Magical Mauritius. – Long Beach Golf & Spa Resort.
On Sunday July 17th We embarked on a trip, our Honey moon to Mauritius. We embarked on Friday July 17th, with the intention of catching a direct 12 hour flight and arriving in Mauritius on Monday 18th July. Unfortunately, this is not what happened. After what I can only describe as ‘the flight from hell’ (which doesn’t even begin to cover it) courtesy of Air Mauritius and the subject of a separate blog post, we arrived on the beautiful Island of Mauritius on Tuesday 19th July 2016 a day later than intended.
Mauritius became an independent state in 1968, after gaining its sovereignty from France.
The currency of Mauritius is the Mauritius Rupee (MUR). The people of Mauritius are refered to as Mauritian. the language spoken tends to be English or creole.
“ Mauritian creole is the lingua franca of Mauritius. Mauritius, formerly a British colony, has kept English as its official language, although French is more widely spoken. Mauritians tend to speak Creole at home and French in the workplace. French and English are spoken in schools.”
I’ve never been SO happy to land in a country. I used to feel like the Pope kissing the ground upon arrival back each time in St Lucia, but trust me, after a long arduous trek to get there, we were all so happy to see this Country. Bearing in mind July is classed as MauritianWinter, it was pouring down with torrential rain, right about the time the UK was finally experiencing a heatwave…which we knew having sat on a plane on the runway for almost two hours at Heathrow, (having been delayed for an hour boarding) with no air conditioning, no water, just waiting to get started! But even through the rain, you saw the tropical beauty all around, it was warm, bright and beautiful and the people very welcoming.
The joy evoked in us upon just seeing the raw natural beauty of Mauritius upon arrival, as we were whisked through the airport by extremely efficient and friendly staff to be greeted by White Sands Tours, whom our tour operator, If Only had arranged to look after us during our stay, finally, we began to feel like we were on holiday. This was in fact our Honeymoon. We’d made a last minute decision to go just prior to the end of the school term, and taken our 7 year old son with us, deciding we’d have our own short-haul trip Honey moon mark II as some nice european weekend at a later date.
Part of the reason we had decided to take our son was upon looking at all of the facilities at the hotel we’d chosen in the brochure, it just seemed criminal to have that all to hand and not take him. Our hotel of choice was Long Beach golf & Spa Resort. We considered other hotels and had lengthly conversations in a short period of time with our travel agents with whom our wedding guests had deposited our honey fund by way of a gift, Baldwins Travel. As many in the agency had visited Mauritius, they were well placed to give advice. I have apologised to the staff at Baldwins, because despite my ability to remain calm through out the wedding process, no Bridezilla here, I was a complete Holidayzilla before hand trying to ensure we were getting the very best available and the very best value, and to the credit of Baldwins, when I found more competitive deals for the same resort elsewhere, they got on the phone, liased with IF Only and secured us a great package by matching anything we’d found elsewhere in terms of price and package but with the knowledge we were in good hands at the other end. Generally I tend to book my holidays myself but due to them holding our Honeymoon fund, this was a new experience, but I still demanded best value. Yes our guests had paid for this, but I didn’t treat their money with any less respect than I would my own.
I felt almost sorry for the amazingly friendly upbeat driver from White Sands who drove us to Long Beach, bubbly, despite having waited for us the day prior then having to return, very knowledgable, gave us pretty much the history of the island, pointed out landmarks, all sorts of interesting facts, unfortunately having had such a bad journey initially from the UK, we were all taking turns at nodding off and tag teaming in terms of keeping the conversation going. What I did notice through sleepy eyes en-route was the total low-key simplicity and natural beauty of the place. It wasn’t screaming over-devlopment at all. It wasn’t high rise heaven or concrete calamity, it was just…to use the word yet again, beautiful, and it’s beauty felt so real, not artificially groomed for the tourist eye.
But when our driver said..”This is your hotel” as we pulled up to the gates of Long Beach, the rain didn’t matter, the journey didn’t matter, we were in paradise from the outset.
We arrived in the lovely open reception lobby, totally stunning in terms of space and it’s modern simplicity to a welcome drink, fresh flannels and a relaxing seat whilst they double checked our room was suitable…reminding them we were checking in as Honeymooners, we were informed of our complimentary added bonuses as a result and given a menu to tease us by choosing what we might like to eat at our special Honeymooners dinner at the Beach Restaurant Tides, later in our stay. Then we were taken to our room by golf cart, our luggage to follow. Wow.
No matter how many times I do it, you look at the brochures, the reviews, the youtube videos everything to try and make sure we know what were booking, but still hold my breath waiting for the grand reveal.
