When it comes to fly-and-flop holidays in paradise, Mauritius rarely disappoints. White beaches, waving palms and azure water — little wonder many travellers rarely leave the sun lounger, let alone the resort.
But a new brand on the east coast of the island is trying to change that.
“We want our guests to be curious,” says Olivier de Guardia, GM of C Mauritius. “We don’t really want our guests to stay in the resort all the time. You can go to a beach anywhere in the world. If you’re going to spend a week here on the island we want you to discover the country a little bit. A lot of hotel brands simply focus on a week at the hotel, but we encourage people to get out and have fun outside the hotel; discover the local culture and environment.”
In truth, C Mauritius isn’t entirely new. It’s been on the coast of Palmar, close to the town of Flacq, for some time, but was entirely revamped, refurbished and — crucially — reimagined just as Covid-19 hit the island. Cue two lost years, before the world really got to find out about it late in 2022.
C Mauritius is a sister brand to the five-star-focused Constance Hotels & Resorts, but aimed squarely at Generation X. “C Mauritius is a younger brand. It’s more active. It’s more funky,” says De Guardia.
And that certainly informs everything from the décor to the guest experience. There’s a steampunk-inspired cocktail machine to mix up your welcome drink on arrival, while across the resort the décor is bright and minimalist. Expect splashes of colour and eye-catching textures, from upcycled fishing nets to installations incorporating rough driftwood. There’s also a welcome focus on creating smaller, more intimate spaces, whether private picnics beneath the palm trees or cosy wine-tasting experiences.
By island standards C Mauritius is a small resort, with 116 rooms across two categories; Deluxe and Prestige. Both offer a private terrace or balcony, and the ground-floor rooms open out onto wide lawns and large swimming pools. Wander 50m further and you’ll find yourself on the powder white sands of the east coast, the sky filled with kite surfers zipping back and forth. There’s a kitesurfing school on-site, and this coast is famed for its calm waters and steady trade winds, making it an ideal place to learn. Set back from the beach you’ll find the C Spa, with six treatment rooms amid a lush walled garden. Fountains and ponds abound, with a central yoga pavilion offering guided sessions. There’s an indoor gym and a challenging outdoor exercise circuit that will see you sweating off those holiday pounds. Tapping into booming global demand for the game, there’s even an outdoor Padel court, one of a handful on the island.
Keeping a close eye on trends is central to the C Mauritius approach, and tapping into a Gen-X appreciation for food and wine, the resort offers four curated dining destinations. The main restaurant offers a more traditional buffet spread, but I was happiest on the wooden benches of Wok ’N Roll, tucking into the daily bento box at lunchtime or superb sushi offered come evening. For more laid-back fare, the Beach Bistro has a feet-in-the-sand atmosphere and a menu of pizza and grills, while Cpicerie dishes up a deli-style destination. I loved the ability to make up a picnic basket and find a quiet spot beneath the palms. Each night the beach bar plays host to Sessions by the Sea, one of the ‘Cignature’ experiences on offer.
I’m up early the next morning to try another; the C-Trek. Backpacks and water bottles are handed out on the bus, which takes us across the island to the base of Le Pouce.
Topping out at 814m above sea level, Le Pouce — “the thumb” — is the third-highest peak on the island and one of the most popular climbs in Mauritius. There’s a clear path for most of the way up, but you’ll be glad for a guide on the final section, where the exposed and eroded path requires sturdy legs and a head for heights. It’s a stiff climb, but well worth it for the panoramic views of Port Louis and the glorious island coastline. Up on the summit, I realised Olivier was right. You can’t see Mauritius without getting off the lounger and heading out the resort gates. From my rocky mountain high, I found a true taste of the island.
• Holmes was a guest of C Mauritius.