18 Sep 2019 Spa Business: uniting the world of wellness
 
 
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Spa Business
2017 issue 4

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Spa Business - As Lux would have it

Feature

As Lux would have it


Luxury resort brand Lux has made a name for itself by doing things a little bit differently. As the brand positions itself for serious growth, Jane Kitchen looks at how wellness is playing a crucial role in the expansion

Jane Kitchen, Spa Business
Personalised wellness concierges help Lux guests choose activities
Lux has differentiated itself by offering engaging activities like pop-up cinema on the beach
Lux will open a new location in Vietnam in 2019
Lux CEO Paul Jones
Lux’s Chinese Zhengliao treatment is designed to expel toxins and regulate Yu
Wellness expert Stephen Price
Guests may find hidden bottles with certificates for spa treatments
Expert-led workshops let guests try anything from photography to Japanese bookbinding to sound healing
Expert-led workshops let guests try anything from photography to Japanese bookbinding to sound healing
Expert-led workshops let guests try anything from photography to Japanese bookbinding to sound healing
Regional spa and wellness manager Joelle Valloo oversees spas in the Indian Ocean
A Lux Organic Escape is slated to open in 2018 in southwest China
Lux Tea Horse Road
Lux has its own branded product line, but also partners with other industry suppliers
Designer Kelly Hoppen has redesigned the Lux Grand Gaube resort
Jean-Michel Gathy
Designer Kelly Hoppen

With an ambitious goal to be operating 20 hotels by 2020, Lux Resorts & Hotels – which started life in Mauritius – has its eye on global expansion and a development pipeline that takes the brand out of its current stamping ground in the Indian Ocean and into new markets in China, the Middle East and Europe.

At the centre of this is an integrated spa and wellness offering that blends traditional therapies with Chinese medicine, yoga, meditation, fitness and nutrition – all of which can be coordinated by on-site wellness concierges.

But Lux has taken its approach to wellness further, creating ‘wellbeing safaris’ – which combine reflective nature walks with yoga, meditation and spa treatments – as well as expert-led workshops in a diverse group of subjects, including painting, sound healing, kombucha-making – and even the art of Japanese bookbinding.

This holistic philosophy seems to be paying off. Last year, the group saw a 5 per cent increase in turnover and net profits of US$14.7m (€12.5, £11.2m) – a 23 per cent increase over the previous year – and with its expansive development pipeline, Lux stands to double the number of its locations over the next three years.

History
Lux got its start on the African island of Mauritius in 1985, when a group of investors founded Naiade Resorts. This grew its portfolio of luxury beachfront destinations before rebranding to Lux in 2011. It was at this point that CEO Paul Jones – who had helped launch and grow the One&Only Resorts business in his role as president – joined the company.
Lux Resorts currently operates four properties on Mauritius, along with an additional location on nearby Reunion Island and one in the Maldives. In 2014, it opened its first property in China, and this year, Lux Bodrum – its first European location – debuted in Turkey. In 2018, Lux will open another location in the Maldives and one on Reunion Island, as well as a Lux Organic Escape in Chengdu, China, set amid an organic farm. In 2019, the Lux Al Zorah in the United Arab Emirates will mark the brand’s Middle Eastern debut, and three more locations are planned in China, as well as one in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, and a Lux Tuscany in Italy.

Lux has differentiated itself by offering a laid-back, modern – dare we say ‘hip’ – approach to luxury, with an ever-changing array of surprising touches to keep guests engaged. This includes everything from pop-up cinema on the beach to vintage British telephone boxes for phone calls home to a “junkyard” craftshop and DIY kombucha workshops.

“People go on holiday to escape the routine. But stay at a conventional resort and before long you’ll know where everything is,” explains Jones. “That won’t happen at Lux. We’re in touch with our impromptu side, and we love surprising guests with delightful pop-up treats.”

Holistic wellness
Fundamental to the success of the luxury hotel brand is Lux Me Spas & Wellness, a philosophy of spa, fitness and nutrition designed to create a step-by-step path to a healthier way of life. Spa treatments range from Balinese massage to a signature Shirley Page massage, which uses nutritive-based and essential oils, to Chinese Zhengliao – a traditional Chinese analgesia treatment that’s designed to expel toxins, regulate Yu (the congestion of energy, blood, phlegm, food and water) and repair the kidney.