This did not disappoint. This stunned. So we knew it was going to be a beach front room. We did not take into account how well laid out it was going to be, how spacious and large, how integrated everything was to give it such a feel of clean lines, simplicity, contemporary style and luxury all at once. Then your eyes are drawn back to the wall of glass in front of you which is essentially a large door, your terrace and the beach, with the waves rolling and lapping the sand just feet away. Both my husband and Son turned and gave me a kiss…”You really did it again, this amazing” they chimed. The room felt more like an apartment so big and spacious, a huge bed for us, a bed for our son and still so much room we could happily have entertained in there. It was truly breathtaking in all the right ways.
Having seriously been so hungry on our day of departure, (and thirsty) and totally shattered. We couldn’t get to the hotel restaurant fast enough to check out breakfast before heading back to our room to bed. Breakfast, in the main buffet restaurant, what a treat. I have to confess, I can sometimes be a little bit snotty about buffets, but this was truly a five star experience in terms of choice, quality and service. We feasted like royalty at a banquet rather than what I tend to think of as a buffet before retiring to our room and having the most amazing few hours of deep contented sleep.
When we awoke, refreshed, we unpacked, I couldn’t believe the excitement in my son and husband as they filled the ample wardrobes with their clothes and laid everything out, you’d think we lived without furniture at home such was their excitement. I can’t deny, it took me a little longer to get going, it would be a few days before the effects of our harrowing journey combined with my multiple sclerosis were totally behind me, but this place was everything I could have hoped and more, so I sat back and let the boys unpack whilst I sat on our ample terrace looking out to see, feeling really rather blessed.
Eventually, I hauled myself off the sofa on the terrace, to a lovely coffee made for my by Husband, keen no doubt to use a new gadget by way of the coffee pod machine in the room, gorgeous of course. I unpacked, marvelled that not even the 3 of us could fill all of the wardrobe and shelf space in the dressing area, despite having a lot of stuff and six cases to put away.
Now we were ready to explore, a quick shower and change for us all and a walk around the grounds to get our bearings. According to the brochure, and confirmed by other guests, no room is a bad room or location here. The beachfront room we experienced is a fabulous location, close to pretty much everything, beside the pool, on the beach, a few steps away from Tides Restaurant, and not far to the main area, the piazza with the other restaurants, bars and entertainment. The sports facilities are amazing, state of the art gym fancier than anything I’ve tried elsewhere and a trainer on hand to help advise and lots of classes throughout our stay. We located Angels kids club, right by the gym and sports area, stuck our head in, looked good, took a program to read while we headed back to the pool to relax.
Another wow! Reading the programme for kids club, it read superb, so much activity for the children. The pool was great, the sun had come out, the cocktails were plentiful…we were all inclusive it would be rude not to! Having had such a big breakfast, lunch wasn’t required but what we discovered by the pool is that 3pm was Pancakes time, and let me tell you it was a highlight everyday, people would flock from all around the resort to get in line for pancakes an waffles, legendary, usually prepared by the very friendly Wendy, still a fixture in our minds now whenever we get an attack of the munchies, someone usually remembers Wendy with fondness.
I know the last thing you want is our itinerary for the rest of our duration blow by blow, but let me just say that the hotel was fabulous in every way. The customer service ia absolutely 5 star, no doubt. Our biggest complaint through our our stay was that the gift shop ran out of stamps before we left…hardly a hardship and reception promised to forward our postcards for us. The cleanliness of our room was remarkable (beach front) as we traipsed sand back and forth, it was always immaculate, smelt good and gleaming upon our return as were all areas of the hotel, the public toilets could have been a VIP area with scented oils, flannels, and their fantastic own brand products.
As honeymooners, we were totally looked after at Long Beach, we had privacy, we had our own private areas of the resort we found early outside of our room, yet near to everything and service on hand always. A parents travelling with a child, I can’t recommend this resort enough as a family holiday. We had thought we might persuade our son to visit kids club now and again and perhaps we’d hire a baby Sitter on one or two occasions for a little ‘us’ time. How wrong was I! We literally found ourselves begging the boy to spend any time with us at all! It started with, “well will you at least have dinner with us tonight?” to him even deciding he’d take his evening meal there, so he’d come back at 5pm for a shower and change and be gone back to kids club at 6pm, so from 10am until 9pm he was pretty much entertained. Result!
