Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel: Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

By Rolph Schmid

Born and educated in Switzerland, Rolph Schmid has worked in a number of international groups such as Swiss Hotel, Hyatt International, Beachcomber and Southern Sun Hotels before joining the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel in 1999. He was appointed Managing Director of Indigo Hotels in 2011 which gathers under its umbrella a collection of exclusive city hotels in Mauritius: Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Le Suffren Hotel & Marina, Hennessy Park Hotel and The Address Boutique Hotel.

At the heart of the Caudan Waterfront, a large-scale shopping complex along the port from Place d’Armes to the Caudan basin to the south, the Caudan Waterfront and its jewel, the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, wants to give new life to Port-Louis. Thanks to the development of the free zone and the sugar industry in the 1970s, the port is very busy. In the early 1990s, Caudan Development Ltd launched a call for proposals for the transformation of Caudan into Caudan Waterfront, a large-scale commercial complex extending over 42,000 m2.

Michel de Spéville, Founder President of the Eclosia Group intended to promote Port Louis by making this business hotel a crossroads of meetings between Mauritians and foreigners. “We had the conviction and the willingness to enhance Port Louis and its so-called poorly frequented neighborhoods with a dubious reputation. It was very difficult to convince people of the need to build a luxury hotel there, which moreover was open to all, permanently.”

The bet was bold and far from being won. But Michel de Spéville persevered. “Having been informed that the construction of a hotel was part of the Caudan master plan, we at Food & Allied, expressed our interest and immediately set about task with the objective of equipping the capital with a luxury hotel which included the most modern facilities.”

labourdonnais-hotelOn January 25, 1997, with 6 floors and 109 rooms, the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel welcomed its first visitors. Pushing open its heavy doors, they discover and are amazed by its atrium, its open spaces, its panoramic elevators and a glass dome that reflects light. Elegance infuses. Refinement captivates. The delicacy of the hotel artisans was impressive.

This year, Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, the very first city and business hotel in Mauritius, is celebrating its Silver Jubilee, marking 25 years of commitment to service excellence. This unique 5-star hotel contributes to the attractiveness of the capital city, Port Louis, and that of Mauritius as a business destination.

Since its inception, it has cemented its reputation as one of the most iconic hotel destinations for both Mauritians and foreigners. Labourdonnais Waterfront is the flagship of Indigo Hotels, which forms part of the Mauritian Group, Eclosia. In 25 years, Indigo Group has earned its place as the leader in the categories of business hotels and luxury city hotels in Mauritius. The Group is strongly committed to offering engaging experiences to guests, while striving to continuously improve its services, maintain high levels of employee engagement and fulfil its social responsibility to contribute to a sustainable future.

Besides Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Indigo Group also owns and manages Le Suffren Hotel & Marina at Le Caudan, The Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène and The Address Boutique Hotel in Port Chambly. Elegant rooms and suites, conference rooms and banquet facilities, fitness clubs and spas, upscale restaurants, bespoke amenities and stateof-the-art technology make for an unparalleled experience at Labourdonnais Hotel, meeting the high expectations of even the most discerning global business travellers.

hotel-port-louisPoised at the edge of the waterfront, Labourdonnais Hotel soaks up the soul of Port Louis— the ultimate city resort. Staying at Labourdonnais means succumbing to the charm of Port Louis, a city steeped in history: Appravasi Ghat, a symbolic site which marks the landing of the first indentured labourers in the 19th century; Blue Penny Museum, which bridges Mauritius’ rich past to the Mauritius of today; Place d’Armes, which stands as a historic entrance to Port Louis; Citadel Fort, built between 1834 and 1840 on the capital’s hill; not to mention the glorious colonial houses; and the Caudan Arts Centre, a cultural hotspot.

Port Louis is also modern and contemporary in equal measure: Victoria Urban Terminal, which connects to the metro station through Rainbow Bridge and Victoria Shopping Centre, both of which are scheduled for completion in October 2022; Odysseo Oceanarium, which spans 5,500 m2 and is home to 200 marine species; not to forget its world-renowned street food, a colourful mix of flavours.

restaurant-hotelIn 25 years, Labourdonnais Hotel has affirmed itself as the symbol of excellence and kept up with today’s demands. To maintain its standing and anchor it in the reality of guests who travel around the world, the Labourdonnais was revamped with a new look in 2015. The 5-star establishment unveiled a completely revamped rooms in line with contemporary desires. The open-air bar is unanimous. The conference rooms also underwent a technological upgrade. In 2018, two of its restaurants were renovated, with La Rose des Vents becoming Yuzu Asian Fusion and L’Escale becoming La Brasserie Chic. These two gastronomic restaurants have hosted over 350 culinary festivals. There is an openair bar with an ability to adapt to the needs of travellers of all types.

chef NizamSince its opening, Labourdonnais has welcomed visitors of 183 different nationalities at the hotel and has served 1,725,341 guests in its restaurants. Beyond its upscale restaurants, flavours enhanced with a Mauritian touch, can’t-miss Happy Hour evenings, unique theme parties, Labourdonnais Hotel has long paved the way for the promotion of the Mauritian culture. The hotel has also contributed to changing the culinary habits of Mauritians, courtesy of Group Executive Chef Nizam Peeroo, whose refined plates have taken Mauritian taste buds on a global tour. In its 25 years of existence, the Labourdonnais has orchestrated more than 350 culinary festivals and brought in chefs and starred chefs, from over 23 countries ranging from Hungary, Brazil, Thailand, Dubai, Vietnam or France just to name a few. Apart from gastronomy, Labourdonnais also organises cultural events with the “À Table Avec…” including theme nights, gastronomic evenings, end-of-year evenings, food pairings and wine.

The exhibition held in the lobby of the hotel showcases all of this. It is also a perfect example of how one can dream of offering something more than simply beach hotels. Michel de Spéville has turned the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel a landmark hotel in the region.

Et si le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel m’était conté…

Labourdonnais Waterfront HotelEt si le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel métait conté (And if the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel was told to me…) is a film which captures the 25-year history of the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel. Filmmaker David Constantin captures key moments that brought the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel to take life. It’s all there. From Michel Spéville’s dream and firm belief that Mauritius had something else to offer tourists than beach hotels, to the 90 when Mauritian tourism started to spread its wings and when the founder of Labourdonnais made the bold bet to present a 5-star hotel project to accommodate both businessmen and women and Mauritians.

He believed that the latter had been sufficiently sidelined and that they needed access to palaces to enrich themselves and rub shoulders with other worlds. The filmmaker plants his camera and collects the words of these builders who have enabled this luxury establishment to become a reference hotel for all. This film recounts both the challenge and the adventure spread over 25 years.

Rolph Schmid
Rolph Schmid, General Manger Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel