Romantic Boutique Hotel
We booked the honeymoon package at the Ocean Beauty for our honeymoon in June. The hotel is located just north of Grand Baie. Our large suite had contemporary furniture with a wonderful bed, couch and table, refrigerator, microwave, TV, and safe. The bathroom was wonderful with a whirlpool tub, fantastic rain shower and separate toilet. Our large deck overlooked the pool and the beach. When we arrived in our room the first night, our bed was sprinkled with flower petals, there were candles around the bathtub and flower petals floating in the bathroom sink.
There's no restaurant on the premises but each morning you're served a full fresh breakfast on your deck or on the beach. The staff set up a special several course dinner for us on the beach. It was delicious and very romantic.
There are a few restaurants, an internet cafe, a tour office/car rental, and bus stop within walking distance.
Photo 1 - inside our room, Photo 2 - beautiful view from our deck, Photo 3 - romantic dinner that was set up for us on the beach
Journal: Donna & Sandy Honeymoon in Mauritius
"Arriving and Settling In"
Sandeep and I went to Mauritius for our honeymoon. Mauritius is a tiny dot of an island in the Indian Ocean located off the east coast of Africa (east of Madagascar). It’s a popular honeymoon (beach) destination. We had a great time, but it was off-season – winter in Mauritius – and aside from being pretty cold, most of the stores, restaurants, etc. closed very early. Although there are many Indian residents – most don’t speak Hindi. The main language spoken is French.
The flight from Mumbai to Mauritius took 5 ½ hours. It was a 4:55 a.m. flight, which meant that we left for the airport at 2 a.m. after 3 hours sleep. Once we landed we cleared immigration and took the 1-hour taxi trip to our hotel. (That was all it took to cover the entire island south to north.) It was 23 degrees (Celsius), cold, and rainy. There were fields and fields of sugar cane all around.
We arrived at our hotel – a new small “boutique” hotel – Ocean Beauty. We had a really nice suite with a beautiful bathroom and a deck overlooking the pool and ocean. After settling in, we took a bus ride about 5 km into the town of Grand Baie for some lunch. The one thing I noticed right away was the dogs. Like India, there were so many strays. But the dogs here were starving – you could see the ribs of the poor things.
After lunch (and feeding a dog), we took another bus to Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. It was not really far but we must have been on the “local” bus since it made a million stops and took over an hour! We walked around the waterfront and market for a while before catching an express bus back to the hotel.
"Walking in Port Louis"
The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast served on our deck. We took an express bus back to Port Louis where we went to the Postal Museum, St. James’ Church, saw the various Government buildings, etc. We went to the National Museum of History where the big star of the place was the dodo. (There are no complete specimens of the dodo anywhere, only fragments and bones and “re-creations”.) Dodos lived undisturbed in Mauritius until Portuguese sailors arrived and feasted on the birds (who were unable to fly). Eventually the dodos were the first species to become extinct.
We tried to find the Photo Museum. Armed with an obviously poor map, we walked and walked and walked. We finally gave up and settled for lunch at the Black Steer on the Caudan Waterfront. (Sadly, my steak was a little disappointing!)
We then took a bus to a jumbo superstore. It was kind of like a Super Walmart – with a grocery store. I hadn’t seen anything like that kind of store in a very long time. All of the food – a million kind of cheeses, a bakery department with fresh breads – croissants and baguettes….mmmmmm. Unfortunately we were on our way to a movie so we didn’t buy anything that day.
We headed back to the waterfront and stopped in a little Italian place for a cappuccino. Then we went to see “Krish” – a new Hindi movie. It was so great to see the movie there – it had English subtitles. Anyway Krish’s release was highly anticipated in India before we left but I didn’t think it was too good.
We left the movie theater and stopped to pick up some pizza from Pizza Hut before taking a taxi back to our hotel. Just as we were heading up the stairs to our room, the skies opened and the rains poured! When we opened the door to our room we were surprised to find flower petals decorating the bed, champagne waiting for us, candles lining the bathtub rim, and flowers filling the bathroom sink.
