Mark Twain wrote, long ago, that God made Mauritius and used it as the model for Heaven. Since then things have only got better. Initially Mauritius positioned itself as the ultimate romantic destination for weddings, honeymoons, big anniversaries and big birthdays. Now this beautiful island – fringed by gently sloping sandy beaches and azure lagoons – is marching ahead of the game again: anticipating consumers’ quest for more active holidays, their desire to know the island better and a focus on wellness.
Not only have tourist numbers increased, over the last two decades, by an annual average of 9%, the annual income from those tourists has increased by a staggering annual average of 21%: according to Mauritius tourist industry stats.
Although swim-suited tourists rarely carry Mauritian Rupees the nature of Mauritian all-inclusive has expanded and the initial spend has steadily increased. The up-front charge is likely to cover aquarobics, cookery classes, glass-bottom boat rides, a selection of water sports, henna tattoos, rum tasting, Sega dance lessons, tennis and cocktail-making classes.
The Heritage Telfair, with their dedicated butlers and Clef des Or Concierges, have set new standards of service while the Lux has undergone a classy makeover. Soon we will have a Mauritian Hotel claiming six or seven stars.
It helps when one of the government’s main aims is for Mauritius’ Number One Industry, Tourism, to deliver “the perfect holiday.” The strategy’s working. It is forecast that in 2018 the 1.4m visitors will outnumber the 1.3m islanders.
Investments by the sea at Tro-aux-biches epitomise the developments. Visitors can take a Blue Submarine Safari amongst the zebra fish and trumpet fish. Also, there are sub-scooters for undersea marine explorations around the coral reef. Many hotels have purchased their own catamarans for a day of reef snorkelling, eyeing-up desirable coastal dream properties, swimming in the clear waters by the mangroves and a BBQ lunch on an idyllic atoll.
Today’s traveller wants to get to know the land and it’s people. The seven Attitude Hotels focus on providing Otentik experiences: that’s Creole for authentic. At the Zilwa Attitude Hotel you can even have informal lessons to learn this pidgin version of French.
Otentik cookery lessons teach you how to create a Mauritian curry. Take Otentik cuisine further by dining sand-between-your-toes style at the open-air Kot Nou restaurants or opt to dine with a Mauritian family at their home. Attitude Hotels also provide a Geolocation App that will give you instant information on local features whilst you are out and about.
Mauritius has long been a favourite with the Brits. English is the official language, they drive on the left and brew a decent cup of tea. Some hotels even have sockets for reassuringly familiar three pin plugs. On top of that Mauritius is very safe, if is just one of four countries in the world not involved in any international disputes. Maybe it is just too far away from everywhere else to get involved or perhaps the people are too laid-back.
Mauritius has reacted quickly to consumers’ desire for a vast range of activities. Although a round of golf on the magnificent Heritage Telfair Course, voted best around The Indian Ocean may take a few hours, elsewhere you can find a different activity for every hour of the day. Spa treatments, diving and kite-surfing may incur charges but there is plenty to occupy visitors from the activities included in the all-inclusive package. And never forget that Mauritius was once part of the British Empire. The great tradition of afternoon tea continues.
With so much to do and over 6,000 miles from the U.K, it is a 12-hour flight, the island is mainly a 14 night destination. TUI fly direct with their Dreamliners from Gatwick and Air Mauritius go direct from Heathrow. Travellers often intersperse relaxing days on day beds or sun-loungers with full-on exploration days.
Visitors could easily have a holiday of a lifetime, at an all-inclusive resort, without ever spending a single rupee – and unlike the Caribbean there is no pressure to tip.
Yet Mauritius is packed with activities. Tasting sophisticated Lychee wines at the Takamaka Winery is a real surprise. The SSR Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousse is Kew but in a tropical setting. With Hindus making up 52% of the population Mauritius has a rich scene of Hindu Temples and sacred lakes. Most hotels will organise excursions but if not Summertimes have an extensive programme and superb guides.
Of course, Mauritius still protects its couples market position. With its sunset strolls and romantic dinners on the beach the tranquil island has a strong get-married-in-paradise offering. Twain was right, Mauritius is paradise. That creates a high number of returning customers driving the need to expand the range of offerings.
Wild Wellness, Wellness retreats in nature, is one of the island’s latest trends. Mauritius is apparently ones of the world’s ‘energy’ hotspots with intense vibratory levels for healing. The Vortex at Riambel, one of 14 energy vortices in the world was activated in 2007. Just sitting at the spot is said to rapidly rebalance your energetic circuits, chakras and meridians.
Mauritius knows that it is a winner and that people will want to return. “Safe flight home and have a good flight back here next year,” said my cleaner knowingly.
TUI have direct flights from Gatwick. Check out their website www.tui.co.uk for packages.
More on Attitude Hotels can be found at hotels-attitude.com.
Learn about the Heritage Telfair Resort.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Tropical Sky Beach Holidays for Mauritius.