An Indian Ocean isle blessed with incredible beaches, a wild mountainous interior and more than its fair share of luxurious five-star hotels, Mauritius boasts Michelin-starred chefs, designer furnishings and golf courses on private islands; it’s a sybarites’ dream and celebrity magnet (even the Queen of England is a fan). However there’s another side to Mauritius, away from the glitz and glamour, where small boutique hotels are quietly going about their business offering rustic ocean-view bedrooms and laid-back dining for a fraction of the price of the larger resorts. And for those wanting to really immerse themselves in nature, there are some great new eco escapes too. Read on for our pick of the best hotels in Mauritius.
Best hotels in Mauritius
With the best spot on the island (a private peninsula with a mile of white sand beach in the north west) and a £41m renovation in 2017, Mauritius’ iconic hotel is at the top of its game right now. In the 1970s, One & Only Le Saint Geran attracted celebs and royalty (a vintage boat built for the Queen is now used for Champagne and snorkelling trips) and sleek new suites, infinity pools, enlarged spa and cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Marc de Passori mean it’s ready for the jet-set again.
Le Touessrok’s five white sand beaches and two private islands (one home to an 18-hole golf course) must give other hotels location anxiety. The east coast peninsula setting’s sublime but it also has amazing service; think butler-assigned rooms and beach staff on Segways polishing your sunglasses and offering sorbets. Don’t leave the Le Touessrok without customising your own massage oil in the spa, eating fresh lobster prepared aboard a catamaran or sampling the amazing weekly Champagne Sunday brunch.
Quite possibly the coolest place in Mauritius, this small art-filled pocket of paradise has just 16 sea-facing rooms built on rocks overlooking an untamed beach in the wilder north-east. Dazzling accents of red (umbrellas, sunloungers, plant pots, cushions) contrast beautifully with all-white walls while the palm-fringed pool, twice-weekly yoga sessions, La Maison d'Ete's tiny spa and beach restaurant serving unbelievably good seafood make for a super-relaxed escape that insiders are keen to keep hush hush.
It’s all about experiences with a sense of place at this great-value, all-inclusive Zilwa Attitude resort on the island’s northern tip. Tuck into barbecue lunches on one of its two private islands (where drinks are served from a former fisherman’s boat), chill in rustic rooms with poetry on the walls inspired by Mauritius artist Malcolm de Chazal, watch a film in the open-air cinema and even pick up some local language at the free Creole lessons (you’ll discover zilwa means ‘islander’).
Loved up? Then check in to Mauritius’ most romantic retreat which has a strip of sugary blond sand, lush 20-acre gardens dotted with sculptures and tropical plants (there’s a weekly botanical tour) and walled pool villas with four-poster beds and sunken marble baths. Oberoi's serene spa offers wellness classes alongside the usual massages, and grilled lobster is a speciality at the stunning water’s edge restaurant overlooking Turtle Bay, a national marine park.
Futuristic cool meets eco escape at Bubble Lodge, a unique collection of three semi-transparent domes on the edge of a wooded crater lake in Bois Cheri tea plantation. You can star-gaze from bed as the master bedroom has a see-through roof, the shower’s open-air and dinner is served in Bois Cheri’s restaurant, where you can sample local specialities like palm heart salad. A new Bubble Lodge opens on Ile Aux Cerfs in summer 2018.
Rolls Royce Phantom transfers for a gourmet picnic on a deserted beach set the tone of the opulent, all-villa Maradiva Resort & Spa with mountain and sea views, where custom-designed Hermes wallpaper and dining on delicious Indian food beneath Raj tents is the norm. Special mention goes to the Ayurvedic temple-like spa and the fact that three members of staff are assigned to each villa; basically it’s impossible to return home not looking relaxed and refreshed, and feeling a lot lighter in both pocket and outlook.
The island’s original boutique hotel continues to innovate, from cocktails served in a Bedouin-style tent to renting out mini mokes so you can explore the island at your own pace. Set in a coconut grove overlooking a small, private beach in lively Grand Baie, 20 Degrees Sud's elegant white facade has a beachy, laid-back vibe which continues through to the peaceful pool area, Secret Spa and 36 airy rooms and suites, all with a four-poster and balcony or terrace to chill on.
There are 18,000 bottles of wine to choose from (it’s the biggest cellar in the region) at this super-stylish gourmet getaway with a dash of French flair. Indigo restaurant is sensational; think mouth-watering sashimi and wagu steak eaten beneath blue cabanas, while feet-in-the-sand Lakaze serves seafood straight from the grill. Constance Belle Mare Plage's rooms are modern and slick (all have Apple Mac minis), and you’ll never be stuck for something to do with U-Spa, a dive centre, two Championship golf courses and four pools on your doorstep.
Mauritius is a kitesurfing hot spot and this five-star former plantation house is the best place to learn (it has an on-site club and beachfront suites overlooking One Eye, a legendary kiting spot). Thanks, however, to its position near the base of Le Morne mountain, the resort’s highly Instagrammable golden beach is sheltered from the wind. When you’re not being dragged around the bay, your butler (every room’s assigned one) is happy to arrange another activity, like climbing the mountain at sunrise, sampling the five restaurants or going on a dolphin safari.