To help guests navigate what’s best for them, Lux has teamed with London-based wellness specialist Stephen Price (see pages 90-93) to create a Wellness Concierge service, which offers bespoke, tailored programmes to help guests accomplish their goals. The personal wellness concierge offers a private consultation that includes a body balance screening – which gives the concierge insight into the guest’s physical state – as well as a questionnaire about things like their will to change, the quality of their sleep and whether they suffer from body soreness. The wellness concierge then suggests activities, which can include healthy eating tips, cooking classes in the resorts’ herb gardens, spa treatments, personal training sessions, yoga classes and meditation. The concierge also encourages guests to get moving through wellness activities like swimming with dolphins, diving lessons, horse riding on the beach, bike rides to local food markets, paddle boarding and trekking.

Regional spa and wellness manager Joelle Valloo, who oversees three spas in the Indian Ocean, says this approach helps the spas capture on average between 12 and 13 per cent of total resort guests. But the spa team also engages guests before they arrive at the resort; as soon as a booking is made, guests are sent a letter inviting them to pre-book a spa treatment and offering a 20 per cent discount on bookings between 9am and 2pm.

The spa team finds another touch point once guests arrive at the resort, sending a personalised note suggesting they prepare their skin with a full-body scrub and 30-minute massage before hitting the beach. A newly released Lux app also allows guests to book activities – including spa treatments – from their mobile phones before they even reach the resort. And in Lux’s quest for more of those surprises that create engagement, a ‘Message in a Bottle’ programme has guests searching the hotel grounds for hidden bottles – whose messages can contain certificates for anything from a free dinner to a spa treatment – and an in-room iPad means guests can connect to the spa server and play a game of silent auction, bidding a price on a treatment.

Valloo says: “They may win or lose, but they can still get a certain discount on the chosen treatment.”

Outside the spa walls
But it’s what happens outside the spa walls that makes Lux’s approach so different; outdoor yoga and fitness classes are offered, and beyond that, Lux has developed a series of ‘wellbeing safaris’ – guided wellness walks (some silent) off-site in the area’s natural landscape, followed by a return to the resort and some standing yoga poses, stretching and breathing exercises to finish.

The wellbeing safaris also include packages with discounted spa treatments designed to extend the wellness benefits. “We started these expeditions when we realised that the trend shows clearly that people want to go back to basics and simplicity,” says Valloo. “And connecting to Mother Earth is vital to us as human beings.”

Adding in these wellbeing safaris also helps to address wellness on a more holistic level; Valloo points to studies showing the impact of nature on wellbeing and its ability to help fight depression and stress. “Studies show that time spent in nature is associated with a positive mood and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness and vitality,” she explains. “People want to relax and unwind. Our role is to build this trust between our guest and us, then educate them on how to reach this goal.”

Expert-led workshops
Lux has recently introduced expert-led workshops as a way of providing further guest engagement and to expand the idea of wellness to include inspiration for curious minds. Classes such as Watercolour and Wine, the Art of Travel Writing, Tibetan Sound Healing, DIY Kombucha & Health Tonics, DIY Chinese Medicine Therapies, and Japanese Bookbinding are led by specialists and designed not only to teach skills, but also to create a social environment where families, friends or couples can try new skills together or meet like-minded guests.
“It’s time all of us stopped poking at our smart phones and communicated and connected in human form,” says Lux CEO Jones. “In these digital times, old-fashioned activities and good-for-the-soul hobbies have fallen by the wayside.”

Suggestions for pairing classes with other wellness activities – such as Tibetan sound healing combined with meditation, or Vinyasa flow yoga and monoprinting – also drive home the wellness message and highlight the resort’s offerings.

Chinese Expansion
But it’s not just its programming that’s growing. After years of playing comfortably on Indian Ocean islands, in 2014 Lux made a move to expand in China, starting with Lux Tea Horse Road as its cornerstone. Jones said at the time that the move was based on the strong and growing Chinese base for its existing properties, as well as the attraction of China for “trend-setting travellers looking for unspoiled destinations, rich in original and genuine experiences.”

