Constance Hotels brings leading French winemakers to Mauritius

Head sommelier Jerome Faure is thrilled to be welcoming leading French winemakers from Domaine Alain Graillot and Chateau de Mille to Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius in January and February.

Welcoming renowned French winemakers to Constance

Welcoming renowned French winemakers to Constance

Chateau de Mille

Pierre Pinatel is the owner of Chateau de Mille, one of the oldest properties in the Luberon region.

The chateau was built as a summer retreat for the popes of the 14th century when the first vineyards were planted. Today the small yield wine is still produced here in a traditional way.

Domaine Alain Graillot

Maxime Graillot now runs the famous Domaine Alain Graillot in the Crozes-Hermitage region using the same traditional, artisan methods established by his father.

The grapes are picked by hand and no chemical weedkillers are used in the production of its complete Syrah-based reds or its 80 per cent Marsanne / 20 per cent Roussanne whites.

Pierre Pinatel and Maxime Graillot will be visiting Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage to host a series of exclusive wine dinners for guests.

Domaine Alain Graillot wine dinners

25 January – Constance Belle Mare Plage, Blue Penny Café
29 January – Constance Le Prince Maurice

Chateau de Mille wine dinners

7 February – Constance Belle Mare Plage, Blue Penny Café
8 February – Constance Le Prince Maurice (including a special vertical tasting of 10 vintages from 1998 to 2009)

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7 things to do in Mauritius

When you think of Mauritius you imagine soft white sand beaches and clear turquoise seas. The Indian Ocean island has these in abundance along with a host of other delights that make this the ideal destination for those looking to combine a luxury beach holiday with a taste of adventure.

Things to do in Mauritius - Helicopter ride over the island

Things to do in Mauritius – Helicopter ride over the island

Here’s our pick of exhilarating days out in Mauritius.

1. Casela Nature and Leisure Park

There is so much to do in this beautiful natural park that your hardest challenge will be fitting it all into one day. The park’s 14 hectares are home to everything from lions and monkeys to giant tortoises. How you choose to explore is up to you with options including guided treks, jeep safaris, Segway, quad bike or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the longest zipline circuit in the Indian Ocean.

2. Take a helicopter trip around the island (available from Constance Belle Mare Plage)

Take an aerial tour of this stunning island by helicopter and get a panoramic view of Mauritius. Explore the stunning coast with it’s picture-perfect lagoons and surrounding islands then go inland to see the undulating sugar cane fields, mountains and forests of the island’s interior.

3. Domaine de L’Étoile

This beautiful former sugar plantation offers visitors the chance to discover Mauritius’ stunning interior with a landscape of rich verdant forests, spectacular views out towards the ocean and open valleys. Again there is a choice of transport on which to explore including quad bikes and 4×4 buggies, horseback, trekking and mountain biking. There’s even an opportunity to live out your Hunger Games fantasy with a 10 hectare circuit for archers featuring 10 artificial 3D animal targets.

4. Explore the capital Port Louis 

Whether you want to visit the capital’s bustling food market with fresh exotic produce brought in daily from around the island, or see a dodo skeleton at the city’s Natural History Museum there’s plenty to see and do in Port Louis. If you want to shop, eat or just sit back and people watch then visit the Caudan Waterfront.

Big game fishing at Constance

Big game fishing at Constance

5. Take a catamaran cruise (available at Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage)

Feel the ocean spray on your face and the wind in your sails on an exhilarating catamaran cruise to local beaches and deserted islands. Zip across the water to empty beaches where you can swim in crystal waters and enjoy lunch on the sand.

6. Eureka ‘La Maison Créole’

Set in a nature reserve at the very heart of the island this colonial house converted into a museum offers a tranquil day of walking in beautiful gardens spotting rare flora and fauna before taking a dip in its refreshing waterfall-fed swimming hole.

7. Big game fishing (available from Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage)

Spend the day on the open water pitting your wits against the great game fish of the Indian Ocean including the blue marlin, sailfish, barracuda, wahoo and yellowfin tuna.

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Interview with Marc Farry on golf in Mauritius

When golfers visit Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius the resort has one major advantage over others on the island: two golf courses.

The Legend - The training ground for the Marc Farry Golf Academy

The Legend – The training ground for the Marc Farry Golf Academy

It’s a key factor in the decision-making for many because it offers plenty of variety – and more tee times – over the length of their stay.

But there is another tick in the box: the on-site Marc Farry Golf Academy, which gives golfers of all standards the opportunity to improve their game.

Farry, winner of the European Tour’s 1996 BMW International Open and a two-time Senior Tour winner, is aware that his love of the sport fits the Constance theme because he is inspired by his passion for golf.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said during the 2013 MCB Tour Championship, where he finished in a tie for ninth. “I’m deeply in love with the game and I’m passionate about learning new things, or remembering things I may have forgotten”.

“Golf is an amazing sport because you don’t stop. You can play so long and you can always keep improving. You know the guys out on the Senior Tour could have stopped trying to get better, but we never do – we’re always looking to enhance our game and that should apply to everyone, whatever their standard.”

