Constance Le Prince Maurice is the luxury resort for those who want a taste of traditional Mauritius. The 91 rooms, says the gal, show how wood, polished wood, can become the decoration. Floors and heavy furniture are all polished wood. Horizontal venetian blinds are also wood, though not polished – you are probably supposed to leave the blinds down, throughout the day, but if you want them up you get a pretty good arm workout. Villa 64 – see the video below – has a 120 sq ft pool, just warm enough for swimming even at this time of year. Bright contrast to all the wood is provided by orange Hermès-type leather etceteras, bedside boxes for jewellery, notepad covers and the like.=
I was dining with Jean-Jacques Vallet, CEO of the Constance Group, and his COO, Andrew Milton, and it was really exciting to hear about the company’s forthcoming C Resorts, conceptualised with the help of Piers Schmidt, who is fast becoming the king of new brands when it comes to hotels. C Resorts will share the same core values of excellence and inventiveness as Constance Hotels but, say the Vallet-Milton duo, it will have even more of a lively sociable atmosphere. C Resorts is aiming at 35-55 year olds, perhaps a year or two younger than the Constance regulars, 23% of whom come from the UK, it seems to chill out.
Constance Le Prince Maurice does, however, have its own edgy fun. Take the whole dining experience of Barachois restaurant, where we dined. The restaurant is reached by a 200-yard boardwalk set high above mangrove creeks. Along the way, a floating open-air bar is set to your right. When you reach the restaurant itself you find a flotilla of floating pontoons forming several eating decks, a few tables on one, a few tables on another. The setting and lighting are magical. We coincided with the one night that William Ledeuil, who has three restaurants in Paris, was guest-cheffing, and his menu culminated in a white chocolate wasabi dessert, presumably somewhat calorific, with mango and passionfruit. Jean-Jacques Vallet had chosen what turned out to be exactly suitable French wines, a Puligny-Montrachet 2015 and a Ch Milens St-Emilion 2010.
Having walked the walk out in daylight, we walked back, after dinner, flanked by theatrical illuminations of the undergrowth. Back on dry land, I noticed jazz around the main pool – by day, this really large pool is heart of the hotel, the place where many spend hours, mindfully enjoying doing nothing. After a relaxing breakfast, looking down from the poolside Archipel restaurant to the beach, dotted with a few orange umbrellas – see above – I too spent many hours, mindfully enjoying my villa, and harking back to plantation times. Today there is air conditioning and connectivity, and I think how hard it must have been for plantation dwellers in times past. In those days it was sugar which drew settlers to Mauritius: today, GDP relies on manufacturing and tourism – and enticing overseas investors. There are over 20,000 companies registered here, and so far this year the island nation has attracted $285.6 million in incoming investment. And the people organising such companies need luxury hotels to stay in, which makes the Vallet-Milton pair smile, with reason. WANT TO SEE THE INSIDE OF VILLA 64?