Rather delicious Mauritius
Colonel C.G. Gordon of the Royal Engineers, later General Gordon of Khartoum, was clearly bored with his posting to Mauritius. In a letter to a Knight of the Realm in May 1881, he wrote: “If you want to find a place where things have been let go to sleep, I recommend you to try Mauritius.”
As the island prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence from British rule next year, its allure as an Indian Ocean haven of peace and sunshine is undimmed. The government is resolved to keep it that way for holidaymakers by promoting quality rather than quantity, eschewing mass budget tourism for high levels of amenities and service.
A fine example of this policy is nestled at Anse la Raie Bay around a sheltered cove on the north coast, where Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel offers stylish accommodation, romantic seclusion in tropical gardens, and fine dining that has gained a string of awards. It’s an adultsonly retreat (18 years and over) designed as a tranquil setting in which to enjoy the beauty of natural surroundings that echo with birdsong. A blend of neo-colonial architecture influenced by the East India Company with contemporary decor and handcrafted teak furniture creates a light, airy ambience that extends from elegant public areas to 67 apartments and suites in low-rise buildings ranged around the cove. All have balconies or terraces overlooking lawns leading to the water, and premium guestrooms on the first floors are particularly spacious with lofty ceilings.
Attractions include an array of relaxation areas scattered by a small sandy beach, a large swimming pool, a clifftop infinity pool overlooking a lagoon, and individual thatched “love nests” discreetly sited on a headland. A garden spa offers massages in treatment rooms open to exotic foliage, and in thatched shelters with sea views. A pleasing visual and aural backdrop is a waterfall flowing over lava rocks into the cove, where a lateen-rigged wooden sailboat is available for sunset cruises.
More energetic amusements are available on tennis courts, bicycles with GPS guides, in a well-equipped gym, and at a boathouse that offers snorkelling gear, waterskiing, windsurfers, paddle boards and sailing lessons. There are also glass-bottom boat excursions, and catamaran sailings to small islands for barbecues and swimming.
At the end of the day guests are spoiled for choice with
a range of cuisine. The main Dining Room has an extensive menu with a good selection of vegetarian options, featuring the likes of red tuna tartare flavoured with tamarind, and dorado in coconut chutney crust. The Asian fusion XO adds spice with Vietnamese seafood and pad Thai chicken and shrimp; the Cove is a hideaway by the water that specialises in seafood.
After dark the resort and enclosing headland are illu-