Lux Tea Horse Road is actually a series of boutique hotels located along the ancient mountain trade route through Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet, and includes Lux LiJiang and Lux Benzilan, with more properties to be added. It’s designed so that guests can explore the scenic route with different stops along the way, and the experience includes locally inspired wellness offerings, such as mushroom-picking, chanting with monks on a mountain peak, experiencing tea ceremonies and discovering hidden mountain trails with local Tibetan guides.

A Lux Organic Escape – which is a new concept for the brand – is scheduled to open in 2018 in the Sichuan province of southwest China and is designed as a “sanctuary to wellbeing”. Set on a riverfront amid an organic farm, the 40-bedroom retreat will include a holistic and integrated approach to wellness, with a promise to “detoxify, promote mindfulness and bring a fresh new perspective on living”. It also includes a partnership with Tony’s Farm – a Shanghai-based eco-purveyor of fruits and vegetables – for farm-to-table-cuisine. The Lux Me Spa concept at the Organic Escape will focus on traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as yoga and meditation.

Vision 2020
This is all part of Lux’s Vision 2020, an ambitious plan to operate 20 hotels by 2020 and to grow in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, China and the Middle East. The group’s strategy is two-fold; the core business remains the Indian Ocean, where Lux will consolidate its assets by renovating hotels that generate profits, but it also plans to identify new possibilities of management contracts. At the same time, Lux will further its international expansion beyond the borders of the Indian Ocean. “We’ve always relied on strategies that maximise our efficiency; Vision 2020 is built on the same principle and is part of an expansion plan that we can now sustain, not only in the Indian Ocean, but also in other regions,” says Jones.

The first of the Indian Ocean properties to be renovated as part of the plan is the Lux Grand Gaube in Mauritius, where London-based designer Kelly Hoppen teamed with Mauritian architect Jean-Francois Adam to completely reinvent the resort and spa as part of a US$32m renovation. The redesigned resort will open in December 2017 and will include “a new world of wellness and fitness”. With over a hectare of land dedicated to wellness, the spa includes African-style huts and is designed to connect guests with nature. It includes a new hydrotherapy pool, aromatic steamroom and sauna, as well as an Artis Technogym fitness centre, open-air calisthenic workout programmes, cardio boot camp circuits, meditation and yoga spaces and tennis academy.

Life coach Kamran Bedi of the Mind Body Method has partnered with the resort, bringing expertise as a neuro-linguistic programming master practitioner, hypnotherapist, meditation teacher and Pilates instructor.

In 2019, Lux will make its debut in the Middle East with the Lux Al Zorah in Ajman, a 191-bedroom resort designed by Jean-Michel Gathy and set in a biodiverse coastal nature reserve. A Lux Me Wellness Centre will combine nature walks, jogging, kayaking, canoeing and cycling, and wellbeing safaris will take full advantage of the locale – a natural peninsula bordered by a thriving mangrove forest, which is home to rare marine life, migratory birds and a variety of flora. This sense of place is key in Lux’s growth efforts.

“One of the key aspects that we’ve developed is our destination-driven experiences,” explains Valloo. “The idea is to take the very best that each location has to offer towards wellness and bring it to our guests in a manner that’s most suited to their requirements.”

The wellbeing safaris and expert-led programming play into this as well. As Jones explains: “Holidays are often when people make life-changing decisions, and this schedule of enlightening experience aims to shift guests’ perceptions.”

The LUX portfolio

Resorts and hotels include
Lux Belle Mare Mauritius
Lux Le Morne Mauritius
Lux Grand Gaube Mauritius
Lux South Ari Atoll Maldives
Lux Saint Gilles Reunion Island
Lux Tea Horse Road Lijiang Yunnan Province, China
Lux Tea Horse Road Benzilan Yunnan Province, China
Lux Bodrum Turkey

New properties in the pipeline include
Lux Al Zorah United Arab Emirates, 2019
Lux North Male Atoll Maldives, 2018
Lux Sud Sauvage Reunion Island, 2018
Lux Tuscany Italy, 2020
Lux LuxeLakes Chengdu China, 2018
Lux Dianshan Lake China, 2020
Lux Phu Quoc Vietnam, 2019
Lux Organic Escapes Chengdu China, 2018


