Mauritius and Dubai – Old Favourites and New Discoveries
Mark & Marcella returned to Mauritius last month where they visited some of our long term partners and also discovered some new hidden gems along the way
A week after last year’s amazing trip to Mauritius I was fortunate enough to play golf at the superb RAC Club in Epsom in a Mauritius Tourism day and was delighted to win a holiday to Mauritius!! As the flights were with Emirates we decided to spend a few days in Dubai on the way home. Overall, we had an amazing holiday which included staying in some different places than usual as well as revisiting our old favourite the Constance Belle Mare Plage.
Pointes Aux Biches
Our first stop was at the Veranda Pointe Aux Biches, a boutique hotel set around a stunning beach. We stayed in an ocean-view room in the adult-only section – The Sandy Lane Village with its own restaurant and pool which is beautifully lit at night. We were warmly welcomed by the manager Vikram Appadoo who updated us on hotel developments over a traditional Mauritian buffet lunch, enough to feed a small army.
The hotel is set around a fantastic beach with shallow crystal clear water where we swam out to the man-made volcanic rock islands. We were treated to a fabulous evening meal on the beach on our first night and enjoyed the deck restaurant on the second night. A very chilled start to our trip.
We saw quite a few changes to Paradise Cove which elevate this unique resort to a new level. The newly decorated rooms have moved away from the bright Indian colours to a more subdued palette with a soft African feel – the effect is to create a very tranquil interior looking onto the most stunning views of the cove.
The new Peninsula area is a fabulous surprise as you walk up the steps towards the new wooden deck area and discover the infinity pool and restaurant with stunning views out to Coin De Mire – we agreed that was the most stunning setting for lunch. After a swim in the cove, we headed to the ‘love nests’ overlooking the cove to indulge in complete relaxation. In the evening we enjoyed a beautiful Asian meal in the XO – delicious food artfully presented!
The Ravenala Attitude
By contrast, the Ravenala Attitude, a sister hotel of Paradise Cove is a much larger hotel with a young and lively vibe. We had a fabulous sea view room which was very spacious and had stunning views of the sparkling sea. The beach area is not huge but if you want more open space there are fabulous public beaches only 5-minute walk down the road.
We joined a group bike tour and discovered the many beautiful beaches nearby. Exhausted after our exertions we lazed on the sun loungers watching every kind of sea activity going on in front of us from kayaking to water skiing, motorboats, snorkelling, laser boats and paddleboarding. We stayed on to enjoy sundowners and the stunning sunset.
Golf at Mont Choisy
We joined our old friends Jo and Rory Kirk for a round of golf at Mont Choisy where the course has matured well. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch in the very modern clubhouse; with an open aspect all round it creates a wonderful atmosphere.
The Belle Mare Plage
As ever, arriving at the Belle Mare Plage is like arriving home. We were greeted like old friends and made to feel at home. We stayed in the beachfront Junior Suites and also toured the newly refurbished Prestige Rooms and as you can see from the video we were pleased to find that the décor is more light and airy and makes the rooms feel more spacious.
We enjoyed a fabulous meal in the Blue Penny where the food is outstanding and the wine selection as extensive as any you would find in Paris!
I played golf at the Links course with some of the wonderful guys who manage the Belle Mare Plage courses. Having know Sebastian and Sarran for many years I knew that the iceboxes would be filled with beers and the game would be great fun! Their partner in crime Danesh had injured his toe so unfortunately, he could not join us.
The course, as always, was in great condition and a pleasure to play. I didn’t get to play the Legend course but from the clubhouse, it was obvious that they had done a lot of work clearing shrubs and trees and opening up the course a lot more. The jury is out about the changes – one of our regular clients who has been to the resort many times commented:
“I thought that the tree clearing on the Legend had gone a bit too far, I thought that some of the original design using the trees rocks etc had been taken away, but I guess us older folk are never satisfied!!!”
He’s a super golfer but with my wayward game, I’m sure the changes will suit me just fine!!!
En route to Lazak we visited Tamarina to play a round at Tamarina Golf Estate. The boutique resort is small and set in the beautiful Tamarina bay with an intimate and rustic feel. With one of the most scenic golf courses on the island, the spectacular Tamarina Golf Course is one not to be missed so we would recommend a short stay here as part of a multi-resort trip.
Lazak Chamarel Lodge
For a complete change from beach resorts, we stayed at the exclusive forest lodges at Lazak Chamarel where we were warmly welcomed by our host François. What a stunning and serene setting – our lodge was set high in the mountains surrounded by ancient tropical forest with stunning elevated views over the Indian ocean.
The lodges are reached by walking through the forest paths but buggies are available if required. In the generously spacious lodges, the décor is rustic raw woods giving a natural African feel with a huge four-poster bed and a sublime infinity pool overlooking the incredible view to the Indian Ocean and Ile aux Benitiers. I can’t imagine a more serene setting than being nestled in the tropical forest surrounded by birdsong and watching the bats fly by at sunset.
Our stay in Mauritius ended on a high at Shanti Maurice – a boutique lifestyle resort with wellness at its core. Our convivial host Sayheed welcomed us in his own inimitable style kicking off our visit with a tasting session in the ‘shabby-chic’ Rum Shed. Who knew Mauritius produced so many delicious rums; needless to say it all went down equally well!
The next day we tried a yoga session in the pavilion – a very energising start to the day. On our final day, Sayheed’s chef Alex produced a wonderful Asian meal for us – beautifully present world-class sushi and sashimi – a work of art which tasted as good as it looked. We were very reluctant to leave this outstanding sanctuary for our stopover in Dubai.
Jumeirah Al Naseem
Dubai could not present more of a contrast to the peace and tranquillity of Mauritius. The buzz of the city was a complete assault on the senses, from taking in the astonishing skyline, the luxury cars, the buzz of activity, the glitz and the glamour.
The Arabian style and glamour continue once you step inside the Jumeirah Al Naseem where the welcome is friendly and professional. We could still find pockets of peace and tranquillity at the adult-only pool and bar and on the beach right in front of the hotel.
We played golf at the recently opened Dubai Hills with Chris our local representative and can see why it is already one of the must-play courses to play in Dubai. Wide pristine fairways, true greens and everything perfectly manicured, a world-class course we can highly recommend!
Another highlight was a memorable meal right below the towering Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in Dubai. The restaurant is part of the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa where we had a front-row seat for the iconic water fountain show. As if that wasn’t spectacular enough we had the most elaborate Asian meal ever – we enjoyed several dishes of sushi and sashimi as good as from the best restaurants in Tokyo.