After 4 nights in La Reunion, we embarked on a short and sweet 30 minute flight with Air Austral to neighbouring island Mauritius. Mauritius is a tropical island nation which sits 175km northeast of Reunion with 177km of coral reef coastline. Mauritius has a tropical climate, modified by the southeast trade winds, a warm dry winter (June to October) and a hot, wet & humid summer (November to May). English is the official language, but Creole and French are far more widely used.
Upon arrival at Mauritius International Airport, we were met with a warm welcome from the Connections team at their permanent airport counter (18) in the arrival’s hall, complimented with a refreshing cocktail before getting our transfer to the hotel. Connections have their own fleet of well-maintained vehicles including coaches and cars, all drivers are professional, neat and have great destination knowledge so will be able to give your clients the perfect introduction to Mauritius.
Tonight we stayed in Outrigger Mauritius, less than an hour’s drive the airport this absolute beachfront resort is located on the southwest coast of the island nestled in the nature reserve of Bel Ombre. This stunning new deluxe property blends the needs of the most sophisticated traveller with the charm and tradition of an early 17th century Mauritian sugar cane plantation. Choose to unwind in one of the four swimming pools, relax with an indulgent treatment at the extensive wellness spa or take a stroll along the beach or through the deluxe tropical gardens. The resort offers 181 sea-facing rooms with Deluxe, Family, Suites & Villa options, all of which have been designed to a contemporary and premium standard with Mauritian feel and atmosphere. There are plenty of dining options on the property with 3 restaurants including Edgewater, the resort’s beachfront restaurant offering sandwiches, burgers and salads for either Lunch and dinner. Mercado Market Dining offers an energetic international food market dining concept where guests interact with chefs at each kitchen, celebrating cuisine from Europe, Mediterranean, North and South Asia and India for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This evening I had dinner at The Plantation Club, offering a French Colonial atmosphere, reserved exclusively for Suites & Villa guests during the day with it’s own private pool and outdoor lounge as well as a fine-dining restaurant open to all guests in the evening serving modern Mauritian cuisine.
The next morning I was picked up by Richita from Connections and our driver to embark on a whistle-stop tour of the Wild South West. This is one of the bestselling day tours Connections offer, including Chamarel Waterfalls, the Seven Coloured Earths, Rhumerie de Chamarel, the Black River Gorges, the sacred lake of Grand Bassin and the Trou Aux Cerfs volcanic crater with a 360 view over the island, as well as the historic sailing ships at Voilers de l’ocean.
Throughout the tour we also stopped to see some of the more boutique accommodation options:
- La Vielle Cheminee – a small working farm located in Chamarel next to the beautiful Plaine Champagne nature reserve and close to several mountain peaks. The Chamarel falls, Seven coloured earth, Curious Corner and Rhumerie Chamarel are all close by attractions. La Vielle Cheminee offers 5 different cottages with a typical ‘Creole’ style, ranging from 2-6 persons. All homes possess their own unique personality through tasteful and comfortable decoration using recycled building materials and furniture, fully equipped kitchen and BBQ, it’s own garden and under the shadow of the old sugar mill’s stone chimney and the sounds of the old tractor, song of the roosters and cutting of the sugar cane. There is no restaurant on the property, but all houses have a kitchen, a catering service is optional and meals can be cooked with a min of 24hours notice. Picnic baskets are available for lunch upon request. The property offers numerous walking trails, a hilltop swimming pool and a stable of horses who are calm, gentle and available for horse riding in this scenic setting.
- Chalets Chamarel – A brand new hotel made up of 9 double deluxe es perched on the ridges of Chamarel mountain Piton La Porte with incredible panoramic views of the west coast on one side and breath taking forest views on the other. The retreat is part of the Sea Resorts collection and is just a short 5 min drive away from Chamarel Falls and the Seven Coloured Earths. The resort is an adults-only hotel with it’s in-house restaurant and bar ‘SeaForest Restaurant’ serving local and international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can receive complimentary tea and coffee as well as a sundowner cocktail from 5-6pm. The prime positioned swimming pool sits at the centre of the property overlooking the turquoise blue waters surrounding Ile Aux Benitiers and Le Morne Mountain.
- Bubble Lodge Bois Cheri – The bubble lodge offers guests a unique and eco-friendly accommodation option in the domaine of Bois Cheri, the most famous Tea Estate of Mauritius. The Bois Cheri Restaurant offers panoramic views of the south coast of the island. The bubble lodges are secluded nestled around the Lake offering bubbles for couples and families. All rooms are equipped with ecological toilets, a washbasin with running water, an open sky shower and offer perfect bedroom views for stargazing using the SkyView smartphone app. Activities around the lake include pedal boats, kayaking, fishing or walks around the lake to meet deer, guinea fowl, black swans and ducks.
