By Clare Walsh | May 2019 | 7 minute read
After a strong 2018 celebrating 50 years of independence, this year sees a hotel revolution underway in Mauritius, with new additions and refurbishments transforming the accommodation portfolio. Here are five ways to sell Mauritius…
Change is afoot in Mauritius. Veteran resorts such as LUX* Grand Gaube, One & Only Le Saint Géran and Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa have all undergone extensive refurbishments, while fresh new brands such as SALT, part of the Lux Collective, have also moved in.
This instagram-ready concept hotel located on the east coast has homed in on the trend for enriching experiences and is ideal for clients looking for holidays that offer cultural authenticity without compromising on luxury.
The hotel’s farm supplies its food, bikes and cars are available for exploring and guests can take part in a ‘skills swap’ with locals. SALT believes this enables guests to ‘connect at a deep level with the people who make places’ and ‘take home more than a tan’.
For clients on a budget, three-star Veranda Tamarin Hotel opened in November, while Thomas Cook is targeting a new audience for the traditional package holiday - winter will see the opening of its first long-haul hotel in Turtle Bay. With beachside swim-up rooms, a yoga pavilion and swimming platform at the end of a natural lava pier, it will target the premium market.
Another new arrival is Anantara Mauritius. Located just 15 minutes from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, the resort will be situated near to prime snorkelling spot Blue Bay Marine Park. It will feature 164 rooms and suites with eight luxury pool villas to be added in the first half of 2020.
For family time
Far from being the preserve of starry-eyed loved-up couples and honeymooners, Mauritius has developed a strong family offering with several resorts featuring excellent facilities.
Six of Beachcomber’s eight properties on the island have kids’ clubs with an extensive programme of activities.
At the five-star Paradis Beachcomber, children can get involved with water-skiing, glass-bottom boat trips, golf and even have their own restaurant!
This resort classifies guests up to the age of 17 as children, enabling agents to sell value and substantial savings.
Mauritius also appeals to multi-generational families. At the five-star Long Beach, premium all-inclusive stays enable guests of all ages to indulge. It is situated on the longest beach in Mauritius and features five restaurants, sports, a kids club, spa and pools.
A further benefit for families is that direct overnight flights keep disruption to a minimum, while a time difference of just three hours ensures jetlag needn’t be a concern.
Casela World of Adventures in the west of the island is a superb option for a family day trip. With an exceptional amount of activities such as Segway tours, camel rides, canyoning and zip-lining, it also offers a quad biking safari where visitors will come face to face with big cats and giraffes.
For total relaxation
Relaxation comes with the territory in Mauritius and resorts consistently go the extra mile to look after their guests.
Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in the east offers the ultimate in luxurious relaxation. It’s three beach villas feature staff and a personal chef available around the clock, with private limousine transfers from the airport.
It’s the only resort in Mauritius to have its own private island and the resort recently introduced five beach cabanas offering a ‘Dine by Design’ experience complete with private butlers. Guests also have the option of relaxing with an outdoor massage next to the Indian Ocean with treatments from Carita and Decleor.
For culture vultures
Mauritius’ capital, Port Louis, has plenty of treasures for those seeking a culture fix away from the sunshine and splashing around in the Indian Ocean.
Highlights include Government House and La Place D’Armes Square, along with the UNESCO-listed Apravasi Ghat, where immigrant labourers from India first landed.
Once the sightseeing has been done, suggest clients sample some tasty street food. The city is quickly gaining a reputation as a foodie hot spot with its diverse influences represented in eclectic dishes.
Keeping with the foodie theme, One&Only Le Saint Géran invites guests to join their executive chef for a ‘Shop, Cook & Eat’ experience. Starting with a visit to the local Flacq Market to learn about the island’s produce and shop for local groceries, this is followed by meeting local fisherman and seeing their catch. Once back at the resort, guests are taught how to use their ingredients to cook a Mauritian-inspired meal.
In the south of the island, Mahebourg is the first capital of Mauritius and known for its local market, museums, fortifications and historic battles between the French and British.
Resorts such as Anantara are well placed for visiting these areas of the island with Mahebourg reachable in just 15 minutes.
Mauritius-focused Attitude Hotels has a unique concept running through all its properties on the island named ‘otentik’ – meaning ‘authentic’ in Mauritian.
Despite being an all-inclusive , the brand wants its guests to experience the island. An example activity guests can book is dinner in a Mauritian home, as a guest of one of its ‘Family Members’ (staff) and to share a typical Mauritian meal.
For hopeless romantics
Mauritius is an iconic wedding and honeymoon destination - and for good reason. With soul-stirring views and a level of luxury that’s hard to top, it’s become adept at providing world-leading romantic holidays.
Many resorts offer bespoke wedding and honeymoon packages with a dedicated wedding coordinator.
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort has recently introduced a wedding package at its newly restored 19th century Heritage Le Chateau. Surrounded by a 2,500-hectare nature reserve, couples can choose to get married in the grounds, on a private beach or in a glass marquee.
Honeymooners are often drawn to Mauritius by the promise of dreamy days on white sands lapped by cerulean waters. But resorts now also recognise the value of experiential holidays.
At Beachcomber resorts, honeymooners can enjoy a complimentary romantic experience such as the use of a mini-moke (car) to explore the island, a parasailing tour over Grand Baie or a speedboat outing on the Eastern lagoon.
There are also unique accommodation options for those looking for something a little different. Last year saw the expansion of semi-transparent eco-domes from Bubble Lodge, enabling couples to sleep under the stars immersed in nature. Three domes opened on Île aux Cerfs, off Mauritius’s east coast with plans for more in 2019 in Bois Cheri.
For action & adventure
Mauritius is an island made for exploring and adventurers will have plenty to keep them busy.
An exhilarating ride through the forest canopy is promised on the world’s third longest zip line. At 1.5km long, it’s a real treat for adrenaline junkies and is set in the beautiful Vallee des Couleurs nature park – a perfect setting for reducing the heart rate afterwards!
Canyoning at Tamarin Falls isn’t for the faint-hearted but if scrambling over rock faces, abseiling down waterfalls and jumping into lagoons appeals, this is definitely worthy of the bucket list.
Located in the southwest of the island, it’s a beautiful spot suitable for beginners. Also located in this part of Mauritius is Black River Gorges National Park. With 6,500 hectares of natural beauty packed with walking trails, it’s a haven for nature lovers. The forested plateaus and gorges may even afford lucky explorers a glimpse of monkeys.
Many visitors flock to Mauritius for its beautiful waters, its 330km of coastline encircled by a dazzling coral barrier reef offer superb snorkelling and diving opportunities.
One of the most popular dives is the Cathedral located off Flic-en-Flac, while at Gunner’s Coin clients will be treated to displays of large parrotfish and an ethereal underwater world.
Mauritius is an above-par destination for golf, with ten 18-hole courses. Ile aux Cerfs golf course – reached by a short small-boat boat crossing – has natural features like volcanic outcrops, lakes and tropical trees, while Gymkhana Golf club is the oldest on the island.
So Sofitel Mauritius offers a luxury experience with its spa and butler service for suites and villas, but is located on the wilder south coast, near an 18-hole golf course and the Frederica Nature Reserve which has 4WD trails and mountain biking.
Where to book it
Turquoise Holidays has a seven-night stay at LUX* Belle Mare between May 11 and October 15 2019 and receive a 45% discount - plus kids under 12 stay free with parents. Prices start from £4,195 for a family of four including private transfers and international flights.