Good times had at the Heritage
Apologies if this is a bit long winded - i got carried away!!
We've just come back from a honeymoon the Heritage Golf and Spa resort in Mauritius, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This review is a critical review, because I am of the opinion that saying "everything was great" is not 100% useful - different people have different opinions of service & quality. So after reading this review, you should be able to tell that if the worst thing I can come up with in a given section is, say, that the shower was randomly hot/cold, then there wasn't a lot that was really wrong with the room.
This is also a review from the point of view of a guest on the Premium All Inclusive package.... a package that I would recommend to all... whether or not you drink much!
It starts with a welcome from the drummer, friendly staff show you around the facilities, and you will be automatically booked into the spa for a back massage to work out the knots from your journey!
Some are located with marvellous sea views, some are not (there is a glimpse of the sea). If you can, e-mail the hotel before you go, reserving one of the beach front apartments near the Infinity Blue restaurant.
Air conditioning, fan, minibar, satellite TV, lovely bathroom, well decorated, just as you would expect.
The shower was a bit hard to get to the right temperature, and sometimes suddenly goes cold. That's pretty much the worst thing I can come up with!
The air conditioning appears to be either on or off, although there is a thermostat, it doesn't seem to make much difference to the room temperature.
Rooms are serviced twice a day, and the mini bar is topped up once a day, and is free.
Do remember to put a "do not disturb" sign on your room whenever you are in, because of the twice daily servicing means that sometimes you are having your post swim / pre-dining evening shower and somebody wants to come in to service the room!
You may want to know that there are English style 3-pin plug sockets in the room, as well as continental 2-pin ones, and a shaver point in the bathroom.
Cotton pads are provided for make up removal, as well as shampoo and shower gel.
A plug in Insect repellent is also provided, and is installed every evening when the room is made for the second time of the day.
Irons are not in the rooms, they are also not lent out to guests for "health and safety reasons". I'd recommend you pack a travel iron... or just say sod it, and pay the reasonable laundry charges - £2 to wash and iron trousers or a shirt, £1 just to iron it. Not that much really!
Spa treatments are free - 1 per day for the duration of your visit. Two days with 20 minute treatments, followed by a 45 minute treatment. so for a 12 day stay, you'll get eight 20 minute treatments, and four 45 minute treatments.
It is very dependant upon which person you get. Some of the masseurs are not very good, some are a bit sadistic, but most are very good. Do not have the steam massage - its very painful, and not only exfoliates the dead skin, but some of the living skin!!! My wife had a number of scratches on her legs for the rest of the holiday after the steam massage.
Don't be afraid to say "harder" or "softer" if the massage isn't quite doing it for you.
Also, be ready for the lovely disposable pants they give you for the treatments!!!
Beach & Sea
The beach is light golden sand, the sun loungers are brilliant, and the beach towels can be replaced whenever you want throughout the day.
It has been mentioned that there are lots of sea urchins, but I didn't see many of them - plenty of sea cucumbers, but not many urchins around the Heritage area - there are more further east if you go for a walk.
The sea is as you would expect - turquoise, clear and very warm.
The currents are quite strong, but are parallel with the shore, so if you swim out, and swim back, you will be 50 metres further down the beach, but you won't struggle to get back to safety (and you can stand up anyway, as the lagoon is quite shallow). Children should obviously be cautious though!
The sun is very strong, so factor 30 is really a must for the beginning of the holiday - and even then it is still possible to burn.
There is coral near the beach if you have a snorkel, but it is much better to wait for the organised snorkelling trips (discussed later).
There can be a bit of wind, but normally it is a nice, cooling wind, and good for some of the sailing!
The sand can have bits of coral in it - which can make for uncomfortable walking - I'd invest in some wet shoes before you come.
There are plenty of security guards on the beach. And though all beaches in Mauritius are open to the public, it is mainly occupied by heritage guests.