"Exploring the Island and Sega Dancers"
After breakfast on the balcony the next morning, we decided to rent a car for the rest of our trip. We got a cute little Nissan. I ended up doing most of the driving. The roads were fairly good – some good highways but they had circular intersections. It was crazy watching traffic coming from all directions and trying to figure out who had the right of way!!
We went to the aquarium, which wasn’t too good. It was very small and only had a few tanks of fish. We each had a delicious thali (one of my favorites in Goa!) at an Indian fast food place – “Curry in a Hurry” (how cute a name is that???)..
We found another superstore and went in to pick up a few souvenirs.
We took a drive to the northern most point of the island, Cap Malheurex and took a short walk on the beach. We went to Café De La Plage on the water in Grand Baie for dinner where we had a dodo cocktail and watched a performance of Sega dancers. Sega dancing (from Africa) was brought to Mauritius in colonial times by slaves. The sega provided a form of relief for the hard working slaves. The dance was slow and rhythmic and very nice.
"Submarines and Crocodiles"
The next morning after breakfast on the balcony, we went to the meeting point for Blue Safari Submarines. We took a boat out to the launch boat and boarded our submarine. It was a 10 seater and we got the seats right behind the captain. After the hatch was closed (it’s a little claustrophobic!), we descended 35 meters (100+ feet). The water was a little murky at that depth – and the fish not very colorful but it was cool anyway. We saw a sunken ship (about 50m/150 feet long) that was an artificial reef for all the fish and a 3 ton anchor that was about 200-250 years old. Back to the surface we re-boarded the launch boat and transfer boat and headed back to shore.
We drove quite a distance to a (very bad) flea market in Quatres Bornes. After walking around a little we stopped for lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was really bad. Then we drove to Jumbo – another superstore to pick up supplies for dinner. Mmmmmm…..a fresh hot baguette, salami, oil cured Greek olives, deli chicken for Sandy, etc. It’s always fun to go to grocery stores in foreign countries - so many interesting foods.
After an hour’s drive we reached our hotel. We settled in for a movie and dinner.
Up early the next day we had breakfast on the balcony again. We drove south to La Vanille Crocodile Park. It should have taken about an hour but of course we got a little lost and it ended up taking an hour and 45 minutes!! Fortunately we’re both pretty cool about getting lost and just consider it part of the adventure. Good thing too because it happens a lot!
At the park, we saw various crocodiles, monkeys, etc. We saw hundreds of large turtles and even sat on them for a picture. There were a lot of them enjoying some “afternoon delight” and wow(!) were they noisy and loud!! You could hear them from quite a distance. Guess they were really enjoying themselves!
We went to the restaurant in the park. It was in a beautiful forest setting and we had crocodile fritters. We were joking that they were going to taste like chicken because that’s what everyone says any particular exotic meat tastes like. And sure enough it did taste like chicken. It was actually very good – not tough as I had expected. We finished up at the park and stopped in at Jumbo before heading back to our hotel. We picked up a baguette and some rum. The rum in Mauritius is very sweet – made from sugar cane.
When we got back to the hotel that night, the staff had arranged for us to have dinner on the beach. A beautiful table was set and in the sand they had written “Donna (heart) Sandeep” using small stones. It was incredibly romantic. We had a wonderful meal – some delicious fish, dessert, and drinks. Then it was time to try out our Jacuzzi bathtub.
The next morning we headed to the botanical gardens. Since it was “winter” in Mauritius there was very little in bloom. We did see some cool lily pads and Sandeep stopped for a drink of coconut water before we moved on.
We headed to the Sugar Adventure – a sugar cane processing plant. We went through the museum. Twelve types of sugar were produced. We tried some of them out in our cappuccino before leaving.
Then we headed to the glass blowing factory. This was a cool place and it was interesting to see how all the beautiful pieces were made. We purchased a stained glass mirror. After getting lost for a little while, we finally found the model-ship building factory that we were looking for. Unfortunately it was almost quitting time and the workers were putting away the ships they’d been working on. We did have some time to look around at the finished ships, which were beautiful. Some of them take months to build. We bought a nice one to take home.
