Le Touessrok, Mauritius: The Infinity Edged Playground It was once a sleepy island known almost exclusively to French travellers and those interested in the chronicles of the dodo. But in the last ten years Mauritius has conspicuously risen in status to become one of the world’s premier playgrounds for the rich and famous. So, what is all the fuss about? Unparalleled service, a coral reef to vie with the Maldives and dozens of hotels with groups such as; Beachcomber, Naïade, Oberoi, Accor, Club Med, Constance and Kerzner, all augmenting this pleasure isle. In spite of this, one hotel sticks out as particularly impressive for all age groups. Fifty minutes from the airport, Le Touessrok looks like a whitewashed Mediterranean style village. The first, and lasting, impression of Le Touessrok is that it is hugely spacious. The main resort and a small islet called Frangipani linked by an unusual covered wooden bridge. Its 193 bedrooms are designer-chic and very contemporary with subtle tropical nuances like carved wooden screens and vibrant Mauritian artwork. Designer Janice Clausen has created something fresh for world travellers on the premise that, ‘luxury no longer has to be traditional’. Huge bay windows give access to dramatic sea views as the changing light reflects different shades across the horizon. The semi open-plan bathrooms, housing bathtubs that look like sliced eggshells, allow you to wallow in bubbles while staring out to sea. The result is distinction. Mauritius has been ruled by many nations but it was the French who had the greatest influence on the island’s culture, language, religion and civil law. Surprisingly the British agreed to maintain what the French had established, which explains why so much of the island feels French but with a distinctively British attitude. The first thing that strikes you as you land on this bead in the Indian Ocean is the dramatic scenery. Handsome Mountain peaks covered in emerald green grasses drop straight into cerulean blue waters – an everyday view from just about anywhere on the island.
Making your mind up
For epicureans Le Touessrok is a gastronomic paradise. Set on three levels, Three-Nine-Eight features nine different cuisines: Mauritian, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Spanish, Italian and French all prepared in eight open-plan kitchens. As if that wasn’t enough, the resort also has a specialised Michelin level Indian restaurant, Safran, offering a modern interpretation of classical Indian cuisine cooked in its two tandoori ovens, and an Asian-European fusion restaurant, Barlen’s, with stunning views overlooking Trou d’Eau Douce Bay. Making your mind up what to eat has never been more demanding. Based along a secluded cove overlooking a lagoon and coral reef, the resort’s main beach is picture perfect, washing up pretty shells and miniature starfish each morning. For something more active a wide range of complimentary water sports is available from the resort’s private pontoon on nearby Isle aux Cerfs, protecting the tranquillity on the beaches around the hotel. The eighteen-hole par-seventy-two champion golf course, designed by Bernhard Langer, is also located on this island surrounded by dramatic sea views and mangrove forests – again just five minutes by boat from the main jetty.
I rate the KidsOnly club at Le Touessrok among the very best in the world. It is often written, but in this case it is true to say, that nothing was too much trouble for the staff at the Robin Hood themed club – we had to entreat our children to spend some time in the ‘Mummy and Daddy’s club’, and found ourselves furtively going to see what they were doing and why they preferred their club to being with us on the beach. Our parental espionage proved to be good spectator sport; hardly believing our eyes as we watched the undaunted instructor patiently teach our four-year-old how to water-ski (all inclusive) on a purpose made ski-cum-boogie-board. The squeals of laughter and joy were all too evident – they were having the time of their lives. Underseawalks, golf, kite flying, crab hunts, glass bottomed boat trips, team games on the beach, sailing races and snorkelling adventures to find hidden treasure. We decided we couldn’t compete, sat back and enjoyed some respite. The Givenchy Spa adds a sophisticated touch to the resort’s abundance of leisure options. Decorated with archival sketches and classic designs from the Parisian couturier, its eight therapy rooms offer everything from Lomi-Lomi to the Canyon Love Stone Therapy. If top notch pampering is what you seek, its holistic approach for rebalancing mind and body won’t disappoint – a warning: it’s so popular you’ll need to make your reservations well in advance. The only thing that was missing was the dodo. IDEAL AGE: 4–16 Holiday Highlight: A five-minute boat ride takes you to Ilot Mangénie, a little sanctuary, exclusively reserved for Le Touessrok guests, that feels like your own romantic desert island. The appropriately named Robinson and Friday proved ideal for a barefoot lunch on the beach of fresh dorado and wood-fired pizza. FYI: The Ocean suites on Frangipani Island are the best for families as they can be connected to an adjoining junior suite. KidsOnly club for children aged four to eleven, open daily from 10.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.