Not many people try to sell you things at the beach, and if you simply say "Bonjour" when they say "Bonjour", and then say "Bonne Journée" (have a nice day), they quickly get the hint, and don't bother you if you don't want to buy things.
Sports / Land activities
I didn't use the golf myself, but have been told it is challenging but good.
The staff will clean and look after your clubs, and apparently you can bring your own clubs on the plane at no extra cost!
Archery is good fun, as are the french bowls (or petanque, or however you spell it), beach volleyball etc. The tennis courts are located at a very windy part of the resort, which isn't great (and the string broke on my racquet on the first day - the tennis racquets they supply are okay for a knock around, but not for a competitive match!) Staff are very friendly, and will often add to the numbers if you need a few more people to join the volleyball.
Laser sailing and catamaran sailing were popular (there is a prevailing wind which is good for sailing I'm told!) I was more interested in the water skiing - which was great fun.
Kayaking was also good fun, but challenging due to the currents - best to kayak up the current first of all, then have a nice gentle return trip!!
The staff are also very friendly, and helpful.
Tides can influence the amount of time available for sailing / skiing - the last few days of our holiday there was no water skiing at all, because the tide was too low.
Snorkelling trips are well worth going on - they take you to a good section of coral - tailored to the currents, tides, and whether children are around or not. We went about 7 times, and didn't visit the same section of coral once.
Look out for the purple coral, and snorkel when the sun is out - it really brings out the colours.
I didn't go on a glass bottom boat tour, but some people came back with some great photos, and some even saw turtles swimming in the coral.
There are 3 pools that are easy to access, and the best one for a quiet swim is the PADI diving pool. The pool water is very refreshing - you don't notice any chlorine, or salt - possibly because the water is moving - they are infinity pools, so there are little waterfalls coming off the pools edge, so the naturally circulating water may mean that less chlorine is needed.
The main bar "ZnZibar" is very good. The selection of drinks is good, and the early evening entertainment is a live singer/guitar player, who has quite a repertoire - he's also very good! The only fault I would say is that the service can be very slow - especially if you order cocktails. They also have little food nibbles to eat before you go to your restaurant of choice samosas, kofta kebabs, etc.
There is also the beach service bar - while you are on your sun lounger, occasionally people will come around clearing drinks up, or just waiting for orders - don't be afraid to ask them for any drinks or snacks you would like
- you can just read on the lounger and they will bring your drinks... very lazy!!!
Sometimes drinks were not there that were advertised: e.g. Bombay Sapphire Gin - supposedly a "premium brand drink" that is available on the premium package... in reality it was never available, so we had to make do with the local gin to go with our tonic (which was still nice, but it does advertise premium brand drinks as being included in the package) The Lions bar is open from 1800 till midnight, but nobody ever goes in, so there is no atmosphere.
Breakfast - Balafon Buffet Restaurant
Pretty much anything you could want for breakfast: Fruit, yoghurt, fromage frais, toast, bread, crepes, waffles, eggs (fried, boiled, scrambled, poached, omelette), bacon, hash browns, tomatoes, baked beans, sausages (more like BBQ sausages than breakfast sausages though), ham, cheese, salad.... very good selection
You can eat lunch at the infinity blue restaurant, where you have pizzas, pasta, salads, meats, fish, or you can eat from the beach / bar menu - toasted sandwiches, salads, paninis, etc.
Again very nice... though a little too much to eat if you go to the restaurant, and not enough selection if you only want a snack lunch (to save room for the evening meals!)
Evening Attire (IMPORTANT NOTE)
In the evening, trousers must be worn by men. If I had known this I would not have packed 4 three-quarter length trousers, and I would have packed more than 2 pairs of full length trousers.
I was wearing some smart 3/4 length trousers the first evening, and was turned away from the restaurant, and asked (very politely) "for the respect of the other guests, would it be possible to wear some longer trousers."
Some people were wearing jeans. I think that maybe I just had really ugly ankles.
