Easy Escapes: Mauritius for girls

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  • Kate Thompson enjoys a girls-only getaway in the Indian Ocean

    Kate Thompson enjoys a girls-only getaway in the Indian Ocean

    Why go? Mauritius isn’t just for honeymoons. With white sand beaches, tropical warmth, soaring mountains and a multicultural mix reflecting Indian, French and Creole influences, this verdant island makes a good choice for a long-haul sunshine holiday with a girlfriend – or three.

    Delicious Mauritius: the beach at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort

    When: Mauritius is known as a winter sun destination, but it’s actually at its most warm and dry from May to September, when room rates are also lower and there are fewer mosquitoes. Tip: if you’re not a footie fan, a good time to visit this year is around the time of the 2014 FIFA World Cup (12 June-13 July) when the most of the country, and possibly your household, will be glued to the telly night after night…

    Stay at: The five-star Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort (heritageresorts.mu), which is in the south-west of the island and around 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. It’s part of the 2,500 hectare Domaine de Bel Ombre, which is home to two resorts, villas, a golf course and the vast Frédérica Nature Reserve. It’s the sort of place where a bunch of girls can really switch off and relax, enjoying tip-top service and doing a lot or as little as you fancy. There are 158 luxury rooms and suites with a design style inspired by the French colonial period, plus a wide choice of bars and restaurants as well as a huge pool, tropical gardens and a long sandy beach.

    Blue heaven: a statue of Lord Shiva at Grand Bassin

    You really must: Indulge yourself at the deluxe Seven Colours Spa (sevencoloursspa.com). On arrival the fabulous staff will ask you to pick one of seven colours to determine the scent of your treatment room, each of which are inspired by the natural ambience, culture and healing heritage of Mauritius. Before your treatment you can unwind in the Vitality Hydropool, enjoying the relaxing bubble beds, hydro-massage jets and deluxe experience showers (which have an anti-cellulite effect too!). A 90-minute ‘Mauritian Signature Massage’ costs £84.

    When it’s time for some cocktails by the sea, the C Beach Club (cbeachclub.mu) has a cool, contemporary vibe with beach loungers, two restaurants, movie screenings and a DJ. Head there on a Sunday for the brilliant buffet brunch (£25) with freshly stone-baked pizza and delicious salads. Guests staying at the resort can also sample many watersports free of charge including windsurfing, water-skiing and dinghy sailing. One trip worth booking is dolphin watching (full day £190) – if you get your snorkelling gear on quick you can jump off the back of the boat and swim alongside them. The cruise includes a tour of the scenic south-west coast, with swimming in the clear blue water and a tasty lunch.

    Beyond the estate, the Morne Brabant mountain is part of a World Heritage site and the picturesque countryside has centuries-old links with the sugar industry. Inland at Grand Bassin is a lake sacred for Hindus with a giant statue of Lord Shiva, and you can also book excursions to the rum distillery Rhumerie de Chamarel (£35, rhumeriedechamarel.com), the tea plantations at Le Bois Chéri (£45, staubin.mu/larouteuduthe/), and the island capital, St Louis (full day, £65).

    It’s a breeze: try some windsurfing at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort

    Dine at: If you’re a bit of a foodie go for a wine tasting followed by the Chef’s Table (from £50) at Annabella’s restaurant – all the food is prepared in the open show kitchen and served with matching wines. You can also try a Japanese teppanyaki experience (£70 for five courses) at the beachside pan-Asian Gin’ja. You’ll be welcomed by a private chef who will cook your meal on a hot iron griddle in the centre of the table, juggling utensils and tossing eggs to perfectly crack them – an impressive performance!

    Bring home: Rum, tea and beautifully woven baskets and bags make great gifts. Many Western clothes manufacturers have operations here, so look out for familiar labels at discounted prices.

    Book now: Carrier (carrier.co.uk) offers tailormade holidays to Mauritius. A seven-night ‘Girls Fly Out’ package staying at Heritage Le Telfair costs from £1,490 per person including return flight from Gatwick, transfers, half board, two spa treatments (with 50 per cent off any further treatments), a cooking class and a wine tasting, plus one yoga and one tai chi session. Valid for stays between 1 June and 31 July 2014, bookings must be made by 24 February, for details see here.

    Info: Marco Polo Mauritius (£5.99; Mairdumont) covers the island and has a handy pull-out map, useful websites are tourism-mauritius.mu and islandinfo.mu.


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