Written & Images by Chloe Hambidge
Finding it hard to believe that we had finally reached the much adored Mauritius, we were flying through streets adorned with thatched houses and lush jungle, rustically beautiful in all the ways we didn’t expect. With a fountain of natural beauty, we were excited to see it unfurl before us. Although, it wasn’t until we walked through the open doors of the Westin Turtle Bay and caught a glimpse of the glimmering blue melting into the horizon, that we really understood the extent of the natural bliss we were going to get to experience across our 2 week stay.
As we approached the gates of the resort we were struck with a sense of exclusive tranquility, bordering flourishing sugar cane fields and stretching across over 10 hectares of the quiet Turtle Bay, the sense of peace you will find here is inescapable. Welcomed with a refreshing drink infused with fresh flavours of ginger and eucalyptus, it was our first taste of the good life. I must say, it was a much needed kick to the senses after a 10 hour flight of snoozing in and out of consciousness. Although, if that doesn’t wake you up, the sound of lapping waves is sure to pique your interest.
Letting my fellow holiday party deal with nitty gritty of checking in, I followed the path like a moth to a flame leading me straight to panoramic glory of the Indian Ocean vistas awaiting us. With a selection of blissful places to recline, from a large pool to an adult only infinity pool hugging the coast, choose between a slice of beach paradise or pool excitement.
The resort holds an open air feel, inviting you to explore the luxuries they offer at every corner. My favourite part of this hotel must be the people buzzing about within it. Always dedicated to putting a smile on your face, the waiters and hosts at the Westin are experts in respect and kindness, whether being guided to a spotless table for two, or wandering the buffet guarded by expert chefs, you are promised a runway of greetings and whole hearted care.
Speaking of runways, we definitely got red carpet service as we were driven to our room via golf buggy! Doing the rounds of the hotel grounds ourselves, it was mesmerizing having the ocean blanketed before us on our left and the rustic luxury of suites and villas standing pride of place to our right. Guided by the fresh sea and breeze, various fauna and the occasional cat or dog (which made it all more charming- despite their status as unpaying guests), we reached our home for the upcoming weeks.
The Banyan Suite.
A home it certainly was. Spacious and full of light, we were greeted with a room fit for royalty. We stayed in The Banyan Suite and it was nothing short of incredible, this room was a holiday in itself, all 160sqm of it! Like a kid in a candy shop I was enticed to run through my terrace doors, leading straight onto the glowing white sand hugging the water just outside, but was stopped short with the ongoing facilities at my fingertips.
With a King bed tucked away in its own quarters, there was a whole living space to get through first. Equipped with a 65inch TV, one of two, a round table awaiting room service wonders, available 24 hours a day, a living room area with a plush sofa and even more chairs, this suite could throw a party and still have room left over. With two bathrooms equally as lavish as the other boasting marble interiors, an oversized bathtub and separate cubicle showers which transported me to what felt like a Roman spa with every wash. Even more temptation appears as we continued our tour as we followed intricate cobblestones to an outdoor shower, perfect after a long day of sandy beach adventures where lush greenery tumbles above your head- it’s a private cocktail of nature and tranquility whilst getting ready for an evening of splendor.
An attack on the senses, stepping out onto our own slice of heaven, it was as if it splayed out for our arrival. A private beach was really the cherry on the cake for this suite fit for royalty. Curled up on the cosy cocoon of an egg swing I watched colourful birds fly in and out of thriving vegetation with a patchwork blanket of turquoise blue encompassing me. With a good book and the sea breeze in my hair, it’s important to start a holiday as we mean to go on.
The nature of this tropical paradise means a roller coaster of weather depending on the time of year you visit. We travelled over March and were graced by a few showers which may resemble monsoons, but they pass a quickly as they come as the sun is shortly shining again. Despite these short unwanted tanning break, these tropical rain bursts are almost mesmerizing, the heavy patter of rain lulling you off for a post-lunch siesta.
A highlight for me was the Indian restaurant, Kangan. With interiors transporting you through earthy oranges and red, lanterns illuminating each table and new flavours inspired by an authentic menu of classics. We were very keen guests at this restaurant with its hearty service and cosy lighting, we became somewhat locals with our waiters providing us with ‘our usual’. This is just another way the staff at this resort take a personal pride into creating a memorable and relaxed experience. I highly suggest the chicken Balti as well as Bombay Aloo, the chefs here pour their heart into every dish they present. We also thoroughly enjoyed the grill evening by the beach, it’s the perfect snippet of island life that we so crave. Barbecued jumbo prawns, steak, chicken with tantalizing tastes- feel as if one of the locals. Other restaurants include Japanese, French, Seafood and the buffet which has various themes daily.
As part of our package we got a glass bottom boat trip and snorkeling excursion included, and it exceeded all expectations… Watching the underwater world fly below our feet, it wasn’t until we jumped in that this true kingdom opened up to us. Renowned by name and nature, Turtle Bay is bustling with- you guessed it, an array of sea turtles. Gliding through the waves we came face to face with gorgeous Hawksbill and Green Sea turtles. Friendly and sociable they glided by as if inviting us to play, seeing these creatures come to life before your very eyes with the Mauritian coast hugging the horizon, it feels somewhat extraordinary, a pinch me moment. We even took a stop off at Balaclava Beach with sands as fine as sugar and warm from the glowing sun.
Away from the magnetism of the coast, travel inwards to the equally as charming mainland. In Charamel we visited the Seven Coloured Earth Geopark, an elevated balcony overlooking the natural phenomenon of the seven distinct hies of sand marbelled together. This was created by basaltic lava clay minerals, but appears magical when you don’t know the science behind its eye catching beauty.
Located just around the corner we were taken away with the incredible Charamel Waterfall. This awe-inspiring 100 metre drop is labelled as the tallest single drop waterfall in Mauritius. This striking falls is a truly life-changing sight made all the more mystical background of jungle and mountains, there’s a steep climb top a viewpoint where you can watch this natural wonder unfurl in front of you. We became almost transfixed by a spell when up amongst this special presence, I could’ve watched this awe-inspiring spectacle for hours.
We also took a day trip to Pamplemousse to explore the serene peace of the Botanical gardens which is a lush honeypot of flora and fauna, some unique to Mauritius itself. A kaleidoscope of greens welcomed us to this mirage of Mother nature with offerings from animals to historic landmarks. In house guides are available and definitely makes the experience more eye-opening through their passion and knowledge alone. We were greeted with unique chirps of rare birdsong and also got to meet some tortoise and deer which was definitely a highlight for me.
The hardest part of this holiday was choosing which restaurant to dine in and which cabana I wanted to hibernate in throughout the day. No matter how far we wandered, coming back to the goldmine of luxury at the Westin Turtle Bay was like a breath of fresh air, growing accustomed to its charm and the bare foot island life, coming home was a rude awakening. Although, as part of our package we got a massage included, with tranquility and a new found comfort within my own body… I can think of worse goodbyes.
TALK TO THE EXPERTS. To find out more about Mauritius and the luxury it boasts feel free to contact us and ask for Carol, one of our senior travel experts who has experienced the lavish nature of Mauritius first hand on multiple occasions. As well as Karen, our Sales Manager in cruising, who also has escaped to Mauritius on her family holiday!