I last left you in Australia, where our little family was living the van life doing the great Australian lap. While our touring in Izzie had been magical, we were itching for a tropical getaway. The opportunity presented itself after a week in Sydney celebrating the nuptials of Uncle Bush and Aunty Sezzie. Flights were quickly confirmed and days later we jetted off to Singapore, and then on to Mauritius.
Mauritius was a destination we had longed to visit. We had even attempted to do so, but failed with connecting flights. So actually making it was a dream come true.
We are warmly welcomed to this impressive multicultural country. Mauritius is a linguistically and religiously diverse island located off Madagascar. The people here are proud Mauritians, fusing their past roots with the modern and layering old into new. I have never seen anything like it. While the Hindu population is vast, the French influence throws you. In fact, French-based Creole is the native tongue, with English and French both being official languages.
So, here we are. Finally, after years of waiting: Mauritius!
Our private driver, a man of Indian descent, greets us warmly. He proudly states in French that he is authentically Mauritian – I love how patriotic he is. He happily chats throughout the one-hour drive to our resort about why Mauritius is so amazing. He fills us in on the cultural celebrations taking place on this very day to commemorate 50 years as an independent nation, and gives us a run-down of Mauritian life. We are glad of the information during our drive, which is in the pitch black, leaving the morning to delight us.
Okay, so this year Expedia and Booking.com informed us that we have stayed in 98 hotels in 12 months, all three to five star accommodation. Now, I state this not to gloat, but to explain that my experience with hotel service means I don't say something is good lightly. And Mauritius is very good.
Private car transfer is a great start, and then we arrive at Canonnier Beachcomber Golf Resort and Spa in the north of the island. Canonnier Beachcomber is a popular family-friendly resort offering an inclusive package to avoid a big nasty bill on check-out.
Our room has a chic coastal feel, lux sheets, and is spaciously set out for Riley. When we wake in the morning, I draw back the curtains and we are greeted with a pink sunrise as the sun peeks through the fluffy clouds. The lower level room is perfect for us – Riley basically has his own back yard.
We explore from the jetty walkway along past the canonns at the old fortress to the secluded inlet beach backing the resort pool. The views of picturesque mountains and idyllic water are amazing: it’s no wonder parents gush over this resort. The laid back friendliness and any request “isn't a hassle” motto makes your stay worth the miles.
Riley absolutely loves the lush, peaceful pocket of nature by the pool. He chills out on the outdoor beanbags or hammock, and keeps cool while building sandcastles under the shade of giant palms. It’s great for us too, with a bar or coffee service.
The breakfast buffet is to die for! Each morning we are up with the sparrows due to our jet lag, which is great for those who don't enjoy sleep. We capitalise on the sleeping resort to enjoy the sunrise and make the most of the fresh fruit from the buffet. We are shattered by 10 am and slowly drag ourselves back to our room for Riley’s nap. The second he’s out, I whip out the door for a paddleboard session. It’s serenity floating on the opaque turquoise water, and it feels so good returning to my little family.
For our last night at Canonnier we decide on the Italian restaurant, which doesn't open until seven, leaving our hungry bub devastated. But these guys know how to problem-solve and quickly offer the buffet next door as a starter for Riley. While he eats, we order wine, and in the blink of an eye we are reseated for our Italian dinner. I cannot get over the staff. They are so well tuned – nothing is a hassle and I don't need to say a thing.
We are picked up early the next day to head for the Beachcomber Trou aux Biches Resort. Words to describe the resort’s first appearance fail me, and of course we are instantly waited on hand and foot with massive smiles. After a run-down of the resort’s facilities, we are buggied to our villa. It is a detached two-bedroom villa. We get the top floor with lush tropical gardens surrounding us, a pool, and a bathroom big enough to bathe a hippo! The “children's room” comes with a well-stocked fridge, an ensuite and baby bath, and two single beds and a cot.
Dad hits the pool for a cool-off and some swimming lessons for Riley, as I hit the serenity of the spa. I am completely indulged by the wonderful team, lavished with calming teas and a back and foot massage while I listen to the water features.
I return to the boys and take Riley for his nap while dad heads out for a kayak. We haven't wasted a moment, and soak up every available option here. We carefully choose our three of the six restaurants and make bookings for the coming nights. For our first night, we opt (after recommendations) for the island BBQ. Right, so let me start by saying that island BBQs are almost always a devastating disaster. Sorry pacific, but Fiji, Cook Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu – to name a few – have all failed me with overcooked BBQ meats that are tough, tasteless and, well, just a fad. So, excuse my apprehension about adding Mauritius to my list. But we go along with optimism.
We are met by white table clothes, candles, chilled wine, baskets of fresh French bread, and smart, polite wait staff. Already, I am feeling wowed. We are seated, our drinks order is taken and the bonfires are lit while an acoustic guitarist plays. The food is ready and the table is filled with an array of appetisers, beautiful steamed fish, prawn, beef and lamb skewers, and a dessert presentation fit for a king. To put it lightly – mind-blowing!
On day two, we rise early, watch the sunrise, and hit the beach before breakfast at L’Oasis. Later, we go off on an excursion. Mauritius has so much to offer, from jungly mountains leading to endless waterfalls, to sugar cane fields that go for miles, and a history of cultures dating back 100 years.
We stop in at the Victoria Beachcomber for lunch and Riley enjoys their beach kids club. He has a great afternoon on their pristine beach, playing with some other children who happen to be Australian.
Night two treats us to the famous II Corallo Restaurant. We are spoilt with a glistening water view and Riley’s meal is served first up. The guys here are so thoughtful when it comes to children and their patience – I’m so grateful for their understanding. Lock and I are famished. We devour the assortment of warm bread and our fresh crab entrée, accompanied, of course, by a glass of red wine. Our little guy is still functioning on Australian time and by the time 8 pm rolls around he is seeing dancing sheep and wants to hit the sheets. The staff offer to send dessert to our room with a nightcap espresso.
Day three calls for a relaxing pool day. An early morning swim prepares us for breakfast – nothing beats a dip while the sun rises. Our breakfast is served at the pool overlooking the beach. Agh, so surreal. We are so blessed for moments and memories like this, and we pinch ourselves often.
We take the day in our stride, with a play on the beach, a surfing lesson for Riley on a paddleboard, sandcastles, and hide-’n’-seek between the palms.
Our final evening meal is at the lovely, welcoming Italian restaurant, La Caravelle. Kevin seats us early and makes this dinner our most memorable with his finer touches like a taste tester of the lasagne for an undecided mama, an early order to tame our hungry toddler and the most divine caprese salad ever! The service at Trou aux Biches is next to none. I have never experienced genuine kindness and thoughtfulness like we do here – it’s effortless.
Our final day is a sad one. We feel heavy leaving this beautiful island filled with the kindest hearts and prettiest palms. I can see how so many French families return here year after year. Riley’s 33rd country has become his favourite.
Thank you to the Beachcomber team for making it such a memorable holiday.