After a taxi ride across the island, we arrived for lunch time at Heritage Le Telfair. This was only our second ever stay at one of the small luxury hotels of the world (after Pavillon de Lettres in the summer) so we were looking forward to a more boutique feel to the stay.
Although it comes under the umbrella of the SLH group, Heritage Le Telfair is actually a surprisingly large complex. Driving up to the main reception area was even more impressive than our first impression of the St Regis. A beautiful palm lined venue led up to a white framed colonial style entrance way, where one of the hosts welcomed us with a deliciously refreshing lemongrass drink.
Once we were checked in, we were taken to our room where our luggage had already made its way before us. A stunning four-poster bed took pride of place in the middle of the room with a small lounge area complete with chaise lounge off to one side, a walk in wardrobe behind the bed and a beautiful white bathroom with outdoor shower the other side.
Through our private terrace doors, two sun beds were readily made up with fresh towels folded and placed on the corner of each. Beyond, nothing but the sand, the sea and the beautiful blue sky.
After a morning’s travel and exploring, we changed and headed off in search of lunch. We found it at Le Palmier – the beach club restaurant off one side of the pool area. Tables and chairs in the sand and amongst the palm trees, with uninterrupted views of the beach and sea.
Sadly, the service at this restaurant wasn’t much different from that which we experienced on our first night at St Regis with waiters not leaving us alone for more than a minute and trying to up-sell on everything we ordered. Ben and I said it’s such a shame that Mauritius hasn’t quite got the service right. They have an island that practically sells itself, but the customer service isn’t what you’d expect from five star hotels.
Really trying to not let it get to us (we were on our honeymoon after all) we finished our food which was decent enough, nothing exceptional, but good food all the same and made a bee-line for the pool and the cocktail list.
Sadly, once again, the cocktails were served from Le Palmier bar and tasted like something I might make myself when I was 18 before heading out to a club with my friends… we spent the rest of the day on the loungers outside our room after that.
While we were getting ready for dinner, there was a knock at the door and one of the staff brought in a gift of some canapés and a bottle of lychee wine for us to enjoy before dinner which was a lovely touch.
Dinner was included in our package and was to be had at Annabellas.
Again, unfortunately we had bad service and there were about four cats that kept trying to jump on everyone’s tables and steal the food, which I wouldn’t have minded so much but if you went to stroke them they hissed at you and went to bite you. The food was really good though and the puddings were excellent.
Feeling slightly exhausted after a long day of disappointment, Ben and I decided that tomorrow would be a much better day. We’d also heard that you could book a picnic and collect it the next day for lunch, so managed to arrange to have that the next day, through the concierge.
Walking back towards our room, we noticed a bar called Cavendish that sat directly opposite Annabellas and thought we ought to give it a try. We were so happy we did. For the first time on our trip we were served genuine quality cocktails. When you’re paying an average of £20/cocktail in Mauritius, you expect to get at least London standard drinks.
Up until that moment, we hadn’t received quality and it was heavenly to finally toast what was supposed to be the perfect honeymoon we had booked. The mixologists were masters of their trade and happily talked Ben through each dark rum at the bar (which he swapped his whiskey for on the trip) while I sat back and sipped my Lychee Martini, people watching and being serenaded by the guitar player.
Feeling a lot happier about what was to come tomorrow, we walked the short distance back to our room to fall into a much more relaxed sleep to the sound of the wood in the boats gently creaking over the tiny waves.
Both of us woke up feeling rested and positive that we would have a perfect day. Not letting anything get to us, we walked to Annabellas where breakfast is served. A complete transformation from the night before, the service was perfect and we chose a lovely little quiet table on the veranda away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the tables and the buffet.
Once we were safely back by our table, we set out a plan of action for the day.
With our food devoured, there was nothing for it but to get out onto the water. Everything had already been booked a few days in advance, so we couldn’t join any activities but grabbed a canoe and paddled out into the shallows. We spotted fish from the boat and splashed in the water when it started to get too hot.
Aching arms dictated that it was time to hand the boat back, pack a bag, collect our picnic and head as far away from everyone else as we could. We had been highly recommended the waterfall walk in the hotel’s own nature reserve, not far from the golf course on the other side of the resort, but concierge informed us that because we hadn’t booked to go, we couldn’t walk in the reserve – slightly frustrating as not one person while recommending this to us had mentioned you actually had to book.
Undefeated, we took off down the right hand side of the bridge, past the water sports centre and carried on down the beach and through woodland before it opened out into a private bay.
With not a soul in sight, we spread out our towels next to a deserted boat barn, stuck our Lychee wine as deep into the sand on the shoreline as we could (natures fridge) and dunked ourselves straight into the beautiful blue waters before flopping onto our towels to dry off in the sun.
A boat’s engine woke us both as a fisherman, his family and dog pulled up to the shore. Curious, Ben and I both got up to see what the fuss was about. The man had caught a huge fish as well as a lobster in his pot and was more than happy to let us take pictures and chat to us about his successful fishing trip.
When the family had wandered off back to the town we pulled out our picnic haul and laid it out. There was so much food, we wondered how we would eat it all, and it was incredible compared to the food we had eaten at Le Palmier the day before.
The afternoon was spent eating and drinking the incredible Lychee wine, ducking in and out of the water, before we gathered up our feast and made our way back along the beach. Past local kids playing football with homemade bamboo goal posts and families fishing along the shore. Stray dogs wolfed down any food that was tossed their way and tiny fish darted along the shallows next to us.
By this point, the sun was beginning to disappear and we stole one more dip in the pool before perching on the chairs at C Beach Club to watch the sunset with a (much better than Le Palmier’s) cocktail in hand.
There was of course time for another pre-dinner cocktail at Cavendish, before our booking at Gin’Ja.
The restaurant for the evening was actually right next to our room and with our meal plan we received 1000 rps off the final bill. If we had known how good the food and service was at Gin’Ja, we would probably have spent the first evening here too. Because it was chilly, we ate under shelter, but during warmer times of the year, a candlelit dinner on the beach would be perfect.
We decided on just a main and a pudding, but they brought us out little aperitifs while we waited for the food to cook which was lovely.
The puddings stole the show and reminded me of the incredible food from back home with a Mauritian twist – especially the stunning chocolate sphere.
After a perfect day, we didn’t quite want it to end so had another few rounds of cocktails at Cavendish before a moonlit walk along the beach, watching the huge fruit bats swoop across the starry sky before it was on to our next stop.