Sometimes only Mauritius will do – a dreamy Indian Ocean island where the beaches are eye-searingly white, the water is as swimming-pool blue as it looks on the postcards and the deliciously reliable weather makes it a winter-sun showstopper. Here, more than anywhere else, it’s crucial to pick the right home for the week. While the colour-popping coral reefs and hammocks under swaying palm trees come as standard, Sun Resorts gives this destination something different to offer.
When to go: All year round (summer is November to April)
Flight time: 3.5 hours direct to Plaine Magnien
Time difference: 2 hours ahead
The archipelago of Mauritius is thrilling to fly over, and the airplane view of calm lagoons and pancake-batter atolls is sure to blast away any short-haul fogginess. Fly in the morning and be there, barefoot, by lunchtime … or at least cocktail hour. Still sensationally unspoilt with dramatic natural topography, Mauritius feels almost otherworldly. And beyond the beaches, it’s everything else that should come with a beach holiday. Few tropical paradises can compete with the magnetic culture of Mauritius’ seaside enclaves – the barefoot-chic island attitude and wild and free lifestyle offers so much fun for pleasure seekers, drinkers and eaters. Sand, sea and sunshine, but also food and wine, swimming and playing, music and dancing … and there are some deeply smart places to stay. Whether you’re looking for an isolated stretch of sand or a family-friendly resort, Sun Resorts has enough options to suit every type of traveller. So, what are you waiting for?
Best for: Equal measures of relaxation and activity
Discerning guests seeking a blissful haven will instantly fall in love with the grande dame of the Sun Resorts group, the magnificent five-star Long Beach. Fringing the famed beach at Belle Mare along the untamed East Coast of Mauritius and encompassed by dense tropical gardens, the resort manages to be both incredibly spoiling and completely laidback.
The generous luxury rooms are tastefully kitted out with sleek and stylish furniture and natural, mid-toned décor. Each one features a private balcony or terrace and close access to its stretch of beach, garden or pool. Views across the immaculate beach that melts into cyan waters are splendid, and the ocean is clear enough to see straight to the bottom – not to mention that the coral reef is home to thousands of sea creatures. That’s not all – king-size beds, speedy Wi-Fi and air-conditioning add to the ultimate personal comfort. If you can, book a Junior Suite with a sea view, which has a stunning sea view including a spacious private furnished terrace overlooking the lagoon.
Eat and drink
There are several slick restaurants serving elegant food – think inviting breakfast buffets at Le Marché, fresh seafood, shellfish and local specialities at Tides, spectacular Italian-inspired dishes at Sapori and Asian cuisine with a modern flair at Chopsticks. Wine buffs should head to our top pick, the quietly glamorous Hasu.
The world-class Japanese restaurant offers everything from shrines of sushi to a full-blown kaiseki experience. It’s beautiful inside this upmarket establishment designed with dramatic Zen-like flair: There’s a calming wall of sake bottles at the entrance and an open sushi counter so you can watch the skilled chefs at work. Open daily for dinner to diners over the age of 16, Hasu is a sublime choice for a special occasion and promises an evening to remember.
We highly recommend the five-course wine-pairing menu, which begins with an icy glass of Bottega Gold and presents some of the most pristine plates we’ve ever seen, including salmon sashimi with ginger-garlic crumbs, saikyo miso-marinated black cod, charcoal-grilled beef cube roll, and a melting dark chocolate sphere, all washed down with perfect wine pairings. FYI: Hasu falls outside of Long Beach’s meal plans, but guests are given a credit that can be used towards a meal here.
Spa buffs are equally well looked after. Go fully horizontal at the super-luxe Cinq Mondes spa hidden amongst lush gardens and surrounded by water – there are authentic traditional treatments and terrifically good back, neck and shoulder massages as well as high-tech anti-ageing facials and Shellac mani-pedis. The best part is that while you’re enjoying some me-time, the children can be kept blissfully busy at the Sun Kids club, where they can try exciting archery lessons taught by a professional coach, pizza-making classes, painting classes or yoga sessions.
Ile aux Cerfs leisure island, which lies off Trou d’Eau Douce in the largest lagoon of Mauritius, is the best reason to visit Long Beach. It’s probably the most reclusive island escape in Mauritius – and yet also the most indulgent, too. Keen golfers can learn how to play or perfect their swing at the Golf Academy, challenge themselves to an 18-hole course designed by two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer or relax on Fillbusters, the exclusive beach for golfers.
On the private beach, guests are left alone on their little dot to mooch around the fresh coconut and cocktail bar, stretch out on a day bed or take a dip in the turquoise water. It’s a place where it feels like you’re the only people on the planet, but a piña colada is only a wave of the hand away. There’s also a public beach, beach restaurants, an adventure park and a wide variety of water sports.
