Mark Twain was once quoted as saying ‘Mauritius was made and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’.
We couldn’t have described the island any better. Framed with white-sandy beaches on land and full-of-life coral reefs at sea, it’s a place you quickly find excitement, beauty and uniqueness.
As soon as you step outside the airport, you’re hit with that oh-so-common tropical island humidity [which we love!]. Driving through the island, there is growth of tropical palms, sugarcane and fruit trees everywhere. In fact, Mauritians don’t purchase fruits like mangoes or guavas because the streets are lined with them, free for the picking.
The people are more than welcoming. The beaches, streets and roads are cleaner than we see back home and the feeling in the air is … a buzz of romance and calmness. Mauritius forces you to live in the moment. Eating produce they grow themselves on the island and in-season with very small imports, we left appreciating even more the feeling of being in the ‘now’ and how connection with nature and people over online strangers or materialistic things, really is what brings [us] happiness.
OUR CAPTAINS; FLIGHTS TO MAURITIUS
We flew Air Mauritius as they were the only airline offering direct flights from Perth, departing once a week.
We upgraded ourselves to business on the way there given the occasion for this trip was a surprise booking and destination by the now husband, for our honeymoon. Unlike other airlines, Air Mauritius only have two seats in the middle of their business class section, with twin seats next to each other. All others are stacked behind one-another. Something that we weren’t fans of. The service itself was great and the flight time was easy with 7 hrs from Perth and 6:20 hrs home.
WHERE WE STAYED; MAURITIUS ACCOMMODATION
We’re new to the resort style accommodations but we feel we can say pretty confidently that Outrigger Beach Resort was on the larger scale of resorts. It was completely booked out the entire time we were there, yet on many days we felt that we were the only ones there.
The resort had an adults only pool, as well as a family-friendly pool, two individual beaches with sun chairs to laze on and many bar and restaurant options.
As a part of our Luxury Escapes package, we got daily breakfast and dinner included at the Mercado Market Dining Restaurant [essentially their buffet restaurant], one free dinner at the Edgewater Restaurant and 25% off all food and drinks throughout their other bars and restaurants.
In terms of the room, we upgraded to the Beachfront View Room which had a balcony [or if you were on the lower level it has a small outdoor seating area] with nothing but grass and sand between you and the ocean. With the upgrade, we fell into the resorts ‘Club Member’ package. This gave us a free buffet breakfast [read: three course champagne breakfast] at the Plantation Club and exclusive use of the Plantation Club’s private pool and bar [outside of the above mentioned pools open to all resort guests]. It also gave us Happy Hour at Plantation Club every night and then Happy Hour at their Bar Bleu bar every night.
The room was large, but you could tell it had been built some time ago. Still up kept really well – just a little creaky when opening draws and the balcony door. The air-con worked as well as we needed it to and as an escape from the midday humidity and heat. While we read that the tap water was safe to drink, we used the supplied water for our morning coffees and evening teas.
Our ritual every day was to wake up with the sun, make a coffee and go and sit on our balcony and watch the ocean. The bird life on Mauritius is indescribable. We’ve never seen anything like it, so having them dart in and out of our balcony ledge and across the grass was pure magic.
We would then take a walk along the beach which most of the time, we were the only ones there. Followed by breakfast [usually the champagne breakfast at Plantation Club because. well; champagne and honeymoon]. Bellies more than full we would go and relax back on our balcony for an hour and then wander down to the main beach where the waiters quickly learnt our drink of choice; a Long Island Iced Tea.
Our evenings always included happy hour at Plantation Club. The cocktails are delicious, the bird life adorable and … did we mention it was free happy hour?! Most nights we ate at the Mercado Market Restaurant as they changed what was on offer every morning and every night. Although much to our happiness, there was always a fruit station and bakery station in the mornings. The restaurant is huge and has five individual stations each serving different cuisines, every morning and every night.
The resort also offers each guest a photo-shoot opportunity. Basically a 30 minute shoot with their photographer around the grounds is offered with one free print. At first we wanted to file that under ‘no thanks’. But on the very last day with time to kill, we partook. Hesitant but rolling with the wedding and honeymoon vibes, we had some fun. We ended up purchasing two additional prints along with our free one and had a silly and fun time doing it.
Checkout is at 2 pm which is great. Our departing flight wasn’t until 10 pm so they held our bags and allowed us to use the resorts amenities, including our Club Member access, until we left. That also included the happy hour drinks. Umm. Yes.
OUTSIDE THE HOTEL; MAURITIUS TO-DO’S
We did a small amount of research on the islands natural sights and ‘must sees’. While we aren’t ones to flock to the main tourist attractions, we do like the natural wonders.
We hired a driver [essentially a taxi driver] for the day through our hotel, and set off. We told him the main places we wanted to see and he suggested others and stopped off at incredible lookouts and spots along the way.
We loved the waterfalls and managed to get a small forest hike in, near the Black River Gorges. We would have loved to have ventured and hiked to the base of one of the waterfalls but after seeing them we realised just how untouched their rainforests are. You would need an entire hiking pack and gear including a machete to get to the base of any of their waterfalls.
