We escaped the cold London weather to experience Winter Sun in Mauritius. It’s wonderful to feel warm sunshine on your face when it’s cold back home. Find out what we loved about escaping London before Christmas.
We are lucky enough to have got into the habit of sneaking a winter sunshine break in Mauritius. We went for the week before Christmas, landing back in the wintry UK on the 23rd of December. Just in time for family festivities.
This is a fantastic way to get away from the stresses which seem to be part of the lead up to Christmas. Who wouldn’t love to have some Winter Sun in Mauritius. It is also a secret week before the airline and hotel prices surge to astronomical levels for the Christmas and New Year weeks.
A tip I’ve learnt to keep the price down on the long-haul flights is to look to the European carriers such as Swiss Air or Austrian Airlines. We managed to bag a fully flat bed on Austrian Airlines for nearly half the price of Business Class on British Airways. It only added 90 minutes to our overall journey versus flying direct with BA or Air Mauritius, so definitely worth looking into. Also, Austrian Airlines have a premium economy cabin which very few airlines have and worth trying.
Where we stayed
In recent years we have stayed at the Beachcomber Trou Aux Biches. It is a stunning 5 Star hotel on the North West Coast, just outside the town of Grand Baie. Home to countless bars, restaurants and boutiques all nestled around a beautiful circular bay.
The Perfect Hotel for Winter Sun in Mauritius
The hotel stretches along a massive strip of white sandy beach and turquoise sea. It is set in 35 hectares of tropical gardens. The low rise buildings (the thatched villas and rooms are no higher than two storeys) feel very un-intrusive. Blending in beautifully with the multitude of palm trees and banyan trees. The beach is absolutely stunning. Even though it is narrow, it has hundreds of comfortable loungers calling you to relax on them. They are strewn along the entire length of the beach with palm trees giving you privacy from your neighbours. We tried five of the six restaurants and had delicious food from different nationalities every night.
The service is incredibly warm and welcoming. It doesn’t take long for the staff to remember your name and your preferences. We enjoyed working out in the spacious well-equipped gym each day. We also enjoyed playing tennis and a couple of rounds of golf at the nearby Mont Choisy golf course. A highlight of enjoying the winter sun was taking time to relax with a spa treatment or two. Then chilling with a glass of rose after a delicious lunch on a sun speckled terrace watching the world go by.
Families are well catered for with family suites and villas. There is a mini club for children aged 3-12 and a teens club.
An extra bonus
An extra bonus of this hotel is that you are only a 10-minute taxi ride away from the town of Grand Baie. On several nights we enjoyed candle lit dinners out, overlooking the beautiful waters of the bay. There was live music and we watched the locals enjoying lazy evening walks along the moonlit beach. I would recommend Canisses Restaurant with great welcoming service and an eclectic menu. The Beach House for a casual night out – they serve great burgers! If you love seafood everybody raves about Le Capitaine. We also visited the Baystone Boutique Hotel and Spa and had a relaxing dinner on their terrace looking out over the water.
Visiting Cannonier and the Royal Palm
During our week I was invited by Beachcomber to visit a couple of their other hotels. The Cannonier and the Royal Palm both close by and either side of Grand Baie.
The Cannonier is a 4 star plus hotel that is an all-inclusive hotel nestling in lush tropical gardens. It commands spectacular views of the northern islands and sparkling Indian Ocean. I was struck immediately at how friendly and warm the resort felt. At first it feels quite compact. However as you descend the steps down to the bar, restaurant and pool area it opens out onto the gardens dotted with cascading pools and a string of secluded creeks. The hotel site is built upon a historic peninsula with its own ancient lighthouse, the ruins of an old fortress and several old cannons.
Families and children on holiday
The rooms feel fresh and modern with large balconies or terraces. Not only is there a large kids and teens club but there was a particularly impressive baby-care room. Equipped with changing facilities, a fridge stocked with baby products, a steriliser and microwave. A godsend for parents with babies. There is also a babysitting service.
The spa was the most unusual building I have seen. It was built in and around an enormous and ancient banyan tree. The treatment cabins are built from thatch and stone and blend seamlessly into the branches of the tree. The hotel hosts weddings and honeymoons. Offering unforgettable romantic settings throughout the resort and onboard a sunset catamaran cruise.