Farry knows that guests want to enjoy their golf, but that they will especially do so if they play well – which is where the academy can offer assistance.

“The academy is a great support for the golf clientele. We have a very good teaching staff who can deal with the fundamentals of the swing and guests have the option of group, individual or on-course lessons.

“I’m passionate about the evolution of the golf swing. It has changed over the last 25 years. What I was taught when I took up the game has changed. That is not because it was wrong but because we have learned more, it is an evolution towards the best methods. It’s an exciting process.”

Farry is keen to stress what is distinct about his teaching methods.

The Legend, Constance Belle Mare Plage

The Legend, Constance Belle Mare Plage

“The academy staff use my vision of the importance of on-course strategy.

“At the launch press conference for the MCB Tour Championship we discussed what we, as senior golfers, have learned over the years. Perhaps the most important lesson is to be more patient and more smart with our game plans – and that fits directly with my way of teaching.

“In the early 1980s, as a young man, I hit the ball a long way. I was desperate to play well and I attacked every pin. But it was costly to be honest. In time I learned to be more patient and maybe not always take the driver off the tee.

“That remains the same with all players of all standards – anyone can play simple golf and score much better. When guests ask for lessons I show them that they don’t need to be aggressive to score well. Some are amazed until they see the results.

Legend and Links golf courses

“The two courses we have at Constance Belle Mare Plage are excellent layouts to prove my point.

“At the Legends it is tight and you can miss the fairway and lose a ball. The Links is more open but there are many shortish par fours. So on both courses the sensible play might be to hit for position from the tee.

“Some golfers think they are limiting themselves this way, but they are not. They are actually often opening up more opportunities, just not in ways they expected.

“When you see golfers understand this lesson it is so much fun.”

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Trip Advisor review declares Constance Belle Mare Plage ‘inspired by passion’

We are thrilled that a recent guest of Belle Mare Plage has agreed with us that Constance Belle Mare Plage is ‘definitely inspired by passion’.

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

The reviewer says it was the fifth time they and their family have stayed at a Constance hotel or resort and reports that each one is, ‘unique and noteworthy’.

Of Belle Mare Plage, the reviewer said, ‘From the moment you arrive, every need and detail is taken care of effortlessly. The staff welcomes you as if you return home.’

The reviewer went on to say how beautifully presented the villa was that they stayed in, how friendly and attentive their villa master was, as well as praising the wide selection of dining experiences available at the resort.

Inspired by passion

At Constance it is our aim to travel the globe to source the very best in everything so that we can create a truly unique experience.

From finding the perfect idyllic locations for our hotels to designing the beautiful luxury accommodation and sourcing the most luxurious mattresses for our beds, our hotels and resorts are built on that passion.

Trip Advisor

Don’t forget you can always let us and others know about your experience at any of the Constance hotels and resorts in Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives and Madagascar by writing a review on the Trip Advisor travel website.

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2013 MCB Tour Championship winner – Paul Wesselingh

As Paul Wesselingh wins the 2013 MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius, it marks the latest chapter in the late rise of this remarkable player.

Paul Wesselingh wins MCB Tour Championship 2013

Paul Wesselingh wins MCB Tour Championship 2013

Back in 2001 Wesselingh was a club professional whose success on the regional golf circuit earned him a rare start in a European Tour event at the Belfry.

That tournament was the Benson and Hedges International Open. Wesselingh shot 78 in round one and then retired with a bad back; the winner that week was Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.

To say that both men have had quite a journey since that week is something of an understatement. Stenson has lost form, found it again, lost it again and then, this year, won both the European Tour’s end-of-season event, the DB World Championship, and the Race to Dubai as well (effectively that tour’s order of merit).

Wesselingh, by contrast, returned home to his family, continued to give lessons, sell Mars bars and tee pegs, and play the odd minor tour event. Then six years ago he began to think of the European Senior Tour.

He had first played golf aged seven but his handicap never dipped below three so he became an accountant, but desk work was not for him and he turned pro off five, happy to become a club professional. “I did give the European Tour School a couple of goes,” he said, “but I wasn’t anywhere near good enough.”

He and his wife Tracy had three young boys and Wesselingh preferred to see them grow up than travel the world chasing a golf dream. But by his late-forties he recognised that his golf swing had matured so he began to improve his fitness and get his game in tournament mode.

When he earned a card through tour school he finished second in his first event and won on his fourth start, at the 2012 PGA Seniors Championship at Slaley Hall. By the end of the year he had added another six top ten finishes and was crowned Rookie of the Year.

Many take the foot off the gas after such success, but Wesselingh had been waiting for this opportunity for years and was in no mood to coast.

He started the 2013 season by successfully defending his PGA Seniors Championship title and followed it up with victory in the Bad Ragaz Open.

“It was going so well that a few of the guys suggested I give Champions Tour Qualifying School a go,” he said. “But I decided to focus on the Order of Merit, headed to Taiwan and won the Fubon Open there.”

