Silky sapphire waters, white sandy beaches and the kind of luxury one only dreams of – that’s what to expect when you touch down in Mauritius. That, and the spine-tingling excitement that kicks in as soon as you step outside the airport and let your eyes wander.
The tropical island surrounded by the Indian Ocean has been a firm favourite for those in search of a taste of heaven ever since historic writer Mark Twain uttered his famous quote – and they’ve yet to be left disappointed.
Famed for its breathtaking beauty and elegant resorts, Mauritius hosts over thousands of British travellers a year. But it is much more than palm trees and volcanic mountain backdrops that keeps us coming.
From world-class culinary experiences and endless adventurous activities to top-notch spas and impressive heritage, Mauritius has it all. But much to our surprise, getting a piece of this paradise won’t cost you a fortune. As always, we’re here to help. So here’s a little guide to make sure you get the most authentic experience out of your trip, whatever your budget.
Where to stay in Mauritius
Mauritius is known as a destination for fairytale-like romance and no place personifies this like Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort and Spa. Inspired by the original Arab name for the island, ‘Dina Arobi’, the five-star hotel is a nature lover’s paradise.
Upon arrival, you’ll be met with exotic gardens, beautifully-built ponds and authentic Mauritian interiors situated on a powder white beach, where you’ll find dreamy double day beds perfect for sunset watching.
The resort oozes both romance in a secluded part of the peninsula, where its only neighbour is another stellar Beachcomber resort, Paradis. It boasts 172 suites, all of which are generously spacious, and many of which come with a stunning seafront facing view. Each room has either a balcony or a veranda surrounded by bamboo blinds where you can soak up a bit of sun in private. Oh, and whenever you’re ready to cool off, you can make the most of their nearest pool – there are five small ones in accommodation crescents as well as the extravagant main hotel pool, which is huge.
If you’re travelling as a group or sticking around for longer than a week, consider staying in one of Dinarobin Zen Suites. Here, you’ll enjoy an adults-only private villa that comes complete with a pool, a living room, kitchen and four bedrooms as well as a swanky garden on the beach. There’s also a butler service and helicopter transfers at your leisure.
As for the service, expect nothing but the best. The hotel’s entire ethos is peace and tranquillity and that’s certainly what you get. The staff are not only welcoming, attentive and incredibly efficient but they go out of their way for guests in a way that makes them a real highlight.
Travelling as a family? Look no further than Beachcomber’s Victoria resort and spa. Located on the north-west coast of the island, the resort is kid-friendly, yet doesn’t feel overrun by children. The rooms are once again generously sized and come with either a balcony or a terrace facing the beach. Insider tip: if you can, pick a room with a terrace as this gives you easy access to the beach and the sun loungers.
Where to eat in Mauritius
When visiting a five-star island resort, the last thing you want to do is have to leave the premises to look for quality dining. Luckily, this definitely won’t be the case at the Beachcomber hotels. With wide variety of dining options from breakfast through to dinner, guests can indulge in cuisines from all corners of the world. However, out of Dinarobin’s four restaurants, Umani, a shiny new addition offering à la carte Asian-fusion food is a clear stand out.
The newly opened eatery has the appeal of a swanky Mayfair restaurant if you replace pretentious snobbery with a laid-back, friendly atmosphere, and most importantly, the food is delightful. Once you’ve polished off your plate, wash down all the delicious Japanese flavours with a cocktail of your choice at the Mahoghany Bar, which overlooks the sea and has a live band playing every night.
For lunch, pay a visit to La Page where you can tuck into a delicious seafood dish under a thatched parasols on the beach, while breakfast is served in international buffet form at L’Harmonie.
If you’re after authentic Mauritian cuisine, take a trip to Dinarobin’s sister hotel Paradis. The two properties offer guests a ‘dine around’ experience which means they get access to all eight restaurants between the two. Paradis’ La Ravanne is where you’ll get to taste Mauritian flavours in abundance as you dine in candle-lit thatched huts on sand, overlooking the beach. Embrace the traditional dining etiquette by ditching the cutlery and getting your hands dirty as you sample sharing plates while watching live entertainment.
At Victoria, start your night with a drink around a fire pit at the gorgeous Boma bar before heading to the aptly-named La Casa, the hotel’s charming open-air Italian restaurant which overlooks Port-Louis’ skyline. Serving everything from pasta and pizza to Italian meat dishes, La Casa sets the tone for romance with not only its food but its fanciful character.
What to do in Mauritius
While you may think that rest and relaxation are at the top of the list for holidaymakers who choose Mauritius as their destination, it’s far from the only thing on offer. In fact, the island has both adventure and culture at its feet.
Guests at the Beachcomber resorts can participate in an array of water sports, from paddle boarding to sailing, diving and a personal highlight, swimming with dolphins. However, if you do decide to do this (and why wouldn’t you?), head out to sea as early as possible, as your best bet for interacting with the dolphins is around 8am. Just make sure you take some motion-sickness tablets beforehand if you tend to get sea sick.
The Beachcomber resorts are famed for their impressive golf-courses. For example, Paradis boasts an 18-hole Par 72 golf course that stretches along 5,924 metres between the astonishing Morne Mountain and the lagoon of the Morne peninsula.
If you’re less about physical adventure and more about cultural exploring, then fear not. Mauritius is home to Grand Bassin, a sacred Hindu lake, as well as beautiful temples and the Black River Gorges overlooking the Western coast. While you’re at it, make a pit stop at the Chamarel Coloured Earths where you can enjoy an ice cream while taking in the scenic view.
Best of all, guests at Dinarobin can sign up to a creole cooking class where the resort’s chefs teach you the ins and outs of creating the ultimate Mauritian dish. Experiment with different flavours, work on your presentation and walk away feeling like you’re ready to apply for MasterChef.
Once you’ve cooked to your heart’s content, why not treat yourself to a calming afternoon of unwinding at the resort’s spa? With 11 massage rooms, two dry steam baths, a gym and a heated pool, a trip to the spa at Dinarobin will end in utter bliss.
How to get to Mauritius
Getting to Mauritius is much easier than you may think. Air Mauritius has regular flights departing from London Heathrow that will get you to the island in just 11 hours. Plus, the time difference is next to nothing, with Mauritian clocks being just three hours ahead meaning zero jet lag.
Seven nights half board in a Junior Suite at Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, for two adults starts from £1,940 per person. Price includes return economy flights with Air Mauritius, various complimentary land and water sports, and private transfers in Mauritius. Departs 19 June 2020, price subject to availability. Call Beachcomber Tours on 01483 445 610 or visit their website.
Seven nights all-inclusive in a Superior First Floor Room at Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa, for two adults starts from £1,795 per person. Price includes return economy flights with Air Mauritius, various complimentary land and water sports, and airport transfers in Mauritius. Departs 19 June 2020, price subject to availability. Call Beachcomber Tours on 01483 445 610 or visit their website.