I recently took the opportunity to visit the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
We travelled from London Heathrow with Air Mauritius – the airline offer business class or economy class, we weren’t lucky enough to be flying in business but economy was absolutely fine for me as I am only 5ft 3”! The flight wasn’t full so we were able to use the spare seats to have a few hours of sleep. The service on board was fantastic and the food was great as well. The only thing that I would possibly have to mention is that the seatback TV system played on a loop and therefore wasn’t on demand as most of the other scheduled airlines are. It didn’t bother me too much as I just watched the films as and when they were on – the selection was good with some films I had wanted to see at the cinema.
Upon arrival we were transferred to our hotel for the first 2 nights, The St Regis Mauritius. This is a 5* resort which has only been open 1 year. The transfer took around 1 hour and we were welcomed with a cocktail and a cold towel which were well appreciated! The check in procedure at the St Regis is all done in your suite as you receive private butler service for each room category so it gives you the chance to meet with your butler and ask them any questions that you may have. The room was absolutely stunning and offered a view of the Indian Ocean. The bathroom had a huge bathtub and a walk in shower and was probably 4 times the size of my bathroom at home! We had chance to chill and refresh ready for our lunch at The Boathouse Bar & Grill which is located directly on the beach with amazing views over the ocean.
After lunch we had the opportunity to visit the spa and have a 30 minute massage – the spa was beautiful and the massage was so relaxing after the 12 hour flight from the UK.
We had dinner that evening at the resorts Indian restaurant ‘Simply India’ which offers traditional Indian food with a modern twist. You can eat here as part of the half board dine around package and pay a small supplement. After dinner we then met on the beach for some champagne sabering and mixology lessons – you can arrange to do this at the hotel for a local charge and it is great fun.
The next day we had a treasure hunt planned which meant we had to drive from the St Regis around the local area collecting things that would teach us about Mauritius and the culture. I had volunteered to drive and as they drive on the same side of us it was so easy to get around. We had to collect flowers, shells and speak to locals in order to translate some well known phrases. It was a really fun way to get out and about and explore and I would recommend driving as it means you get to see so much more of the island.
After the treasure hunt we met at a hotel called the Lakaz Chamarel which is an exclusive lodge located in Chamarel close to the 7 coloured earth. The Lodge had a 3 different room categories ranging from superior rooms to garden suites with private pools and then the top category which is a sea view suite with private pool. All of the rooms are stunning but the views from the sea view suites were absolutely breath-taking. This would be perfect for a couple of days to really just get away from it all. We had lunch here and again the food was top class – we were told that reservations for dinner here are well sought after.
When we returned from the Lakaz Chamarel we had some time to relax before dinner which was at the ‘Floating Market’ restaurant at the St Regis. This can be used as part of the half board package at the hotel for no additional supplement. The food was Asian inspired and there was also some live music which was really good. After dinner we went to the bar where we enjoyed some of the local cocktails before bed!
The next day we were transferring to the Le Meridien Ile Maurice for 1 night. The transfer took around 1 hour and a half and was a scenic route that offered great views of the countryside and coast. Upon arrival at the resort we were again welcomed with a fruit cocktail
and a cold towel and then shown around the resort so that we could see everything this large hotel had to offer. As part of the hotel there was an adult only area which I would definitely recommend called the ‘Nirvana Wing’. This seemed much more relaxed and quieter and would be perfect for honeymooners. We had our dinner at the beach restaurant ‘Shells’ which you can use as part of the hotels various dining plans. That evening we went for a drive into Grand Baie so that we could see what was on offer in way of bars and restaurants. There are a variety of nightclubs so it would suit younger couples as well as older – there is something for everyone in this area.
We had breakfast the next day at the Nirvana Wing restaurant ‘La Faya’ where we were served an a la carte breakfast which consisted of fresh fruit and some signature dishes exclusive to the hotel. After breakfast we checked out and made our way to the Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel where we were having a look around and enjoying lunch with the resident manager.
