A week of winter sun in Mauritius
Hauling through London’s winter uninterrupted is a slog. Most years we have been lucky enough to scoot to the southern hemisphere sometime in the depths of the dark grey days, but with baby No. 2 joining us in March this coming year we knew we’d be staying put. So in October we spun the dial and landed on booking a week in the sun in Mauritius. A few weeks later, bags stuffed with little board shorts for George and sunblock which was thrilled to see the light of day for one last time this year, we excitedly jetted off for a week under the Indian Ocean sun.
As far as holidays go, this one was a real golden goodie. After weighing up other winter sun options like the Maldives (too pricey), the Canary Islands (didn’t quite grab me) and Barbados (ok, now I was just getting spoilt and since we’d been to Tulum last year, I wanted to try a different corner of this world), we settled on Mauritius on sound advice from my manager at work. The holiday was such a winner that Sam has since declared we only go to destinations from now on that she has personally recommended.
We got very lucky with our chosen resort, Lux Belle Mare. I’ll admit it wasn’t light on the wallet, but we managed to stay there as part of a holiday bundle with Virgin Holidays, who Sam & I both have quite a few points with. The points knocked about a third of the cost off. With only a week away and a twelve-hour flight involved (see my tips for travelling with a toddler here), we knew we wanted something easy-going, geared for littles and with all the trimmings. Lux Belle Mare did not disappoint at all, and we quickly found ourselves sitting poolside confirming to each other we could make this a very regular destination (hey, dreams are free, right?)
Our room was large and spacious and home to the biggest bed we’d ever come across. Turn-down service at night included the option of a bubble bath freshly poured for George. The resort offers everything. A photography editing studio, tennis courts, a spa, a gym with sunrise yoga sessions, two pools, free water sports and several beach lounging areas. It was perfect for all ages and stages - honeymooners and adults had the privacy of their own designated beach and restaurant, whilst families were simultaneously well catered to with a kids club and food for under 3’s being free. There’s also an onsite, full-time nurse you can see free of charge, which was a blessing given we needed to see them twice during the week (chicken pox for George, a pinched nerve for me).
The resort was excellent at throwing in free activities - we were on the island for Diwali (50% of the island is Hindu), and the hotel put on two evening bus tours for guests to see the lights in the villages. There were twice-daily glass-bottom boat excursions which George adored. The food was [mostly] delicious and there were plenty of options to choose from, from a high-end Chinese restaurant which reminded us of London, a Chef-inspired food truck and a pizzeria on the beach. George may have become addicted to the vanilla bourbon ice-cream (#parentsoftheyear, right?) We were so impressed overall that we’ll seek out Lux resorts again.
We started each day lazily, with a breakfast buffet that was the best I’ve ever come across in a hotel. Our plates each morning became a roulette of vanilla doughnuts, omelettes, crêpes, dim sum and pineapple. Mauritius is a cultural melting pot of an island, as were the guests at the resort, with most staff first speaking to us in French and the food catering to cuisines from around the world.
Most days included a medley of poolside reading and paddling for George, exploring rock pools with sandy toes, long afternoon naps and more swimming. We ventured out of the resort to visit Flacq market, which was only 15 minutes by taxi. On the day of Diwali celebrations, it was a sight to see and I was like a kid in a candy store seeing so many new fruits & vegetables I never knew existed. It isn’t geared for tourists at all which I considered to be a double bonus. With George being unwell we parked plans to take a hike in Black River Gorges National Park, but if we do find ourselves back here we will definitely boot-up to explore it and its wildlife next time.
We had a stellar week on the island and came back to London feeling restored and rested. For Europe-dwellers seeking a slice of sunshine during these colder climes, it comes highly recommended from The Howells.