If Mauritius conjures up images of bathwater blue seas, clear skies and balmy, palm tree-filled days…well, you’d be right.
The better news is that it’s no longer viewed as a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon destination. Early on in my visit, not realising this, I made the mistake of asking a chatty couple if they were on honeymoon, only to get a wall of awkwardness in return. So to repeat, Mauritius’s beautiful weather, luscious green interiors and beautiful beaches are open to all.
From the stunning La Baie, to the busy and fascinating capital of Port Louis, to the coral reef in Blue Bay, Mauritius is very clearly a multi-faceted destination. My base, however, is at the luxury Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa, found further south in Flic-en-Flac. Here’s how it went.
On the ridiculously gorgeous coast of Flic-en-Flac, there’s a run of luxury hotels that take prime spot. And while most of them are international chains, wee Maradiva is Mauritian owned and run, and has bags of character and charm as a result. Its westerly location means the sun puts on a light show over the Indian Ocean as it sets every evening at 5.30pm.
The hotel rents out bicycles so you can cycle around the area, though anything more will need a taxi or driver.
Rooms aren’t found at this five-star-plus hotel – everyone gets a villa to themselves. Those who come with a loved one (whether on honeymoon or not) and want to lock themselves away for an entire week will find them spacious enough. They include an outdoor seating area, a plunge pool, and a bathroom that’s the size of my flat, full of Bvlgari toiletries.
My room was the opposite end from the main pool, bar and restaurant, but if I didn’t fancy the five-minute walk (which feels like 20 in the heat), golf carts were on hand, and very prompt too.
The only niggles, which relate to each other, are that it gets quite dark at night, and lights aren’t centrally controlled which means it’s a chore to switch them off when you’re in holiday mode. Such a minor issue in paradise.
There’s a stunning spa onsite with lots of wellness offerings, but even hanging out by its pool (which is quieter than the main one) is a joy. There’s a gorgeous, expansive gym that makes the pain of gymming bearable, and free yoga sessions once a week.
For those who like to keep active, the hotels offers water sports like snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing and sailboating for free. Or pay a little extra to take a sunset cruise, or a class to learn how to cook typical Mauritian food in their kitchen garden – it’s quite the experience.
Service is relaxed and well-intentioned, but a little erratic; service at the restaurants was especially slow. But, when I stepped on an insect on my villa patio by accident (I know. I’m still traumatised), the staff were excellent about cleaning it up discreetly and properly. So major points for them, as well as my thanks.
Food and drink 4/5
There’s a large choice of restaurants in a hotel complex that feels sparsely-populated even when it’s full.
As the name implies, Teppan is a Teppanyaki restaurant that’s in the round; the theatrics of huge flames as the chef cooks in front of you is a highlight of a stay here. Next door, Cilantro is the beautiful Indian restaurant – and boy, do they know their way around a spice cabinet.
Coast2Coast is where to enjoy their breakfast., and it’s a formidable start to the day. It nods to Mauritius’s Indian and French heritage; there’s everything from dal to chocolate bread, a typically Parisienne treat.
Lunch and dinner are served here too, and it’s a more casual beachfront choice. There’s burgers, pastas and a range of Bibimbap-style bowls for a healthier bite to eat, though portions are generous and I could barely finish mine. A good complaint to have.
Snap happy? The very best pictures are taken lying on a lounger by the pool as the sunsets. The palm trees are reflected in the infinity pool, and the wild colours of the sky are reflected the Indian Ocean just beyond. Bliss.
Shilpa was a guest of Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa. Villas with private pools start around £600 (half-board). See maradiva.com for more information.