Discovering MauritiusPosted on: 25 October 2018 by Michael Edwards
Mark Twain wrote that Heaven was modelled on Mauritius. Michael Edwards discovers that Tui’s all-inclusive Sensimar Lagoon Hotel has only improved things.
Authenticity is the watchword for the Sensimar Lagoon Hotel at Anse La Raie on Mauritius’ beautiful north coast.
Discovering Mauritian life, on this little dot of island paradise sunbathing in the Indian Ocean, is made even more fascinating by downloading the Ostenik Discovery App from Attitude Hotels. Catch up on the back story to that church, Hindu temple or tea plantation. Over a thousand miles from the African coast Mauritius never had a population until the Dutch arrived in 1598. A lot of history has been packed in to the last four centuries.
Book some of Summertimes’ excursions, through Tui, to discover a peaceful home for Indians, Chinese, British and French.
After some hostile disputes with the French, Mauritius became part of the British Empire from 1810 until independence in 1968. Britain bequeathed English as the official language, driving on the left, parliamentary democracy and a liking for tea with milk.
The French had named many of the towns, villages and streets as well as leaving a welcome legacy of classy boulangerie and patisserie.
Although Mauritius is only Surrey-size, 65km by 45km, there is plenty to see and do on the island. Framed by two direct 12 hour flights from the UK in a Tui 787 Dreamliner - and direct flights to Mauritius are something of a rarity - it is worth booking 14 nights.
Summertimes offer a wide range of excursions. With many visitors staying on the north coast, for warmth in the Southern Hemisphere winter and cooling breezes in the summer, they often opt for the “Colourful South” excursion. It is a chance to catch up on the island’s southern sights. More on that packed tour another time.
Summertimes’ other trips enable you to visit a tea plantation, taste rum at a distillery, call in at capital Port Lewis’ market and visit the world’s third largest botanical gardens. Catamaran trips, often with a stop for a lobster lunch, are popular. Cruises down the west coast offer dolphin-spotting and occasionally sightings of humpback whales too.
Back at the Sensimar kayaking, sailboarding and pedal boat sessions are included in the package, as is a trip on a glass-bottom boat out to the reef. If you are a poor sailor you can catch-up on coral reef marine life at the aquarium at the Kite-surfing centre. Once a week an environmental expert talks about measures in place to protect the reef.
Between excursions there is plenty to give you an insight into Mauritian life at the Sensimar. Again, authenticity is the theme at the Kot Nou Restaurant. Take their Mauritian Cookery Course and after you have tasted the Chicken or Fish curry you’ve created, linger on to enjoy a light lunch of a Curry roti or a noodles dish at the colourful Mauritian Street Food stalls.
Both the gym and the spa are open long hours but there is an extensive programme of exercise including mindfulness and yoga sessions. In contrast you can develop your hospitality skills, Tom Cruise style, at a weekly cocktail-making class in the Seabreeze Bar.
The rum-tasting class is a pleasurable lesson in Mauritian history. Early Dutch settlers distilled a rough spirit from a local spiky tree. Steadily colonials realised that rum distilled from sugar cane had more potential. The tasting focuses on New Grove rum which is unusually distilled from Molasses: the smooth sweet licquor is flavoured with vanilla pods and caramel.
Another key element of the Sensimar’s authenticity objectives is food. There is an option to dine with a Mauritian family whilst the Sensimar’s three restaurants the a la carte Culinarium, the Mauritian Kot Nou and the International Benitier Buffet Restaurant all sometimes feature Mauritian music, a fusion of styles that has a gentle reggae-style vibe.
At the heart of the Sensimar’s success is the smiling hospitality offered by not staff or associates but “Family Members” who provide hugely impressive levels of service.
Find out more
Learning more about discovering Mauritius with Summertimes http://summer-times.com/
See Tui’s range of Mauritius accommodation at Tui Mauritius Holidays.
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