A weekend in Mauritius: Constance Le Prince Maurice*

I got a lot of blank stares from people just before the Women’s Day long weekend after they asked me what I was doing over the weekend, and I answered “going to Mauritius.” People seemed shocked that I was going to Mauritius- just for the weekend. I think just because it’s “overseas”, most people think you can’t go for a short time. It’s only a 4 hour flight, so we left early on Saturday morning and arrived back in Jozi late Monday evening- the perfect weekend break. 

Guys, if you’re South African, like the beach, and haven’t been to Mauritius yet, I really don’t know why. You can get some super cheap packages, and when you’re there it feels like you’re a million miles away- in Paradise. I’ve been really drained lately with so much going on in every aspect of my life, so I really needed a time out. I know a lot of people are anti- resorts and I think it’s personal preference. I like staying at a resort because everything I need to have a good holiday is easily accessible- pool, beach, cocktails, food, spa, table tennis etc. The thing is, at a resort you’re pretty isolated from the “locals”- but just take a taxi or bus to Port Louis and spend some time walking around the markets, and you’ll have your local fix 🙂 

Naturally, Constance was the obvious choice when deciding where to stay. We had the time of our lives at the Constance resorts in Seychelles (read about that here)- and from the looks of my blog stats you guys enjoyed reading about that trip too- the first post I wrote about it has received more than 6000 hits to date

Rishav and I talk about that Seychelles trip all the time. I often think back to the view from our hilltop villa, and how we’d wake up and have a swim every morning before breakfast. Rishav is obsessed with the fish curry he had there, and has been trying to find an equivalent ever since. 

The thing I realised after staying at Le Prince Maurice is that it wasn’t Seychelles we loved, it was Constance. The values embodied by this brand are carried through in all the resorts and the experience is just far superior to most other hotel brands. The staff are among the most hospitable I’ve ever come across in all my travels. They love what they do and they really care about making your stay comfortable for YOU- whether this means arranging a packed breakfast for you to eat en route to an early morning flight, or cooking your favourite meal at dinner. They realise that people are individuals and have different needs and nothing is ever too much to ask of them. 

We arrived in a balmy Mauritius, with an X5 waiting for us. I’m not a car person but being picked up in an X5 just makes you feel special. Also, the airport is pretty far from anything so it’s about an hour long drive, which was made all the more comfortable by the luxury of the car. Our driver also asked us if we’d prefer to drive on the highway which is quicker, or take the scenic route along the coast. Obviously we chose the latter, and my head remained firmly turned to the right, taking in the view of blue sea and white sand. 

We arrived at the resort just as the sun was setting. There was someone waiting outside to greet us, and we were shown into the lobby- which was just magnificent. We looked out into an infinity pool which seemed to flow right into the ocean, with palm trees on either side. There are water features throughout the lobby- creating a feeling of zen and calm, and a restaurant is perched on either side of the pool- one is the main restaurant, Archipel, and the other is an Asian restaurant, which doubles as a Beach bar during the day. 

We were shown to our room, a Junior Suite- the standard room at the resort. I shouldn’t have been surprised (it’s Constance after all) but the room was particularly *wow*. We had an Apple tv, with a huge selection of movies already preprogrammed. Our balcony overlooked the heated pool, and the bathroom was AMAZING. If I ever move into a grown up house, THAT’s the bathroom I want. It was more like a dressing room- loads of cupboard space, an ottoman in the middle, huge spa bath next to a large window, his and hers basins and rain shower. I love the idea of a bathroom being a space you can hang out in and enjoy- an extension of your bedroom, rather than just an isolated small area with shower and toilet. 

We had a pillow menu in our room- the only time I’ve ever seen one was at the One and Only in CT, but this pillow menu even included Tempur pillows! If you haven’t heard of these, they are pillows specially designed by medical people to ensure that your head is in the optimal position when sleeping. They retail at about R800 each and I’ve always wanted to try one, so it was great to have the option here. Clearly I’m too used to big, fluffy pillows because the Tempur pillow ended up being a bit too flat for me, so I stuck with the original ones which you can see in this pic 🙂 

Dinner that night was really special. Constance Le Prince Maurice has the only floating restaurant in all of the Indian Ocean islands and it is quite spectacular. We walked on a long ramp, passing the resort’s villas on stilts, and a stunning sunset, on the way. 

Table for two?

