I recently chose to take the family to Mauritius for our main summer holiday. Travelling extensively for work means that the destination decision for that precious time we have together is always a hard choice. I always find I want to take a small element of every country or city I visit and create an imaginary destination but sadly that’s not possible.
Having visited Mauritius on a work trip in 2011, I had visited one particular hotel that I promised one day I would return with my husband and daughter. I always felt as though I had left a small piece of my heart there and was destined to return. It took 3 year but at the end of June 2014, suitcases packed we boarded the British Airways flight headed for the sunny island of Mauritius.
Having experienced this destination before I had to hold myself back from gushing enthusiastically and boring my family before we touched down. I wanted them to find the sparkle and magic, just as I had. The delicious food, the flora & fauna and the exceptionally welcoming people.
Travelling during our summer months is considered ‘Winter’ in Mauritius and you can imagine the look I got when our driver told my husband this fact just after we landed. Thankfully, their ‘Winter’ does not resemble ours and the days were filled with sunshine and late 20’s temperatures. On a couple of evening occasions we needed light cardigans and pashminas when dining outside, but otherwise a perfect climate.
As we arrived at Trou Aux Biches (a Beachcomber Hotel), I couldn’t have been more excited. I’d explained to my daughter about the infinity ponds that would greet her when we arrived in reception, leading down to the pool and onto the beach – my memory hadn’t failed me and despite our early morning arrival, there they were – the look on her face was everything I had hoped for – she saw the magic that I had three years previously.
Our family two-bedroom suite was just perfect. A huge master bedroom with a terrace, enormous bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower (which caused much hilarity) and then a smaller twin bedroom with en-suite shower at the rear. Ample space for even a family with 3 children.
I have never been the parent who chooses a hotel based on the kids club facilities and for us as a family it has always been an added bonus if a hotel a) has a club and b) if Aurelia chooses to join in the activities. To our amazement and entirely to the credit of the team at Trou Aux Biches ‘Bob Marlin’ Mini Club, we could hardly prize her away from it. From water skiing lesson, t-shirt painting, henna tattoos, dance lessons, glass bottom boat rides and pancakes and hot chocolate every afternoon, I found myself making excuses of why she had to spend time with us. They even threw her a huge birthday party on the day she turned 7, accompanied by presents and chocolate cake.
Having a mini club ensured a wonderful experience for everyone, as she had the right amount of new friend interaction, stimulating activities and down time with Mum & Dad. Happy child = happy parents and I had plenty of time to indulge in a novel I had been planning to read for a year!
The variety of restaurants at Trou Aux Biches is outstanding and our particular favorites were The Blue Ginger Thai restaurant where the Thai chef chatted to us enthusiastically each time we dined and was patient with our pigeon Thai, learnt on a previous holiday to Koh Samui. Mahiya, serving traditional Indian cuisine and the most delicious Lassi pre dinner drinks I have ever tasted.
And not forgetting La Caravelle, the international fine dining restaurant, where my husband became known for ‘double dinners’ – when the main courses are too delicious to choose from, why not have two! Oh and did I mention the weekly Mauritian themed specialty buffet/BBQ? What an array of authentic Mauritian delicacies.
One thing to add is that Aurelia suffers from a severe nut allergy and we carry epi-pens with us at all times. This is always a concern with overseas travel, but on our first day the F&B Manager met with us to discuss our requirements and from that moment onwards every restaurant was fully aware of what to avoid. On the buffet night the head chef accompanied us around to every dish to explain the content, so we could make informed choices of what she could eat – now that is service!
With all these delicious cuisines, it was a jolly good job the sports and activities facilities at Trou Aux Biches were outstanding. A state of the art cardio gym and weighs gym, daily classes including Zumba and spin, every water sport you could imagine and I think my husband and daughter tried them all. I mainly stayed on land to take the photos – well someone had to. Ray dives wherever we travel to and went out on a couple of occasions, commenting on the professional manner of the in-house dive team and the choice of locations that they dived to.
We explored beyond the luxuriousness of the hotel and on a couple of occasions walked into the local village, enjoying some fresh coconut water en route. We also hired a car for the day and ventured out to the Casela wildlife park to see the giant tortoises. Stopping off at Flic en Flac beach for a spot of lunch from a local beach vendor on the way and into the capital, Port Louis, on our return.
Our stay at Trou Aux Biches was without doubt the best family holiday we have had in quite a while and this was not down to the 5* facilities, the pristine white sand on the beach and the day long sunshine (although that did help). What made this trip such a resounding success was the staff at the hotel. From our room steward to the waiters in each restaurant and the staff in the mini club, we felt genuinely at home and that nothing was too much trouble. This is one hotel that we will, without question, return to.