Originally published in Spa Business 2017 issue 4

Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd
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Feature
As Lux would have it

Luxury resort brand Lux has made a name for itself by doing things a little bit differently. As the brand positions itself for serious growth, Jane Kitchen looks at how wellness is playing a crucial role in the expansion

By Jane Kitchen | Published in Spa Business 2017 issue 4

With an ambitious goal to be operating 20 hotels by 2020, Lux Resorts & Hotels – which started life in Mauritius – has its eye on global expansion and a development pipeline that takes the brand out of its current stamping ground in the Indian Ocean and into new markets in China, the Middle East and Europe.

At the centre of this is an integrated spa and wellness offering that blends traditional therapies with Chinese medicine, yoga, meditation, fitness and nutrition – all of which can be coordinated by on-site wellness concierges.

But Lux has taken its approach to wellness further, creating ‘wellbeing safaris’ – which combine reflective nature walks with yoga, meditation and spa treatments – as well as expert-led workshops in a diverse group of subjects, including painting, sound healing, kombucha-making – and even the art of Japanese bookbinding.

This holistic philosophy seems to be paying off. Last year, the group saw a 5 per cent increase in turnover and net profits of US$14.7m (€12.5, £11.2m) – a 23 per cent increase over the previous year – and with its expansive development pipeline, Lux stands to double the number of its locations over the next three years.

History
Lux got its start on the African island of Mauritius in 1985, when a group of investors founded Naiade Resorts. This grew its portfolio of luxury beachfront destinations before rebranding to Lux in 2011. It was at this point that CEO Paul Jones – who had helped launch and grow the One&Only Resorts business in his role as president – joined the company.
Lux Resorts currently operates four properties on Mauritius, along with an additional location on nearby Reunion Island and one in the Maldives. In 2014, it opened its first property in China, and this year, Lux Bodrum – its first European location – debuted in Turkey. In 2018, Lux will open another location in the Maldives and one on Reunion Island, as well as a Lux Organic Escape in Chengdu, China, set amid an organic farm. In 2019, the Lux Al Zorah in the United Arab Emirates will mark the brand’s Middle Eastern debut, and three more locations are planned in China, as well as one in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, and a Lux Tuscany in Italy.

Lux has differentiated itself by offering a laid-back, modern – dare we say ‘hip’ – approach to luxury, with an ever-changing array of surprising touches to keep guests engaged. This includes everything from pop-up cinema on the beach to vintage British telephone boxes for phone calls home to a “junkyard” craftshop and DIY kombucha workshops.

“People go on holiday to escape the routine. But stay at a conventional resort and before long you’ll know where everything is,” explains Jones. “That won’t happen at Lux. We’re in touch with our impromptu side, and we love surprising guests with delightful pop-up treats.”

Holistic wellness
Fundamental to the success of the luxury hotel brand is Lux Me Spas & Wellness, a philosophy of spa, fitness and nutrition designed to create a step-by-step path to a healthier way of life. Spa treatments range from Balinese massage to a signature Shirley Page massage, which uses nutritive-based and essential oils, to Chinese Zhengliao – a traditional Chinese analgesia treatment that’s designed to expel toxins, regulate Yu (the congestion of energy, blood, phlegm, food and water) and repair the kidney.

To help guests navigate what’s best for them, Lux has teamed with London-based wellness specialist Stephen Price (see pages 90-93) to create a Wellness Concierge service, which offers bespoke, tailored programmes to help guests accomplish their goals. The personal wellness concierge offers a private consultation that includes a body balance screening – which gives the concierge insight into the guest’s physical state – as well as a questionnaire about things like their will to change, the quality of their sleep and whether they suffer from body soreness. The wellness concierge then suggests activities, which can include healthy eating tips, cooking classes in the resorts’ herb gardens, spa treatments, personal training sessions, yoga classes and meditation. The concierge also encourages guests to get moving through wellness activities like swimming with dolphins, diving lessons, horse riding on the beach, bike rides to local food markets, paddle boarding and trekking.

