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Mauritius with Heritage & Veranda Hotels
I had the pleasure in returning to Mauritius in November, this time courtesy of British Airways and Heritage & Veranda Hotels.
The flight was outstanding, I was upgraded to Club World with a flat bed, a first for me! So comfortable, a little strange facing backwards but I soon got over that. The service on board was excellent and the food was great, being offered a basket with a bread roll is not something I have experienced on a plane before. On demand entertainment made for a great flight and although overnight I did not sleep as I was too busy taking it all in.
Mauritius airport has seen a lot of changes since my previous visit, it has now been completely modernised, immigration was dealt with efficiently and baggage claim was quick. The arrivals area is still small enough to be easily negotiated and all the ground agents are easy to find. There are two currency bureaus and most of my companions had waited to get their currency locally as the rates are very favourable.
First hotel was Veranda Grand Baie, I soon realised that all Veranda hotels have a ‘theme’, in the case of the Grand Baie it is Creole Charm, this perfectly sums up the hotel’s character. Decorated in whites and lime greens, it has a lovely relaxed feel. Traditional Mauritian architecture with corrugated roofs, green shutters all set in tropical gardens. Rooms are light and airy.
The beach is fairly small but I never had a problem getting a sunbed, you can take a glass bottom boat trip from here all included in the price.
Main selling point of this hotel is its proximity to Grand Baie itself, just a 10 minute walk where you will find a selection of bars, restaurants and some reasonable shopping. So perfect for those who want the option to be able to go out in the evening, this is also the reason that the hotel can be bought as Half Board and All Inclusive basis.
Next was Veranda Paul & Virginie, what a lovely place. Very quiet and peaceful, about 25 minutes drive from Grand Baie, the theme here is ‘Romantic Hideaway’. Not a place to come if you want to walk out as there is nothing within walking distance of the hotel, however the beach is beautiful, a choice of two restaurants, one of which is on the sandy pier surrounded by water. All rooms are seafacing and the hotel is set in blocks with a maximum of 3 storeys. Perfect for a honeymoon.
Veranda Pointe aux Biches was our next port of call, I instantly fell in love with this place, as you enter the hotel they ask for your shoes! Sandy underfoot and immediately relaxing, the theme here is ‘Barefoot bliss’. Rooms are decorated in a Robinson Crusoe castaway theme with lots of driftwood. Families are welcome however there is an adult only area ‘Sandy Lane’. There is a PADI diving centre adjoining the hotel under separate management and the hotel run complimentary snorkeling trips twice a week.
This was my favourite Veranda Hotel and I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
We then travelled across to the popular east coast, to stay at Veranda Palmar. Beaches here are some of the best on the island, its neighbouring hotels are very high class establishments such as the Lux Belle Mar Plage. Just 76 rooms in two storey blocks, all located around the pool, two restaurants one of which is on the beach. Recently modernised with a ‘seaside’ theme, the colours in the room are turquoise. A 5 minute taxi ride will take you to the small village of Belle Mar Plage where you will find a few local restaurants. All included in the cost – Kayaks, Glass bottom boat trips and snorkeling.
We then moved to the south coast of Mauritius to the Domaine del Bel Ombre to stay at Heritage Le Telfair, a beautiful 5* property. A member of “small luxury hotels of the world2, the hotel is Colonial in style with the option for Half Board or All Inclusive. Set on a lovely stretch of golden sand with the C beach club available for watersports. A choice of great dining options including a la carte and the use of restaurants at the neighbouring hotel Heritage Awali. The rooms were beautiful, very large with a fantastic bathroom, french doors openend onto the gardens with a balcony and sunloungers. A very relaxed hotel which although top quality did not feel stuffy.
Sharing the same stretch of beach, the adjoining property is the Heritage Awali, an African themed hotel which has a great atmosphere from the moment you enter reception. Decorated in warm earth colours with a great choice of dining and bars. This hotel is so busy that we couldn’t get to see any rooms which tells you how popular it is. Directly on the beach where you will also find the Blue Drift Bar.
C Beach Club set on the beachfront is available for guests of Le Telfair, Awali and the villas. There are two restaurants, bar, swimming pool and teen area. A very chilled out place – guests on All Inclusive can eat here from selected items on the menu.
For ultimate luxury – we were treated on our last day to lunch at one of the Villas on the estate – WOW, amazing. Complete with a private infinity pool, gazebo and BBQ area. The décor is immaculate, you can hire staff to cook if required. A daily cleaning service is included and the use of a golf buggy. Sold on a breakfast inclusive basis which is taken at the nearby Chateau. Guests can also use the facilities at Le Telfair and Awali. Green fees are also included for the golfers.
From this year all Veranda properties (except Grand Baie) will become completely All Inclusive, there are no bands, guests simply sign for drinks etc. Champagne, certain cocktails and premium spirits are excluded but with so much other choice this isn’t really a problem. Minibars in the rooms are stocked with water, soft drinks and beer, the only chargeable items are chocolate and snacks.
Many people are under the impression there is ‘nothing to do’ in Mauritius, they couldn’t be more wrong! Where else can you snorkel, deep sea fish for Marlin, zip wire, quad bike, see the coloured earth at Chamerel and walk with lions?