALT, reflecting the brand’s mission to bring out the true flavour of a location and enhance everything it touches. This forms the basis of the brand identity which has been rolled-out across all digital and print touchpoints along the guest journey. 

To fully capture the natural energy and beauty of Mauritius – beyond the white sandy beaches and retouched photos usually associated with the destination – & SMITH worked with local photographer and editor Paul Choy to explore the island and learn directly from the source. 

Inviting guests to continue this journey of exploration, & SMITH created the island’s first guidebook called ‘This is Mauritius’. Working in close collaboration with locals, the illustrated book is full of tips and advice for discovering the island’s hidden gems, including maps of where to go in Port Louis, the best sunrise spots, or where to listen to live music. 

Back at the hotel, every element of the SALT experience is rooted in the island culture, from the handwoven baskets in each room created by a local craftswoman to the curated menus of seasonal produce and the opportunity to visit a house near the resort to learn how to make rum the Mauritian way.

At the heart of the SALT identity is a brand-wide commitment to sustainability. In addition to prioritising fair trade, organic and non-toxic produce, and limiting energy use, waste and emissions, every SALT hotel will have its own farm to provide guests with menus designed around what is in season and nothing more.

Rachel Smith, Creative Partner, & SMITH says: “Traditionally travel was about experience, not staying inside the gates of a resort. For Mauritius, the common perception is endless images of white sandy beaches under cloudless blue skies, perfect for honeymooners drinking cocktails or having dinner for two on the beach. From our past visits to the island, we knew the island had so much more to offer and could attract a different audience.

It’s bursting with vibrant experiences – from brightly coloured houses to bustling markets and the most amazing street food culture. Also, the waterfalls and greenery of the inland are just as beautiful as the beaches. There are so many reasons to step outside the resort and explore Mauritius, so we wanted to create an identity that captured the vitality and depth of the island, and invited travellers to explore on their own.

We’re really excited to take the SALT brand to different locations around the world, where the perception of a place doesn’t match the richness of the reality.

Working closely on the strategy with hotel consultant Katie Brinsmead-Stockham and the in-house marketing team at The Lux Collective, & SMITH then delivered naming and brand identity for SALT. SALT of Palmar in Mauritius is the first property within the brand portfolio, with plans to open the next hotel in Wolong, China.

Identity © &SMITH

Info and images courtesy of &SMITH

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