Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort, Mauritius

Mark Twain once said: “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius,” and within 24 hours of touchdown I knew exactly what he was referring to. This gorgeous Indian Ocean Island, infamous for it’s ex-inhabitant the Dodo, is often mentioned in the same breath as The Seychelles or The Maldives. Partly because all three are long-haul and (roughly) in the same part of the world and partly because all three are synonymous with beaches, luxury hotels and honeymooning couples. But it’s not an entirely fair comparison.

Whilst the last two are pretty much luxury playgrounds, with small (sub-100k populations), Mauritius is a ‘proper’ country with volcanoes, coves, dolphins and rainforests. Sure, there is more than enough incredible luxury and fantastic service for even the most demanding guest, but there is also a whole island with over a million inhabitants to get to know if you do want to explore past your hotel or beach.

We stayed at Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort in the south of the island.

Inspired by former resident, and 19th-century naturalist Charles Telfair, this spacious yet intimate plantation-style resort, is the finest of a small group of hotels located on the cusp of a white sand beach. The group sprawls across the former sugar estate of Domaine de Bel Ombre and includes it’s ‘sister’ hotel Heritage AwaIi, a nature reserve, a championship golf course and no less than twelve restaurants including one in a standalone manor house right from the pages of ‘Gone with the Wind.’

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View from our balcony and the main pool

A river runs through it, quite literally, dissecting the lush tropical gardens and the resorts’ sheer scale enabled it’s designers to zone the space, creating a surprisingly intimate feel to what is a pretty large estate.

Romantic restaurants and enclaves for honeymoon couples are a short, but divisive, golf buggy ride away from the kids clubs, water sport centre and kite surfing school.

Other activities include yoga, nature walks, quad biking and mountain biking in the Frederica Nature Reserve, not forgetting that golf course and a PADI dive centre.

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Hotel Grounds

Our room, a double “deluxe sea view” looked out over the ocean, it’s balcony the perfect place to sit with a beer watching the huge waves breaking across the protective ring of coral, which surrounds pretty much the whole island.

Children are well catered for in a fully equipped childcare centre, its huge garden bigger than any nursery I’ve ever visited. The TiMoMo Kids Club organise a range of activities from games and activities within the grounds, right up to a pop-up cinema on the beach plus excursions to the nearby nature reserve which feels very Jurassic Park.

For older children there is the ‘Cool Club’ teen room which is well-stocked with PS3s, pool tables and more. If that sounds a bit too digital then the hotel actually host a digital-detox programme to persuade your family to forgo their screens. A free baby sitting service is included for all children, from birth upwards, and although this stops at 4pm, private arrangements can extend this to 11pm if you want to prop up the bar or linger over the dessert menu.

View towards pool and beach
Childcare

Age

0-3

3-11

Cost

included

included

Time

8.30am -4pm

8.30am -5pm & 6.30pm -11pm

Children can eat lunch and supper in their clubs, activities include beach cinema, trips to the nature reserve, sports, cycling. Babysitting can be arranged for the evenings up to 11pm.

 

Kids Club and Cool Room

If I had to sum up Le Telfair in three words it would be relaxed, unfussy, luxury.

The service is incredible, and with a staff/guest ratio of two-to-one that is almost a given, but there is a friendly openness which one doesn’t always get at top end hotels. Staff are always smiley, chatty and very very helpful, but whilst their attention to detail is exceptional one doesn’t feel they’re waiting to pounce just for the theatre of fluffing a napkin or repositioning a knife.

Although I agreed with Mark Twain after only twenty four hours on the island, after a week I think he may have understated just how lovely it is.

Beach and pool

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Note: From the 15th of May to the 1st September the Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort will be undergoing a renovation. In addition to the rooms the main communal areas and Le Chateau de bel Ombre will also be refreshed. We were shown around a suite which had already been updated and it worked well, a nice contemporary update which didn’t take away from the history of the buidings, history which gives the resort it’s authenticity.
Golf course

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Frederica Nature Reserve

The Domaine de Bel Ombre estate covers 2500 hectares, which, like almost all of the agricultural land on Mauritius, used to be farmed for sugar. The decline in this industry, which has seen the number of sugar factories fall from over 200, at it’s peak, to single figures today has created opportunities for the redevelopment of land for both tourism and property.
And the Frederica Nature Reserve is just one of these initiatives.
Visitors travel around either on self-drive quad bikes or, in a larger buggy, piloted by a guide.
Safety is paramount with a detailed briefing in the visitor centre and staff made sure we had enough water and sun cream before setting out.
The big soft squishy tyres are perfect for navigating the muddy tracks and as one gets deeper and deeper into the reserve the thick luscious vegetation gives it a very ‘Jurassic Park’ feel. After a mile or so we started to climb and soon the trees were making way for shorter grasses and shrubs. The bumpy climb was certainly worth enduring, as the view from the top was breath-taking. The reserve and resort stretched out for miles below us before meeting the deep blue sea and the coral reef beyond.
Our return trip down was much more civilised and on the descent we spotted deer between the trees and even found time to stop for a swim by a waterfall.
Magical.

 


Transfers and Day Trips

Our transfers to and from the resort were handled by Mautourco, The Turquoise Holiday Company’s partner on the Island. We were very delayed on our flight out from Heathrow and so weren’t quite sure whether our ride would be still be waiting. Thankfully he was and the cold water and hassle-free transfer was exactly what we needed at 3am! We also used Mautourco for an island tour on the Tuesday taking in the Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens, the Black River Gorge National Park, the Chamarel Waterfall and the sand dunes of the seven-coloured earth. 
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Bars and restaurants

There are twelve restaurants and eight bars across the group, including the golf clubhouse and the Awali hotel. There really is something for everyone with the more family-focused Awali catering for a more laid-back crowd and Le Telfair providing a more formal atmosphere. The Zafarani, an Indian themed restaurant, served up spicy street food dishes which reminded me very much of Thali and Pickles in SW12.
Le Château de Bel Ombre, overlooking the golf course, was much more formal and although it did have a dress code, it successfully manages to walk that fine line between attentive and fussy service. If George Clooney was going to propose to me, this is where I want him to do it!
But it was the Gin’ja beachside restaurant which was probably my favourite. One magical evening we ate under the stars, with sand between our toes and the waves crashing a few feet from our table. The Asian fusion food was fresh and exciting, the presentation theatrical and if Mr NVN had asked me to marry him (again) I might even had said yes!
If you really want to go to town it might be worth looking at The Le Telfair’s Gourmet Bliss package. This pre-paid upgrade gives the diner a wider choice of menus and is a pretty cost-effective alternative to half-board.

 

NappyValleyNet travelled to Mauritius with The Turquoise Holiday Company

7 nights in a Deluxe Garden View Room, on a bed and breakfast basis, from £3,650 GBP for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children under 12), including international flights and transfers.
Pop in to the Turquoise shop at 147 Northcote Road, open Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5.30pm or call their team of family holiday specialists on 0207 147 7087.
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