Rather de­li­cious Mau­ri­tius

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - GAVIN BELL

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-

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