With its sparkling turquoise waters, tropical climate and tourist-driven hospitality, it is no wonder that Mauritius remains a favorite holiday destination among South Africans.
Thanks to the island’s unspoiled natural beauty and multi-ethnic population, there is much more than just idyllic holiday resorts to visit. However, anyone who has been to one of these pieces of paradise will be able to testify that you don’t just want to get away from there quickly.
On the west side of this volcanic island is Club Med’s La Plantation d’Albion – one of two Club Med holiday resorts in Mauritius and also the very first resort in the Club Med Exclusive Collection series.
I had the privilege of exploring this resort and the beautiful island on which it was built during a media tour. Here are just a few of this trip’s notable highlights:
The stay at Club Med Mauritius is a feast for the senses and although there is a big difference in price between the entry-level rooms and private villas, a guest does not feel neglected or less important – precisely because the focus is on small details.
Where the villas are more secluded and equipped with their own swimming pools, the other accommodation options are built in an apartment block style, none higher than three levels.
Guests also don’t have to tap their toes unnecessarily to move around the resort’s 21 ha thanks to the Club Med shuttle services that are available 24 hours a day – you don’t want to waste your energy when you’re on holiday.
A sea view will of course make you more excited, but the surrounding gardens also provide a peaceful sunset experience.
“One does not come to Club Med to do nothing and be alone,” said Olivier Perilatt-Piratoine, managing director of Club Med South Africa, on the second day of our media tour, and the resort’s long list of activities clearly testify to that.
The Albion’s restaurants, private beach bar, two large pool lounge areas, children’s play center and 29 activities including land and water sports such as archery, tennis, yoga, sailing and kayaking are all included in the Club Med package – with some exceptions.
Unveiled in 2022, the resort’s brand new furnishings and decor combine elegance and the island’s colorful cultural influences, complete with a recently renovated Zen zone – where the little ones are not allowed – and lounge areas.
Whether you want to stretch, relax or practice team sports (yes, there is even a football team you can play against) there is no opportunity to get bored.
Weather permitting, I would highly recommend the snorkeling activities. Our instructor, one Sam, even played a special South African playlist on the boat while we frolicked like children in the sea water – again the type of details that apparently make Club Med unique.
Food and capers
One of the highlights of a holiday at Club Med is the dining experience.
The Albion Resort offers a variety of restaurants offering buffet and à la carte options, serving both international dishes and local specialties. Savor the fresh seafood, enjoy a romantic dinner by the beach, or discover the unique flavors of the island’s herbs and spices.
Be warned: you’re going to want to taste something of everything, so listen to your head rather than your stomach when you’re scooping up.
Over the years, Club Med has also gained fame for their parties, which are held at night on the beach or lounge areas with live music performances. Guests are often invited to dress according to a theme, which adds to the fun.
Staff are even called in from time to time to get the shy guests moving with choreographed dance steps to songs such as Shakira’s “Waka Waka” or the famous “Macarena” dance.
Mauritius more than just holiday resorts
Another advantage of this Club Med resort is its location, which is the ideal starting point to explore the rest of the island. Both the island’s capital of Port Louis, as well as the lively, colorful town of Grand Baie are respectively just an hour and a half’s drive away.
During our half-day excursion in the Black River district, we visited temples along the Grand Bassin lake which attract annual pilgrimages of nearly 400,000 people – a part of Mauritius that will not be advertised on holiday brochures, but is definitely worth the visit .
The famous Chamarel Hills’ Seven Colored Earth is a highlight and boasts seven layers of colored volcanic sediment – a type of beauty that is difficult to properly capture in photographs.
The Chamarel rum distillery is also on this route, but those who, like me, do not have an advanced alcoholic palette, should preferably take a packet of salt and vinegar chips with them in order to differentiate between all the flavors that are available between tastings.
Club Med’s spirit
It has often been said that one of the things that sets Club Med apart is the unique spirit among staff.
Whether it is the “Club Med spirit” or the friendly and professional attitude of the Mauritians, there is definitely something in the crystal clear water that ensures that there is always a smile on the staff’s faces – even those who return you at 02:00 in the morning shuttle to your room and with a hearty “Good evening” greets after they happily come and remove the large spider in your shower.