Indian Ocean for couples
By Clare Walsh | November 2017 | 6 minute read
For couples, the Indian Ocean’s draw card is the option of a dual-destination trip to combine both a wedding and the immediate honeymoon. Research undertaken by ABTA back in 2014 highlighted the popularity of twin-centre holidays for this market and the trend has only accelerated since then.
“We’re finding that more couples are booking multi-centre wedding/honeymoon destinations, to combine the beach location with somewhere very different that offers more of an ‘adventure’ feel. A Mauritius and Reunion Island twin-centre is perfect for couples looking for luxury beach and adventure in one trip”
KAREN COOPER, WEDDING SPECIALIST, HAYES & JARVIS
Honeymoon highlights: As part of the honeymoon offer at Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Mauritius, brides stay free on an all-inclusive basis when the groom pays a single room rate. Honeymooners will also receive a cake, gift from management, a special turndown service and one candlelit dinner
Dine with a difference: Hurawalhi has a range of romantic dining options including a table for two at its underwater restaurant, a candlelit beach dinner and a gourmet picnic on Dream Island
Call of the wild: Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka features a luxury lodge tent with romantic reclaimed wood four-poster bed and en-suite bathroom for couples combining romance with adventure can also opt to ride in a private jeep on game drives for a small supplement
Theme it: Aitken Spence Hotels promises it can make “any crazy, themed, out-of-the-norm idea a reality” and uses examples like an Indian-themed wedding with Italian food.
Adventure seekers: Couples can make memories when they take to the skies on a romantic helicopter tour over Reunion’s national park, or jump in a 4x4 to tour the island’s active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise
Furry friends: Kirindy Mitea National Park in Madagascar boasts the largest density of primates in the world. Honeymooners seeking adventure will love exploring spiny forests, coastal mangroves and grassy dunes
Extravagant entertainment: Mermaid acrobat performers and soft-shell tacos served by the metre are just some of the experiences that await fun-loving couples at Finolhu, Maldives. Weddings can include a ‘groovy celebrant’ to conduct the ceremony, personalised bridal buggy or decorated wedding beach hut
Head for the hills: The newly-opened Camellia Hills hotel in Sri Lanka’s stunning Hill Country offers plenty of opportunity for active couples. Order a gourmet picnic before heading off to visit tea estates, scenic lakes and cascading waterfalls
Specialty Spas: Enjoy spa treatments with a difference at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island where glass-floored treatment rooms set on stilts display enchanting views of the coral reef below
Sea urchins at sunset: This is the new experience for guests at LUX* le Morne on Mauritius. Just before sundown, the resident guest experience manager heads out into the lagoon in search of fresh sea urchins which are then served up at sunset on the beach.
Twin centre options
Mauritius and Reunion Island are just a 40-minute flight apart but enable couples to combine a blissed-out beach break with an active exploration holiday.
Alternatively, a direct flight between Mauritius and Antananarivo gives nature-loving couples the option of combining underwater magic in Mauritius with a lemur safari in Madagascar.
Pairing the dreamy Maldives or Seychelles with Sri Lanka is another popular combination. A short 90-minute flight between Malé and Colombo enables couples to spend their first days as newlyweds exploring temples, tea plantations and Yala National Park.
What the experts say
“Although an already established weddings and honeymoon destination, with so many new experiences now being offered, there has never been a better time for Mauritius to be at the forefront of travel agents’ minds, particularly as the average wedding in the UK costs over £20,500 compared to just £6,924 in Mauritius.
“Mauritius has also been awarded the latest World Travel Award for Weddings and Honeymoons in recognition of the destination’s excellence in this sector.
“Some of the newest wedding and honeymoon experiences in Mauritius include the first swim-up rooms on the island at the Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa. As well as the usual amenities offered by Beachcomber resorts, this is an adult only wing and therefore a perfect choice for the couple travelling child-free and looking for luxury. ”
KEVIN RAMKALOAN, DIRECTOR OF TOURISM, MTPA
Hotels: Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts is continuing it expansion with the opening of another addition to its Maldives Resort portfolio, OBLU SELECT at Sangeli. Opening on July 1 2018, it will feature exclusive over-water honeymoon pool suites and will include a welcome bottle of champagne, fruit, canapés, complimentary dining and two couple massages.
October saw the re-opening of the Couples Hotel at Veranda Paul et Virginie in Mauritius after a three-month renovation. Improving the experiences on offer for couples was the main focus for the renovation. They include a new infinity pool, a sunken bar, fitness suite and a shisha corner.
September saw the opening of Amari Galle Sri Lanka wedding ceremonies are offered at the outdoor wedding pavilion overlooking the beach and features 172 rooms and suites, a multi-tiered pool deck with direct beach access and a spa.
Dusit Thani Maldives recently introduced a new villa category: Beach Deluxe Villa with Pool. Three of these have been released for sales and a further three will be completed by the end of the year. It has also completed renovations at the restaurant.
The Shangri-La le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius has a new wedding package. Guests are now invited to host their day on the exclusive L’llot Mangenie, a private island reserved for hotel guests.
Movenpick Hotels & Resorts is opening its first property in the Maldives next year. Situated on the remote Kuredhivaru Island in the Noonu Atoll, the resort will feature 33 beach villas and 72 overwater villas. Huvafen Fushi in Mauritius is making its return at the end of 2017. Newlyweds will be able to relax in the world’s first underwater spa and unwind in the Vinum wine bar eight metres below the heart of the island.
The five-star Four Seasons Anahita in Mauritius has a new wedding package for couples desiring a private wedding. The new venue is on the islet of the Quiet Beach and is aimed at intimate ceremonies for two or a small group wedding.
Where to book it
Hayes & Jarvis offer a 12-night honeymoon to Sri Lanka and the Maldives from £2,549pp, saving up to £857pp. The offer includes five nights at the five-star Anantara Kalutara Resort in Sri Lanka on a B&B basis and seven nights at the five-star Anantara Veli Maldives Resort on a half-board basis. Also included is a complimentary upgrade to half-board in the Maldives and all flights. The deal is based on a May 13 departure.
Rainbow Tours’ 14-day Madagascar tour starts with one night in boutique hotel Maison Gallieni in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, followed by three nights in Madagascar’s Andasibe-Mantadia National Park for wildlife watching with a private guide. It ends with seven nights at Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel, Mauritius. From £3,335pp including flights with Air Mauritus.