Meon Marketing Manager Ed Texier takes his family on a very special trip to the paradise island of Mauritius. This is what he had to report…
This was the big one, our family holiday of a lifetime. I was fortunate enough to visit Mauritius for the very first time in 2018 for a short business trip. A place I had heard of so much from friends and colleagues, a piece of paradise I had dreamed of going to for many years. The time had come, at last 🙂
A small island of 1.2 million inhabitants within 12 hours (direct flight) reach from the UK. We opted for the one-stopper via Dubai with Emirates who offer a competitively priced daily service from London Heathrow and booked this through Beachcomber as part of our package. Direct flight options are available with British Airways and Air Mauritius.
Being a keen watersports enthusiast, we chose to stay at Beachcomber’s stunning Paradis Golf Resort & Spa situated on the Le Morne peninsula in the more rugged southwest of the island, around an hour from the airport. Its fair to say this resort is aimed at the sportier end of the spectrum and offers a comprehensive range of freely accessible watersports including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, waterskiing and snorkeling. You will also get your tennis, gym and most exercise classes thrown in if you’re not one for relaxing (yep, one of them!). A beautiful 18-hole championship course awaits golf enthusiasts who will be surprised at the sympathetic fees for both the driving range and golf course whilst your partner may prefer some time at the hotel spa for a well deserved pamper.
First thing worth noting is that the sprawling resort has recently seen a major upgrade with around half the property fully refurbished in an attractive, contemporary style that feels fresh and spacious. With children aged 13 and 11, it made sense to go for a first floor Ocean Beachfront Family Suite comprising of a 2-bedroom apartment with balcony, living room, two en suite bathrooms and a private staircase. With most rooms set no more than 50 meters from the beach, you can enjoy stunning sunsets every night from the comfort of your balcony whilst enjoying a cold one.
The other point worth noting is that half and full-board packages allow you to enjoy up to 8 restaurants between two resorts including their elegant Dinarobin sister resort which is reachable within just a few minutes by complimentary golf buggy transfers. Useful should you wish to dine in different surroundings suffice to say that the Paradis offers enough variation to keep your palette enticed for the duration of your holiday. All food is of exceptional standard with not one of us suffering any ailments throughout our two-week stay, this could be a first!
Aside from jaw-dropping surroundings, what really makes the Paradis stand out is its people. Nothing was too much to ask nor did we feel any complacency among their vast army of staff across all ranks. It was clear that local employees had a sense of purpose and belonging within a resort that has stood there since the sixties. Many of the resort’s staff members have worked there for over 20 years lending to a relaxed, friendly-family atmosphere devoid of pretense.
Kitesurfers, like myself, can make use of a daily complimentary shuttle service from the neigbouring Dinarobin resort to the world famous Le Morne beach where you can enjoy flat conditions with a reliable easterly trade wind that blows all year round. Several kite schools operate in this location so if you want space you will need to head out making sure you remain within safe distance from the shore as water currents can be strong.
Although kitesurfing directly in front of either Beachcomber resorts is either forbidden or too challenging due to the off-shore wind direction, I found the perfect location right next to the Paradis watersports centre. Here you will find a vast, shallow lagoon stretching all the way to Ile aux Benitiers, a deserted island, boasting panoramic views of Le Morne and beyond. No more than 2km from our hotel and within swimming range, this island offers a tranquil desert island experience for those seeking their own ‘Cast Away’ moment, despite not a basketball in sight!
Just under a week into the holiday and being the twitchy hyperactive type family, we decided to head out the resort to explore some of the inner wild and lush side of Mauritius. Most of the island’s indigenous forests were eradicated to give way for sugar plantations through centuries of colonisation with only 17% remaining in the south. We hired a car for the day with a friendly driver for around £120 to take us around the less densely populated southern half of the island. With sugar plantations giving away to property developments, its clear that Mauritius is going through a transitional phase in the hope of attracting lucrative foreign investment.
Our main point of interest was the Black River Gorges National Park containing a high proportion of endemic plant and animal species and where you can enjoy 360-degree views across the island. The quaint village of Chamarel offered the perfect lunch stop and is home to such attractions as an impressive 300-foot waterfall and the curious geological phenomenon of the Seven-Coloured Earth, one of the most visited sites in Mauritius and where you will find giant tortoises some of which are over 100 years old!
A drive down a windy mountain road offering more panoramic views of Le Morne completed the day and we returned around 5pm just in time for sundowners.
One thing you will get at the Paradis is a lot of speed boats offering anything from private waterski lessons to the much-hyped dolphin and whale spotting tours with the option to swim with dolphins, oh yes! Surely this wasn’t to be missed so before we knew it, we were whisked off at the crack of dawn in our private speedboat to an area beyond the reef frequented by Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins as well as Sperm Whales.
The chances of seeing either dolphins or whales is so high in this area that the boatmen even offer no show no charge guarantee. Just 20 minutes into the journey and all concerns about guarantees were out the window (well boat, really) as two sperm whales appeared shortly followed by a pod of Spinner dolphins. Boats need to be strategically positioned as not to cause unnecessary distress so getting to swim with these graceful mammals is not as easy as you might think. Two attempts later with hopes fading, we were ready to call it a day when I spotted another pod and this time they were Bottlenose dolphins. Appearing far more relaxed and playful than Spinner dolphins and consisting of around a dozen, we were granted an awesome experience that will forever stay in our memories. Total cost approx. 150 Euros for 3 hours in a private speed boat including snorkel safari on house reef.
A snorkeling trip at the house reef completed our magical morning as we propelled our way through crystal clear waters observing an impressive array of coral and tropical fish. This reef can also be reached from the resort beach and is perfect for kids not wanting to venture out too far.
One of the biggest selling points of this resort is its natural setting among beautifully manicured tropical gardens with stunning beaches stretching for up to 2km and where a lunch at La Plage (Dinarobin) is not to be missed. A gentle stroll back along the beach will take you past the resort villas complete with butler service and private plunge pools, ideal for larger families and groups of friends.
Its safe to say that the quality of cuisine at both resorts is exceptional with enough variety, even on a restricted full-board package, to keep the taste buds tantalised throughout your stay. Buffet evenings are themed and when your buffet’ed out you’ve still got 5 à la carte restaurants to choose from, happy days! You will also have access to evening entertainment with plenty of singing and dancing performances, usually located by the main bar and pool area or the main beach.
With 2 weeks of utter indulgence nearing the end, you begin to understand why they have named this resort, Paradis (French for paradise). Having travelled extensively throughout my life, this hotel coupled with the rest of Mauritius has ticked all the boxes for a family with teenage kids seeking more than just pool time and with a touch of luxury to boot. In fact, I will go as far as saying this is best resort I have ever experienced and that its extremely likely that we will return.
I travelled with Beachcomber Tours who currently offer 30% off accommodation on all their Mauritius properties until October 2020 when booked by end of September – call us now on 01730 711010 to make the most of this incredible offer!
Call us on +44 (0)1730 711010 or email email@example.com to book your dream holiday to Mauritius.
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