Experience Mauritius the Starwood way

January 2, 2015

DSC_7962Late last year I receive the fortunate opportunity  to spend a day at each of the three Starwood properties in Mauritius. After my initial bikini panic (summer is still two full months away) I decided to get over it and do my research on the exciting properties we would be visiting.

Starwood is known for only representing and owning some of the most prestigious resorts and hotel brands around the world. In Mauritius they own three properties: The St Regis (our first port of call), the Le Meridièn and the recently opened Westin Turtle Bay. All of these properties were located on the popular West Coast of the island affording them prime spots in paradise.

DSC_7759Despite delayed flights and what seemed like an eternity spent on OR Tambo I arrived feeling excited about spending our first night at the St Regis. We were welcomed in typical Mauritian style with a scented cool towel and refreshing drink after which we were promptly shown to our rooms. I was never more happy about air conditioning and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

It was only on the next morning that we could fully appreciate our beautiful surroundings. Even our entry level room enjoyed a beautiful view of the ocean.  The St Regis is a relatively new property on the island, just shy of three years, located in the Southern part of the island under the Mount Le Morne.

DSC_7751The St Regis brand is perhaps best known for their butler service, which they introduced to the hotel industry in 1910 but I’d like to direct your attention to the breakfast buffet at their Mauritian property. In specific their humble-looking French toast.  Made from a French baguette, it might look like any other French toast, but a single taste of its custard filling will have you convinced you’re in heaven. It definitely set the tone for a day of sensory overload.

From an amazing seafood lunch, afternoon tea in the exclusive St Regis Villa to swimming in the ocean– we really made the best of our first day.

DSC_7804The St Regis hotel group has a rich history which has lead to many traditions. We ended our evening celebrating two of these traditions in the form of a Bloody Mary before partaking in the Sabering tradition. Naturally we had copious amounts of champagne!

The next morning we left for the Westin, but not before I gulped down a last few bites of French toast (bikini body forgotten). We  did a quick bag drop before boarding the glass bottomed boat to the Le Meridien. A trip on the glass bottomed boat is highly recommended for anyone unfamiliar with the island and as it is included in most packages you really don’t have an excuse even if you have done it before. Just double check the departure time of these trips at the boat house.

DSC_7967At the Le Meridièn we were greeted with flair by Mauritian Sega dancers and staff with drinks on hand. Little did we know that we’d all join in later that evening and try our hand at hip-shaking Sega dancing!

The atmosphere at the Le Meridièn is notably different to that at the Westin and St Regis. Where both the previous resorts were calming and relaxing, the atmosphere at the Le Meridièn was electric. People were laughing out loud and children ran around giggling and splashing in the pool.

DSC_7997The Le Meridièn is a great family orientated resort with a large pool in which we saw younger guests learning how to swim, but the resort kindly accommodated us in the newer Nirvana section which does not accommodate families. Here we were able to spend a few quiet moments in the sun and enjoy a head and shoulder massage before heading for dinner on the beach.

By the time we finally made our way back to the Westin we were all ready for those renowned Heavenly beds, but with heavy lids I headed to the beach for a quiet walk along the shoreline.DSC_7932The Westin, formerly the Grand Mauritian, was the newest of the resorts we visited having opened only two months prior to our stay. Sadly in 2011 the Grand Mauritian suffered some serious fire damage after a wildfire spread. I hadn’t been to the Grand Mauritian but looking at pictures I can say that the Westin combines the best of the new and old. The general structure and garden was kept as it was, but rooms and restaurants were entirely reimagined. If you liked the old, you’ll love the new!

It is with a heavy heart that I got out of bed the next morning to start what would be our final full day in Mauritius. Champagne in hand we loaded our plates at the Westin’s breakfast buffet before taking a quick tour of the property. It took a lot of self control to stick to snorkelling rather than indulging in an afternoon at the spa, but I am glad that I did. I never imagined the fish would get so close to us!

DSC_8189At the resort’s Indian restaurant, Kangan, we were divided into small teams, each assigned a specific dish and chef to guide us in creating a delicious three course meal. We received more help than I’d like to admit but the end result was absolutely amazing, in particular the dessert (I may or may not have contributed to it!)

We ended our final evening in Mauritius at the Mystique dancing the night away to our DJ’s tunes whilst sipping on Pina Coladas. The evening ended well after 2’O clock, but only because our calculations revealed that we only had 3 hours left to enjoy the Heavenly beds before taking the long flight home.

DSC_8229We experienced the Starwood touch at all three resorts as staff were always concerned with our happiness and ensured that we had everything we wanted and more. If I could slip by unnoticed I might have set up permanent residence at any of these resorts as every second spent in paradise was worth it. I would love to go back someday soon, very soon if it depends on me!