Hello Mauritius, with its strong new tagline GENEROUSLY MAURITIUS. Why generous? Mauritians are jolly nice folk and definitely not mean when it comes to value for money or sharing of time and ideas. Girlahead wanted to see what if anything had changed after a decade.
On the arrival side, there’s a splendid new – well, new since the last visit – terminal at the airport, named after the first President, Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam, 19000-1985, variously Mauritius’ Chief Minister, first Prime Minister, and fifth Governor-General. There were also to be three resorts that were first-time visits, as far as Girlahead is concerned. All are franchised Marriotts but, as we shall see, each is unique.
First up of the trio is LE MERIDIEN, ILE DE MAURICE. This is a sprawling complex in the northwest of the island. Think of an ultra-friendly octopus with two long tentacles that stretch far, one either side. Room 400 was at the far end of one arm. It was a near ten-minute boardwalk hike, or quick buggy ride, but a nicer way was to walk along the beach, past pools and sunbeds and an overwater sunset viewing platform and multi-coloured processional archway for nuptials or whatever.
Room 400, downstairs in Nirvana block, looked out at the Nirvana, adults-only, pool (see above). The room itself was long and narrow, about 25 by seven metres. Go in, via a small terrace, to a spacious living area. Walk past, on the left, toilet, walk in closet and, if you opened a sliding side door, the glass-walled bathroom. Beyond was the full-width bedroom. Sliding glass doors at the far end opened to a plunge pool, nicely private and fine for skinny dipping.
Decoration was outline-only historic world maps, on the very long side wall and the bathroom’s glass walls. But main decoration was looking out front, past the lovelies by the pool to the glorious blue ocean beyond. At ten o’clock, as you ocean-gaze, is Paparazzi, the all-day Italian restaurant. Memorable tastes here included smoked salmon coils with olive-studded rolls at breakfast, and a flower studded burrata at lunch. Memories were always highlighted by the ocean view.
Other memories? A massage that removed tension from lower back and legs, probably more than replaced in the 24/7 Technogym manned by a very enthusiastic young manager. A super sunset wine tasting when Kenny, passion personified, tutored though six wines, Alsace to Pyrenées. On the dinner side, how about rogan josh with suitable Indian background music – ideally starting with a Mumbai Sour, Gin, turmeric syrup, lemon white wine, orange bitters, and going on to Le Meridien Western Cape Cuvée Red Walker Bay 2020
And, at all times, walking the sand, from one end to the other, again and again.