After visiting some of the Wild South West of Mauritius we drove up to the North of the island to Mont Choisy, home of Tarisa Resort & Spa, a 3* fully renovated hotel facing one of the most popular sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons on the island. The resort consists of 75 rooms (57 superior, sea facing, 12 superior garden facing, 5 family rooms and 1 suite), 2 restaurants, a bar, a spa, a kids club, gym, outdoor swimming pool, beach front boathouse and conference room. The resort offers half board, full board or all-inclusive board basis at their Indigo Restaurant, serving local and international buffet style cuisine. Tandoor is their authentic Indian A la Carte restaurant which guess can book for a supplement. Having a beachfront location, guests can make the most of compliment activities such as canoeing/kayaking, pedal boats, snorkelling as well as glass bottom boat trip.
My 2nd and final night in Mauritius was at the incredible Lagoon Attitude at the very top of the island. Part of the Mauritius owned Attitude Hotel Group, Lagoon Attitude is a 4* Adults-only hotel with a commitment to eco and sustainability, adopting a zero single-use plastic approach, encouraging guests to use 100% mineral sunscreen and visit their Marine Discovery Centre. The property has several water refill points and provides guests with a complimentary Isotherm flask, 5 bars and a dine-around experience enabling guests to choose from 3 of the 5 restaurants without additional cost. There are 182 rooms and suites available on the property with 5 different categories suitable for couples and families. As the name suggests, the property boasts a lagoon style beach where guests can take part in water activities such as glass bottom boat, kayaking, pedal boats, snorkelling, laser boats, stand up paddle boarding and windsurfing, as well as PADI diving and catamaran cruises at an extra cost. The property has 3 swimming pools (1 heated), 2 floodlit tennis courts, a fitness centre, a spa with 4 treatment rooms, steam room and jacuzzi, beach volleyball, yoga classes, shuffleboard and organised walks to the famous Cap Malherueux Church.
Paradise Cove Hotel, just around the corner from Lagoon Attitude, this boutique 5* hotel recently reopened in September 2019 after undergoing a major renovation and is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. This adults-only hotel offers a You & Me concept, making it the perfect get away for couples, with 67 rooms across 4 different categories. The hotel offers 3 swimming pools, including a hilltop infinity pool and man-made cove, with 4 restaurants scattered around the property. The Dining Room is the hotel’s main restaurant, open for breakfast and dinner, XO specialises in a healthy sushi concept, Peninsular overlooks the lagoon offering Tapas of the world, and finally The Cove offers seafood dishes, nestled amongst the coconut trees between the main swimming pool and the cove. The Dining Room, XO and Peninsular are available in the hotel’s Dine Around concept which can be offered from a Half Board Package upwards.
Just a 15 minute drive from Paradise Cove lies a very different style accommodation, Le Demeure St Antoine, an 1830s colonial style mansion transformed into a Guest House and Restaurant. There are 4 luxury ensuite bedrooms each with 4 poster beds, air conditioning, TV and internet connection as well as access to the veranda or gardens. The Restaurant, well known for hosting events and festivities offers fine cuisine with Creole flavours and can accommodate up to 40 people inside and 80 out on the veranda.
On the North West corner of the island lies a seafront boutique property called Seapoint. Recently renovated in 2015, Seapoint Boutique Hotel is an absolute beachfront location overlooking the Coin de Mire Island, Flat Island and Round Island. The hotel consists of 22 rooms across 2 levels, 3 restaurants, 2 bars and a lounge, reception, boat house, boutique and spa. All rooms at Seapoint are ocean facing and have a terrace or a balcony. The hotel has a heated outdoor swimming pool overlooking the beach with sunbeds and parasols available for guests as well as a poolside bar serving drinks and snacks.
My final hotel inspection in Mauritius was Sakoa Hotel, a 4* boutique hotel just 10 minuites drive from Grand Bay, and 25 minuites from Port Louis capital. The hotel has 16 spacious rooms (14 standard and 2 suites), all rooms offer either a balcony or a terrace. The hotel restaurant is OAK, open every day with capacity for 40 guests, the restaurant serves a seletion of sea food, Mauritian specialties and international dishes, as well as a special menu prepared for children and themed evenings throughout the week. The hotel offers B&B, half board or full board basis. Being right on the beach, Sakoa offers a wide range of relaxing activities both within the hotel and on the beach, including paddle boats and kayaks at guests disposal, as well as a Wellness centre situated right on the beach, offering the perfect setting for a variety of pamper treatments.