I'd certainly get some linen trousers though - they were a life saver, as it is still warm, but you must wear trousers in the evening.
Dinner - Balafon Buffet Restaurant
This is okay. A little noisy, too many kids running around, and though the food is very nice, it feels a bit like a canteen (a very nice one, but a canteen nonetheless). If you are on half board, you get to eat here for free... if you are on premium all inclusive, you get to eat elsewhere for free.
They have themed evenings every evening (Indian, Mauritian, Creole... etc), and unfortunately do not advertise what the theme is till the morning of the themed day. We ate here the first night, and the rest of the time we were between the Infinity Blue restaurant and the Compagnie des Comptoires fine dining restaurant.
Dinner - Infinity Blue
This is fantastic. The location overlooks the sea, you can hear the waves while you eat, and there is a good selection of food and wine on the menu.
Previous reports say that this is the "fish restaurant". I can now inform you all that, presumably due to customer comments, it is no longer just a "fish restaurant". Pizzas and pastas are now served in the evening, and there is even a rather nice fillet steak dish.
Lobster can be ordered a day in advance, and is a must have dish. Also don't be afraid to ask what other dishes are available to order, that are not on the menu. Our favourite dish was the "Creole Prawns", which has the largest, most succulent prawns in a kind of mildly spiced tomato sauce, served with a lentil dhaal of some kind, and rice. Creole Prawns were not on the menu, but we asked for them. Likewise the fish curry was not on the menu, but we asked for it a day in advance.
The "soft chocolate cake" is very very very very nice. (but very very very rich, and you couldn't eat it every day.
The waiters and waitresses are all very friendly, and make you feel relaxed.
Some of their wine selections were not the best, so we learned to ask for the wine menu, even if they offered a suggestion!
There is not a non-smoking section, which is a little frustrating, but if you sit in the partially covered section, you normally get fresh air.
Dinner - Compagnie des Comptoires (fine dining) They have now changed the booking procedure here - some guests were not able to eat here at all due to other guests booking every day here. You are now allocated 2 or 3 days when you arrive at the hotel, and you can phone up to change them. It is a fairer system for all, but it would be good to know in advance that you are allocated a number of days, and while it is still free to eat there, you cannot eat there every day.
The food is as you would expect - very nice, but sometimes a little overly adventurous. I learned by the third meal there, that I should just pick exactly what I wanted, and not something that sounded "interesting", as "interesting" normally meant "not nice".
Being a single enclosed space, it would be very nice if it was non smoking - some ignorant person lit up a cigar, and, well, being polite, the delicate flavours of the food were marginalised by the minging smog that descended on the restaurant. I can cope with cigarette smoke, but cigar smoke is a little too much when I'm eating.
There are live bands most nights, but they are of mixed quality (ie not that good), I preferred the early evening guitar entertainment.
It rained on 7 out of our 15 days in the Heritage. But usually the rain was in the early evening, and usually only lasted for 15-20 minutes. Of our 15 days, only 1 day was affected significantly by the rain - half the day was used up... this did mean that there were not many queues for the water skiing though!!! :-) (You're wet anyway, so what is the problem??!!!)
I cannot comment on child minding services, but I can remember seeing plenty of parents enjoying nice evenings dining without their children, so presumably some kind of child minding service was used by them!
Very quick summary of the rest of Mauritius:
Be prepared for a lot of poverty everywhere other than the tourist hotels.
If you hire a car, 2 days is enough.4 days is way way too much, unless you are confident wandering around very poor areas.
Don't go to Rochester Falls - con men will try to take your money, and there are far more spectacular waterfalls near the 7 coloured earths.
Don't go to the shops in Port Louis or Curepipe unless you really really want to shop... if you are just looking around, its a waste of 2 hours.
Do go to the 7 coloured earths, the rain forest in the centre of Mauritius, the volcano in curepipe, and the west of the island. There is a lot of natural beauty in Mauritius, if I come again, my tours will be centred around visiting the spots of beauty, and not spending any time in the urban areas.
