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The Jet Travellers Guide No 1. - The Luxury Escape

Mauritius is a classic Indian Ocean paradise. Its white sand beaches, turquoise seas and lush, mountainous interior are the stuff of fantasy. The island is also determinedly exclusive, with a limited allowed number of charter flights, and it has continued to open only top quality hotels (such as international brands, the Four Seasons and Oberoi) alongside local hotels that include Beachcomber and LUX* Island Resorts.

AvBuyer   |   1st January 2012
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Mauritius: The Idyllic Hideaway
By Catherine Chetwynd

Mauritius is a classic Indian Ocean paradise. Its white sand beaches, turquoise seas and lush, mountainous interior are the stuff of fantasy. The island is also determinedly exclusive, with a limited allowed number of charter flights, and it has continued to open only top quality hotels (such as international brands, the Four Seasons and Oberoi) alongside local hotels that include Beachcomber and LUX* Island Resorts.

The Mauritians are an eclectic mix of Indian, French, African and British cultures who live together peaceably and each contributes to the island’s colourful culture. Unlike parts of the Caribbean, Mauritius is not overdeveloped, and building restrictions dictate that no building is taller than the nearest palm tree.

Arrive in Style
Arrival by private jet is greeted in a style that promises a relaxed, but luxurious stay. Guests are met at the aircraft and transferred to the airport’s VIP Yu Lounge in the comfort of a Porsche Cayenne or BMW.

“In just two minutes, you are in the lounge and completing immigration and customs formalities over a cup of coffee and continental breakfast,” says Davina Naiken, director of sales & marketing for tour operator Connections Tourism Management. “Your luggage and any other requirements will be taken care of, and we greet guests with garlands of flowers.”

Special services can be booked through tour operators, who can arrange a helicopter flight to your hotel or a luxury car transfer – with your favourite champagne, of course. Four Seasons, Le Touessrock, One&Only Le Saint Géran, Paradis and Le Residence all have a helipad to receive guests.

The 5-star deluxe hotels on the island all provide stellar levels of service and facilities, while the village-style resorts all have several restaurants on site.

A Golfer’s Paradise
The undeveloped south west corner of the island, Le Morne peninsula, is watched over by the magnificent rock after which it is named, and is the spot of choice for those who want to be hidden away in peace and quiet. Views stretch uninterrupted across the ocean to the horizon from 7 kilometres of white sand beach in front of Paradis Hotel and Golf Resort and LUX* Le Morne.

The rock plays a poignant role in the island’s history as a group of slaves had escaped there and were still hiding on the rock when slavery was abolished on February 1, 1835. A troop of soldiers went there to tell them they were free, but thinking they were about to be captured the slaves jumped to their deaths.

Nightlife, restaurants, bars and markets
Move round to the west coast, and you will find some lively night life, restaurants and bars in Flic en Flac that are within walking distance from several hotels, including Maradiva.

In the north is the capital, Port Louis, where the bustling market is a sensuous assault of smells, sights and sounds, with coriander, fruit and street food in abundance. Also to the north is Grande Baie, the most developed part of the island, which makes wandering out to the shops and restaurants much easier than in other areas.

The Grande Dame of Mauritian hotels - One&Only Le Saint Géran - holds sway on the east coast, offering outstanding levels of service, but if trendy and cool is more your style, then the Four Seasons Hotel gives a more modern take on comfort and luxury, where accommodation is in private villas, each with a plunge pool.

Food fans are spoiled for choice in Mauritius. Not surprisingly, seafood is a particularly strong suit and Le Pescatore in Trou aux Biches is a top find, overlooking the sea, and the atmosphere is lovely in the evening. Also providing a fabulous gastronomic experience is Château Mon Désir, which is in the 25-hectare tropical garden of the Maritim Hotel Mauritius and overlooks the Balaclava Ruins. These ruins were part of the Balaclava Estate, whose sea walls were laid down by the 18th century governor of Mauritius, Mahé de Labourdonnais, and were also a pirate’s hideaway.

It’s all in the name at La Langouste Grisée (translated ‘the tipsy langoustine’), and lovers of shellfish will be well rewarded there; alternatively, Domaine Anna’s Sino-European fusion food is very popular with the locals, as is its tranquil position by a man-made lake. Advance booking is a must, however.

Private Island Hideaways
Exclusivity extends even to neighbouring islands such as Ile des Deux Cocos, which can be taken over privately. “There is a villa that sleeps four and comes with butler service and sole use of a speed boat, which guests can use to explore the lagoon,” says Ms. Naiken.

“The island is in a protected marine park and the colour of the water and variety of underwater life is amazing. We can provide a boat and skipper to escort guests there, and he will tell guests about the fish and coral. That comes with the exclusivity of the island.”

If a night or two away from the action appeals, then hire a catamaran to visit the Ile au Gabriel and Ile Plate, starting in the late afternoon for a sunset cruise. A private chef tends to all your culinary needs, while you can swim and snorkel to your heart’s content in an environment so peaceful, you will feel as though you are the only person left on the planet.

Mauritius is safe, politically and financially stable, and no vaccinations are required to visit. It is also discreet, and the rich and famous visit because they know they will not be troubled by paparazzi.

David Ghetta and David Beckham are both said to have stayed on the island recently. “Generally, no one would tell you they were there, not even after they had left,” says Naiken. So as you can see, you will be able to visit the island discreetly and enjoy its unspoiled charms and the warmest of welcomes.

Mauritius:
The Jet Traveller’s Fact File:
Time Difference: China is 4 hours ahead of Mauritius
Best Time to Visit? July to September

Flight times to Mauritis from China
Approx flight time by Private Jet to Port Louis, Mauritius from China’s Key cities:
Beijing 5,602.5 miles - 11.5 hrs
Macau 4,773.9 miles - 10hrs
Shanghai 5,521.7 miles - 11.5 hrs
Tianjin 5,622.7 miles - 11.5 hrs
Wuhan 5,139.8 miles – 10.5hrs
Shenzhen 4,827.3 miles - 10 hrs
Hong Kong 4,816.3 miles - 10 hrs

Which Jet Type Is Best For China-Mauritius flights?
BusinessLiners and Ultra-Long-Range Jets would be required for flight distances of 10hrs-plus from China. Jets in these categories include: Airbus ACJ319, ACJ330, ACJ340, ACJ350, ACJ380; Boeing BBJ, BBJ2, BBJ3, BBJC, 747VIP, 787VIP, Bombardier Global 5000, Global 6000; Dassault Falcon 7X; Gulfstream G500, G550 and G650.

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