The Royal Palm – Winter Sun in Mauritius
I have always wanted to stay at The Royal Palm, Beachcomber’s flagship hotel and having now visited for a morning I want to stay even more. As soon as you arrive the natural charm and elegance of the hotel strikes you. This is a truly luxurious hotel, the spa was the most beautiful and lavish I have ever seen. I’m sure if you were lucky enough to have a treatment there you would never want to leave. The rooms are modern, fresh and contemporary. All with beautiful touches such as stunning egg-shaped baths, generous terraces or balconies and palatial bedrooms. Children are warmly welcomed and the kids club set in the tropical gardens is very well equipped and spacious. There is even a Helicopter pad for those guests wanting to shorten the 70-minute journey from the airport.
Making the most of Mauritius
Many visitors to Mauritius stay in their resorts, enjoying just relaxing on the beach all day, but this is a mistake. The island is beautiful and there are some memory making experiences to be enjoyed. On a previous girls trip to Mauritius we booked a half day descent of the 7 Cascades. The day started with a very early pick up. All arranged by the guide. Our tips for the day would be bring masses of bug spray, wear hiking boots or really grippy trainers, take water (although your guide will probably provide that) and you must be fit. This isn’t an easy going hike.
This is a strenuous trip, with steep rocky descents, hanging on to branches and roots to steady yourself. Although the effort is well worth it. The views are spectacular. As you descend you can swim in 3 of the pools at the base of some of the waterfalls. You can have a fish pedicure, dangling your toes in the clear water watching tiny fish nibbling at your toes – its very ticklish but does work! At some view points you can see for miles, right out to the ocean, even though you are in the centre of the island. It was an exhilarating day and won’t be forgotten. We had a very steep climb out of the gorge at the end of the descent. The bonus was that we had definitely burned off enough calories to consumer our dinner and drinks without guilt!
Climbing the mountains
This Christmas my husband and I decided to hike Le Morne mountain. Again, this is not for the faint hearted. You need good supportive trainers or climbing boots and you need to be fit enough to climb uphill for up to 2.5 hours. Le Morne mountain is situated in the South Western tip of the Island, very near to the Paradis and Dinarobin Hotels. We got up at the unholy hour of 4.30 in the morning for the 1.5 hour drive south to start the climb in the cool hours of 6.30 a.m. The hike starts gently enough and lulls you into a false sense of security.
Our wonderful guide pointed out local species of flowers and fauna. We could hear unusual tropical bird sounds and saw some cheeky monkeys peeking out of trees. As we progressed the path got progressively steeper, our breathing more laboured and the views more spectacular. You would not want to do this trip without a guide.
Walking up the path
The path gives out as you come to bare rocky outcrops. Our guide helped us with every step. Showing us where to balance our feet on little hidden ledges and where to wedge our hands to haul ourselves up to the next ledge. One of our group suffered from a fear of heights and he was challenged hugely as we ascended, trying not to look down! The views from the top are extraordinary and we were lucky enough to see the underwater waterfall.
It is an optical illusion created by sand from the Mauritius beaches dropping off a geological shelf, known as an Ocean Shelf. The “drop off” plunges to depths of over 4000 metres and gives the appearance of an underwater waterfall. It was a clear day and we were very lucky to be able to see it. We felt very smug descending at 9.30 in the morning, as the heat in the sun got stronger. Sweating, panting hikers climbed passed us and despite the very early start it was the right thing to have done.
Final thoughts for finding Winter Sun in Mauritius
Mauritius is a beautiful island to visit almost any time of year. It is located in the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere and so its seasons are the opposite of our own. It doesn’t really have spring or autumn, just Summer from November to April and winter from May to October. The island’s rainy season coincides with summer while the cooler months tend to be drier. When I say cooler months, it is still warm compared to a typical UK summer.
Whether you are a family, couple, honeymooner or group, this Island will give you an amazing holiday. If you love the thought of the Maldives but are worried there isn’t enough to do, Mauritius would be the destination I would recommend. Plan ahead to escape a British winter and find some Winter Sun in Mauritius.