We’ve taken him to 5 countries in the past 14 months, so we know a good kids club when we see one, generally he lasts an hour, maybe two if one of us, or his older sister goes to keep him company. But this was fantastic, I’m sure my Husband wished he could go, the kids always seemed to be having so much fun. We’d see the children twice a day as they came down to the pool for swim time, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, the staff were great with them and it was reassuring for all of the parents to see the kids were happy before they trotted off for their next activity or adventure. The children were looked after well, engaged, well fed (I walked in once to check and saw my son tucking into a small rump steak)! If there was an award for just this category, this hotel would win hands down and the staff here especially are a credit to them, all parents I spoke to said they would return in Summer or the following year on the strength of the kids club especially.
We’d see them doing everything from nature trails around the grounds, treasure hunts, going on the glass bottom boat, climbing the rock wall, leaning to snorkel or scuba defending on their age. The activities were great for families with teenagers too as they had their own very cool (I know, I hung out there for an hour to see) youth club and games area, behind all this there are tennis courts, a lap pool for the serious swimmer adjacent to the gym, there are yoga classes pretty much every day, there’s just no shortage of things to do!
The beach itself is beautiful and the clue is in the name it’s a very Long Beach. Now we’d chosen to visit during their winter, and I have to admit, at times it did get a bit windy, there was the odd rain shower, but always the clouds would part and the sun would come out, all was good. Anyone going during winter, I’d simply advise pack a few things with sleeves in case it does get a bit windy or for the odd cool evening, but generally it really wasn’t a problem. I loved the sun by day, and listening to the wind really pick up in the middle of the night while we were in bed wasn’t a problem for us, I personally find the whole powerful ocean vibe kind of sexy and dramatic.
The adult pool, which is the infinity pool is located just up some steps from the main pool area, overlooking the beach and the ocean, a totally stunning vista and very comfortable bean bag loungers. There’s waitress service and the staff patrol every now and then to ensure you want for nothing and need not even leave your sun bed. I know, hard life!
In terms of safety…not an issue, there are lifeguards on hand in the main pool, there is security on site, but they keep it all very low key and not in your face, it’s all very well done.
There are activities available on the beach provided by the hotel and also there are some vendors who will sell you tours and water activities should you choose to not book with one of the tour guides based within the hotel or you’ve already experienced what the hotel has to offer. Through the hotel you can take a glass bottom boat trip, para-sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, and that’s just the beach side activities.
Personally I can’t recommend the All-inclusive option highly enough, especially after reading other reviews before we went. For us, nothing was a problem, the only time we had to pay a supplement would be for certain meal options in the more popular restaurants, for example the Japanese, HASU, (which let me jus say was awesome!) and let me tell you the supplement is so small for the amazing quality of food and service we enjoyed. My husband was adamant he didn’t like Japanese food, he couldn’t believe what he’d been missing after enjoying a fantastic meal at Hasu, he’d gone for my benefit but loved it most of all I think. On the All-inclusive plan the drinks were great, no problems or horrible tasting versions that meant paying for upgrades, all snacks at the pool bar, kids club activities and meals, just everything was included and it includes some of your sports, (click the hotel link to read more) even when going on a day trip they prepared us a lunch box each, we opened it not expecting much but they were fantastic…like everything else here.
A service I don’t usually try on holiday is the laundry service, but I have to give it a special mention here as my husband decided he couldn’t be bothered ironing and packing properly (I may have refused to do it) so he sent a fair amount of clothes to the laundry upon arrival, mainly just for ironing but they laundered and ironed them all. It was like receiving a gift from a Knights Bridge department store, the clothes came either hung or boxed in a hamper wrapped in tissue paper. They looked brand new, it was amazing, put me to shame of course but my husband was thrilled when they arrived. Again, no where near as expensive as at home so well worth consideration. Next time, I’ll just throw the clothes in the case and arrive!
Back to the food. There is no bad food at Long Beach Golf & Spa Resort. We assumed, the main buffet would be the least desireable of all the restaurants, but I can honestly say we were spoilt for choice. The food was great, in ALL of the restaurants every time. The voices are
Le Marche – Main buffet – International Cuisine.
Sapporo – Italian
Hasu – Japanese
Chopsticks – Chinese
Tides – Beach Restaurant. – Mauritian & International cuisine.
In addition to the restaurants there are many seated areas you can sit, eat, drink, have snacks, afternoon tea, freedom, space, choice, a big part of a holdiday at Long Beach Golf & Spa hotel.
I can’t end without mentioning the spa, there are so many things I haven’t mentioned, but this is after all a blog post not a book! The Spa is an absolute must visit. For those who prefer to remain by the pool area or facing the sea, there are spa treatments available most days from the spa team beside the main pool. But the spa itself situated near reception is like taking a walk through an enchanted garden to a whole new world. the sound of the running water as you enter, the serenity, the scent that envelopes you and the warm glow you feel…before you’ve even undressed for a treatment! Even our seven year old tried the child’s massage, he was thrilled to bits to finally be able to have a spa treatment and positively glowed upon his return from 30 minutes of being massaged and oiled.
