When it comes to choosing a place to stay, a few of the things that register quite high on the decision-making check-list are affordability, location, quality of the amenities, cleanliness, the attitude of the staff as well as the authenticity of the experiences being sought.
After a recent visit to the island of Mauritius, as part of a media trip hosted by South African Airways in celebration its 50th anniversary in flying to the island, I got to see and experience a broad range of accommodation offerings.
As a hot-favourite destination for South Africans, this tropical Indian Ocean island is not lacking when it comes to choice. From what I saw, there is something suited to those simply needing a clean and comfortable place to rest their head after a busy day of adventuring, all the way through to the downright uber-lux stay that will leave your jaw on the floor, it’s just so spectacular.
READ: Delicious Mauritius - a real tropical haven
Here’s what I thought of a few of the spots we visited – if you have any recommendations or have visited the island recently, we’d love to hear about your experience – so why not drop an email to Info@traveller24.com or come chat to us on Facebook, Twitter or tag us on Instagram.
All-encompassing Zilwa Attitude
This was our base for the duration of the media trip and it certainly allowed me to get a good sense of the place.
The views are everything you'd come to expect from a resort such as this. Situated on the flatter side of the island towards the north, it was hard for me to believe that it was less than three-years-old, it just felt so established. An outstanding aspect would certainly be the warm and welcoming nature of the staff along with the perceived affordability of the four-star establishment (rates vary according to seasonality) that lends itself more towards the top-end of the grading scale thanks to its amenities and spa facilities.
Relax as you get a massage in one of these island-styled enclosures. (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
The eco-friendly Spa with its herb garden, is situated in a very exotic environment. (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Clean and comfortable accommodation with a sublime island view. (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Romantics should delight in the affordability of Zilwa Attitude. When given a tour of the facilities, the careful consideration given to the resort's layout was highlighted in that they have an entirely separate enclave of rooms, available exclusively for couples.
(Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
But added to this, Zilwa is styled to be extremely family-orientated in my opinion, with dedicated child-friendly areas and pools. Had my three- and five-year-old sons been with me, I would have felt comfortable to let them to bang about the room without fear of them breaking anything.
Best of all, their mini club comes replete with Ayo The Dodo mascot and a fully-fledged boat moored in the play area. If you bring the kids, there is no doubt they will be captivated with island life and the pirate adventures dished up by the Zilwa staff. A special treasure hunt experience can also be arranged on Crusoe’s island, a private island off the resort's coast that is a short 15-min boat-trip away.
Explore the many island cuisine options
(Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Okay, so from the pic you can see that they cook with Rajah spices. I found this a little bizarre, but throughout my stay I realised how thick the connection with SA really is on the island. Be prepared to see a number of local products and influences when visiting Mauritius.
But food definitely was a big part of my stay at Zilwa. The Mauritian word for a variety of taste experiences is “Metisaz”, meaning a delicious mix of Creole, Indian, Asian and European cuisines showcasing the cultural diversity of the island.
At Zilwa you can choose between six different restaurants. Breakfast is served at Karay - the Creole word meaning precious Mauritian kitchen utensil, the counterpart of the “wok” in Chinese kitchens. From here you can enjoy ridiculously gorgeous views of the ocean.
The main public lounging area, with Karay to your right. (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Saté & Siaw, lets you enjoy a live cooking concept, offering exclusively Asian cuisine.
Dinner at Lor Disab really is a treat and is perfectly suited to its name, which is the Creole word for “right on the beach”. The weather on the island is ideal for open-air dining and even when a tropical downpour does happen, it's more of a pleasure than an annoyance.
And for those wanting to experience something a little different, a Grand Zil island barbeque is another barefoot-on-the-beach affair that makes kicking-back into an island way of life so simple and enjoyable.
Traveller24 recommendation: If anything, this resort is the ideal family friendly offering. The open-air braai lunch on the private island Grand Zil is definitely a must-do experience as is the live Mauritian cooking experience. Click here to visit the Zilwa Attitude website
It's all business at Voilà Bagatelle
A view not too far from the N1 in Cape Town, don't you think? (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
During our media tour we were exposed to the developing mall culture of Mauritius, an expected result of the economic growth and development on the island.