We visited the 7 Coloured Sand wonder, with a 24 Coloured Sand on the island as well. At that point, we called it a day. It’s not us and was full of tourists and … was just dirt.
While an interesting read about how the metals in the earth create the natural wonder, it was underwhelming and the giant tortoises nearby entertained us more. Give that a skip.
We also went for a dive and … look. It was great to see some bigger fish and beautiful big turtles but other than those and a sea eel, we could see everything else while snorkelling off the beach of our resort. The dive company we went through was Mauritius Dive Adventures which runs out of another resort up the beach from Outrigger, Tamassa, was also questionable in terms of their gear. The mouth pieces came apart from the secondary regulators for three out of the four of us diving. Thankfully this was done pre-ocean entry and resolved, but only due to us having been experienced divers and knowing to check our gear. My original tank wasn’t full so they grabbed a new one, we headed out to the dive spot, only to find out that one also wasn’t full.
We love a dive and especially in warmer waters where life is more vibrant and you don’t need to layer up to stay warm, but we would not recommend diving with this company or really, in Mauritius, unless you are going to a specific feeding station, shark cleaning station etc.
If you’re into fishing or getting a birds eye view, there are also fishing charters and seaplane excursions available on the island.
Also a heads up, the island has no predators. Like nothing. Nada. Literally nothing more than small grass snakes or small harmless spiders. No wild dogs or cats have been introduced so it’s quite literally, heaven. There are no risks to travellers of mosquito borne diseases and the entire island is surrounded by a reef, creating the perfect shark-free lagoon.
They do however have some venomous fish so while we didn’t bother, many people in our resort wore reef shoes when they ventured out to snorkel the reefs.
The Joneses Rating
The Luxury Escapes package with flights, accommodation and all of the resort inclusions worked out to be about $6,500 for both of us, excluding our business upgrades.
We chose to do additional activities and upgrade our flights there, which raised the total, but of course you could do the free activities only.
Overall though, the costs were incredible and the inclusions above and beyond a standard hotel stay.
WHAT WE WOULD RETURN FOR; MAURITIUS MUST DO’S
We’ll take two of everything please.
With the North side of the island being an hour’s drive, we spent our time on the South and mostly inside our resort, which was perfect for our honeymoon and exactly what we both needed and wanted. Having already explored all of the natural wonders and attractions that appealed to us, we would return to relax and live the resort life again, but also do some day trips up to the North and see what Port Louis is all about. Although we would likely opt to remain in the South and travel out to the North.
Our resort also had a lot of other activities we didn’t know about until leaving [something they didn’t communicate very well, so would recommend asking when you check-in]. On the last day, we met the grounds keeper and man responsible
for growing all of the resorts fruit, herbs and vegetables. He walked us through his gardens, gave us tastes of unique herbs and gave us a few green thumb tips. He mentioned a cooking class he holds every Sunday night in his garden,
around a campfire, which we would love to return to do. We would also love to stop at more local eateries and ‘rum shacks’ to try locally made creole cuisines.
WHAT WE WERE HAPPY TO LEAVE
When you’re already talking about coming back to a hotel or place, before you’ve even left, it’s a good sign. For a resort-based holiday and our honeymoon, a week was the perfect length of time. If we had stayed longer then we would have become restless and wanted to leave and explore more.
The Joneses Mauritius
WHERE TO STAY…
The South of Mauritius is known at the ‘nature’ end, with the islands natural wonders and sights all located here.
In the North, you have the islands capital city, Port Louis, clubs and bars and general ‘outside of the hotel’ social scenes.
If you appreciate a drop of rum, we highly recommend a visit to one of the islands rum distilleries.
We visited the Chamarel Distillery which is one of the last rum companies, worldwide, to still produce its own sugar cane.
Ask your tour guide/taxi driver or hotel staff for a local eatery.
We stopped by a small local ‘cafe restaurant’ on our adventures out of the hotel and tried the local creole cuisine. Super inexpensive as well.
Look. Unless you’re really into dirt and awed by natural wonders, we would recommend driving past the 7 Coloured Earth wonder [there’s a 24 as well you can leave behind].
OUTRIGGER MUST DO’S
Rouben’s Wine Room is a private room near the Mercado Restaurant. Offering a range of wines from those you touch and those you don’t dare go near for fear of dropping a liquid worth more than your house.
Outrigger offer exclusive Cheese and Wine Tastings in Rouben’s Wine Room, with their head Sommelier walking you through it all.
After you’re finished, they then set your private dining room up for you to take dinner from Mercado in the room.
We had such a fun night and for people who drink wine regularly, learnt a lot about why we do and don’t like certain blends. Désiré, their Sommelier and head of hospitality, is pure joy. Listening to his experiences and people he has met along the way really made the night.
Another experience at Outrigger is the Sega Rythm and Jazz dinners put on at Plantation Club. Open to all resort guests but 25% discounts offered to Club Members, they host a unique dinner menu with a Sega and Jazz band as the nights entertainment.
Let us tell you. Sitting outside in the humid air and eating delicious food to the sounds of a three-piece jazz band was something else. You couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces or the happy tears from our eyes. Romance and pure-holiday-mode.