Mauritius, the very name conjures up images of long, lazy days spent on a snow-white beach, gently wafted by warm tropical breezes while you gaze languidly out over an azure sea. Ah, just the thing, especially when lubricated by a couple of exotic cocktails, paradise, a total antidote for civilization, no doubt about it! But wait a minute, could there actually be a dark cloud bobbing on the horizon of this tropical idyll?
The thing is, Mauritius is starting to become highly expensive for the likes of mere mortals such as myself, especially now as the Mauritian Government has declared that it wishes to target the upper end of the tourist market, and not the backpacker crowd. Now don't get me wrong, some of the hotels on Mauritius are so fabulous, they are actually beyond world class, such places as Royal Palm and St. Geran where royalty and film stars stay, the Oberoi, Trou Aux Biches and Dinarobin to mention a few. These are actually not hotels, but exquisite works of art. But when you have flipped through the tourist Brochure and trotted into see your tame travel agent for a quote, you are presented with a figure which resembles the GDP of a small country, a situation which is not helped by the Rand's behavior right now! So, you think, "Amanzimtoti again this year!"
But wait, all is not lost, and it is still possible to have your Mauritian holiday without having to take out a second bond, sell the kids or be bad friends with your bank manager!
I have been lucky enough to have been to Mauritius a few times and in the course of these trips, have found, and stayed at, some really quite supprising hotels and apartments which will definitely not destroy your credit card, or leave your finances with a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon! Look, if you want a white uniformed waiter following you around with a bottle of champagne on a silver tray, or a beautiful island girl offering you ice-cold slices of fruit from a platter on the beach, these places are not for you, but if you want a week in paradise at a reasonable cost, then this is right up your street. The hotels I describe below are well positioned, neat, clean and safe, and I wouldn't hesitate to stay in any one of them again. I had a really quite unexpected good time, trust me!
And here are the establishments, in no particular order:
LE BEACH CLUB... PEREYBERE.
A colourful selection of studio apartments right on the water, next to a beautiful public beach, 2km from Grand Baie, and on the bus route. Close to bars and restaurants. Tours can be arranged from the reception desk. FAX: 230-2635104
TI FLEUR SOLEIL.... GRAND BAIE.
18 airconditioned rooms in am unbeatable position in the centre of Grand Baie, 50 yards from the beach. Close to bars and restaurants, and an easy walk to Super U, the local hypermarket. Tours can be arranged from the front desk. Easy access to other beaches from the bus stop outside.
Although this hotel may seem a bit out of place in this company, it still remains great value for money for those who want a bit more of a resort experience. Spacious rooms, with air con and TV, mostly sea facing. Has a small beach, but big beaches north and south of the hotel. The food is reasonable and the staff friendly and helpful. Full watersports are available.
I have kept away from giving sample prices, because of the Rand but really, these hotels are some of the best value in the best areas of Mauritius! Select your hotel, then Google it and go to Tripadvisor for more details.If you want more sugestions, contact Grand Baie Travel and Tours on [email protected],com. I have used them before and they are friendly and efficient!
When to go:
Mauritius is in the tropics and can be exposed to cyclones during the months of November to March, but if you are unlucky enough to coincide with one of these events, you should not be discomforted for longer than 24 hours. Generally Mauritius is a year-round destination, but the east coast can be windy during the winter months between May and September.
How to get there:
South African Airways and Air Mauritius do almost daily flights to the island, and Air Mauritius has the added benefit of direct flights from major centres, but check with your travel agent, as things can change quite a bit.