J.W. MARRIOTT MAURITIUS is not a hotel in the normal sense. What it is is a plantation home that has landed not in the middle of Mauritius’ justly-famed sugar plantations but ocean-side, in the La Morne peninsula at the island’s southwest. Immediately behind is La Morne, a jagged, cragged mountain that apparently takes two hours to climb. In front is the soft blue ocean, almost striped with some white horizontal waves.
There is no grand approach. As at a grand house, or at least in this ocean area, the car stops 30m beyond the main gate. Walk another 30m along shiny boardwalk to an open-sided loggia with comfy chairs. This is ‘front desk’. To the right is a grand two-floor mansion, The Manor House, with a restaurant downstairs, a well-stocked library and cinema above, where there are also a few elegant suites.
To the left, if you are still facing the ocean, there are a succession of two-floor mini-mansions, stone and pale grass-coloured paint rising to steeply angled wood tiled roofs, kinda Thai shaped. These mini-mansions, in natural rather than military alignment, have four bedrooms, two up and two down, 172 keys in all.
Room 393 is upstairs, reached via 19 steps. French windows in the all-glass end wall lead to a sizeable terrace, with comfortable seating (and bliss, WiFi works wherever). This being a JW, a butler in sunflower-yellow trousers and white polo shirt did a show round. The eatertainment centre has an Illy machine, and 750ml bottles, including South Africa’s best Graham Beck rosé sparkling. Art is nine assorted flower pictures, framed and hung in front of you as you exit the ablution area. Here, as well as a freestanding egg-shaped tub and sizeable glass-walled shower, toilet and walk-in hanging area, there is a safari table that makes a jolly good desk, looking through beyond the bed to terrace and exterior. Drawers have leather-strap pulls, safari style.
One night a week there’s a GM’s cocktail, particularly delightful as it is on the beach, by a firepit. Entertainment rotates but, what luck, tonight it is fire-eater dancing, and spectacular. After that, how about dining in the Floating Market (like the ‘floating’ TAJ PALACE UDAIPUR it’s fixed, but who cares?). Floating Market offers a variety of Asian cuisines. Going Vietnamese produced really tasty vegetables wrapped in rice rolls, and four flavourful pork patties with rice noodles and vegetables. Another night it might be Japanese, in the alluring Atsuko restaurant, reached through a two-metre geisha ‘face’ that opens automatically as you approach (the highlight there was the eel sushi nigiri, superb). At both meals, very enjoyable glasses of Zorin Chianti Toscana 2020 were expertly opened and presented, for tasting.
Breakfast is either in The Manor House, reached via a Veuve Clicquot bicycle, or, across a pool, the Beach House, right above the sand. Buffets are identical, great on fruits and what-you-want on your eggs. Beach House is also the lunch or dinner venue for those desperate for plain food, a steak or local red tuna, exquisitely seared or cooked however – or have it as a tuna burger, with a can of fries to theYes, you eat splendidly here at JW.
You feel better all round for being here. The personal trainers in the big Technogym (24/7 access) are really helpful, and Pure Spa uses Valmont, with great expertise. Style, and generously Mauritius.