Mark Twain once said, “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Admittedly, this may sound a tad excessive, but once you’ve stepped foot on the island – or rather, checked in to Le Touessrok – it’s hard to disagree. Situated on the idyllic, and significantly less-developed, east side of the island across 34 acres of unspoiled land and white sand beaches, the resort was founded in 1978 as a family hotel. It’s changed hands a few times since, but since 2015 it has been part of the world-class Shangri-La group. Its original familial spirit is apparent from the moment you step into the hotel and are welcomed by staff who are warm, discreet and utterly accommodating.
The food on offer at Le Touessrok – and with five restaurants there’s a lot of it – is reflective of the multi-ethnic history of the island itself. Safran, the faultless Indian-meets-Mauritian restaurant helmed by chef Ramesh Bundi, who trained under Michelin-starred chefs Atul Kochhar and Vineet Bhatia, is as celebratory as it is understated. Dimly-lit, the beautifully crafted wooden structure offers a soundtrack of lapping waves. There is exquisite Japanese food on offer at Kushi, with open grills at the tables. Across all of the restaurants, seafood is star, with local lobster and sea urchin with your eggs in the morning and beachside barbecues at dusk.
Chi Spa offers an extensive menu of massages, facials and Ayurvedic treatments. If you’re looking for an experience you won’t find elsewhere, choose from the ‘sense of place’ massages, which incorporate local produce such as sugarcane, essential oils and even Mauritian music for a truly restorative and tension-relieving treatment. There’s also sunrise yoga available.
Take one of the hotel’s electric bikes for a spin on the open road – cruising through fields of six-foot-high sugarcane on the way to the local market is a truly unforgettable experience. Or ride through the island’s mountain hinterland; the perfect way to take in some truly breathtaking vistas and gain a whole new perspective on this beautiful corner of the world.
Located on a spectacular island just a short boat ride away, Ile aux Cerfs is a stunning golf course designed by two-times Masters champion Bernhard Langer. Advance booking is highly recommended, but novices are welcome to hit a few balls on the driving range. However, even if golf really isn’t your game, you might want to think about making the trip over anyway, as the island also boasts a handful of ‘bubble lodges’ giving visitors the chance to sleep on the beach and under the stars – located far from the fairway, thankfully – all in a luxury suite comprised of transparent domes. However, the real jewel in Le Touessrok’s crown is its exclusive island, Ilot Mangénie (and it’s the only resort in Mauritius that can boast this privilege). All guests are welcome – the resort runs regular crossings – and with a vibey beach club and decadent private cabanas complete with private butlers on offer, there really is something for everyone on this paradise island.