The famed American author Mark Twain was once quoted as saying, “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Wanting to see what all the fuss is about, I sat down for a chat with a travel consultant from Elegantresorts.co.uk who advised that the east coast had the island’s best beaches and most tranquil waters. Located in the very aptly named ‘Belle Mare’ region of east Mauritius, The Residence looked like the perfect place for a calming luxury beach break. As well as the accommodation, Elegantresorts.co.uk booked our direct flights with Air Mauritius, private car transfers and ensured we had passes for the SkyTeam Lounge at Heathrow and the business class lounge at Mauritius, SSR International Airport, so we could relax in comfort before our flight.
After leaving Heathrow in the evening, we slept the majority of the 12-hour flight and arrived in Mauritius the following day at noon. Under an hour later we were climbing the stairs of The Residence and entering the impressive reception. Inspired by 19th century plantation houses, the resort is a striking complex set amid lush tropical gardens with a kilometre-long stretch of immaculate white beach. There are 135 spacious rooms, but we opted to splash out on one of their 28 suites, which had two rooms, two bathrooms, a king-size four-poster bed and a private terrace where you could take in the stunning ocean views. Elegantly decorated in-keeping with the colonial theme, the muted white colour scheme, honey-coloured wood and wrought iron detailing brought you back in time to the elegance of the plantation-era.
All guests have a personal butler at their disposal and I was incredibly happy to take our butler up on his offer to unpack our luggage. We left him to it and went to soak up our surroundings. The resort is fringed by fragrant and lush tropical gardens, which are maintained by a number of local gardeners. The large lagoon-like pool sits directly behind the expansive lobby and just beyond that is the resort’s pristine white beach. It was nice to see lots of attentive staff both poolside and at the beach, ensuring guests had everything they needed, including complimentary bottles of water. As well as the main swimming pool, off to the side there is a shallower little pool, which is perfect for very young guests to safely splash around in.
The Planters Kids Club is a gorgeous plantation-inspired house set amongst a tropical park and playground. It’s nestled just steps from the beach and offers children aged 3-12 a whole host of free activities including treasure hunts, snorkelling and cooking classes, picnics and pony rides run by the enthusiastic Kids Club staff. Open until 10pm, in the evenings they put on films, fashion shows and plays, meaning that parents can have a little alone time or a romantic meal if they fancy. If your child is too young to attend the Kids Club, The Residence do offer a day nursery, as well as baby-sitting service, with highly trained nannies that costs 425 Rupees for two hours, which is about £8.50.
One of the things that drew us to The Residence is the wide range of complimentary activities on offer at The Yacht Club, including water-skiing, wind surfing, snorkelling, canoeing and kayaking. Two very friendly and knowledgeable staff took us out in a glass bottom boat for a snorkel session and it was incredible to see the multitudes of brightly coloured fish that live on the coral reef. If you want to explore the reef further, The Residence offers an undersea walk, which is the perfect thing if you’re not keen on diving or if you’re not a swimmer – it’s also suitable for children and it’s a real one-of-a-kind experience, especially for little ones.
The Sanctuary Spa is a tranquil space uniquely located underneath the hotel. The facilities include eleven treatment rooms, a gym, a sauna and a steam room, and the highly-trained therapists offer a wide-choice of treatments and custom-made programmes using French Carita skincare products. We opted for a relaxing couples’ massage in one of the larger treatment rooms, which I followed up with Carita’s incredible Sculpting Gold Perfection facial. It was nice to see that younger guests are also invited to use the spa, with luxury body massages for children aged 3-12, facials for hormonal teenagers, as well as mini manicure and pedicure treatments and hair braiding.
Guests can opt for half-board or full board at The Residence. The Dining Room is the main restaurant which serves both á la carte meals and delicious buffets for breakfast and dinner. Next door at The Verandah lunch is served from noon, and the fresh fish and outstanding pizzas were a real culinary highlight. But our favourite Mauritian meal of the holiday by far was at The Plantation, an oceanfront planter’s house that sits right on the beach, where we enjoyed a Creole-inspired lobster stew cooked with local herbs and spices. You can also sign up to adult and child cooking lessons led by The Plantation’s chefs, who taught us how to make palm heart salad and cook delicious Capitaine fish, so we could bring some of the island flavour back with us.
Book seven nights at the Residence from £3,895 per family. Price is based on two adults and one baby sharing a Colonial View Room on a half board basis, return economy flights with Air Mauritius, private car transfers and UK Airport Lounge passes. For further information contact Elegant Resorts Reservations on 01244 897515 or visit elegantresorts.co.uk.