Regional spa and wellness manager Joelle Valloo, who oversees three spas in the Indian Ocean, says this approach helps the spas capture on average between 12 and 13 per cent of total resort guests. But the spa team also engages guests before they arrive at the resort; as soon as a booking is made, guests are sent a letter inviting them to pre-book a spa treatment and offering a 20 per cent discount on bookings between 9am and 2pm.

The spa team finds another touch point once guests arrive at the resort, sending a personalised note suggesting they prepare their skin with a full-body scrub and 30-minute massage before hitting the beach. A newly released Lux app also allows guests to book activities – including spa treatments – from their mobile phones before they even reach the resort. And in Lux’s quest for more of those surprises that create engagement, a ‘Message in a Bottle’ programme has guests searching the hotel grounds for hidden bottles – whose messages can contain certificates for anything from a free dinner to a spa treatment – and an in-room iPad means guests can connect to the spa server and play a game of silent auction, bidding a price on a treatment.

Valloo says: “They may win or lose, but they can still get a certain discount on the chosen treatment.”

Outside the spa walls
But it’s what happens outside the spa walls that makes Lux’s approach so different; outdoor yoga and fitness classes are offered, and beyond that, Lux has developed a series of ‘wellbeing safaris’ – guided wellness walks (some silent) off-site in the area’s natural landscape, followed by a return to the resort and some standing yoga poses, stretching and breathing exercises to finish.

The wellbeing safaris also include packages with discounted spa treatments designed to extend the wellness benefits. “We started these expeditions when we realised that the trend shows clearly that people want to go back to basics and simplicity,” says Valloo. “And connecting to Mother Earth is vital to us as human beings.”

Adding in these wellbeing safaris also helps to address wellness on a more holistic level; Valloo points to studies showing the impact of nature on wellbeing and its ability to help fight depression and stress. “Studies show that time spent in nature is associated with a positive mood and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness and vitality,” she explains. “People want to relax and unwind. Our role is to build this trust between our guest and us, then educate them on how to reach this goal.”

Expert-led workshops
Lux has recently introduced expert-led workshops as a way of providing further guest engagement and to expand the idea of wellness to include inspiration for curious minds. Classes such as Watercolour and Wine, the Art of Travel Writing, Tibetan Sound Healing, DIY Kombucha & Health Tonics, DIY Chinese Medicine Therapies, and Japanese Bookbinding are led by specialists and designed not only to teach skills, but also to create a social environment where families, friends or couples can try new skills together or meet like-minded guests.
“It’s time all of us stopped poking at our smart phones and communicated and connected in human form,” says Lux CEO Jones. “In these digital times, old-fashioned activities and good-for-the-soul hobbies have fallen by the wayside.”

Suggestions for pairing classes with other wellness activities – such as Tibetan sound healing combined with meditation, or Vinyasa flow yoga and monoprinting – also drive home the wellness message and highlight the resort’s offerings.

Chinese Expansion
But it’s not just its programming that’s growing. After years of playing comfortably on Indian Ocean islands, in 2014 Lux made a move to expand in China, starting with Lux Tea Horse Road as its cornerstone. Jones said at the time that the move was based on the strong and growing Chinese base for its existing properties, as well as the attraction of China for “trend-setting travellers looking for unspoiled destinations, rich in original and genuine experiences.”

Lux Tea Horse Road is actually a series of boutique hotels located along the ancient mountain trade route through Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet, and includes Lux LiJiang and Lux Benzilan, with more properties to be added. It’s designed so that guests can explore the scenic route with different stops along the way, and the experience includes locally inspired wellness offerings, such as mushroom-picking, chanting with monks on a mountain peak, experiencing tea ceremonies and discovering hidden mountain trails with local Tibetan guides.

A Lux Organic Escape – which is a new concept for the brand – is scheduled to open in 2018 in the Sichuan province of southwest China and is designed as a “sanctuary to wellbeing”. Set on a riverfront amid an organic farm, the 40-bedroom retreat will include a holistic and integrated approach to wellness, with a promise to “detoxify, promote mindfulness and bring a fresh new perspective on living”. It also includes a partnership with Tony’s Farm – a Shanghai-based eco-purveyor of fruits and vegetables – for farm-to-table-cuisine. The Lux Me Spa concept at the Organic Escape will focus on traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as yoga and meditation.

