Mauritius : The Ultimate Wellness Destination
Standing on the edge of the speedboat, I wait, anticipating the timing of my jump. The next thing I know, I am trying to keep up with the pod of wild spinner dolphins who are surrounding us. We swim together in the open waters of the Indian Ocean, and I can’t stop beaming. Mauritius, it seems, really is a place where dreams can come true.
Mark Twain, the brilliant adventurer and American author (The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer), once wrote: “Mauritius was made first and then Heaven, and that Heaven being copied after Mauritius.” Evidently he was right. An island 600 miles off the coast of Madagascar, Mauritius is famed for being a honeymoon destination with its idyllic beaches and luxury hotels, yet there’s much more to it than that. A melting pot of cultures and religions due to its colonial past, you will find mosques next to Hindu temples next to churches emblazoned with neon signs. It’s this laid-back, tolerant approach that emanates through everyone I encounter.
If you’re one for getting restless, you may choose to do what we did and move around the island (it’s larger than you think), staying in different spots along the way. As well as lush villas and apartments to rent, the hotels all have their own unique selling points.
Here are BALANCE’s top places to stay in magical Mauritius.
1. Four Seasons Mauritius: A Class of its Own
If exclusivity is your thing and you’re not on a budget, why not treat yourself to a few nights at the Four Seasons Mauritius? You’ll be hard-pressed to find better service anywhere in the world – here, everyone calls you by your name and greets you with the most genuine of smiles. Set across 64 acres of land, sea and stunning gardens, the resort boasts mesmerising endemic Mauritian and tropical trees, as well as a private beach, accessible only by boat. There, at the award-winning La Plaze Beach Club, we enjoy a three-course seafood grill and the best rum cocktails on the island. It’s surprisingly unpretentious and, by the end of the afternoon, superstar mixologist Rambo has become our new best friend.
All guests stay in their own private villa, complete with plunge pool and an outdoor waterfall shower (the rate of your villa depends on the view). There is something incredibly special and indulgent about experiencing this level of privacy, and when I am later told that the resort is almost full, I can’t believe it!
WELL TO DO
Each morning, I take part in a dynamic yoga class with Prabhir, a yoga instructor from India, while overlooking the lagoon. I am also impressed to find that there is a resident osteopath on site for visitors. In fact, it’s clear that health and wellness is something that the Four Seasons takes seriously – they offer bespoke fitness programmes, have an in-house boxing trainer, a 25m freshwater lap pool and can even attempt to replicate your favourite class from back home!
There are three restaurants on site – our favourite being the more-relaxed Bambou, which serves an array of mouth-watering Chinese, Indian and Asian fusion dishes. The flavours explode on my tongue, thanks to the chef’s exquisite use of freshly-cut lemongrass, spices and citrus dressings. With 80 gardeners on site, all the herbs and vegetables taste as fresh as can be.
Four Seasons promises you privacy and unassuming service… it delivers this, wrapped up in an unforgettable stay. And, really, you deserve nothing less.
Garden Pool Villa for two adults starts at £550 per night. Price subject to availability. Visit www.fourseasons.com/mauritius/
2. Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa: For Sporting Excellence
Our second pitstop was in in the lush, unspoilt south-western tip. The vista is exceptional; set against the backdrop of the iconic Le Morne Brabant mountain – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and encircled by the island’s largest lagoon. From my travels, I realise how rare it is to find a sprawling resort set on such an awe-inspiring piece of land, that somehow fails to feel compromised.
While my idea of wellness travel involves a fair bit of lying around in a horizontal fashion, my partner spends most of his days wakeboarding, windsurfing, catamaran-sailing and scuba- diving. Many of the water sports on offer at the resort are included in the price of your stay, and booking isn’t necessary, so there’s no barrier when it comes to keeping active and exploring the beautifully clear, warm waters.
A short swim out to the reef for a spot of snorkelling before breakfast quickly becomes part of my daily routine. The visibility of the sea life, in such close proximity to the shore, is surprising: I witness an array of coral gardens and tropical fish, including gliding rays. It proves the perfect alternative to my standard morning meditation.
The two-hour Must to B(e) treatment at the Paradis spa is among one of the most unusual massages I have experienced.
Here there are highly-skilled coaches, rather than therapists, who combine different types of massage styles in a single session. My coach, Bavinta, is a passionate and intuitive Mauritian lady who expertly combines cupping, lymphatic drainage and hot stone massage. The first 30 minutes of the session involve deep diagnostic work, in which Bavinta intensely massages my stomach area and feeds back on what she senses. Abdominal massage is said to stimulate your internal organs, including the gallbladder and liver, while improving their function.
Nature-lovers can venture on a three- to four- hour hike up Le Morne, walking through verdant vegetation consisting of enormous endemic trees and smaller exotic plants. We also have fun driving our hired Mini Moke around the island. Just a short ride away, the Black River Gorges National Park, a huge protected forest reserve, offers an opportunity to further deepen our connection with nature.
Seven nights half-board in a Tropical Room at Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa for two adults starts from £1,535 per person. Price includes return economy flights with Emirates, various complimentary land and water sports, and private transfers in Mauritius. Price subject to availability. Call Beachcomber Tours on 01483 445 610 or visit beachcombertours.uk