The menu was varied- there was a mix of European cuisine and tradition Mauritian food. We tried the calamari and also enjoyed a curry- loved the presentation, and both dishes were rich in flavour. My only gripe with outdoor restaurants is that the food gets cold too quickly, but Constance had that sorted with these cast iron serving dishes- another example of the “little things” they do- exceeding expectations. Also, because it was a bit windy, the staff had beautiful pashminas on hand to ward off the cold. 

The next morning, we were up bright and early. August is windy season for Mauritius, so in the morning it was a bit too chilly to swim in the ocean. Luckily the resort has a heated pool so we enjoyed that, and then headed to breakfast. I’ve stopped mentioning hotel breakfasts on this blog because I don’t want to bore you guys, and I’ve found that when I go to a 5 star hotel anywhere in the world, I am pretty much assured of the same quality and variety of food at the breakfast buffet. Constance Le Prince Maurice has to get a special mention though- this picture says it all. 

CREPES- Paris style! They tasted JUST like the ones we had in Paris, and there was even Nutella which I spread on the top, letting it melt into the crepe.

We only really had one full day to enjoy the beach, and we did just that. Le Prince Maurice has a nice long stretch of beach to walk along, and the service at deck chairs is as you’d expect from Constance- excellent. If you just hover around next to a deck chair, a member of staff immediately lays out a towel for you and offers you the drinks menu 🙂 

I love just vegetating on the beach- there’s nothing quite like reading a book and catching a glimpse of THIS everytime you look up. 

Because you can’t be on an island and not have a Pina Colada

This looks like I was posing but I actually think I had fallen asleep 🙂 

I’m a summer kind of person, when the sun shines, I’m happy. The weather really affects my mood and the horribly, gloomy Jozi weather was really getting me down. Crazy to think that just across the ocean the weather was sunny and beautiful. 

That night, we spent time with the general manager of the hotel and also had canapés in their wine cellar which was really memorable. It was this discussion with him that made me realise how much effort goes into keeping the standard of Constance resorts where it is. For the visitor, everything just happens automatically- you get a welcome drink on arrival, the staff know your name, there are welcome treats in your room- but every single one of these things takes coordination. With a ratio of 2 staff members to every guest, it’s no surprise that Constance doesn’t ever let anything slip. They send their staff to intensive training courses so that they can understand the brand, which ensures that the brand’s values are carried through in everything every single staff member does. Trust me, you won’t really know what I mean until you’ve experienced service like this at a Constance resort- it’s just, different. 

Now I’ve seen some pretty big wine cellars at actual wine FARMS… but none of them compare to this one. It was huge, with a really good selection of wines from all over the world- I was pleased to see quite a few South African labels 🙂 

The lighting in this area wasn’t good so this pic is grainy, but I did the champagne with a sword trick! It was scary but also really cool 🙂 

After canapés,we headed to the main restaurant, Archipel, for dinner. Earlier in this post, I said that Rishav had been fantasizing about the fish curry he had in Seychelles, so he immediately scouted that out on the menu. When it wasn’t there, he asked the waiter if they happened to have it as a special perhaps. The waiter said they didn’t, but the chef would make it for lunch the next day. I jumped on the band wagon and requested a chicken curry 🙂 I thought it was great that initiative was taken to make our stay even more enjoyable. 

Sweet potato gnocchi cooked in a creole style

Fish and eggplant stew
Chocolate fondant with a lamington marshmallow – is this heaven? 

This was Rishav’s dessert- a type of ginger cake, he loved it.

The next morning, we were allowed a late check out so we swam again and just took it easy before lunch, where we devoured the curries that were promised to us. Again, presentation was amazing! The curry was served with dholl puri (like roti), 3 different types of pickles, lentils and rice. The only negative thing I have to say about the resort is that extras not included in your package (we were half board- breakfast and dinner) are quite expensive. These curries cost about R230 each and cocktails are about R120 each. I think you’d find that this is the case at most resorts though, unless you book an all inclusive package. 

We checked out and met our friend, the X5, for the drive back to the airport. Yes, it was a short, whirlwind trip, but I’m so glad we did it. It was just what we needed. We spent the whole way back to the airport joking and laughing, taking selfies and talking about the fabulosity that is Constance. 

Next on my list is Constance Maldives, and then Madagascar. I really urge you to check out their website, especially the specials. The resorts are completely unique and a step above their competitors, you have my word that you’ll have a fantastic time. If you dont, pina coladas for life on me 🙂 

Visit their website here: www.constancehotels.com

xxxx H