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    We have created this blog to house posts on our knowledge, thoughts and observations of the luxury lifestyles and diverse cultures of Mauritius, Seychelles. Madagascar, Zanzibar, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

    There is so much to experience and so much to share...

    Julie Gauthier

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Elegant Destinations Launches New Website to Showcase The Best Indian Ocean Villa Rentals

Websitefrontpage

This year Elegant Destinations are celebrating 20 years of Mauritius luxury villa rentals from the start of the internet when Netscape launched its ground-breaking browser in 1993 to today’s quickening pulse of social media activity. To celebrate this milestone Elegant Destinations has launched a brand new website www.elegantdestinations.com showcasing the best luxury villas and hotels in Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar and Mozambique.For two decades the co-founders Hans and Julie Gauthier have hunted for and deliberated over the best villas and hotels across the Indian Ocean region. The seeds of the villa rental idea grew after the development of a family plot among the swaying palms in Trou Aux Biches. Some of their clients have been with them along the whole stretch of the journey and this niche business has grown through their clients’ loyalty and spontaneous recommendations to their friends. .The new website offers a superb selection of quality properties known for their locations, excellent service and culinary delights.

In Mauritius there is a huge choice of hand-picked villas: resort villas from the stunning Four Seasons and Le Touessrok villas to the beach villas of le Paradis and Trou Aux Biches and the golf estates of Anahita and Heritage. Exclusive designer beach villas like Villa One 4-suite pool villa in Pointe Aux Canonniers and Cape Blue exclusive 5-bedroom beachfront villa in Cap Malheureux. In the luxury villa category Villa Athenee voted one of the top 10 best beach villas by Condé Nast Traveller and Island Villa L’Ilot a real private island offering a privileged and unique stay. There is also an array of beach bungalows which offer the more budget conscious an excellent base for that family beach holiday. All around the island there are also contemporary beach apartments from the desirable Cape Point in Cap Malheureux in the north to the recently opened Esplanade in Black River on the west coast. For the Mauritius hotels there is a hand-picked portfolio of the best luxury and boutique hotels whether for a golf trip with friends, a family holiday or a romantic escape.

The Seychelles portfolio includes the best luxury hotels in the archipelago from the gourmet delights of Four Seasons Seychelles to the barefoot luxury of Desroches. Some of the most popular pool villas have also been included like the 4-bedroom Li-Al-Do Maison on Mahe.

Zanzibar is a new destination with a choice of luxury villa resorts like Essque Zalu an all pool villa resort and the romantic spa resorts of The Residence and The Palms. All the private villas offer original experiences from the loft style beach chic of Upendo Retreat to the eco credentials of Milele Villas.

Mozambique, another new destination, offers a delightful Indian Ocean adventure. Hidden gems like Azura at Quilalea with Mozambican butler service and superb spa, Azura at Benguerra designer modern chic with a traditional twist and the exclusive Vamizi Island. From Santorini-in-Africa to Pambele these villas offer all inclusive fully staffed luxury accommodation with stunning beaches.

Hans Gauthier, Managing Director and Co-Founder is delighted with the launch and spends much of his time keeping an eye on the future of travel in the region and looking forward to sharing his excitement of these developments with their clients. The focus of Elegant Destinations has always been a family company with very personal service and all requests always tailor-made as if they were their own holidays.

Elegant Destinations has been an online travel specialist to Mauritius and Seychelles since 1993 and has established a reputation as one of the Indian Ocean luxury villa pioneers. Their hand-picked portfolio of villas and hotels reflects the varied culture and true excitement of this region offering you their expertise and inspiration as well innovative ideas and a high level of personalised service.

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What to see on Mauritius East Coast

The east coast of Mauritius is my favourite coast. From the quiet creeks of Roches Noires in the north, past the wind swept beaches of Poste Lafayette to the mangroves and down to Belle Mare’s soft sandy beaches there is a surprise at every turn of the coastal road. The public beach of Palmar offers a wide expanse of rock and sand, a great place to take the kids for a picnic enroute. Down in the south east is the quiet sleepy village of Trou d’aux Douce with its friendly inhabitants and the wonderful off shore island of Ile Aux Cerfs. Here are highlights of spots to visit on the east coast or within driving distance.

