Paradise found – Mauritius

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There are a few things that make you feel special: hand-written notes, being looked after, being listened to and a few places that can make you feel really looked after. I can genuinely say St Regis Resort is one of these places. Situated in Le Morne on the south-westerly tip of Mauritius on a dynamic, triangular-shaped site touching the sea, a beautifully designed settlement was created and opened in 2012.

The resort gently hugs the turquoise Indian Ocean with a layer of white sandy beach cushioning the two, with a series of individual but unified buildings laid out considerately along the water’s edge. Designed by internationally renowned architects Stauch Vorster and interior designer Trevor Julius of dsgn, the dwellings echo the “paradise found” sensation and evoke feelings of escape and relaxation. The designs give a clear nod to history and echo the structure and ambience of a Victorian manor or historical estate, yet flirt with the contemporary throughout the array of differing building types.

The resort is run by an impressive team of staff, and gave the impression of being completely on top of every situation that arose. As well as an individual butler for each room, there was always help near at hand, although you never felt intruded upon.

The resort features around 170 suites, with spectacular views over the ocean, each with a terrace or balcony. These include 120 Ocean view Deluxe Rooms, 24 Beachfront Junior Suites, eight Beachfront St Regis Suites and ten Beachfront St Regis Grand Suites. From waking in bed, you can reach the sea in under a minute. Also offered are seven Ocean view Manor House suites, which offer plush living spaces and colonial design, transporting you back in time to that of a Victorian era private residence.

Finally, the St Regis Villa is one of the most impressive buildings, situated at one end of the site. It was designed with contemporary comfort in mind and an awareness of the island’s affluent colonial past. The shared living space includes dining areas and lounges, and three of the four breath-taking bedrooms have their own private pool. There is also an office, a private gym and beach access.

This area of Le Morne is renowned as an ideal kitesurfing and windsurfing location and its perfect conditions attract the world’s elite kitesurf aficionado. A calmer water lagoon is protected by a gently curved reef providing ideal conditions to learn the skills. Outside the reef, more advanced kitesurfers can brave larger waves and higher windspeeds, with around 300 wind days a year. We often saw advanced kitesurfers lift metres out the water into the air, pull off an impressive trick and glide effortlessly into a landing on the water.

The resort is set up with all the facilities to learn and master the skill. We were told of a recent group of kitesurfer athletes that took over the entire St Regis Villa to mix luxury with opportunity to further hone their craft in ideal marine conditions.

In the calmer waters it is also possible to swim out to the reef and snorkel along the way, absorbing a diverse palette of tropical fish and memorable coral structures; a genuine balance between nature and humans being preserved and looked after.

From the sea you get the best views of the impressive mountain of Le Morne, an enormous piece of rock rising to 500 metres and a World Heritage Site, which is just five minutes’ drive from the Resort entrance. One can climb the mountain in around three hours, with the steepness and difficulty progressively increasing. From the highest accessible point the impressive views are the weary climber’s reward and one can soak up around 270 degrees of beautiful Mauritian landscape and sea. It is always intriguing to rise above the ground level and see the lie of the land and the area as a whole.

The resort seemed to be well set up to cater for the more energetic activities, with a special kitesurfing respite treatment in the spa comprising a massage and healing bath. There is also a dedicated medical centre. The spa was a delightful haven of calm, with consultations and a wide array of treatments available – the perfect antidote to the strains of climbing Le Morne.

Food is also a major and integral part of the St Regis resort – and impressively the brand has managed to cover a dashing array of palates and food cultures with six restaurants creating Japanese, South East Asian, Indian and French cuisine, and also a Boathouse Grill serving Mauritian delicacies and the best local seafood the area has to offer. The resort also has a number of bars all presenting a different dimension to the St Regis brand. The general manager Bernard de Villèle mentioned that one of the major challenges of running a resort is providing a consistent high quality throughout, but we found that St Regis has more than risen to the challenge.

There is also access to a variety of outside activities around the resort if one chooses. The city of Port Louis is 75 minutes’ drive away and has a wonderful bustling market and traditional Mauritian architecture from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was full of colour and warmth, and resonated with energy and joy.

It was also very interesting to hear about the sugarcane crops being planted since the early 1980s and the new rum distilleries that have sprung up. In 1986 the sugarcane was used to produce the island’s own brand of high quality rum – a great example of this is La Rhumerie de Chamarel distillery which allows visitors to see, taste and understand the whole process in their beautiful countryside surroundings.

The luxury within the resort mixed with the opportunity to explore the diverse surrounding area provides a perfect holiday experience. Sometimes flying is one of the more challenging parts of a holiday, but at the International Airport (60 minutes’ drive from the resort), the YU lounge is available and open to all for a nominal fee, providing VIP comfort and exclusive services for travellers – looking after their bags as well as providing cooling towels, champagne and delicious canapés in their beautiful air conditioned space.

It is beautiful to see how Mauritius has mastered its tourism and is really getting things right, and I feel the St Regis Resort is at the pinnacle of this – an exemplary figure of how luxury should be done – with passion, warmth and finesse.

by Ben Slater

An Ocean View Deluxe Room at The St Regis Mauritius Resort is priced from EUR 590 per night in low season, including breakfast.

Return flights from London with Air Mauritius are priced from £822 per person.

Seven nights at The St Regis Mauritius Resort is priced from £1,899 per person in an Ocean View Deluxe Room on a half board basis. Price includes return flights with Air Mauritius and private transfers to resort.

To book visit Luxury Holidays Direct 020 8774 7297