We stopped in at Voila Bagatelle for a quick conference overview and it stands to reason that this hotel is all about the functional business traveller. It really was disarming how a quick look out of a hotel room window here, seemed to offer up a similar view to that of Cape Town.
While the conferencing facilities are not huge, with three different conferencing options available, it was obvious that a lot of care and consideration had been put into its setup to cultivate either a round-table styled event or a creative, brainstorming session. And if anything the breaks between events will be a highlight as the food was delicious and well thought-out in serving size and variety.
The surrounding Bagatelle mall is suited to the business traveller. (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Located close to the Bagatelle mall, the hotel is flexible to accommodate the schedule of the time-strapped business traveller though, also allowing them to bring in takeaways if they wish to do so. And while you don’t get anything more than what you pay for or absolutely need, the hotel does not come across as cheap or lacking in any way. Practical and functional best describes it and as they put it, this hotel “caters to those who want the basics done right”.
Traveller24 recommendation: This is for the fly-in, fly-out business traveller. No frills but you still feel like you're getting good value for money. Click here to visit the Voilà Bagatelle website or to check for availability
Paradise Cove, Mauritius
Crisp and tastefully styled rooms at Paradise Cove. (Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
This is an uber-romantic, boutique stay. Oozing five-star, luxury at every turn, this is the top level in accommodation loveliness from the Attitude group, compared to the four-star Zilwa we stayed at.
If you’re a couple wanting a romantic retreat of note, base yourself at Paradise Cove. During our tour of the hotel we were told that the resort is often booked out to host entire wedding parties at a time. 'Expertly crafted romance' is how they put it and I can believe it. It would be hard to top the romantic and exclusive backdrop we enjoyed during an early morning breakfast here. Just exquisite.
(Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Traveller24 recommendation: As an exclusive five-star boutique experience, head here if you want a luxury island escape without being bothered by families, since the hotel does not accommodate children under 18. Click here to visit the Paradise Cove website for rates and more details.
Heritage Le Telfair – Luxury Resort
If you close your eyes and bring to mind a picture-perfect island postcard, it will most likely resemble this idyllic beach resort found in the south of Mauritius. The five-star attention to detail was apparent from the moment we arrived and were greeted by a string-quartet. Our hosts then ushered us off to the selfie booth for a group shot. Keeping up with the times, they are.
As I sat with the rest of my group, enjoying a four-course, wine-pairing lunch on the beach, there was no denying this is what luxury island escape dreams are made of.
From the facilities we saw, it would be pretty difficult to pull yourself away from this place – but since it is located on the side of the island with more valleys and ravines, a day of hiking and adventuring is a must.
Traveller24 recommendation: Want that luxury home away from home stay with fine attention to detail and a first-class beach to laze on? This is the perfect stay for you.
Probably the one resort I wish we had stayed at while on the island – it’s the ideal honeymoon stay, heck it’s even the perfect excuse for a second honeymoon.
This boutique Angsana resort is family-run and renowned for its Ayurvedic Spa experiences. The family was on hand to host us for dinner and their warmth and attitude to running a boutique experience of this calibre went a long way into setting the tone of overall experience. The people and faces behind the establishments we choose, breath life into it and makes all the difference. This certainly rings true for Angsana.
A highlight for me is definitely the resort's couple's villas on offer. Located on the hotel’s private beach that allows you to walk straight from your bedroom into the ocean if you so wish, just seems surreal to me. We visited at night, so I couldn't really capture the view but the sounds of the ocean coupled with the lengths the Angsana team go to in order to create the right atmosphere in their uber-lux surroundings will certainly blow you away.
(Selene Brophy, Traveller24)
Traveller24 recommendation: Romance, privacy, service orientation that aims to exceed expectations in its unique and genuine approach, as well spa facilities rated as world class through tripadvisor users - stay here if all this tickles your fancy.
Note: Traveller24 editor Selene Brophy was hosted by South African Airways as part of a media trip celebrating the 50th anniversary of SAA flying its Mauritius route.