Gallivanter’s Guide: Le Prince Maurice gets fantastic review

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, Mauritius

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, Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

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, Constance Le Prince Maurice

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, Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

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.

Princely Suite

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.

Junior Suites

Junior suites at Constance Le Prince Maurice

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

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…

Beach at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

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.

Gallivanter’s Rating:

Extraordinary

Find out more

 

Essential summer style 2012

If you’re looking to up your style this summer, Vogue lifts the lid on what to buy right now.

Beach at Constance Moofushi Resort, Maldives

Constance Moofushi, Maldives

1. Vogue’s 25 Summer Sunglasses 

The right pair of sunglasses adds instant cool to any outfit. This summer there’s a rush on frames with block colour, pastels and prints.

2. Vogue’s 100 Best Bikinis and Swimsuits

Before heading to the beach, check out Vogue’s list of the 100 best bikinis and swimsuits in the shops.

3. Vogues’ Head to Toe Prints

A look that successfully made it’s way from the runway to the high street, head-to-toe prints work brilliantly in a hot climate. Find out how to pair your prints for maximum effect.

4. Designer summer sales

It’s that’s time again – Vogue gives a round-up of where to grab the best designer bargains.

5. Milan Fashion Week 2012

If you’ve got your summer style wrapped up, draw inspiration for next season and beyond the shows at Milan Fashion Week.

 

Constance Hot List: where to eat in the South of France

If you’re heading to the South of France this summer, seek out these top tables in the region. Recommended by Bruno Le Gac, food connoisseur and Resident Manager at Constance Belle Mare Plage.

Serge Gouloumes

Serge Gouloumes

Mougins

In Mougins, I recommend the table of my friend Serge Gouloumès at Relais et Châteaux Le Mas Candille. Here, you’ll experience the greatest products of the South – talent and generosity.

Menton

In Menton, chef Mauro Colagreco is super hot right now at Le Mirazur. Expect a beautifully creative and tasty cuisine, light and full of fresh vegetables.

Marseilles, old port

Lionel Levy is doing a great job at his restaurant Une Table au Sud, located right on Marseille’s old port. Splendid fish, respecting the Mediterranean techniques and products, and the creativity of uber-friendly chef Levy.

Do you have any recommendations?

If you’ve dined at a fantastic restaurant in the South of France, we’d love to hear your recommendation. You can post a comment below, on our Facebook page, or through Twitter @constancehotels.

Wild food foraging in Mauritius

The trend for wild food foraging continues to grow. Heading out into the countryside to search for wild berries, plants and nuts is a healthy alternative to nipping down to the supermarket.

Pink peppercorns

Pink peppercorns

But you have to know what to look for.

In Mauritius right now – from end May to end July – you’ll find the wonderful Baies Roses, or pink peppercorns, from the species Schinus terebinthifolius.

If you’re staying at Constance Belle Mare Plage, you’ll find them growing wild at the Legend golf course by hole 6. Keep your eye out for these lovely little berries, and pick some to try.

At Constance, we regularly use the pink peppercorns in our kitchens. Just picked, they have a delicate slightly minty taste without being spicy.

Ideal with grilled fish, these berries are also delicious in desserts, such as Pineapple Flambée with Baies Roses.

Happy foraging.

Have you been foraging for wild foods in Mauritius?

If you have, let us know what you’ve found. You can post your comments here, on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @constancehotels.

Want to cook with foraged food?

Discover new foraged food recipes with Stylist

 

Top tips to help prepare you for your wedding day

The lead up to your wedding day can cause a certain amount of stress for every couple. On top of everything you need to organise, the emotional whirlwind of excitement and anticipation can at times feel overwhelming.

Wedding arch on the beach at Constance Halaveli Resort, Maldives

Weddings on the beach at Halaveli

Our Spa & Wellness Manager, Marissa Garcia Junio, at Constance Halaveli gives her top tips to help you look gorgeous, and leave you feeling on the top of the world as your big day approaches.

1. Good sleep

Try to get a few good nights’ sleep before your wedding day. If your mind is buzzing, try a calming warm camomile tea with honey every night for a week before your special day. It will help you relax and at the same time assist in cleansing your body of toxins.

2. Pamper yourself

Give yourself a day off from all the preparations and book a full day of pampering at your favourite spa. Start with an invigorating scrub and wrap, followed by a relaxing massage and facial. Don’t forget your hands as lots of people will want to take a look at your ring.

