The latest edition of The Gallivanter’s Guide is now available, and this month it features a review of Constance Le Prince Maurice.
Constance Le Prince Maurice
Find out what reviewers Lyn Middlehurst and David Maslin think of our 6* deluxe hotel in Mauritius.
Sometimes, travel advisors and guests are guilty of learning by rote the names of a location’s ‘best’ hotels, and repeat the recommendations of these sacred cows ad infinitum, even when everything has changed beyond recognition.
This is decidedly true of Mauritius. The old favourites, such as Royal Palm, Le Touessrok and One & Only Le Saint Géran can no longer be classed as high-end, in my opinion. They all require serious investment and, perhaps, more importantly, a fresh perspective on what the high-end guest truly requires these days.
Equally, the new kids on the block are not necessarily better, for it takes rather more than a serious marketing budget and a sexy website to make a great hotel.
Constance Le Prince Maurice
Villa #30, a true home from home
We first stayed at Le Prince Maurice in 1999 and were enthralled by this intimate and elegant Aman-like resort. Fourteen years later, the 89-suite property remains timelessly beautiful – its Feng-Shui architecture by Jean Marc Eynaud and interiors by Martin Branner and Dale Keller, enhancing its 148-acre footprint that, uniquely, encompasses lush interiors, a splendid beach and a fishing reserve, or barachois.
We stayed for the umpteenth time, half way through the resort’s major refurbishment, and were thrilled to discover new exceptionally comfortable beds, soft down and feather duvets and pillows and fine cotton bedding edged with coffee coloured thread.
The dark wood floors had been polished to perfection, whilst chic cinnamon and spice-hued soft furnishings and objects lifted the look, and flat screen TVs, Apple minis, Nespresso machines, iHome Ipod dockers and thoughtfully stocked minibars demonstrated that this resort had been listening hard to its guests.
Villa #30 – best in the resort?
Private pool and deck at Villa 30
We stayed in what is, for me, the nicest Pool Villa in the resort, for #30 sits on the gentle curve of the white sand beach, where the bay joins the barachois – a calm mangrove-set fishing lake that meanders lazily into the verdant distance.
Not only do you have your own generous plunge pool, lounging deck, outdoor dining table and thatch-shaded verandah, but you also have two palapa-covered loungers on the sand reserved just for you and stocked with bottled water.
Inside, there is a second full size dining table and a remarkably extensive room service menu, so that if you want to hole up here for the duration, you can.
There is a guest loo and shower off the sitting room, and a dressing area off the bedroom that leads into the twin vanity bathroom, which has an extra outdoor tub. The bathrooms are looking somewhat dated but in every other respect, they work well.
Bedroom at Villa 30
Villas # 29 and 31
Apart from Villa #30, I highly recommend the other two pool Villas at the barachois end of the resort; #29 and #31, as these are very secluded. For the best beach views, though, #30 and #31 win hands down. The remaining 6 pool suites are at the other end of the beach, beyond the main pool, so work better for those who prefer a more central location.
There is one 2-bedroom Princely Suite at the far end of the beach, which although spacious requires a rethink design-wise in my view; but I hear this is happening, along with the refurbishment of the main lobby, so this, too, could be a great option for families or friends.
Beautifully designed junior suites
Entry-level suites are junior suite sized; either L-shaped or I-shaped; set in 2- storey blocks of four, with terraces or balconies. A lagoon-facing suite, such as #27, offers the best views, as some are set back in the gardens. However, I prefer the I-shaped suites, such as #28, which are very Aman in style and configuration.
What helps to make the resort so special?
An incredibly elegant resort, Le Prince Maurice attracts a well balanced mix of couples and families; a carefully located kid’s club, Les Petits Princes, set well away from grown-up areas. Senior staff has been here since the resort’s inception, so when you return, you are welcomed ‘home’ by the charming Guest Relations Managers, Meera and Manjoola.
Dining at Le Prince Maurice
The cuisine, under French Executive Chef, Michael Scioli and Food & Beverage Manager, Samuel Pellegrini, gets better and better, whether you opt for a light lunch on the beach deck, Blu, a snack in the chic Bar, or a Michelin-level dinner in L’Archipel, where Head Sommelier, Jérôme Carlier has some excellent recommendations , including a raft of Rosés.
Le Barachois, Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius
The pinnacle of unique dining, however, is to be found at the dinner only Le Barachois – one of the world’s most original restaurants. You reach it via a meandering stilted walkway that snakes across the barachois; the handrails punctuated by lanterns; the only sound being the occasional splash of fish and the lapping of water against the mangroves. After around 5 minutes, you reach the restaurant, which consists of 5 floating, tented pontoons linked by teak gangplanks. The dinner menu here is now quite simple, but the experience is exceptional, including a ‘floating sommelier’.
Spa de Constance
The Spa Constance was being remodelled when we stayed and I was encouraged to hear that Spa Manager, Sophie Demaret, was intent on introducing some chemical free options.
And the other things that make Le Prince Maurice stand out from the crowd…
Sheltered beach at Le Prince Maurice
Other lures are the excellent boutiques and the golf practice course, although if you crave serious golf, then sister property Constance Belle Mare Plage, which is almost next door, offers two 18- hole championship courses.
General Manager, Christophe Plantier and Resident Manager Ashok Bhugoo run an extraordinary resort that, encouragingly, gets better each time we return. Do go.
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