When I reflect on my stay at The Residence by Cenizaro, it isn’t the white sand or the clear blue sea that comes to mind, not immediately anyway.
Surprisingly, it is the hotels architecture. You are struck by it on arrival, as you walk up the stairs into a grand, cavernous building that leads through to overlook the swimming pool.
Inspired by the island’s stately turn-of-the-century plantation houses, this luxury Mauritius resort blends modern elegance with classic, colonial style that envelops you in an endearing sense of nostalgia.
Situated on the east coast of Mauritius along a mile-long beach of immaculate white sand, fringed by the azure Indian Ocean and tropical gardens – an idyllic retreat for your unreserved relaxation.
I stayed in one of their Ocean Front Suites. It wasn’t the first time I have stayed in a suite, but it is the first time I have stayed on one that was as big as you see in Hollywood films.
I entered through a hallway and walked past a bathroom that was lavish, albeit a little small, with a toilet, sink and shower with marble and brown tones throughout.
I then enter the living area with a sofa, chaise longue, TV, coffee machine and entrance to the balcony.
From here I parted two sliding, wooden slat doors and walked into the bedroom, where I discovered a four poster bed completely covered in mesh fabric to protect from mosquitos, not that I saw any on the room, which could be tied away during the day.
There was another TV, a desk in the corner, another entrance to the balcony and then, through another sliding door, was a second bathroom – this one was huge.
A gigantic room with three wardrobes at one end separated by a huge mirror, there was a dressing table on one side and a rather large bath on the other. At the top a toilet, twin sinks and another (even bigger) shower.
Shortly after settling in there was a knock at the door, I opened it and my personal butler (white gloves and all) introduced himself and offered to show me a few features in the room I may not have noticed.
He entered and explained nothing is too much trouble – from unpacking and packing your luggage, to running a bath, or taking care of the laundry and ironing. He also pointed out to me a DVD menu and smart phone available for use with unlimited data.
In the main dining room you will find a morning and evening buffet. Each offers an array of foods known to different places around the world. Breakfast consists of anything from bread, bagels and pasties, to oats, pancakes and waffles, fruit, cereal and Asian offerings as well.
For dinner the offering varies from night-to-night. On my first evening I was lucky enough to experience Mauritian cuisine (there is always a mix, but this was the focus) and the following night was a barbecue.
On my final night, I treated myself to dinner at the adjoining Plantation Restaurant. Set in a planter’s house by the beach with tables facing out to the sea, you will find seafood and Creole cuisine popular with guests of other hotels as well as The Residence.
The Residence Mauritius unfolds along the beachfront in Belle Mare, on the eastern coast of the island, a 50-minute drive from the airport. Belle Mare is one of the longest and most beautiful beaches on the island, lapped by the warm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Here you are well placed to explore the east coast of Mauritius, dotted with stunning coves, sparkling lagoons and spectacular dive sites.
I was astonished at the amount of activities that are included free of charge (families will be happy to know that their children’s centre is included and also very impressive).
You can head down to the beach and try things such as stand up paddle boarding and water skiing, go on a glass bottom boat over the corals, or even go snorkelling.
I spent one afternoon the a chef from the Plantation Restaurant who taught me how to make traditional Mauritian dishes, which I then enjoyed for lunch.
The evenings are fairly quiet at The Residence Mauritius, but they regularly hold a pop up cinema on the beach with chairs, bean bags and a bar, showing both adult and children’s films.
Of course if you’re anything like me, the sun beds that adorn the pool and frame the seafront will keep you busy (so to speak). Even those who like to indulge in lying down all day will want to take a trip to the spa.
Inspired by the ‘zen’ philosophy, The Sanctuary features eight tranquil treatment rooms. Both changing rooms have a sauna and steam room and I went all out and indulged in a Thai massage.
One of the offerings that stood out to be was the nail treatments, including gel manicures. Perfect for those whose shellac gels fail them mid-vacation.
Should you wish to drag yourself away from this incredible hotel, then head south where the island is particularly wild and wonderful. Begin with a visit to the Grand Bassin Lake, a sacred lake for Mauritians of Hindu faith who believe that the water inside the lake communicates with the waters of the holy River Ganges in India.
Travel on to the Black River Gorges national park whose rolling hills and dense forests are home to many endangered species of plants and animals. Last but not least, witness the wonder of the Seven Coloured Earth of Chamarel, a small area of sand dunes that comprise sand of seven distinct colours.
I decided to drive to the airport, rather than bothering with a taxi or braving public transport. I parked with Holiday Extras, and booked myself into the No 1 Lounge where I could have a nice, hot meal and a few drinks in a quiet, relaxing space that overlooked the runway. This took any stress out of the day, and meant I boarded for my 12 hour non-stop flight completely relaxed.
Holiday Extras is the market leader in UK airport parking, hotels and lounges, and in 2018 customers who pre-booked their parking with Holiday Extras saved an average of £59 each vs the price they’d have paid on the day. Meet and Greet parking takes the hassle out of your trip to the airport and is the best way to start your holiday with a smile. To book Meet and Greet parking for 8 days from £50 and an airport lounge at Gatwick South Terminal, visit HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 955 5989. Price searched on 17th December for arrival on 14th February 2019.
Stays at The Residence Mauritius start from £330 per room per night on a half board basis.
For more information or to book, please visit www.cenizaro.com/theresidence/mauritius