Mauritius - The Paradise Island

Mauritius - The Paradise Island

After a comfortable 11-hour direct flight from London to Gatwick we arrived on the beautiful paradise island of Mauritius, where for the next 7 days we would be hosted by Beachcomber Tours, visiting their full portfolio of 8 properties.

Our first stop was Beachcomber Shandrani Resort & Spa. This is a lovely hotel with a relaxed feel and just a short 10-minute transfer from the Airport. The hotel boasts a stunning beach, 6 fabulous restaurants, and a gorgeous spa. I felt that this hotel would work well for families particularly ones with older children on account of there being a plethora of both land and water-based activities available on-site. Most of these were also within the comprehensive All-Inclusive package available to guests. There was a well-maintained 9-hole Pitch & Putt Golf Course, 6 floodlit Tennis courts, Cycle hire, and a whole array of watersports. We had a trip out on a Glass Bottom Boat, from where we were also able to enjoy some snorkelling.

Saying goodbye to the Shandrani, the following day we set off to our next Beachcomber property “Canonnier Golf Resort & Spa” which is located on the far northwest of the Island. On our way we took in a couple of different sights, the first being a visit to La Vanille Nature Park. The highlight of our visit here was being able to feed and interact with the Aldabra Giant Tortoises. These fascinating creatures can live up to almost 200 years of age. The eldest living Giant Tortoise “Jonathan” is estimated to be 192 years old, and so predates the invention of the Telephone. Moving on our next stop was for lunch at a beautiful colonial house & restaurant “Le Saint Aubin”, which as luck would have it also housed its very own Rum Distillery. After lunch, we had a go at blending our own Rum which we got to take home, and this involved a little bit of tasting too, although purely for research purposes of course!

Continuing our journey up the west coast of the Island to the north we reached the beautiful Canonnnier Beachcomber Hotel for our second overnight stay. Still a 4* hotel the Canonnier certainly exuded a 5* feel. The resort was immaculate and the warmth of the hospitality was wonderful. This hotel would be an excellent choice for Families as well as couples. There was a Wedding taking place whilst we were there, so great for larger groups and multi-generational families. Besides plenty of both water & land-based activities available on-site, the Canonnier had the most unique Spa I have ever seen with treatment rooms interwoven within an ancient Banyan Tree. The Teen Club also deserves a special mention as it boasted a very cool venue that had been part of an old fortification that remains, and which the English then used as a lighthouse. The Canonnier is a really good all-rounder with excellent facilities, and lovely restaurants, and caters extremely well to everyone. The hotel is also within easy reach of the bustling town of Grand Baie for those wishing to explore the varied shopping and nightlife.

The next day we were off again, and after a leisurely breakfast, we headed out to do a sight inspection of the nearby Mauricia Hotel. This is another 4* property within the Beachcomber Portfolio and again has a very different feel to the previous 2 hotels we had stayed at. This hotel had a lively and energetic atmosphere that many would find appealing. While it wasn't my personal favourite due to the vibrant activity around the pool area, I can see why others would love it. The atmosphere was lovely, and we arrived during an especially busy time, as there was a fun water aerobics session happening There was a great buzz to the hotel though and it would be excellent for families, especially with younger children I would say. The other benefit of the Mauricia was the fact that it was within walking distance of Grand Baie, so offers a livelier option.

From Mauricia it was on to Beachcomber's flagship property “the 5* Royal Palm”, where we were hosted for lunch and shown around this stunning luxury boutique hotel. With just 69 exquisite suites of varying proportions and layouts, this truly is a gem with a long-standing reputation of being one of the best hotels, if not the best on the Island of Mauritius. It is hard not to fall in love with the Royal Palm, the levels of service and attention to detail are apparent as soon as you arrive. We spoke with a guest who some of our group met on our flight out, and it transpired that she was on her 57th stay at this property. When asked why so many times at the same place, the guest replied simply “Well when you have found the best then why would you want to go anywhere else”. After a sumptuous lunch, it was time to move on to our next hotel, however instead of the coach transfer we had been expecting, we were treated to a sea transfer from the Royal Palm in a very speedy Speed Boat taking us directly to Troux Aux Biches.