Straight after our son, I had an aqua balance full body massage and facial, 45 minutes of pure bliss. I am embarrassed to say I caught myself snoring once or twice, so relaxed was I! It was a fantastic massage, and the masseur picked up on any problem areas without me directing her and dealt with them swiftly. Total relaxation, I felt myself melt on that table. It also involves a head massage and a very thorough facial. I felt myself glide back to the room to get ready for dinner that evening…our last totally and utterly relaxed.
I’m not a golfer, so I can’t comment on the award winning golf course you had the option to play at via the hotel, but other hotel residents assured us it was fantastic and I think my husband felt at the end ought to have tried it. As did I realise we hadn’t even tried the night club, not once! It seemed very popular, but we tended to enjoy the entertainment in the bars and main area and be totally shattered by the end of an evening, falling in to that big gorgeous bed.
From the hotel itself, we had some fabulous day trips organised with White Sand Tours (who were great rep and liaisons for all of our needs right up to departure) or via a Husband & wife Vendor team on the beach direct.
We went on a tour of the island with a fantastic driver for the day who gave us all the knowledge you could require, answered all of our questions, focused more on the things he could see were of interest to us and even spent longer than the time we’d booked him for.
We started with the dolphin swim, where you actually get in the water and swim amongst the wild dolphins, lots of them.
We visited the temples, (a must do) we visited the 7 coloured Earth with was fascinating and the giant tortoises are stunning. We also visited a rum distillery which was fascinating, our son hate a lot of sugar cane during the process and was surrounded by beautiful ladies who took him aside to make a fruit cocktail whilst we sampled the various rums and learned all about them. Our driver also took us to a local restaurant he assured us was going to be great. To be honest when we’d gone past we weren’t keen, it didn’t look much, but we were polite. However, upon entering, and being taken through the back to an outside garden area, it was another world and we couldn’t believe the amazing food coming out of that kitchen, lobster, curry, fried fish, chicken, everything, it was food heaven! By the time our driver dropped us off at the end of the day, we couldn’t believe all the things we;d seen and experienced in one day, and still made back in time for a dip in the pool.
The other trip I have to recommend, which we booked on the beach but which tour gudes also offer was a trip to Ile Aux Cerfs, a driver picked us up, drove us to a speed boat, sailed with us to a platform in the ocean where my husband and son enjoyed another para-sailing experience. Then we sailed on to a beautiful waterfall, along the way taking in lots of nature including wild monkeys swinging in the trees watching us. Then we sailed to a great snorkel spot and stayed for a while before moving on t the island itself which is pretty amazing and HOT, there are a few activities there such as zip lining and water vehicles. Then you are taken in your boat again to another side area for an amazing beach barbecue. We were sat down and treated to a performance of native dancing. Our guide with whom we had booked, Sid, was now our chef. He prepared fresh local shoemaker fish, calamari, lobster, chicken, garlic bread, grilled banana all sorts of delights on the barbecue and gave us rum, wine, beer and cokes. Then our guide returned us to the speed boat and took us back to the mooring area where we were met and driven back to the hotel. A thoroughly mind blowing day, absorbing local culture and food and the nature and raw beauty of the island. Awesome.
To sum up, Mauritius itself was totally magical for us. We returned rejuvenated, relaxed and very much a happy family, bonded, and happy newly weds not feeling like we’d missed out by having our son. Mauritius is certainly somewhere I’d like to explore more and see more of the culture and depth to the place, but as for Long Beach itself, had I never left the resort, I would have been a throughly happy woman in that the care and service they afforded us was totally first class. When the room attendance asked us to “please point out any faults that we need to address, how can we make your room better, you can tell us honestly” and you actually felt they meant it. I often would leave a note to request, extra towels, or a mat or a change of robe, and they always obliged, sometimes with a little note back.
The staff at all of the restaurants and bars were quick to remember the small things, Tides, where beach-front rooms can take breakfast would remember that I like a dash of chilli with breakfast or what juice each person drinks or how you want things placed, as did the staff in other restaurants, and the pool bar, well they were great, they’d know to have a gin and tonic ready as soon as they saw my husband approach.
The hotel, the facilities, the location, all absolutely fantastic. But what makes Long BeachGolf And Spa Hotel special, above others, is it’s people. They are the greatest asset of this resort and it is them that will have many holiday makers, including ourselves returning time and time again.
I urge you, if your looking for a honeymoon vacation, or travelling with children, try it.