Indian ocean holidays: A tropical romance

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A small tropical island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean about 900 km east of Madagascar and 2,000 km from the nearest point of the African coast, Mauritius offers unique picture-postcard settings and a mosaic of cultures. Anthony Healy found out why it has a reputation as one of the most romantic places in the world

img333 Unknown for many centuries, Mauritius was first visited by Arab sailors in the Middle Ages, but it wasn’t until 1507 that the Portuguese established a base on the island.

Given a subsequent lack of interest by the Portuguese, the Dutch gave Mauritius its name in 1598 in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, then Head of State of The Netherlands. But they, too, finally gave up and left the island in 1710, despite attempting to produce dividends from the introduction of the sugar-cane.

The French, already in control of neighbouring islands, established themselves in 1715 and made the island prosperous. During the Napoleonic wars, it became a base from which French pirates organized successful attacks on British commercial ships. The British fought back and took control of the Island in 1810, abolishing slavery in 1835.

Renowned for being the only home of the now extinct Dodo bird, Mauritius gained its independence in 1968, becoming a republic in 1992.

img315I stayed at the Trou aux Biches Resort & Spa, a five-star rated Beachcomber hotel offering privacy, personal space and luxury. A popular resort for weddings and honeymooners, visitors do not have to be newly-wed to experience the joys of the sandy beach and quiet lagoon at Trou aux Biches. The hotel offers a choice of cottage-style suites built into crescents with large pools at the centre of each crescent; or guests can opt for a cosy villa set in the gardens. All villas and beach front suites boast private pools.

Action-lovers are encouraged to make full use of the sports centre, offering aerobics, body-building, cardio, fitness, spinning, personal training and beach volleyball. Less competitive activities include table tennis, biking, kayaking, water-skiing, sailing and scuba diving.

Relaxation is an essential part of the Trou aux Biches experience. The massive spa offers some extensive pampering, greeting guests with a wide array of massages and scrubs in a scenic natural setting. There are also two saunas, a balneotherapy and algotherapy room, and a relaxation pool.

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Trou aux Biches caters for all ages: children aged 3 to 12 can splash around in a private pool or play in the garden at the mini-club, which includes a games room, napping area and kitchen designed exclusively for children. Activities vary from day to day, but range from swimming pool games and water-skiing trips to sandcastle-building competitions, treasure hunts and trips to the local aquarium. Mini-club staff also offer baby-sitting services.

img330The teens-club staff organizes activities such as snorkeling, movie nights, tennis tournaments, wake-boarding and cocktail demonstrations. Parents can rest assured that their children are socializing in a relaxed environment, under staff supervision.

And for hungry guests, after all that activity, there are six different restaurants from which to choose: Blue Ginger, L’Oasis, Mahiya, La Caravelle, Le Deck and Il Corallo offer flavors from around the world, ranging from Asia to the Mediterranean.

Enjoy cooler coastal temperatures while shopping on the Grand Bay or basking on the Pereybere beach and view the capital from the top Signal Mountain or go deep-sea fishing – the island is an ideal location for a variety of water sports.

Port Louis is the main focus point for entertainment with the Place d’Armes and Chinatown two of the main hot spots, the latter packed with tiny shops and restaurants offering authentic Chinese cuisine.  Located in the most ancient part of Port Louis, Place d’Armes is home to the cathedrals of St. Louis, established in 1932, and St. James, inaugurated in 1850. The municipal theatre, built in 1822, making it the most ancient theatre in the Indian Ocean region, can also be found here, as can the central market and a number of museums.

img335Bottom line: half board starts at €600 per day for a Junior suite; up to €1500 per day for a two-bedroom villa with private pool.  The package includes unlimited water skiing, sailing, kayak and snorkeling in the lagoon. Refer to the website for special offers, including early booking, free nights, honeymoon and family specials.


 

Trou aux Biches Resort & Spa
Tel: +230 204 6800  
www.trouauxbiches-resort.com