Smith & Family rates Constance Le Prince Maurice and Halaveli

Stylish family travel specialist Smith & Family has included Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Halaveli in its guide to the best family-friendly coastal hotels.

Smith & Family loved Halaveli's family beach villas

Smith & Family loved Halaveli’s family beach villas

Part of the Mr & Mrs Smith group, Smith & Family aims to select the very best fun, stylish hotels from around the globe to recommend to its readers with children.

Having already attracted a loyal following amongst couples seeking beautiful luxury hotels in the Indian Ocean, families are now also discovering that Constance offers much for those looking for luxury where children are also welcome.

Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Halaveli

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius and Constance Halaveli, Maldives have been included in its ‘Beach in Reach’ section, which it says looked for hotels worldwide that mixed ‘buckets of fun for children with a relaxing retreat for parents’.

At Le Prince Maurice, Smith & Family were impressed by the two-bedroom family suites with a children’s bedroom complete with bunk beds and steps to the sinks in the bathroom.

Halaveli was praised for its family beach villas, which come with what it described as ‘helpful essentials’ including pushchair, cot and bottle-sterilising unit. For older families it recommended the double storey villas with pool giving parents and teenagers plenty of space to spread out.

Both hotels were recognised for the complimentary ‘fun, friendly kids club’ Constance Kids Club.

Read more on the Smith & Family website.

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These guys are good… Cook off day at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Thursday 3 April – it’s the BIG day for the six Island chefs taking part in the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau at Constance Belle Mare Plage.

Constance Lémuria's Sandy Sokalingum with Gastrologik's, Jacob Holmstrom

Constance Lémuria’s Sandy Sokalingum with Gastrologik’s, Jacob Holmstrom

Luxury Aficionados journalist Peter Bojesen reports on the action from Mauritius.

Today is the day when the result of three days of intensive preparations will be put to the test. Preparations have been made in close cooperation with their Michelin-star European partner chefs – but today the Constance Island chefs are on their own, except for a commis-chef giving a helping hand. Each chef has four hours to prepare eight identical starters and main course to be judged by the jury.

8:30am: The Island chefs enter the kitchen after having a last, encouraging pep-talk with their European mentors at the Blue Penny Café The young local chefs seem tense and their smiles are somewhat strained. The next four hours may be crucial for their careers, and the importance of the situation weighs heavily on their shoulders. Mauritian chef Sandy Sokalingum, who will return to the Seychelles on Sunday where he works as chef de partie at the Seahorse restaurant at Constance Lémuria, leaves the Blue Penny with the words: ‘I feel well prepared to meet the challenge – but I must admit that I didn’t sleep much last night…’

12:30pm: The six members of the jury have taken their assigned seats in the Blue Penny Café. Members of the press and many hotel guests have arrived in the restaurant together with the six star chefs. Now these guys look nervous – having spent the previous hours speculating on how their Island partner is doing. We all (except the jury) gather in a miniscule ante-room close to the kitchen, where the action by the chefs can be followed on a TV monitor. In a few minutes the first of the starters will appear on its way to the jury.

Taste test: Judges Juan Amador Perez & Mrs Dominique Loiseau

Taste test: Judges Juan Amador Perez & Mrs Dominique Loiseau

A warning is called out, and six plates pass in a rush in front of our eyes. It is Sandy’s creation and his Swedish partner, Jacob Holmstrom looks rather pleased: ‘It looks close enough to what we wanted to achieve,’ he says before tasting the starter prepared for him. ‘The same goes for the taste – not 100% perfect, but close enough.’

Ten minutes later the next starter arrives. It is the work of Yogessen Ramen – the local partner of British chef Tim Allen, who also has a smile on his face. On so it continues. Every 10 minutes a new creation passes by, made by the partners of the Swiss, Japanese, German and French chefs respectively. First the starters – then the procedure is repeated with the main course, which has Berberie duckling as the main ingredient.

Every dish is welcomed by loud cheering and applause by all the people in the room. The noise and the heat seem to increase as the hours pass, which most likely is due to the endless flow of Deutz champagne. Tim Allen, star chef of the Launceston Place Restaurant in London sums it up: ‘There has been a fantastic ambiance since the beginning of the Festival, but today beats everything I have experienced. Great to see how all the chefs applaud each other’s creations in spite of us being competitors. I really think that lasting friendships have been made during the past few days, and that may very well be more important than winning.’

I am sure that Tim’s words sound like sweet music in the ears of the organisers.

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Mixologists from Constance praised as the best in Mauritius

Mixologists from Constance Hotels and Resorts set to work to impress the judges in the Chamarel Bar cocktail competiton at this year’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

Mixologists: Ashvin, Jimmy & Alexandre

Mixologists: Ashvin, Jimmy & Alexandre

The jury, composed of two members of Jack Daniels, commented on how gifted and surprising the three competitors were,  and stated that: ‘the overall level here in Constance Hotels and Resorts is higher than in the rest of Mauritius, the only thing they lack being self-confidence’. Another great night spent with Chamarel Rhums, for both the competitors and our guests.

Here are the cocktail recipes – let us know if you try them at home.

