Source of Luxury Rating: 8/10
A colonial 5 star hotel influenced by the island’s sugar plantation history. Prepare to be surprised by the buffet dining options and spoilt by the butler service. Make the most of complimentary water sports on the mile-long stretch of sandy beach.
Owned by the Cenizaro Group, The Residence is located on the west coast of Mauritius in Belle Mare. I’ll be honest, we didn’t spend a lot of time researching hotels in Mauritius before we booked. We asked ourselves a few questions…will it be too hot for Aurelia?…can we go for long walks on the beach?…does it have a la carte dining?….does the airline have a bassinet for Aurelia (it’s amazing how your priorities change)!? Having visited other islands in the Indian Ocean and liked them we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed with Mauritius and it was worth a visit.
First Impressions Rating: 9/10
We’ve just spent the last 16 hours travelling with Aurelia who’s now 10 months old. Frankly we’re all tired and ready to drop.
We’re welcomed by staff wearing white gloves into a grand lobby with colonnades under a huge vaulted ceiling that fronts the pools and the sea. Scattered around are Asian antiques, sepia prints and relaxing chairs.
Room Rating: 8/10
Inspired by the island’s sugar plantation houses the 163 rooms are quite understated. The walls are painted cream and all the furniture including the four poster beds are made from dark wood. We had a seating area which doubled up as a great play area for Aurelia.
Every room is allocated a butler which we made full use of. On arrival they unpacked our cases for us and packed them again to come home. This was a welcome treat, especially considering all the baby paraphernalia we now travel with.
The room we booked was a side ocean view room and we were a little disappointed with the view. The size of the room was adequate but the worst thing was it only had wooden shutters which didn’t block out the light. We spoke to reception about this and they arranged to install black-out curtains in our room that day. Most of the other rooms have curtains and shutters so I was surprised they didn’t move us, especially as the hotel was only about 25% full.
The large marble bathroom came complete with ylang ylang scented toiletries. But, one of the worst things was that it didn’t have an extractor fan in the bathroom and this is also where the walk in wardrobe is located. This meant that our clothes felt a bit damp for the duration of the trip and there was no way of preventing it.
Dining Rating: 8/10
The inspiration for the Plantation restaurant comes from the sugar plantation houses. Here you can dine on fresh lobster whilst listening to the waves crash.
If lobster isn’t your thing you can dine on local and international classics such as palm heart salad with lobster and mango salsa or octopus curry. The restaurant isn’t included on half board but you can use a credit towards the cost. In peak season they run a Mauritian cooking class here.
I hate a buffet restaurant. I’ll avoid hotels that don’t have a la carte but I knew that it might be easier with Aurelia. Fortunately The Dining Room is an outstanding buffet restaurant. Every night there was a completely different menu and lots of live stations where food and deserts were made to order. In the time we were there they never repeated a theme so it was always interesting but our favourites were the French and steak night. We ate here most nights and sampled oysters, sea urchins, lobsters and wagyu steak amongst others.
Breakfast were also served at the Dining Room and included a wide selection of hot and cold items.
Afternoon tea and cocktails are served in the lounge bar with nightly live music and entertainment.
All restaurants serve the same lunch menu which I think is unimaginative and I was happy that we hadn’t selected full board.
There is also a waffle and pancake hut at the pool to meet any afternoon cravings.
Facilities Rating: 8/10
In the basement of the hotel is a large spa area called the Sanctuary Spa which offers CARITA treatments including a ylang-ylang massage as well as a sauna, steam room, gym and workout rooms.
I joined the yoga and meditation classes and had the instructor to myself which was good. On the beach you can enjoy complimentary water sports including pedalos, kayaks, water skiing and glass-bottomed boat trips from the PADI dive centre. On land there a two tennis courts, petanque and cooking classes. In peak season they have an open-air cinema on the beach.
Location Rating: 8/10
Belle Mare is one of the longest sandy beaches on the island and has 19 dive sites. Nearby sites include Ruang Lap wreck and various reef and deep dives. Unfortunately I didn’t try any of them this time as I ruptured my eardrum a few days before heading to Mauritius.
This side of the island can get very windy in low season but there is a sheltered section of beach outside The Plantation. If you’re planning on visiting out of season be prepared that you might need to travel to the west and south coast for warmth and less wind.
If you want to see some local life you can take a 10 minute taxi drive to Flacq for the twice weekly market. You can take a range of boat trips from here to Ile aux Cerfs or Ile aux Chat.
Family rating: 9/10
With shallow seas, a kids pool, children’s menu in the restaurants and kids spa treatments they like to make the children welcome to. We didn’t use the Kids Club as Aurelia was too young but it is open until 10pm. They take the children out for crab hunting, water skiing lessons and pony rides on the beach. A babysitting service is available for a surcharge.
*disclaimer, this is a completely independent review and we paid for everything ourselves. All opinions are 100% mine.