Built in the 19th century by a rich Indian, the castle has found it former grandeur after several months of renovation. The work done has been faithful to the past. The house now proudly stands with its inherited elegance.
A treasure in Bel Ombre. The colonial one-storey house has French windows which characterises the period. It is a compulsory stop over while your are sightseeing in the South of the island. The building was built on a 2500-hectare land, composed of a vast natural reserve and sugarcane fields. It welcomes a garden at equal distance from a French garden and an English one. The elegantly designed flower beds witness the tidy chaos of the growing plants. The stone central lane, adorned with fountains, recreate the grandiose atmosphere of the past.
Reviving the past to make it fit the today’s life. Faire revivre les choses du passé pour qu’elles s’intègrent dans la vie d’aujourd’hui. Florent Richard, specialist of the cultural heritage, aims at this and has refurbished the famous master house. To achieve this finished version, the Parisian architect has done a meticulous job and has carried out some advanced research work, digging in history to recreate yesterday’s world which forms part our heritage. Heritage Le Château is brilliant and showcases elegance everywhere. No single space has been neglected and a particular care has been paid to each room, to each object to give new life to this old house.The château built in the 19th century is Hajee Jackaria Hajee Ahmed’s masterpiece. He was a rich Indian owner who, alas, has never lived in it. This gentleman would have probably approved the work carried out by Florent Richard who has re-opened Heritage Le Château last September after a three-month refurbishment. To recreate everyday life moments, and an atmosphere and way of life from the past, a total of two long working and brainstorming years were required. A residence comprising a gastronomic restaurant, a lounge and a piano-bar on the ground floor an apartment on the first one. To recreate the placement of the furniture, a sharp work has been done based on archives from 1841. The architect has then taken to an extraordinary quest for items in France and in Maurice. As for Annabelle de Chateauneuf and Géraldine Bouic, the owner of L’Antiquaire in Curepipe, they have formed a duet to decorate the château and make the place magical. «When we have started the work, there was not much in the house except the big family table and chairs from before. We have brought all the other furniture items. Some items have been found locally while others have been manufactured by local craftsmen with an exceptional know-how. They have done a marvelous work», explains this antiquity lover. Armchairs, vases, sideboards, lamps, carafes find their original place from the old times. As if nothing had changed. Everything recalls the history of this country. The work permet désormais à l’histoire de Heritage Le Château to be written afresh… in golden letter.
The living room has a fine set up. The Chesterfield sofa is perfectly in harmony with the carved wooden armchairs. Light-shaded fabrics enhance the beauty of the wood panelings which give an elegant touch to the walls as well as the floor. The colourful stained-glass windows perfectly suit this unique world. A chic ensemble where each detail is important, such as this yesteryear bell lamp and this grand mirror which reflects the past. The work done regarding the decoration and looking for the furniture highlights the architect’s and interior designer’s passion for this emblematic house.
“HAVE A SEAT IN THE IN THE CHEF’S DINING ROOM FOR A MEMORABLE GASTRONOMIC DINER”
The ground floor welcomes the Chefs dining room where gastronomic meals are served. The tableware from Maison Christofle is an art of the table icon. A true castle life. This room, separated by a carved folding screen, opens on the living room. When you go in, your glance inevitably falls on the ceiling ornamented by magnificent rosettes and crystal chandeliers.
“BACK IN TIME TO A GLORIOUS ERA WHEN HISTORY NEVER ENDS”
LEFT PICTURE: The wallpaper from Zuber recalls the history of the country and Hajee Jackaria Hajee Ahmed’s Anglo-Indian origins. The life scenes from the Grand Peninsula with turbaned maharajahs or those of Paul et Virginie in black and white are faithful to the spirit of the house. The wall paper still tells the history of the place and tells us more about the lifestyle in this residence which part of our architectural and cultural pride.
RIGHT PICTURE: The piano-bar suggests high class evenings punctuated by good music. We are easily carried by the sweet notes of a cosy atmosphere. The small living room devised in a contemporary style with more modern armchairs are an invitation to rest. The dark and relaxing tints of the furniture is in harmony with the wooden paneling and engravings of yesteryear Mauritian life scenes. The soothing lights are enhanced contemporary lamp shades and Venetian chandeliers from another period.
Past splendour recreated with elegance and attention to details. However, not everything is new in this room. The large table is the only furniture item from the time of the residence and which we find all through it. We can pinpoint the fine mouldings and the large wooden doors which compete with the charm of the wallpapers. In this room, the architect and interior designer have created a blend of styles and periods by mixing richly carved cabinets, elegant sideboards and ancient side tables with contemporary off-white armchairs. A decoration tip to keep in mind.
In the small office on the first floor, we could almost hear ancient conversations. The armchair in red fabric recalls the furniture in a dark species. An idea to keep in mind to add an elegant indoor touch. The play on shapes and colours, different chairs, an antique China cabinet are the room’s asset. The old chest which is at the centre of the room reminds us of those of the East Indian Company and invites us for a journey.
The bedroom juxtaposed to the office is the charm token of the residence. It welcomes the residents of Heritage Le Telfair who wish to experience a unique moment for a night as house lords. The white curtains and the off-white chaise longue bring in a tropical atmosphere. The paintings have made the vintage scenes, China tableware, decoration items immortal and come together to go back in time.
“ELEGANT AND DRAPED IN PRISTINE WHITE DRAPED, THE CANOPY BED INVITES US TO REST”
Who would refuse to spend a night in a canopy bed draped in pristine white? It romantically dresses the room with yesteryear’s elegance. A bedroom bathed in bright light thanks to four doors which open on the veranda and the office, a feature of colonial houses which adds so much choice.
“COLONIAL AND EXOTIC ATMOSPHERE, UNDER THE VERANDA WITH A BREATHTAKING VIEW ON THE GARDEN”
A colonial residence usually has a veranda with a unique charm. The château is surrounded by a vast veranda where you can sit and admire the panorama of this part of the island. The white rattan armchairs set with cushions ornamented with coconut trees for an island style.
The magnificent balustrade in wrought iron and the slotted colonnades contrast with the red floor, but both are typical features of the period.
The outdoor cut-stone stairs and its wrought iron balustrade are so elegant. We love the China plates with different shapes and sizes. A fine decoration tip.
An exotic break in this bright space dressed with an immaculate solarium. The antique sofa is enhanced by exotic prints and the copper flower pot. The hessian mat perfectly fits the red yesteryear floor.
The black and white checkerboard tiles are aesthetic and bring a spirit of elegance inside. Fashionable again, it matches all styles. The greyish green colour is very trendy and complements the whole setting.
Set against the wall, this refined sideboard reminds the ancient times with its elegant curves. And to complement all this, iron flower pots and a carved mirror which reflects the bright solarium.
Source: Magazine Lacase No 50
Documentary | Michel Alphonse
Pictures| Jean-Noël Ahkee