Mauritius is a beautiful tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, accessed easily with direct flights from the UK or from either Nairobi or Johannesburg, making it an easy post-safari beach destination or a holiday in its own right.
The island is exotic, delightful and the perfect place to totally relax. Beaches of soft white sand are flanked with palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. The azure water is beautifully inviting and wonderfully calm, due to the island being almost entirely surrounded by coral reef. Being malaria free is an added attraction, especially for families.
I spent seven nights exploring the island in March, visiting many of the hotels on offer. Mauritius is known for its luxury and slick service and it certainly did deliver. It’s hard to choose standouts but the Four Seasons really did make sure I was enjoying my time. I spent my last day there and had time for a quick swim in the afternoon. By the time I got back to my sun lounger after my swim, my towel was laid out on the sunbed with a comfy pillow to support my head – a glass of ice cold water had been poured for me and I was offered a delicious fruity ice lolly as I sat down. I had lunch with one of the managers and mentioned it was my birthday on my return to the UK and by the time I had got back to my room, a candle and card had been laid out for me as a gift – the little touches were so memorable.
The Le Morne Peninsula in the south-west corner of the island has the dramatic Le Morne mountain forming a memorable backdrop for the hotels in this part of the island which include the beautiful St Regis, the modern Lux Le Morne, the fantastic family friendly Paradis, and the sedate and sophisticated Dinarobin. The peninsula has some beautiful beaches, including one of the best beaches in the world for kite-surfing, and the area has a peaceful, slightly hidden-away feel to it.
In the north of the island, there’s a bit more going on, a bit more buzz, and a few more hotels. The Trou aux Biches beach is an amazing stretch of sand, ideal for long walks in the morning and the evenings when the sun’s not beating down. Beachcombers Trou aux Biches hotel is a large hotel with over 600 rooms and villas but with its clever design and multiple swimming pools, still manages to feel like a very good sophisticated property. I had a lovely night here, enjoying a cocktail as the sun set, a delicious Indian meal and a quick swim the next morning!
The majority of hotels on Mauritius have beautiful spas, creative kids clubs, tennis courts, sports facilities, watersports centres and numerous restaurants. Others have fantastic golf courses. There are a few smaller boutique-style properties, offering a more personal feel to them. Le Sakoa on Trou aux Biches beach was a great little spot with friendly service, and La Maison d’Été on the north-west coast is a lovely secluded hotel.
In between site inspections, I got to see a bit of the island and experience what’s on offer apart from the beaches. We visited the beautiful Chamarel waterfall and the fascinating seven-coloured earths – a striking, lunar-like geological formation of seven distinct colours. The magnificent Hindu statues of the Grand Bassin, including the giant statue of Shiva, tower above you impressively.
I also got to try out snorkelling from Flic-en-Flac beach. The colourful fish and delicate coral were mesmerising as I floated around effortlessly in the turquoise waters. It is possible to snorkel from the beach, but for the best experience of the beautiful coral and plentiful fish, join one of the boat trips that all the hotels offer.
Most non-motorised watersports are free of charge in Mauritius which means you can be kept busy all day, every day – you can snorkel, kayak, try out stand-up paddle boarding (I still don’t understand how people make it look so easy!), windsurfing, pedalos, sailing, scuba diving – it’s a fantastic destination place for active beach go-ers.
Mauritius is a great beach destination if you’re looking for luxury, sophistication, clear blue water and long sandy beaches. Our summer months equate to their winter which means the temperatures only reach mid-twenties at the most, but it’s still possible to go and have a beautiful time. Between January and March, cyclones can occur, so it’s best to think twice about travelling in these months but it’s not impossible. There are hotels that work perfectly for honeymoons, hotels for families, hotels for those who want total relaxation, hotels for those who want to be active. You can choose to alternate between lying on the beach and by the pool, or you can get out and about, see the island, try the different activities and pack in as many watersports as possible, it’s an island that can offer something for everyone.
Frances stayed at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, St Regis, Sands Suites Resort & Spa, Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa, Maritim Hotel, Troux aux Biches and Constance Prince Maurice.
Frances visited Shandrani Resort & Spa, Shanti Maurice, Dinarobin Hotel and Golf Spa, Lux Le Morne, Heritage Le Telfair, Heritage Awali Golf and Spa Resort, La Pirogue, Sugar Beach Resort, Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa, Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa, Royal Palm, Le Cardinal Exclusive Resort, Oberoi, Le Sakoa, Canonnier, Seapoint Boutique Hotel, Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel, 20 Degres Sud, Lux Grande Gaube, Belle Mare Plage Hotel, Long Beach, One and Only Le Saint Géran, La Maison d’Été , Ambre Resort, La Palmeraie Boutique Hotel, Lux Belle Mare, The Residence, Shangri-La le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Anahita and Four Seasons.