I hope you have found this review useful.
A Perfect Honeymoon at Heritage!
We spent 14 nights at Heritage for our Honeymoon in early December. This hotel is stunning, we honestly can not fault anything! The rooms are superb, the food is excellent - we ate in Infinity Blue most nights. The bar is fab, champagne and canapes every night before dinner - we made the most of the all inclusive package! You are looked after so well by the staff, they were excellent, they make such an effort and nothing is a problem! The beach the hotel is on is beautiful, really clean, compared to some of the other beaches we saw on the island. We travelled around quite a bit of the island whilst we were there (booked a private taxi, about £40 for the day and they'll take you anywhere - well worth doing, you get to see so much of Mauritius). We actually much preferred the South of the island, it's much greener and more scenic. We had originally booked into Paradise Cove in the North, but changed our booking a few months beforehand, we're so glad we did! We would recommend this hotel to anyone. It is by far the best hotel we have ever stayed in, you'll love it! An unforgetable honeymoon! x
Perfect place for your big day!
We chose the heritage for our wedding and honeymoon due to the fact that it was 5*all inclusive, had a kids club that catered for babies, was in Mauritius and had such good reviews - and it certainly lived up to our expectations!
Our wedding day was perfect and very well organised by Francine. She and the other staff just couldnt do enough - including doing my dress up, my hair and make-up, holding our baby during the ceremony, being witnesses and videoing the wedding etc. We didnt have any other family with us so these were things that were on my mind but nothing was too much trouble for any of them. We chose to get married on the beach as we wanted the sand and sea as the backdrop and thats what we had always dreamed of. We didnt know they were going to decorate the area so were pleasantly surprised to find the table under an arch made with bamboo poles, palm tree leaves and white cotton drapes. It really looked lovely. Other special touches were the trio who played whatever you wanted them to play, the cocktails and champagne that flowed and the tasty wedding cake. Our only warning is that when they say 'you may kiss the bride' they throw rice confetti on you which came as quite a shock! The wedding photos that they offer are a must. The photographer was very good and took us around all the lovely locations so you get photos from the beach, the gazebo, infront of lovely flower arrangements etc.
Our wedding day was completed with a candle lit dinner on the beach which was delicious as was all the food.
The hotel is outstanding with brilliant staff. We used the kids club for a couple of hours everyday and they were very good - as were the baby sitters (but watch out for the cost after midnight as this goes up quite alot ). As we were on the AI package we also took advantage of all the free watersports which were ace - as were the spa treatments. Free flowing chamgagne, beautiful beaches, very comfortable rooms - who could ask for more? The only downside with the whole place is if you are travelling with your baby, they do not serve dinner til 7pm so we had to keep him awake til then or feed him in the room. I think if it had been able to get food from 6pm this would have been a lot easier.
We had a fantastic time - including our baby who loved swimming! I would really recomend this hotel to everyone including those who are looking for a paradise wedding location!
Hi to Gabby, Rob, Sarah and Mike!
I have just returned from a wonderful week at the Heritage, I chose the AI option and it was excellent, no hidden extras or clauses. The resort was beautiful and as it is still quite new everything worked. (any very slight problems were fixed straight away)The room was very clean and contemporary with a lovely bathroom, no insects at all.
The food was great, especially at Infinity Blue, and the new world wines were very good. The spa treatments were heavenly, I can recommend the sun burn one!!
There is as much or as little to do as you choose, I enjoyed the snorkelling and the glass bottomed boat trip, I even tried my hand at archery; there is always plenty of space by the pool or on the beach.
The staff are very helpful, nothing is too much trouble and there are often little gifts and suprises for you, for example, one night I was given a scented candle because I had commented on the lovely smell in the hotel reception.
If you want to be pampered and have a total chill holiday then this has to be the place!