At the beginning of our epic trip to South Africa last month, we had a few days before we needed to get to Kruger Park (more on that adventure to come!) and didn’t fancy spending them in Johannesburg, so we started looking around for places to go and Mauritius kept popping up as an idea. Just a 3.5hr flight from Jo’burg, it’s a great option for some serious luxury beach vibes, which were truly welcome for this Brit girl in January. After doing a bit of research on hotels on Twitter, I was invited to stay at the newly acquired Radisson Blu Azuri Resort & Spa in Roches Noires on the quieter north east side of the island. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity.
Our room was a superior room on the beach front with a small terrace and plunge pool – a very welcome sight after 22hrs of travelling. The amenities were fantastic, including an excellent docking & charging station for laptop, iPad, iPhone etc with USB hubs. I love a Nespresso machine alongside a tea & coffee station. The mini bar was well-stocked and reasonably priced. The shower was a large, walk-in with a rainfall head and separate manual shower head. We particularly loved having the beach towels in the room and the beach bag provided for use during your stay. It was durable and large enough to fit everything in for the day. Towels were often replaced twice a day which was great if you had a morning swim at the gym and then popped to the beach in the afternoon. WiFi is free, fast and works in most areas of the hotel – brilliant for a digital nomad like me with a need to Instagram everything I see!
The service was excellent. Everyone from reception to the restaurants to housekeeping and beyond were friendly and helpful. The housekeeping team especially were so lovely and the maître d’ at the main bar, Cyan, would wave every time we walked past and ask how our day was going. As an introverted Brit on holiday (I prefer people to not notice me most of the time…), I found this to be very welcoming and not at all intrusive.
The wellness area is located away from the main bar hub and a haven of tranquility. The gym is well equipped with a stunning view of the wellness pool. Twice, we woke in the morning, headed to the gym for a circuit or two before jumping in the pool to cool off. It was wonderful way to start the morning. There is also a little health cafe by the pool serving light snacks and juices. The spa itself was a fantastic facility. We had a couples aromatherapy massage which was relaxing from the moment we walked in. Rob said it was the best massage that he had ever had – I also thought it was absolutely fantastic. From the welcoming foot ritual to the moment they turned the lights on, I felt happy and relaxed. I literally never wanted it to end.
Grounds & Location
The hotel is well maintained, with a dedicated troop of groundsmen working on the plants and keeping the beach and communal areas clean and tidy. The location is a little out of the way for the attractions of the rest of the island but to be honest, that’s what I loved most about it. To me, Mauritius is about turning up and doing very little. Even the staff kept telling me that it’s important to relax on holiday! When I turned up, I was a tired and frazzled mess. I had cut some projects in order to streamline my day-to-day work and find a better work-life balance (also more on this to come soon) and I still had quite the To Do list when I landed on the island. By the time I left, I was relaxed and happy and a lot of that was to do with the wonderfully peaceful location of the resort. One afternoon we drove to the more populated Grand Baie and Trou aux Biches beaches and found it all to be very busy and touristy. We lasted about 20mins before driving back to our little hotel haven and ordering cocktails on the sun loungers.
The hotel offers three main places to eat: Le Comptoir, L’Azuli and Ocean One.
Le Comptoir is the main hotel buffet, open only to hotel guests and is pretty impressive as far as hotel buffets go. The offering is varied but not so varied that the quality suffers – the perfect balance in fact. From the usual fruit, yoghurt, ham, cheese, pastry and bread stations to a good selection of hot foods, an egg station, pancakes and local Mauritian fare. I particularly enjoyed the morning welcome smoothie shot at the host stand and the other smoothie offerings. I even spotted a Bloody Mary (well, virgin in fact…) station on the last day – delicious!
We ate at Ocean One twice; once for dinner on their outdoor ocean-front terrace and once for lunch just down the steps on the beach. Both times were excellent; well-priced with great food in a stunning location. The salads were great, the home baked bread was so good that we ate far too much of it. I particularly loved the salmon dish I had for dinner.
L’Azuli was where we spent our final evening. It was quiet most nights and this was no exception. The service and menu offering was impressive, if a touch pricy. The decor is also wonderfully seaside chic. However, we didn’t love the food and it lacked ambiance with only one other couple in the restaurant. I do think, though, that when busier, this would pick up and it would be a brilliant change from the buffet next door. I’d recommend the sushi starter, which was excellent and very fresh.
It is also worth mentioning the on-site bakery, Le Cafe. They offer pastries, bread and light meals, as well as takeaway sandwiches, salads and smoothies. We grabbed a couple of baguettes for a day trip and they were great value and really well packaged. All of the restaurants and facilities cater to the entire Azuri resort – a huge complex of self-catering apartments. They offer takeaway pizzas and other options too. I was impressed with the balance and offering.
The Beach & Pool
The pools at Azuri are lovely. The water is perfect: not too warm and not too cold. We enjoyed the wellness pool and liked hanging out around Cyan pool bar for cocktails at the end of day with its infinity pools and stunning views. The pools are quite small so I do wonder what happens at full capacity, but we found it to be the most beautiful place to hang out.
The beach is a tropical paradise. We spent our final day on one of the huge day beds and it was absolute heaven. I need one for my garden – I actually googled where to find one at home whilst sitting there. No joke. This side of the island has a fantastic breeze, compared to the stifling heat of the west side. I’d recommend the east for that alone. Although, beware that the sun is still as hot, so keep reapplying!
I love great activities at a hotel but am usually put off by the extortionate prices so you can imagine my delight when I was told that the watersports at Azuri are free for guests of the hotel. We went snorkelling one morning after breakfast: They take you out on a glass bottom boat, where you get to dive off and check out the reefs, tropical fish and underwater life. I hadn’t ever done that before and I really enjoyed it. We also took some kayaks for an hour for a bit of activity on the water. There were also paddle boards which we sadly didn’t get around to playing with. We also spotted the transparent kayaks which would have been fantastic to take out and check out the sea life below. One for next time! (Yes, I want to go back!)
Out of the various other activities offered, we opted to try out the stargazing one evening on the beach, which was led by an absolutely fantastic (albeit slightly eccentric) guide who knew so much about the stars in the sky that I felt that I would never ever be able to understand what happens up there. I found it really fascinating and have tried so hard to spot Orion’s Belt and the rest since then! We also took a hotel-organised shopping trip to Flacq Market, the mall and a designer outlet store. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, although the atmosphere of the market was fun.
Mauritius is known for being a little pricy, even for tourists, so price-wise, the hotel is actually well under the main luxury bracket for the island, but the service and facilities are just as fantastic. This is even more impressive given that Radisson Blu only just took over this hotel. In fact, they were hosting their official launch party with the tourism board and prime minister on the day that we left. We did, however, go out of season when the hotel wasn’t stretched, which may have made a difference, but I’d totally recommend doing just that for a week of total luxury in paradise. In fact, I can’t wait to go back.
Find out more about Radisson Blu Azuri Resort & Spa on their website.
Radisson Blu Azuri Resort & Spa
Roches Noires 31201
Rivière du Rempart
+ 230 402 3700
Thank you so much to Radisson Blu Azuri Resort & Spa for their hospitality during our stay.
*I was hosted by Radisson Blu for the week but all opinions are my own.