 

Flacq marketFlacq Market
Flacq is one of the most important villages in Mauritius. This meeting point for inhabitants of the East boasts the country’s largest open air market. The extremely colourful market attracts a large number of people.

 

waterparkThe Waterpark Leisure Village
Enjoy unforgettable moments sliding on the giant chutes, with family or friends. Relaxation and pleasure guaranteed.

 

ile aux cerfsIle aux Cerfs
Ile aux Cerfs is a paradise for water sports and has the most beautiful beach in Mauritius. You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape.

 

eureka  mauritiusEureka
Although not technically in the east but the centre of Mauritius in Moka, I have included the drive from the east through to the heart of old colonial Mauritius which can easily be taken in along with a visit to the markets at Quatre Bornes. An old Creole residence built in 1830, Eureka is an essential place to visit during your stay in Mauritius if you wish to immerse yourself in the past.

Situated at Moka, in the fresh and lush climate of central Mauritius, the famous residence “Eureka” was built during the French colonial period and once belonged to a very well known Mauritian family. The main part of the estate has been turned into a museum, and they offer guided tours through this magnificent colonial house, its lush gardens and down to the cascading river.

It is their aim to have their guests experience an extended glimpse of history and they offer three self catering guesthouses on the premises; situated in the vicinity of the main own residence in a quiet corner of the vast gardens and “off the beaten track”.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed our guide of what to see on the Mauritius East Coast!

Top 10 Mauritius Luxury Villas of 2012

Reflecting on 2012 we have seen some interesting developments. Whilst there are still some firm favourites making the top 10 we have seen a large increase in family groups looking for a traditional yet trendy villa holiday. This year has been hugely successful for several of the villas on this trend in Mauritius. These spacious architect-designed pool villas with often 5+ bedrooms, offer a real home from home with their own local staff to take away those domestic chores.

2012 has also seen the opening of more luxury oceanfront apartments with very positive client feedback. Wedding parties blocking whole complexes were very popular this year, especially for those with guests from the southern and northern hemispheres meeting half way.

Mauritius continues to attract the villa client who can enjoy a tropical home from home, with homemade cooking, hot sandy beaches and the usual warm welcome of the Mauritius people.

Luxury Beach Apartments

 

Cape Point Apartments – Cap Malheureux (North Coast Mauritius)

 

Cape Point is a fantastic seafront property in North Mauritius just 5 minutes from Grand Bay. This year has seen a flurry of wedding groups with guests from all around the globe. Weddings can be held at Cape Point or at other romantic locations nearby. Cape Point has four spacious 3 bedroom apartments and a 4 bedroom penthouse offering a high level of comfort and stunning views over the lagoon and the northern islands. The swimming pool has a large wooden decking area and a pool bar.

 

Leora Beach Apartments – Tamarin, Black River (West Coast Mauritius) 

Leora opened late 2011 and was the first luxury apartments for rental on the west coast. An instant hit with our guests, it will soon be joined in April 2013 by another similar property L’Espanade. Leora Beachfront Apartments are in a stunning location with amazing sea views. There are 12 apartments and 2 penthouses of 3 bedrooms each set in four stylish blocks. Nearby are top-rated golf courses, sports clubs and commercial centres with shops and restaurants. The opening of such apartments are ideal for families, couples and groups of friends.

Traditional & Trendy Luxury Villas

 

Villa Athénée – Poste Lafayette (East Coast Mauritius)

As always, Villa Athénée is a firm favourite every year, this 5 bedroom beachfront thatched villa is traditonal yet stylish. A real home from home, the guests appreciate the ambiance of the villa, deck, pool and lovely soft sand of the beach as well as the delicious cooking provided by Marie-Josee. Excellent choice for a group of friends or large family.

Villa Hermes

 

Villas Hermes – Belle Mare (East Coast Mauritius)

One of our favourites and with fantastic staff, this villa brings family and golfing groups back year after year. Villas Hermes 2 with its 5 bedrooms can be rented along with Villa Hermes 1 with 4 bedrooms. A much sought-after villa which shares the finest beach of Belle Mare with the One&Only St Géran. All bedrooms are en-suite and air-conditioned. The outside covered terrace leads to a spacious lawn overlooking the powder beach and quiet bay. In our opinion you can’t beat both its location and its dedicated staff . A truly authentic Mauritius holiday experience.