Vision 2020
This is all part of Lux’s Vision 2020, an ambitious plan to operate 20 hotels by 2020 and to grow in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, China and the Middle East. The group’s strategy is two-fold; the core business remains the Indian Ocean, where Lux will consolidate its assets by renovating hotels that generate profits, but it also plans to identify new possibilities of management contracts. At the same time, Lux will further its international expansion beyond the borders of the Indian Ocean. “We’ve always relied on strategies that maximise our efficiency; Vision 2020 is built on the same principle and is part of an expansion plan that we can now sustain, not only in the Indian Ocean, but also in other regions,” says Jones.

The first of the Indian Ocean properties to be renovated as part of the plan is the Lux Grand Gaube in Mauritius, where London-based designer Kelly Hoppen teamed with Mauritian architect Jean-Francois Adam to completely reinvent the resort and spa as part of a US$32m renovation. The redesigned resort will open in December 2017 and will include “a new world of wellness and fitness”. With over a hectare of land dedicated to wellness, the spa includes African-style huts and is designed to connect guests with nature. It includes a new hydrotherapy pool, aromatic steamroom and sauna, as well as an Artis Technogym fitness centre, open-air calisthenic workout programmes, cardio boot camp circuits, meditation and yoga spaces and tennis academy.

Life coach Kamran Bedi of the Mind Body Method has partnered with the resort, bringing expertise as a neuro-linguistic programming master practitioner, hypnotherapist, meditation teacher and Pilates instructor.

In 2019, Lux will make its debut in the Middle East with the Lux Al Zorah in Ajman, a 191-bedroom resort designed by Jean-Michel Gathy and set in a biodiverse coastal nature reserve. A Lux Me Wellness Centre will combine nature walks, jogging, kayaking, canoeing and cycling, and wellbeing safaris will take full advantage of the locale – a natural peninsula bordered by a thriving mangrove forest, which is home to rare marine life, migratory birds and a variety of flora. This sense of place is key in Lux’s growth efforts.

“One of the key aspects that we’ve developed is our destination-driven experiences,” explains Valloo. “The idea is to take the very best that each location has to offer towards wellness and bring it to our guests in a manner that’s most suited to their requirements.”

The wellbeing safaris and expert-led programming play into this as well. As Jones explains: “Holidays are often when people make life-changing decisions, and this schedule of enlightening experience aims to shift guests’ perceptions.”

The LUX portfolio

Resorts and hotels include
Lux Belle Mare Mauritius
Lux Le Morne Mauritius
Lux Grand Gaube Mauritius
Lux South Ari Atoll Maldives
Lux Saint Gilles Reunion Island
Lux Tea Horse Road Lijiang Yunnan Province, China
Lux Tea Horse Road Benzilan Yunnan Province, China
Lux Bodrum Turkey

New properties in the pipeline include
Lux Al Zorah United Arab Emirates, 2019
Lux North Male Atoll Maldives, 2018
Lux Sud Sauvage Reunion Island, 2018
Lux Tuscany Italy, 2020
Lux LuxeLakes Chengdu China, 2018
Lux Dianshan Lake China, 2020
Lux Phu Quoc Vietnam, 2019
Lux Organic Escapes Chengdu China, 2018

Lux has differentiated itself by offering engaging activities like pop-up cinema on the beach
Lux will open a new location in Vietnam in 2019
Lux CEO Paul Jones
Lux’s Chinese Zhengliao treatment is designed to expel toxins and regulate Yu
Wellness expert Stephen Price
Guests may find hidden bottles with certificates for spa treatments
Expert-led workshops let guests try anything from photography to Japanese bookbinding to sound healing
Expert-led workshops let guests try anything from photography to Japanese bookbinding to sound healing
Expert-led workshops let guests try anything from photography to Japanese bookbinding to sound healing
Regional spa and wellness manager Joelle Valloo oversees spas in the Indian Ocean
A Lux Organic Escape is slated to open in 2018 in southwest China
Lux Tea Horse Road
Lux has its own branded product line, but also partners with other industry suppliers
Designer Kelly Hoppen has redesigned the Lux Grand Gaube resort
Jean-Michel Gathy
Designer Kelly Hoppen
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