Holidaying in Mauritius

Last November we jetted off to Mauritius for two weeks in the sunshine, which at that time of year is in abundance in this Indian Ocean island. Located in the southern hemisphere, east of Madagascar, you're looking at around a 12-hour flight from London, followed by up to 90 minutes driving, tops, to get to your hotel.

We stayed at the Maritim Resort and Spa, which is a 5* inclusive resort located at the north-west end of the island. The airport, FYI, is at the south-east end of the island, and it took us around 50 minutes to drive over there - we booked our flight and hotel with BA and had the option to add a private return transfer to our booking, which seemed the most straight-forward thing to do. However, it was a little confusing as to where we would meet our driver and we had to phone to get what we needed to work that out. Make sure you know before you go where you as roaming charges are not cheap!

Back to the Maritim Resort and Spa though. We actually booked this hotel for our 2021 trip when we ended up going to the Maldives instead (because of a pivot in COVID rules), so it made sense to book it again. One of the huge selling points, other than it looking like a beautiful 5* resort, was that all-inclusive was available from the moment you arrived, until the moment you left. Quite often if the check-out is 11am and you don't need to leave for the airport until 5pm, you'd have to pay for anything you use for those last six hours. 

Now, the all-inclusive. It was weird in that it was tiered so you had to check whether what you were ordering was included or whether you'd have to pay for it. Which we did not realise when we booked. Their buffet was fine, but the year before we had an incredible buffet in the Maldives so it definitely was lacking in comparison.

And the a la carte restaurants were, again, fine. The two best ones - Anno 1743 and Chateau Mon Desir (pictured below) - we had to pay for. In fact, we'd upgraded our room to a deluxe plus room (lovely) as that included breakfast at Anno 1743 - an old powder mill built by the French in, yep, 1743 - but it was closed at that time of day because they were short staffed. 

And that brings us the main problem we had with the Maritim Resort and Spa. The service was hit and miss because they were so short-staffed. For a 5* resort, we really expected a lot more than waiting 30 minutes for drinks. Coming back to a cleaned room that had no towels. Coming back to a room which hadn't been cleaned. Problems once or twice are fine over the course of a holiday, but it was something every single day of our stay - and sometimes a few things, unfortunately.

Another reason we booked the hotel was that it's quite unusual in that it's where the ruins of Balaclava are, which date from the 18th century. On a cloudy day we walked over to have a mooch and also see the waterfalls that are there, plus the animals - giant tortoises, horses, ponies, goats and dogs can all be found there. If you want to horse ride, this is where to go - the hotel offers rides along the beach, and we spotted the horses enjoying the sea when we were hanging around the pool! Which we did a lot of. But if you want to get out and about, I've blogged in another post about exploring the island and the main tourist sights. 

The hotel offers the usual sort of water sports you would expect from a resort - we always take our own snorkelling gear with us but you can use theirs if you don't want to do that. You'll definitely see fish in this bit of the Indian Ocean but I've blogged about the Crystal Dream trip we did where you also have the chance to snorkel, as well as (potentially) swim with dolphins, which we were lucky enough to do. Definitely worth doing if you're in Mauritius!

One thing we did love is that because of where the hotel is located, the beach was the perfect place to watch a dramatic Mauritian sunset which we did most evenings with a glass (or two) of sparkling rosé. The sky tends to turn a dramatic purple, which is quite the sight to see. And you can also catch bats swooping around at this time of day - for some people, this may not be as appealing as the sunset! 

Overall, we did enjoy our time in Mauritius, but I would pick a different resort to stay in if we returned because of the niggles we experienced. Taking the helicopter or a seaplane to see the underwater waterfall would also be on my list of things to do - it's really expensive, but looks amazing. One to save up for!

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