Review: Beachcomber, Mauritius
I was particularly jammy and managed to fly to the charming island of Mauritius when it was snowing in the UK all courtesy of Air Mauritius. I left minus two degrees and arrived in paradise to visit two Beachcomber properties which are the largest hotel group on the island. I’ve always been fascinated by equatorial landscape and found myself taking photos at every bend. This place had a wonderful calmness and the people all seemed to be living extremely happy lives. I was excited about what would unfold over the next few days and to get to know this little oasis.
The scenery on the drive over to Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa was outstanding with white sandy beaches and perfect turquoise waters, a world away from icy London. After an hour drive we arrived to our home for the next couple of days in the northern part of the island and were greeted by a lunch in the resort’s restaurant, La Plage. Dinarobin is situated next to the enormous Morne Mountain (pictured above) on the coast which makes for quite a dramatic setting with palms and banana leaves draping over at every angle. We ate some local white fish with la sauce vierge, roast vegetables and a coconut panna cotta for dessert. I was interested to hear about the Mauritian food-scene and the incredible mix of the French, Indian and Chinese influences. After a short tropical downpour we headed over to the spa for a massage. I don’t usually use spas when I’m away but I have to say that enjoying a deep tissue massage after a long haul flight is a total game-changer. I think I’m going to have to indulge in this activity after every 12 hour-flight and it really did ease me into the relaxed Mauritian way of life. The spa is designed beautifully with a woven pavilion where you can sneak glances at the Morne Mountain through the vibrant greenery. They have a plunge pool next to the relaxation seating where you can have a quick dip after your treatment or sip on an iced tea. The interiors are dark with lots of bamboo and incense burning all creating a still atmosphere.
Dinner at Beachcomber’s Umami restaurant was a spectacular display of fresh seafood with many local delicacies served with an Asian fusion with strong nods to Japan. This was probably my favourite dinner as I felt that Dinarobin was making the best of the produce and creating relatively simple plates of food but with maximum flavour. I particularly liked the fact that they broke the Asian format and included a gooey fondant chocolat for the dessert.
After a generous breakfast buffet of dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple and coconut scones we went to test ride a few of the activities that were on offer, including a yoga class and a sunset catamaran trip. We even managed to squeeze in some down-time on Dinarobin’s laid-back palm tree beach which was definitely a highlight. It was peaceful, the waters were crystal clear and everything covered in golden sunshine and I fully understood why people love coming to this side of the world for a holiday. My only regret was not having enough time to try out the Jurassic Park looking tennis courts which were completely submerged in the lush vegetation with monkeys jumping from the trees.
Dinarobin offers some luxurious zen suites which are for adults only. The interiors were dark wood with woven furniture and the best part was that they overlooked a gorgeous swimming pool ideal for a morning dip. I would also recommend a beach run before the sun gets too hot as you get your bearings and its a real treat to get to jog on such soft white sand catching a glimpse of the fishermen pulling in their nets. I can’t stress enough how content the natives are and when I think back to the Mauritians I honestly just envision their smiles. I suppose living in such a tranquil, unspoilt environment means that it must breed this type of person. You can tell that they appreciate their lifestyle and want to look after the island, and luckily there are strict building laws to protect the precious landscape.
After two nights at Dinarobin it was time to relocate to the south side of the island at Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa. On the drive over we passed Black River Gorges which was this incredible view of open jungle landscape with a waterfall flowing out from the rocks. We then ventured over to visit the sugar factory before finally arriving at our new rooms at Victoria For 2. Although it was lovely in the north, it was better weather on this side of island and I fell in love with the new pale grey buildings, swim-up rooms and the weaving pool that leads up to the Nautil Café. Here we sipped on piña coladas while watching another unbelievable sunset from the water. It was magical! Dinner was over at their Morris restaurant and we ate more excellent local seafood including a crab avocado fishcake and salad with edible flowers.
The rooms had a seaside feel with white and blue pillows and I especially loved the light wicker chairs and oak tables on the balcony. Breakfast was delicious fresh coffee, omelettes and granola overlooking the beach.
This was probably my favourite day because we were taught how to dive 4 metres underwater in a nearby lagoon where dolphins were jumping in the distance. It was fantastic to learn a new skill and the diving team were amazing at putting everyone at ease and this made for a great morning. Victoria Hotel also offers cooking classes and we were shown how to make a traditional Mauritian curry with chicken and prawns. Of course this was a main feature for me and it was interesting to hear about the different flavour combinations that are used in the cuisine. After a few hours relaxation we hit the tennis courts and it was good to know that they had some decent rackets that you could borrow. Playing in the golden hour light when you knew it was snowing back home was memorable and made you excited for the summer.
On our last day we managed to squeeze in a yoga class hoping that it was going to prepare us for the long plane journey ahead and devoured a final grilled snapper with green chilli salsa. Victoria For 2 is a hideaway from the more busy main Victoria Hotel and you are spoilt for choice with activities catering for any age. I would recommend coming here for at least a week to unwind and then start travelling round and exploring more of the island. Beachcomber provided a warm and friendly service and they must be doing something right as their staff never seem to leave the company. It was all over in a hot minute, but without doubt I want to book to come again next year. Here’s to Mauritius!
Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa
7 nights in a Zen Suite on a Bed & Breakfast basis including complimentary access to the Club at Dinarobin, Economy Class flights with Air Mauritius and private hotel transfers from £1790 per person sharing
Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa
7 nights in an Oceanview Room on an All Inclusive basis in the adults only Victoria for 2 wing of the hotel, Economy Class flights with Air Mauritius and hotel transfers from £1685 per person sharing
Air Mauritius - We flew to Mauritius courtesy of the national carrier Air Mauritius who offer 4 direct flights a week to the island from London Heathrow. The airline offers both a friendly Economy Class and a relaxed Business Class cabin on the route and if Heathrow is not convenient then there are numerous regional connections via Paris or Amsterdam. www.airmauritius.com