La Boiserie – Trou Aux Biches/Mont Choisy (North Coast Mauritius)

On a gorgeous sandy beach, this well positioned  4-bedroom villa with a guest cottage sleeps up to 8 adults and 2 children. Days are spent sunbathing in the beautifully maintained front garden, laid out lawn and sand or dining under the covered wooden gazebo overlooking the stunning bay. Its location is great for sea sports enthusiasts with the  Blue Water Diving Centre and the Big Game Fishing Centre just 75 metres away. This villa has been very popular for large family groups with small children.

Villa K

 

Villa K – Pointe Aux Canonniers   (North Coast Mauritius)

This brand new exclusive villa lies on the beach overlooking the islands off the North coast. It is designed in tropical contemporary style and consists of 4 air-conditioned and ventilated en suite bedrooms sleeping up to 8 guests.

Villa Thalie

 

Villa Thalie – Domaine de Belle Riviere (South Coast Mauritius)

Located in the south west of Mauritius at Bel Ombre is Domaine de Belle Riviere, one of the most exclusive estates in Mauritius comprising some exclusive luxury private villas and the Sofitel So Mauritius five star luxurious hotel and spa. Villa Thalie has 7 bedrooms (4 suites and 3 doubles) and can sleep up to 18. Excellently managed and with complimentary access to the neighbouring Sofitel So Mauritius beach, kids club, restaurants and spa this has been a big hit with our discerning family groups. Ideal location for a very private and sophisticated wedding.

Villa d'Eden

 

Villa d’Eden – Poste Lafayette (East Coast Mauritius)

A traditional thatched and stone villa with pool and a very attentive housekeeper and cook. With 4 bedrooms Villa d’Eden offers a comfortable relaxing stay whether as a couple or with the family.

Tropical Cove

 

Tropical Cove (East Coast Mauritius)

A popular favourite this beautiful 4-bedroom villa is situated in a tropical garden overlooking the tranquil beach of Roches Noires, in a cove well protected from the wind. It is the ideal location for sports lovers who want to kite surf, use championship golf courses and jog along the coast. Ideal for families sleeping 6 adults and 2 children.

Lunea Villas

 

Lunea Villas – Anahita (East Coast Mauritius)

Ideal for golfing groups and family get togethers, Lunea Villas are nestled in the heart of a 213 acre estate of Anahita with views across to the famous Ile aux Cerfs. The estate also includes the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius and the 18 hole Championship golf course designed by Ernie Els.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful year in 2012, we know we have with the Olympics and Paralympics in the United Kingdom to be excited about amongst all the rest that is happening in Mauritius.

We look forward to welcoming you to some of these beautiful locations in 2013 which is already just round the corner!

Subscootering, Mauritius

Many of our party thought we would never do any Scuba diving, let alone something called Subscootering. From afar it seems like an odd choice for an underwater experience with so many other things on offer on the island. With Blue Safari, we were welcomed and briefed on our morning schedule.

From a jetty we were taken by boat out to a Subscootering Platform beyond the lagoon. Wet suits were given out and there were changing rooms, toilets and showers on board. All dressed and ready to go, you put on some of their plastic shoes to protect our feet. There are two people per scooter, one driving the scooter and another having more of an observational experience. The word scooter suggests a high speed experience, whereas it is a fairly slow moving vehicle and there is plenty of time to observe your surroundings.

You climb aboard the vehicle, are shown how to drive and practice the hand signals for different communications for when underwater, as the diver guiding you can obviously not hear. However, you can communicate with ease with your partner in the scooter, from your anxieties to your observations which our party found a valuable part of the experience. If you would like to record your experiences underwater you must ensure you have an underwater camera as on the vehicle you are not able to photograph with a regular camera.

At first it was a shock, but as none of our party had ever done any diving before, this could possibly account for it. Not long after popping our ears and getting deeper into the water, we encountered shoals of different fish; below us we could see coral as we floated past.

Our guide left to return to the surface for a second and returned with bread, all the fish around us ran towards him. He gestured for us to give him our hand and he passed us a lump of bread so we could feed the fish ourselves. Muchlike any animal feeding experience, it was strange, it tickled and yet we all enjoyed it.

