This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

alternatives – hence the creation of the domaine, which is now home to a 1,300-acre reserve where the fruits of the preservation work of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation are in evidence among the verdant hills. The truck bumped around the reserve,

pausing for many a photo opportunity, but on the last stop, it became clear why we had been encouraged to wear our swimsuits. The other women on the trip had had multiple uses for theirs already, having bravely tried kitesurfing – now a major craze on the island (I had opted for a golf lesson...). We hiked through the jungle to bathe in the

freezing waters of a waterfall, dappled by sunlight. While not quite as blood curdling as the previous screams on the seakart, there were still restrained squeals as I gingerly scrambled in over the rocks, but once in, the waterfall provided me with a welcome and thunderous massage. The next day, there was time for a human massage at the nine-room Seven Colours Spa back at Heritage Le Telfair. Heritage has added trail running to its list of

more than 50 activities available in the domaine and also sponsors the Dodo Trail, an annual mountain trail race that sees runners cover 30 miles including conquering Black River Peak, the island’s highest point. Echoes of the old sugar plantation days still

remain at Le Chateau de Bel Ombre, a must do when staying at Heritage. The 19th-century colonial house is now a fine dining restaurant, surrounded by ancient trees and manicured lawns. Another culinary highlight at Heritage is Gin’ja, covering an array of Asian influences, while lunch was always a relaxed affair, as languid hours slipped by at the turquoise-toned C Beach Club – others might opt to indulge in activities such as paddle boarding or the kitesurfing on offer. The varied dining options within the hotels of the domaine include Indian restaurant Zafarani and colonial-style Annabella’s, which served an incredible breakfast buffet array to suit all sorts (Century Egg anyone?).

How to book it Sunset has seven nights from £2,099pp in a two-bedroom villa at Heritage The Villas, with breakfast, Air Mauritius flights and transfers. Seven nights half board at Lux Belle Mare costs from £1,399pp with flights. Tel: 020 8774 7100,

Mix and match The next stage of the trip bought to life the opportunity of a twin centre; drive for a couple of hours across the heart of the island and you go from the rugged coastline of Domaine de Bel Ombre in the south, to the east coast enclave of beach-hugging hotels such as Lux Belle Mare. The “lighter, brighter” philosophy of Lux

Resorts transformed this small group of hotels into one of the most talked-about innovators of the last few years. But it’s not until you see it in the flesh that you start to “get” what Lux is all about. Of course, Lux Belle Mare’s appeal has been helped greatly by the interior design work of Kelly Hoppen, who has injected her deceptively-simple clean lines and accent citrus colours into the rooms and suites. Usefully, Hoppen has a celeb-packed contacts

book to gain useful PR, but this place is packed with plenty of photogenic and fun features anyway, such as ICI with its pastel-coloured ice creams and the vintage cream Rolls Royce parked next to a foodtruck serving Cubanos (Cuban sandwiches). But perhaps the most fun is to be had in Mari Kontan, a poolside “rum shack” overseen by the craziest barman you will ever meet, who encourages passers-by to try one of many bottles of rum, yelling like a man possessed. No-one leaves without a smile.

And the smiles don’t stop there – sampling the Indian cuisine of Amari by Vineet was a real treat. I have eaten at the London restaurant of Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatia, so it was great to sample his sumptuous Indian flavours in a more tropical environment. The speciality options at Lux Belle Mare also include Duck Laundry, with its contemporary Chinese-style and everything from Peking rolls, to steamed Red Snapper Hong Kong style, all paraded out in lacquer dishes. Just as well that open-air yoga and an appointment for a Functional Movement Screening (FMS) test was on the cards at the Lux Me spa and fitness centre. FMS aims to calculate and test your stability, mobility and body strength and then calculate the best types of exercise for you. Or you could just try a detoxifying tea from the little tea lounge in the spa – a nod to the group’s hotel in Lijiang, China. I opted to retox with an incredible latte from Cafe Lux, where the baristas grind their own coffee on-site and the fresh Mia milk is delivered from the island’s first working dairy. My two-night stay at Lux also had a very

innocent-looking “breakfast” on the itinerary. What followed resulted in one of the most “liked” (read, “envied/hated”) photos I have ever posted on Facebook. The expansive spread at Mixe for breakfast would be enough to keep even the pickiest diner happy, but what would tip them over the edge, is having breakfast on the beach, under a gazebo, with the whitest of sands scrunching under your toes. Also on the shores is Beach Rouge – a place like this would be ten-a-penny in Ibiza, yet has never been done here, a super-stylish place that’s great for lunch French Riviera-style in surrounds that reflect the blue sea and the white sand. And at night, the lights turn red to accompany cocktails. There may not have been many big structural

changes made to this old dame of a hotel, but as is so often the case in life – it’s what’s inside that counts. And here, that includes wonderful staff, stylishly-designed rooms, a thoughtful spa – and a beach breakfast to die for.

Pictured 1. Seakarting is only available in Mauritius 2. Cubanos foodtruck at Lux Belle Mare 3. April’s breakfast on the beach 4. A 4x4 safari in the Frederica Nature Reserve


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86