He arrived in Mauritius confident. The deep confidence that comes from long term success.

“I’ve trusted myself. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have attacked the 18th like I did in round two. You have to go for it at this level.

“The first year I was a little nervous and aware of being in the presence of some great players.”

But this year he has blossomed and when he faced his hero Colin Montgomerie in the final round of the MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage he was ready to prove how far he had come.

Montgomerie is one of the Ryder Cup’s greatest ever singles performers. His ability to go head-to-head with an opponent and win is legendary. It meant that most of the gallery on the final day expected Monty to thrive and Wesselingh to wilt.

But neither happened. Well, they did, but the wrong way round. The Englishman had that deep confidence in his game and he remained patient on the early holes when the more famous golfer did the opposite. It was a stellar performance and all the more remarkable because he knew he was not just winning an event, but the Order of Merit.

That second trophy proves he has taken on so many of the players he had watched from afar throughout his 30s and 40s … and he had beaten them over the entire season. This was no flukey week, but one year of excellence. Little wonder he was emotional when the scale of the achievement hit him afterwards.

After victory there were scores to check, ceremonies to attend, photos to be taken, interviews to be had. It was a blur of activity, watched by his proud wife (who caddied for him all week) and his three sons.

When it was done, Wesselingh breathed a sigh of relief and asked if he could go now.

“You know what I’m going to do?” he smiled. “Same as I’ve done all week. Every morning I’ve swam in the sea, every night I’ve thrown myself in the plunge pool. I love this place.”

It’s a long way from the Belfry in 2001. 

Stenson and Wesselingh had very different weeks that year. But they’ve had very similar 2013s.

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Find out more about the action from the 2013 MCB Tour Championship

Visit our website to find out about luxury golf holidays at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Follow Matt Cooper on Twitter @MattCooperGolf or visit his blog Curious About Golf

A special golfing week in Mauritius on the Legend and Links courses

“We’ve been coming for years,” said my Constance Hotels & Resorts Pro-Am partner David pointing to the third member of our team, Patrice. “We love it here. You’ll see why over the next two days.”
Links at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Links course

 
Behind us, on day one of the tournament, was the driving range and first fairway at the Links course, Constance Belle Mare Plage. High on the hill we could see the rolling terrain, covered with rainforest, through which the course twists and turns.
 
This week is a special one for the resort and the golf courses. In addition to welcoming the world’s finest senior golfers for the MCB Tour Championship, amateur golfers from across the globe fly in to enjoy the Air Mauritius Trophy and/or the Pro-Am itself.
 
For David and Patrice, who are from London and Paris, their annual participation in the Pro-Am is the highlight of their golfing year – a week of fun competition which creates a buzz amongst guests at the hotel. “Everyone talks about the golf at night and congregates round the scores to see how they’re doing,” explains David, “it’s a brilliant atmosphere.”
 
“We also love the fact that Belle Mare Plage has two courses,” he adds. “That makes it stand out from the other resorts on the island because we can always get a tee time and aren’t restricted to one layout.”
 
They were right about one thing: as we made our way down our first fairway I immediately knew I liked the Links course. Undulating fairways creep between huge lumps of volcanic rock, water hazards and thick indigenous rainforest. 
Links course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Patrice rushes to see where David’s ball has gone on Links

The course, designed by Rodney Wright and Peter Alliss, calls for shot-making and it works for all levels of golfers: short hitters can plot their way round, big-hitters have the opportunity to take risks and gun for par-fives in two, or short par-four greens in one.
 
After concluding our day, David and Patrice, plus Marc Farry, our professional who also has a golf academy at the resort, grinned and told me I’d enjoy round two even more. “The Legend course is going to suit you,” they laughed and I wondered if they weren’t just flattering me a little too much.
 
It turns out they weren’t: the Legends course hosts the MCB Tour Championship this week and it’s little wonder that David Frost and Tom Lehman have excelled there. The course rewards an accurate long game – which is precisely why my team-mates suspected that my pit-a-pat drives and fairway woods would work well.
Legend golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Legend golf course

 
It sounds a little peculiar – given that the trees are heavy with fruit and spices, and the foliage alive with vibrant tropical colours – but the track reminds me of a classic English tree-lined parkland venue (albeit the Bermuda grass greens are very different, as is the temperature and humidity!).
 
Most of the tee shots are hit down narrow funnels and if the course has one advantage over the Links it is that there are fewer blind shots. Only once does the course open up and when it does so, it does so in style when the dramatic 17th tee presents a wide panoramic view across a cove, over which you hit to a small par-three green.
 
David’s and Patrice’s enthusiasm for the courses and the competition, plus my liking for the Legends challenge, and a second pro (Spain’s Juan Quiros) whose fun attitude lifted our spirits in the heat, all contributed to earning us a top ten finish in the Pro-Am.
 
“See you next year?” asked Patrice with a smile. You know what? I quite fancy trying to make the top five in 2014.
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