Next in this Marriott Mauritius trilogy is WESTIN TURTLE BAY RESORT & SPA, like its sibling, MARRIOTT ILE MAURICE in the northwest of this idyllic Indian Ocean island (for the record, as one sits at The Westin’s Beach Grill, look across about two km of calm ocean at anonymous buildings mostly obscured; ;by lush landscape – that’s THE OBEROI).
The Westin is a monumental hotel. The porte cochère turning circle goes round and round a giant banyan tree that must surely have been in place since time immemorial. It looks with its eternity down on the single-floor main block, about 275m long, that runs at right angles to the approach steps.
To reach room 601, in Villa les Quatres Vents, go the far left end of the main block, down 11 stone steps, walk 20m and down another seven steps. At this point, turn through 180° to look back at the protruding end of the main block. It is built in heavy stone blocks, almost Aztec style. Monumental.
Room 601 has a divine view, above, from its French windows. The interior is subtly handicapped, but in fact the few extra rails are jolly useful even for able-bodied. As seems to be the norm in much of Mauritius, flooring throughout is carpet-free, but put down the really-thick beach towel – on loan with a substantial leather-handled straw bag, and divert the colourful pareo from decorating the bed to covering the floor-bound beach towel – and the whole becomes a plausible yoga mat.
Westin’s ‘heavenly bed’ deserves its countless accolades. Climb high up on to it and the rest is oblivion. Frankly there is so much to do outside and around the resort there is probably little time to appreciate the room adequately (though having BBC World News available 24/7 on the giant LG screen is a big plus). The significant fitness centre is also 24/7, but apparently it is being detoxed, or whatever happens to wellness equipment. In the meantime there is a rudimentary makeshift gym in the rather-dark Westin Club room – Girlahead can’t wait to come back, to work out in the ‘real gym’, upstairs in the airy two floor Heavenly Spa.
Karine Pierre, who organises events, says the resort places great emphasis on healthy eating as part of overall wellness. Breakfast here, at the large open-sided Seasonal Tastes, certainly allows fruitarians and others to get their fill. One input of kiwi and papaya alone provides a month’s vitamin requirements.
Dinner for all could be in pan-Asian Mystique, one of three adjacent in-sand-or-not restaurants at the far end of the curvilinear family pool to the south end of the resort. Choose, say, vegetarian tempura, with a sweet dipping sauce, and then go on to an extremely good nasi goreng, with an abundance of chicken. And with a glass of Casa Albali Tempranillo Shiraz 2019 Valdepeñas, stylishly poured after a tasting.
The overall culinary star, however, has to be Beach Grill, by the adult pool to the north end of the resort (walk there past the kitchen team’s impressive Westin Yard vegetable and herb garden). Beach Grill has no walls, it’s unvarnished boardwalk and pale blue paint, and smiling people and simply great food. Honestly, fish and chips never tasted so good as these three thumb-sized nuggets, displayed on a palette-shaped plate with pomegranate seed-studded tartare sauce, and totally irresistible fries. Basically authentic.