Arriving like windswept rock stars and minus a few false eyelashes, “not mine I hasten to add”, we made our way on shore to be greeted by the management team and cocktails, as we had made it just in time for Sundowners. Staying for the next 2 nights at Troux Aux Biches we got to experience this fabulous 5* resort. The hotel has an excellent selection of accommodation options, making it great for larger groups and multi-generation families. Set in 35 hectares of tropical gardens and with a fabulous stretch of pristine beach to step out onto, this lends itself to somewhere to come and unwind. The property boasts six incredible restaurants and a fabulous All-Inclusive plan. During our time at Troux Aux Biches, we had an evening hosted by Victoria Beachcomber, which is very close by. This is another very family-friendly property with a lovely vibe to it. Great for children of all ages, it's one of the most popular with the Brits along with Troux Aux Biches. There is also the Victoria 2 option/concept which is exclusively for Adults. This sits at the far end of the resort and is separated from the main hotel by its exclusive Restaurant. With Swim rooms and private terraces, this would be ideal for a Wedding or Honeymoon couple, or just a romantic break. At Victoria, you can still access all the facilities and Restaurants at Victoria Beachcomber, but the guests at the main hotel cannot come the other way.

Our final nights in Mauritius were to be at the 5* Dinarobin Beachcomber, although on the drive there we were treated to lunch and a site inspection of a very special property called “Lakaz Chameral Exclusive Lodge”. This property combines ecotourism & refinement and is all about reconnecting with nature. The 24 spacious units all come with open-air bathrooms and are surrounded by lush vegetation, with some having the bonus of either mountain or ocean views. This is breathtaking and would make a perfect twin centre with a beach hotel. It is the most relaxing place where you would just want to switch off your phone and properly chill out for a few days. A perfect Yoga retreat or wellness break. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, which was a veritable feast of Mauritian cuisine. Upon saying our goodbyes to the charming team at Lakaz Chameral, we stopped off to view the nearby Chameral Waterfalls & The Seven-Coloured Earth, which were certainly worth a visit whilst in the area.

The next and last stop was Dinarobin Beachcomber 5* Resort. Upon arriving I got whisked to my room by Golf Buggy, as I was allocated a Senior Zen Suite which was located at the far end of the resort in the Adult only section. An impressive room, with a massive living/dining area and a wonderful outside covered space with more sofas and tables and chairs, all of which overlooked the stunning beach. “This would do very nicely”. I enjoyed the Dinarobin as it was quite quiet and laid back, “a bit like me”, although the Paradis Beachcomber Resort which was 2 minutes away by regular shuttles, was a bit livelier. So, guests staying at either hotel were able to access and use the facilities of the other, which included all the activities as well as dining around at all the restaurants of each. These hotels also had a lovely 18-hole Golf Course complete with a Driving Range and Putting Green, this runs alongside both the Dinarobin & Paradis properties. All of this came with the most stunning backdrop of Le Morne Mountain.

Our last experience whilst staying at Dinarobin involved an early start, as we were given the opportunity to swim and snorkel. Snorkelling was an enjoyable and calm experience, as the sea life was abundant and varied living amongst a well-preserved reef, as we spotted a Moray Eel, Lion Fish, Parrot Fish, and lots more tropical fish which I was unable to identify.

The standout points for me looking back on my week in Mauritius, were that all of the Hotels that make up the Beachcomber Tours Portfolio offer guests something different. The All-Inclusive plans where available are excellent, with the majority of restaurants being included, as well as dine-around options at other Beachcomber hotels. I was impressed that waterskiing was also included, as usually, it is only non-motorised water sports. The cost of a round of Golf was also incredibly reasonable at $40 to $50 dollars with transport included when playing off-site. All the properties had excellent spas, and the cost of Babysitting equated to around £4 per hour, with Kids/Teen clubs being free of charge.

Most importantly though it was really lovely and reassuring to see and hear that all the Hotels were so committed to sustainability. They have several projects that they are involved with, be it helping to feed local schools or pig farmers so no food goes to waste, making their own honey, using wastewater for irrigation, or investing in solar power and desalination plants. They are currently fulfilling an ambitious 52 commitments to sustainability, and all of the Beachcomber hotels have received either Silver or Gold status from EarthCheck, which is a scientific benchmarking Certification for Travel & Tourism. This is something that all the hotels are extremely proud of and rightly so.

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