On coming to the surface, we felt very heavy as the wetsuits were filled with water and we’d been used to the lightness in the water but we all had smiles on our faces. Once you’d peeled off the wet suits, you were welcomed with a drink of your choice once you were dry. Definitely a great experience for anyone who is interested in scuba diving but either doesn’t have the confidence or has problems with swimming. You will definitely always remember this experience!

Casela Nature & Leisure Park

The Casela Nature & Leisure Park was stunning in the blazing heat and, as most Mauritians know, it has expanded to much more than an aviary. The birds take up the majority of what can now be called a Zoo but the newest features such as the fishing and petting zoo are the most enchanting due to their interaction with the park visitors; especially children.

The birds are in multitude of several species of varying endangerment from many tropical climates around the world. The descriptions are in both English and French which was very helpful and there is plenty of useful information, infographics and maps. The birds are accompanied by the solemn tortoises that roam around an open area where you can walk right up to them and take pictures.

The petting zoo is one of the most wonderful places where you can feed the animals with the available feed or baby milk bottles. The animals here are not just the typical farmyard animals but feature (at the time of our visit) a very tame zebra, several deer, a few ostrich and a few animals more commonly seen worldwide such as farmbirds and goats. Having a young deer eat or drink from directly out of your hands is captivating for anyone, child or adult.

The Tilapia fishing was another great experience to share with a group. You’re equipped with equipment similar to the average fisherman of this island paradise and have a small, safe body of water to catch fish in. Most of it is luck and patience but two of us managed to catch fish and, despite having to return it to the water, we felt very accomplished.

The hilltop restaurant that looks over most of the park and Mauritian country-side features a vast, mouth-watering selection of food, including some of the best of Mauritian and Indian-Ocean cuisine.  There are plenty more activities such as the safari (via Bus, Jeep, Quad-bike or Segway) for the more adventurous but we found there was plenty of fascinating animals and experiences to be had otherwise.

http://www.caselayemen.mu/

C Beach Club, Heritage Resorts

Overview
Whilst staying at the Heritage Villas, you are welcome at the trendy C Beach Club where you can have a social dip in the pool, do water sports at the Boathouse and be served food and drink whilst you relax on the beach. It also houses the V.I. Teens Club, which organises events throughout the day, every day, tailor-made to the teenagers attending.

Food & Drink on the beach
On the beach we were offered a menu from the restaurant which was filled with various cocktails, pizzas and paninis. We tried four different pizzas; Seafood, Mediterranean, Four Cheeses and Rocket & Parma Ham. Out of all four, the seafood pizza was the best, full of flavour. To drink we ordered all four of the Mocktails (Non-alcoholic Cocktails), these went really well with our pizzas.

The Boathouse
We couldn’t resist hiring equipment from the Boathouse after seeing others enjoying the water sports. There are Laser boats, Kayaks and Pedalos, as well as Wind surfing, Water Skiing and other sports. With Pedalos and Kayaks you are able to explore right up the beach to Awali within designated zones.

V.I. Teens Club
Some of our party were very interested in the teens club, immediately they were encouraged by the ‘V.I. Teens Animator’ to get involved with a beach volleyball match during which several other teenagers from other parts of the resort joined. The atmosphere made it easy for everyone to make friends which were especially interesting as they came from all over the world. The ‘Animator’ took suggestions for activities for the following day and followed up with the teenagers schedule at the next breakfast.


http://www.cbeachclub.mu

Heritage In-villa Dining BBQ

One of the best experiences for everyone at Heritage was the In-Villa Dining BBQ. Chefs and waiters come to your villa and prepare the food. Whilst you start your dinner you can see the chef barbequing the meat infront of you; the smells are just as much part of the taste of the meal.

First crudités and salad with freshly prepared dressings decorated the table. First coming of the main course the beef steaks which melted in your mouth like butter. Then, accompanied by a special Barbeque sauce, came the Lamb Shanks which were equally tender and delicious. After this was the culinary pinacle and final main dish, the giant Indian Ocean Prawns were fluffy and generously flavoursome.

The dessert was a beautiful trio of Chocolate Mousse with Citrus Curd, Tiramisu and Tropical Fruit Kebab. Once we had had our coffees to finish, we met the chefs and applauded them enthusiastically as we had a fantastic meal.

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