By then it was dark, so we headed home stopping at Jumbo to pick up dinner supplies. This time we picked up 2 baguettes because we found that we usually ate a whole one before getting to the check out counter!! (There is always a long line of people at the bakery waiting for the baguettes and as soon as they go on the trays, they’re gone!! They are a meal staple the same way rice is in India.) Our hotel room had a refrigerator and a microwave and I really enjoyed buying our own food. It was food I hadn’t eaten in a year and I was really loving it.
Up early again the next morning, we headed to L’Etoile – another long drive. It’s a beautiful place that’s used for hunting. They also have archery and quad vehicle trails. We had a great time on the quads – speeding around – up and down hills - splashing mud all over ourselves. After our ride we had a late lunch at the restaurant on the property – a combination of Indian and Creole foods.
That night we went to an Italian restaurant, Don Camillo. It was a nice place and got very crowded during our meal. The food was good and we had a nice night.
"Touring the Island"
We were up again early the next morning and for a change of pace we had our breakfast served on the beach. It was really nice! We drove for about an hour to a ferry for Ile aux Cerfs. The island had a beautiful beach. We sat in the sun for a while and walked around part of the island. The water was absolutely freezing – so cold that we couldn’t even wade in it not to mention go for a swim – but it was several shades of incredible blue!! We took speedboat out to some waterfalls and it was a fun ride. Then we went to another part of the island for a bar-b-que lunch, which included some delicious captain’s fish. We took a late ferry back to the mainland and along the way we saw a spectacular rainbow. It was actually a complete rainbow – from end to end!
Arriving back at the mainland we settled in for the long drive back towards our hotel. We stopped to do a little shopping and then went for an Indian dinner at Le Tandoor. As we find with most Indian restaurants out of India, it was just okay. What was a little odd about this particular place was that they had no hot sauce at all! All over Mauritius, including the Italian restaurant, they served some especially hot green chili sauce that Sandy loved. All over except the Indian place!
After breakfast the next morning, we went with a tour group towards the southern part of the island. We went to a different model ship building factory and this time we got to see several people working on different ships. We also went to a diamond cutting factory where unfortunately there weren’t any free samples!
After that it was on to Trou aux Cerfs, a dormant volcanic crater. It was quite different then we expected – more like a shallow hole in the ground than a cone shaped volcano!! We had a quick snack of dahl rolled into a roti (which was delicious!) from a roadside stall. Then it was onto a sacred lake of Grand Bassin and Hindu temple. Inside Sandy received blessings from a priest and we admired the beautiful statues.
Next we stopped at the Black River Gorges National Park overlook for a view of the varied landscape and (some) flowers. We headed to Chamarel Waterfalls as it started to drizzle and then made it to Chamarel 7 colors of earth. Since it was kind of overcast the differences in the colors weren’t as sharp as they apparently are.
That night we made dinner in our room and watched a movie.
On our last full day in Mauritius, after breakfast on our balcony, I had a massage on the beach. It was a little too short but it was absolutely freezing so I didn’t mind when it was over!
We drove to Port Louis to watch the horse races. There were so many people there – obviously a favorite pastime of the locals. It was cold and overcast – even drizzling when we first sat in the stands. Soon the skies opened and it poured on us!! We had an umbrella that wasn’t of too much use since the wind gusts were so strong they were just about taking the umbrella out of my hands. We stayed for a few races before we went to the Caudin waterfront. It had stopped raining and a “bread” festival was just about ending when we arrived. We went into the Blue Penny Museum where the highlights were 2 extremely rare stamps and the original statue of Paul and Virginia (the legend of 2 teenagers in love who die in a shipwreck tragedy).
Soon it was time to head back to the hotel for some dinner and to pack up. After breakfast the next morning, we made the hour ride to the airport for our flight home to Mumbai.
After an uneventful flight home, we arrived in Mumbai. We had a great honeymoon, but for once I was glad to be back in the heat of Mumbai.
Grand Baie beach, Mauritius
Bottled beers of Mauritius
La Jonque restaurant, Grand Baie