1st candidate : Jimmy and his Letchi Frizzes cocktail

  • Chamarel Premium white Rhum 4cl
  • Blackberry liquor 2cl
  • Mashed letchis 6cl
  • 3 pieces of ginger
  • 1 quarter of grapefruit
  • Sugar cane syrup 1 cl
  • Champagne for the finish
Sampling the flavour: The judge reviews each cocktail

Sampling the flavour: The judge reviews each cocktail

2nd candidate : Ashvin and his Chamarel Toasted Treacle cocktail

  • Chamarel Rhum V.S.O.P 6cl
  • A spoonful of brown sugar
  • Dash Angostura bitter 1cl
  • Fresh apple juice 2cl
  • Cointreau 2cl (flambée)
  • 2  orange peels

3rd candidate : Alexandre and his Candy Martini cocktail

  • 4 y .o Chamarel Farming Rhum V.S.O.P 4cl
  • Orange liquor 2cl
  • Orange juice 3cl
  • Homemade cinnamon syrup
  • Fresh lemon juice 5cl
  • Coriander
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cherry, 1 lemon slice and squash leaf for the finish

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The heat is on… Day 3 at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Wednesday 2 April – the final day to get everything ready before tomorrow’s finals at the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2014.

Peter Bojesen gives the day’s highlights from Mauritius.

Event chefs: Jacob Holmstrom & Masashi Ijichi

Event chefs: Jacob Holmstrom & Masashi Ijichi

A final without the star chefs present – only the Island chefs will be allowed in the kitchen at Constance Belle Mare Plage, each with an appointed commis chef at his side.

Today was the day when the finishing touches to the recipes are made, the dressing of the dishes approved, the recipes written.

I arrive in the kitchen in the morning and the tension is palpable at several of the stations. Some chefs seem to be more relaxed than others, however. One of those is Mirto Marchesi from Switzerland: ‘I’ve been very lucky with my Island partner, Emmanuel Fortuno, who normally works here at Constance Belle Mare Plage,’ he says. The two are sitting at a table with their starter dish in front of them, trying to compose a fitting name and to write the recipe required by the jury. The starter looks like a beautiful painting, where red, orange and green colours dominate. Hopefully, it tastes as good as it looks…

Chef Masachi Ijichi comes from Japan, and runs a one-star restaurant in the French city of Valence and speaks very little English. As his Island partner, Damika Sarath doesn’t speak French a translator is needed, but apparently it hasn’t affected the bonding between the two chefs. ‘Everything is going just fine,’ Masachi says with a big smile, ‘we have the same kind of philosophy regarding gourmet cooking, and I have learned quite a lot from my new friend, who normally works at Constance Halalevi in the Maldives.’

German chef Jens Rittmeyer also seems quite cool in spite of the heat in the kitchen. ‘I enjoy working with my partner Dinushan Patabadage who comes from Sri Lanka but works at Constance Moofushi in the Maldives. Our two dishes are well under way, and I am sure that Dinushan will perform well tomorrow,’ he says, while his partner is busy dressing the main course on a bone white Raynaud plate.

Leaving the kitchen, I enter the Blue Penny Café, which today hosts the Service and Arts de Table competition, which for several years has been a part of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau. Five tables have been beautifully laid, each occupied by two carefully chosen guests. Each table has been assigned a waiter, each of whom has won an internal competition in five of the hotels in the Constance group.

The guests are served a gourmet lunch by the five waiters in question under the watchful eye of three jury members, one of which being Mme. Dominique Loiseau. I watch several courses being expertly served, red and white wine properly presented and poured, coffee and tea offered. Everything seems to be perfectly in order, and I am quite sure that the jury will have a tough task deciding on the winner.

But just like the cooking- and sommelier competitions, we shall all have to be patient and wait until Saturday night to learn the names of the different winners of the ninth edition of the Bernard Loiseau Culinary competition.

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Spices of Mauritius

See how Mauritian spices are prepared in the traditional way, using a stone slab and rolling pin.

Here’s a video from the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau taking place at Constance Belle Mare Plage this week.

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What to pack for a luxury beach holiday

Planning a luxury escape to a far-flung beach this year? Here’s our pick of the top beach chic recommendations from style gurus Net-a-porter and Vogue.

A luxury beach holiday at Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

A luxury beach holiday at Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

Net-a-porter

Spring/Summer trends 2014

Bang on trend for spring/summer 2014 are exotic prints inspired by far off places and used in light, flowing kaftans, maxi dresses and tunics. Etro looked East for its wrapping designs while Valentino and Chloé use the colours and patterns of Morocco. Perfect beach and day wear for exotic locations.

Net–a–porter highlighted Maiyet’s silk-chiffon batik maxi dress as embodying the trend.

Poolside chic

In a roundup of poolside chic, Net-a-porter have chosen bold prints in light materials such as Dolce & Gabbana’s printed silk-chiffon tunic.

Meeting the current trend for wedge sandals is Kenzo’s palm tree-print leather version.

Serious swimmers and water sports enthusiasts can mix this year’s monochrome style with streamline practicality in the cut-out swimsuit from Adidas by Stella McCartney.

While those who’s priority is sunbathing and glamour will love the vibrant colours and patterns of Mara Hoffman’s Ganesh printed bikini.

Poolside chic

Poolside chic

Vogue

In it’s run down of trends for Spring/Summer 2014, the fashion magazine Vogue also highlighted the tribal influences in the ranges of many of the designers.

Other trends to look out for this season include logo and slogan emblazoned summer t-shirts, floral patterns, lots of exposed midriffs and a new wave of old school athletic wear. Monochrome is back but colour lovers shouldn’t despair as there are still many glorious colours on offer in rainbow hues.

This month’s beach must-haves

As the weather heats up Vogue is already preparing for summer with a list of the best ‘Ugly-Pretty Sandals’ which it describes as this ‘summer’s must-have shoe’.

The magazine also highlights the Beach Flamingo bikini in its March ‘We Want This…’ collection. The bikini merges sporty and boho with a tasselled patterned top and sporty bottoms.

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