Victoria Marston discovers the wonders of Mauritius, complete with bespoke cocktails and famous reef sharks.
Johnny is nowhere to be seen. Apparently, the local celebrity hasn’t been around for weeks and my fellow guests are visibly disappointed. Sipping on a Victoria’s Secret – the barman has created bespoke cocktails for us, based on a quick quiz about our likes and dislikes, and I like the result very much. Champagne-based, of course – and scattering crisps over the edge of the floating bar, I watch colourful fish swarm and swirl, but still no Johnny. Johnny is a reef shark.
Food fresh from the ocean
A short wander along the wooden pontoon and we arrive at the seafood restaurant, Le Barachois, to feast on tender octopus, still with half an eye on the sparklingly lit lagoon beneath the floating decks of diners. We are seated in a natural fish reserve that makes up part of the hotel’s 148 unspoilt acres.
Much of the hotel is thatched, in classic Mauritian style, with decor drawing on the sugar cane that once funded life on this island. Despite the obvious luxury, the property doesn’t feel manicured, but rather a glamorously rustic haven at one with its glorious natural setting.
Sleep on the sea
My suite rises on stilts from the lagoon – which is separated from the white beach by the reef, so no sharks there (the coral reefs essentially act as a barrier around the whole of Mauritius) – providing the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the mangrove trees. Only the birds break the silence and, sadly, not a fin breaks the water.
While you’re there
- Take a tour of the impressive wine cellar, which can hold 25,000 bottles, followed by a tasting
- Join a My Moris experience. A historical cycling tour of an old sugar plantation was the highlight of my stay
- Book a chauffeur and head south to witness a more natural Mauritius, from the coloured earth and waterfall at Chamarel to the dense forest of Black River Gorges National Park
- Combine your stay with a night or two at the Shangri-La Le Touessrok and spend a day on its private island paradise, Ilot Mangénie
- Book a table at La Demeure Saint Antoine, an 1830s colonial house 30 minutes away, and eat on the wraparound terrace
Seven nights at Constance Le Prince Maurice from £4,360 per couple, half-board, including economy flights, taxes and transfers, plus complimentary access to two 18-hole championship golf courses. For bookings or a tailored quote, contact bespoke-travel specialist Susie Freeman.