Saint Géran: A Mauritius institution with a perfect setting, home comforts and guests who’ve been returning for decades

The One & Only Saint Géran might have been Mauritius's first luxury hotel, but it remains one of the best says Hetty Lintell.

Rumour has it that, in the 1970s, hotel tycoon Sol Kerzner flew over Mauritius in his helicopter, in search of the island’s golden spot. The one he chose is where the recently renovated Saint Géran still sits: Mauritius’s first luxury hotel remains the finest resort the ambrosial island has to offer.

Palm trees dot the shore; the water is clear as glass. If you’re looking for a great escape, this one has the best of both worlds — you feel removed from everyday drudgery without having to forgo your favourite home comforts.

Nothing is too much for the happy staff. Formal service has had its day; what you notice here is that they simply know what you want before you know you want it. During the day, water ski with the cool-as-cucumber instructors, then relax on the beach with a book. Feast on a lunch of delectable fresh fish or a light salad.

Le Saint Géran Resort, Mauritius

It’s telling that the hotel has a huge number of returning guests. People have been coming here for decades, often requesting the same rooms — I’m told one chap has been 86 times. Older guests aren’t put off by the new look, but feel that it’s freshened up the 43-year-old hotel, ensuring it stays firmly at the top of its game and perhaps enticing the aforementioned guest back for his 87th stay.

Destinology offers seven nights at One&Only Le Saint Géran from £1,999pp half-board, based on two sharing a Lagoon Room, with flights (01204 474801; www.oneandonlyresorts.com; www.destinology.co.uk)

Things to do

  • Have a cooking lesson at Prime with head chef Vikash Coonjan. After a trip to the market for fresh produce (much of which we’d never heard of before), we learnt how to whip up a variety of dishes, including an apricot soufflé that was so delicious, we ordered it again at dinner.
  • The complimentary Kids Only (3–11) and One Tribe (11–17) clubs are legendary. Your little ones will be entertained with activities from cooking to bonfire parties as you unwind.

Le Saint Géran Resort, Mauritius

  • To counteract the indulgences, mint-infused water and cool towels await you at the gym. The pristine tennis and padel courts are close by for cooler hours.
  • Rooms either face the beach or lagoon. All are heavenly, but the villa (which sleeps six) with its own in-house team, would be the ultimate choice for a special occasion.
  • Country Life favourite Pol Roger is the hotel’s house Champagne. When rain stopped our sunrise boat trip, the hotel left a bottle in our room to soften the (non-existent) blow. Need we say more?