Upon arrival at Paradise Cove it was an immediate ‘WOW’ factor. The hotel had only been open for 3 months after a refurbishment and everything was brand new. The bar area which serves as the reception area was open air and despite the hotel being at 97% occupancy there wasn’t a person in sight! We began our tour of the hotel and we went down to the lagoon area where there was a stunning white sand beach and sun-loungers spread out really giving the feeling of seclusion. The rooms all have either a balcony or terrace dependent on what room category had been booked – the lead in room type was lovely so the upgrades were truly stunning. We then went up to one of the bars located next to a brand new infinity pool – this truly was amazing. We then had an a la carte lunch with the resident manager who was equally as beautiful as the hotel 😉 After lunch we then headed to the brand new hotel, Zilwa Attitude, where we were spending the next night.
The reception area of the Zilwa Attitude was stunning. You entered through the open doors and were immediately met by the infinity pool and the views of the ocean. The bar area was located here and you could imagine spending your evenings with a cocktail just admiring the view. Again, we were shown around the hotel – this hotel was built from scratch and had only been open 3 weeks so every single thing was immaculate. The spa area was particularly appealing and had been built in a Balinese style with huts, it was so quiet around this area. We went to see the kids club which was well equipped and offered a real boat that had been refurbished with different areas for the children to play. We had the afternoon here to relax so we all met around the pool and had a couple of hours of chill time before meeting for dinner at the beachfront restaurant. The food again was amazing and was accompanied with some fantastic rum cocktails that went down a little bit too well!
The next day after breakfast we went to visit the One&Only Saint Geran. This hotel is a legend in Mauritius and is one of the first hotels to be built there. The setting is amazing and is one of the only places to be able to see both the sunset and sunrise due to its unique location. The hotel has the same policy as the St Regis in that it offers butler service in all room categories as standard and the check in procedure is done in the room. The hotel really has that classic grand feel about it while not being pretentious and there was a real mix of people staying there from families with young children to older couples. The facilities here were amazing with a well equipped kids club to a helipad! We ate lunch at the hotel and the food was amazing accompanied by some really nice South African Sauvignon Blanc.
After lunch, we made our way down the coast to the Preskil Beach where we were spending our final 2 nights. We had a tour of the hotel when we arrived. This hotel is a lead in 4* resort which I personally have booked many people in the past and I was really excited to see what it had to offer. The resort didn’t disappoint. It had 2 swimming pools, a full watersports centre, 3 restaurants and a great spa. We didn’t get chance to see the kids club but I am sure that it would be as great as the rest of the hotel. The hotel had arranged for our group to go on a sunset catamaran cruise which unfortunately I couldn’t go on due to medical reasons but I was told that it was a great experience. We then met for dinner at one of the hotels a la carte restaurants ‘Charka’. This can be used as part of the all inclusive dining plan and you can dine here as many times as you like. Half board guests have to pay a small supplement. Charka is a steak restaurant which we hadn’t seen so far in Mauritius and the steak that we had was superb. That night we had a drink in the bar which offered a live band before going to our rooms. We were in the standard lagoon rooms which have recently been refurbished – the bathrooms are yet to be done and to be honest didn’t really go with the rest of the room, once this has been done then these rooms will be great.
The next day we went to visit a hotel that is currently being refurbished and due to open in February 2014 – ‘Solana Beach’. This is due to be a 4* hotel set directly on the beach and offering a basic level of all inclusive so perfect for first visitors to Mauritius. The rooms that we saw have been done in a very neutral ‘shabby-chic’ way which really fit in with the surroundings and made it feel very cool even though it was 35 degrees outside! I would love to go and see this hotel once completed and see how everything works as it was hard to imagine at the time.
After the visit we then returned to the Preskil Beach where we had been booked in for a 30 minute massage and then had the afternoon free to enjoy the facilities. Personally, I think that the spa and massage at the Preskil was the best that we had experienced so far on the trip and it was half the price of some of the other hotels!
On our last evening we had dinner on the beach at the ‘Tapas’ restaurant. The starter consisted of a buffet which was set up on the beach and wasn’t really the standard buffet which we are used to! The main that we were served was lobster which I have only ever had once before – it was lovely and better than I remembered! It was a great end to a fantastic trip.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Mauritius to any type of holiday maker – families, young & old couples. There really is something to do for everyone and the range of hotels is fantastic as they cater for everybody. My personal favourite was the Paradise Cove as the views and setting was amazing, the fact that it is an adults only hotel is a bonus as well! Hopefully, one day I will get the opportunity to visit Mauritius again with my husband so that we can enjoy everything that this stunning island has to offer.