At Halaveli’s Spa de Constance, we offer the cult organic brand Ila spa. These products are ideal for couples looking for an antidote to pre-wedding stress, and the chance to to unwind and revitalize.

3. Time to yourself

Wedding on the beach at Constance Halaveli

Romance on the beach

As you get busy preparing everything for that very special day, take some ‘me’ time to gather your thoughts and prepare yourself physically and mentally.

The day before your wedding prepare a warm bath filled with scented salts, light some aroma candles and set the mood with relaxing music while drinking your favourite champagne.

Spa at Constance Halaveli

At Constance Halaveli, we offer 2 spa treatments that can be included in your wedding package.

  • Kundulini back massage for 2, which relaxes and restores the chakra energy levels
  • Space for Togetherness Massage encouraging relaxation

Find out more about wedding packages at Halaveli.

Planning your wedding

If you’re busy planning your wedding, take a look at these recent articles:

Other wedding sites of interest

  • Confetti - wedding ideas, advice and guidance
  • Hitched - wedding planning help and ideas

Top wedding trends 2012

Guest blogger Fay Millar, Creative Director of Pink Rose Cakes, gives us the lowdown on the latest wedding styles for 2012.

The beauty of getting married these days is there are no hard and fast rules about how you should do it.

Wedding couple

Romance takes centre stage

With brides and grooms, events planners and the wedding industry coming up with ever more elaborate ideas, just about every dream can be fulfilled.

Vintage and rustic top the list

But just like fashion the wedding industry follows trends and there are several which are proving popular in 2012 with vintage and rustic topping the list.

Several years ago, there was a real revival in vintage styling – catwalks harked back to the Fifties and suddenly retro was cool. At weddings bunting was de rigeur and cute jam jars filled with flowers and sweets littered many a reception table.

Vintage has definitely found its spiritual home with weddings and the trend is even bigger this year but with more glamour and sparkle.

Modern elegance meets glamour of the silver screen

Brides are clamouring for accented dresses with lace, faux fur and beading that combine modern elegance with a firm nod to the golden age of the silver screen.

Antique brooches, pearls and vintage jewellery are worn not only by the brides and bridesmaids but can also be seen reflected in the invites, on the cake, in the reception styling and even in the food.

Vintage style wedding invitation

Vintage wedding chic

Companies hiring out vintage crockery have sprung up everywhere and event planners are being asked regularly to style venues with everything from bunting and old apple crates, to suitcases and even gramophones.

Neon colours

But vintage isn’t the only trend capturing the imagination of the wedding market. This year’s spring fashion collections saw bold splashes of colour and this has been translated into a rise in popularity of receptions decked out in hot pink, lime green and vivid orange as well as bridal gowns with accent colours.

And for those where one colour, albeit a bright one, just isn’t enough there is also a trend towards rainbow-inspired weddings incorporating every colour. From the flowers and bridesmaids to the cake and menswear multi-colour is proving very popular.

Dessert tables overflowing with sweet treats

Dessert tables are a relatively new import from across the pond andAustraliabut their popularity is growing in theUK, the idea being that just a wedding cake isn’t enough. In addition to the cake a table, themed to match the rest of the reception, is adorned with a layer cake, cup cakes, cake pops, French macarons, cookies, meringues and sweets to create an amazing visual and culinary experience.

And leaving your reception in style…

Wedding cake by Pink Rose Cakes

Beautiful wedding cake by Pink Rose Cakes

As if all that weren’t enough there is an increasing trend to create a dramatic exit for the bride and groom. Where once a a bit of confetti or rice might have sufficed, now couples are trying out unusual departures such sparkler archways, horse riding, quad bikes or even paddle boards (beach weddings only of course!).

Ultimately you can expect to see less and less matching colours, themes and styles for the rest of 2012 and more and more mix and match than ever before – different dresses, colours, crockery, shoes, bridesmaids dresses and even place cards will all contain individual details but no doubt with a healthy dose of vintage and rustic still thrown in.

Destination weddings

But if you’re not keen on organising, or want to escape with your loved one, destination weddings continue to grow in popularity, with couples by-passing the expense and organisation of an elaborate at-home wedding, and combining their big day with a honeymoon. Read about one of our Constance guest’s dream wedding at Constance Moofushi, Maldives.

More wedding ideas

Don’t miss Fay’s previous article on Trends 2012: Wedding cakes

Honeymoons

Planned the wedding and looking for honeymoon ideas? Check out our article on Honeymoons at Constance Hotels 

And if you want to book your holiday at Constance – visit our website for the latest special promotions.