Back at the resort, there’s an abundance of beachside activities, land-based activities and water sports. Try the snorkeling, one-hour nature trail and wall climbing. There are also some unforgettable experiences centred around wellbeing, art, food, music and sports from sunrise to sunset as well as chic bars, live music and culinary experiences in the evenings.
PS: Long Beach is brilliant for both June and September school holidays when the gentle trade winds mean no one will overheat.
Best for: A luxurious sanctuary for families and couples
Whether you want your hotel to provide wild spaces for children to roam or the best eco-credentials, the elegant five-star Sugar Beach along the sun-drenched, sheltered bay of Flic-en-Flac is designed to cater for kids with lots of attention lavished on parents and couples too. A testament to the aesthetics of colonial estates in a bygone era, today the refurbished resort is the epitome of a holiday in paradise.
Bordered by crystalline waters and manicured gardens, the plantation-style resort offers a mix of ambiance and amenities that are sure to up the luxury factor on your next vacation. There’s a wide variety of accommodation options dedicated to your personal preferences, each of which masterfully balances old-world opulence with modern comforts and panoramic views of the sunset over the ocean. Travelling with kids? Book a Family Suite on the ground floor with two connecting rooms and a spacious private terrace with a garden view. Kids under 12 stay, eat and play for free. Each room also includes complimentary Wi-Fi, 40” LED TVs and individually controlled air conditioning
Eat and drink
The resort has exceptional restaurants that provide varied gastronomic experiences throughout the day and night: Abundant English buffets and themed dinners at Mon Plaisir, wood-fired pizzas and delicious Mediterranean salads at Citronella’s, and gastronomic wonders, cocktail perfection and renowned music at our favourite by far, Buddha-Bar Beach.
The pan-Asian restaurant and cocktail bar shares the same name as the Paris original – and the Sugar Beach branch opened as part of a worldwide rollout. It has a sleek, clubby, oriental look and a food menu inspired by dishes from China, Japan and Thailand. Expect, then, a large sushi and sashimi selection plus dishes like seared tuna tartare, rock shrimp tempura, sea bass ceviche and wagyu rib eye steak. The Queen of the Beach is an absolute must-order – a platter of oysters, ceviche martinis, nigiri and other sushi rolls served on the most spectacular wooden display on ice.
The expert mixologists go above and beyond just a run-of-the-mill twist, creating the most dazzling drinks that have to be seen to be believed, such as the White Princess shaken with gin and lemongrass essential oil-infused sake and Flower Spritz made with Aperol-infused dry jasmine flower, sweet white wine and prosecco. The quirkiest, most Instagrammable tipple is the Make a Wish Mauritius 2019, which comes with a wish balloon for you to write down your wish and launch it into the sky. The cocktail menu is available at the bars at both Buddha-Bar Beach and Citronella’s.
The way you spend your time in this waterworld wonderland is entirely up to you. Spend the day blissfully lounging at the pool or on the flawless beach. At night, lie in bed or out on the starlit terrace and feel like you’re adrift on a yacht. You can also unwind at the spa, which offers an array of Cinq Mondes experiences steeped in time-honoured ritualistic ceremonies and ancient healing techniques from around the world. The use of the hammam, complimentary with any treatment booked, is not to be missed. Children can join their parents in the pampering or be kept occupied by Sun Kids.
Fresh, fruity cocktails are synonymous with a fine beach holiday at Sugar Beach, so a mixology class with one of the resort’s talented barmen should be right at the top of your to-do list. Let them demonstrate how to concoct a delectable, island-inspired signature cocktail to celebrate the sunset or set the mood for a lobster barbeque. Another way to embrace the dusk is with a special Mauritian-themed cocktail hour with front-row seats to a gorgeous sunset.
There’s no better way to start your day than with invigorating sunrise activities like yoga, Bodyblade or Zumba followed by a healthy detox drink to boost your system. If you wish to continue the celebration of dawn, you can enjoy an excellent breakfast on the beach. Come sunset, watch the dramatic descent of the sun into the ocean from the water itself on a stand-up paddle board.
Water lovers can also indulge in exploring the colourful marine life in the topaz lagoon, enjoying a group activity in the pool or learning a new water sport. Those who’d prefer to not get in the water can view vivid corals and beautiful sea creatures on the phenomenal glass bottom boat or navigate tropical terrain with an exciting mountain bike excursion.
PS: Don’t miss the delightful in-room afternoon tea offering accompanied by a selection of Mauritian teas and scrumptious teatime treats.