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Travel Review South Africa

REVIEW: Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels elevates the art of living beyond luxury getaways

The enchantment of a Beachcomber Mauritius property can permeate every fibre of one’s essence, ensuring that each guest, irrespective of age, savours a holiday experience they eagerly anticipate reliving...
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When I reflect on all-too-brief working visits to Mauritius to review resorts or visit residential property developments, my best downtime memories usually involve dancing, swimming, spa treatments, beach walks and sundowners. What more could one want – or need – to recover from deadline pressure, air travel, and Covid?

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My recent return to Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa in the west was different to the last – I wasn’t wearing a mask, and my visit didn’t coordinate with the Famous 9’s performance schedule (the local band I follow like a groupie), so, no dancing.

But I did get to listen to the roving guitarist at La Ravanne, the open-air Mauritian restaurant at one end of the vast property, facing the ocean, with my toes in the sand, had I decided to kick off my shoes.

The night air was warm and still, and I was intentionally early to avoid the anticipated capacity guest list – not that there is any chance of feeling crowded because the large tables (some set up under the stars and others under thatched umbrellas) are so cleverly spaced out. I could simply switch off and dream about an extended holiday here one day.

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This time – besides the heartwarming birdsong, wind whispering in the palms, and the light kiss of the waves cascading onto the white sand – one of the most memorable sounds was that of happy children.

That might seem strange to write, but for someone who prefers quiet over noise and hasn’t raised her own babies – that’s huge! But sound dissipated quickly in those wide, open spaces, and the positive energy everywhere was unmistakable.

The art of beautiful

The Kids’ Club was right behind my Beachfront Paradis Room, ideally situated in a beautifully landscaped garden next to the buggie and pedestrian path leading to the sports facilities, spa, reception, and other accommodation.

It was perpetually busy, featuring children of all ages playing, entertained by the lovely attendants or sitting quietly watching an evening movie. (I later learned that Beachcomber staff can leave their children at the Kids’ Club, too, if they have no one to care for them at home, which impressed me no end.)

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Meanwhile, on the seaside, I could step out from my verandah onto an immaculate lawn leading to that famously white sandy beach to swim, recline on a lounger with a mocktail in hand (there’s a beach bar right there) or watch the local vendors respectfully display their wares.

I spent at least an hour watching a toddler shrieking with delight as he waited for the gentle waves to roll in, chasing him up the sand towards watchful parents before repeating the exercise. His younger sibling eventually joined, not wanting to miss out on the fun. At the same time, I waited for the sun to melt into the horizon – a blazing canvas of reds and oranges that I had previously only seen in pictures.

Reimagining Parsdis

The hotel was fully booked in mid-October, having just reopened after a renovation, and the guests – me included – couldn’t be more delighted. This is what you can look forward to for those planning a getaway as a couple, a family or a group of friends.

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At least 120 Junior Suites, eight Senior Beachfront Suites and 54 Beachfront Junior Suites have been refurbished since the pandemic-related travel restrictions eased, their interiors wholly redesigned in line with the hotel’s concept of tropical elegance, defined as “a lifestyle that is geared towards the outside while surrendering to the generous comfort of soft interiors.”

Fresh and elegant, the accommodation is beautifully finished in a homey layout, featuring noble materials, warm fabrics and soft hues enhanced by tropical patterns. The volumes and materials blend harmoniously with a perfect combination of colours and light.

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Award-winning interior design agency Design Partnership transformed the two restaurants (Blue Marlin and Zest) and the lounge and restrooms.

“The design reimagines the iconic image of the Blue Marlin, bringing together a relaxed chic environment that subtly pays homage to the shapes and textures of the ocean. The finishes reflect Paradis’s local natural beauty and tactility, and the resort’s heritage. We wanted a more elegant experience and setting to align with the à la carte menu,” says director Carina Share.

“The layout and flow of the two restaurants are influenced by their food concept. For Zest, with its open kitchens, we created a café-style ambience and street market energy to align with the Mediterranean menu. The interior layers café-style furnishings with island hospitality to offer a warm and welcoming dining experience for the whole family.”

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Share says the restaurants have their own identities to give the guests a more fantastic choice of dining facilities at the resort. “We wanted them to be welcoming and inviting to all, but with different atmospheres. However, we had to be respectful of the location and not overwhelm the guests with environments that felt out of place. Finding a good balance was important.”

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I hopped on a buggy with commercial executive Medgée Mungur at the wheel to get a sense of some of the other accommodation and admire the spruced-up landscaping and, of course, the immaculate 18-hole par-72 golf course, stretching along 5,924m to the crystal-clear lagoon of the Morne peninsula.

Keen golfers will be delighted to know that the irrigation system has been redone to counter the effects of the dry season. “We’ve completed big works on the course, placing 800 sprinklers at strategic points,” she says. “Water is drawn from desalination plants.”

Beachcomber was the first hotel group to install desalination plants, and a number of their group’s resorts operate exclusively with desalinated water. They take their commitment to sustainable development seriously, achieving the EarthCheck Silver Certification for all the hotels and Head Office in 2019 and, more recently, EarthCheck Gold status for the Head Office, Paradis Beachcomber and sister hotel Dinarobin Beachcomber.

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Almost 100% of recycled wastewater is used for irrigation purposes, and landscaping favours endemic plants, sand and rock to reduce irrigation needs. Rainwater is harvested by diverting rainfall into storage tanks.

The Junior Suites, set further back from the beachfront, have a clearer ocean view now that some of the palms have been relocated. “Now you can really see the beach, even if you’re not on the beachfront,” says Mungur.

Fresh furnishings in lighter-coloured wood make the interiors look more spacious and artfully illuminated with extra lamps. It all makes an impact alongside new paintings and, in some instances, wallpaper. “The bathrooms have been redone with big mirrors, a dressing room, and shelves and drawers in line with what guests requested. They’re like brand-new rooms, really,” she says.

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The Senior Beachfront suites near the reception, towards the main bar and dance floor, are being completely redone. “They are called Senior suites because they have a bigger living area/ lounge, and a huge terrace.”

If you need maximum space, there are 12 Paradis Villas and one Presidential Villa, with a master bedroom upstairs overlooking the beach. They all come with a dedicated buggy, four bikes, a butler, and the option to hire a hotel chef to cater for private dining. They have three bedrooms, so they are ideal for couples sharing or two couples with a separate bedroom for children.

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Weather in Mauritius has been warm all year round, with temperatures not dropping low enough for locals to acknowledge a winter season.

Regarding the best times to travel, take advantage of the Beachcomber specials, including flights. Anytime is a good time to visit. Since the pandemic, hotels are inundated with guests clamouring for downtime, island-style. Who can blame them?

Book early to avoid disappointment!

About Debbie Hathway

Debbie Hathway is an award-winning writer, with a special interest in luxury lifestyle (watches, jewellery, travel, property investment) and the arts.
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