“Sir what?” I ask.
“Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, monsieur,” my bilingual Mauritian driver pronounces, all 17 syllables of it.
His answer is a smile as sweet as the ‘Welcome to Mauritius’ display at the airport named after its first prime minister. It also reflects the island as a whole, given that sugar cane is everywhere here. (Sweet, get it?). En route to the resort, for a few kilometers, we see nothing but sugar cane; sometimes the stalks stand up straight, other times, they slant – the sight, however, can be quite eerie in the dark, especially on this windswept island.
As we roll into the resort, we are greeted with views of timber beams, a major departure from the sugar cane fields outside. An all-inclusive resort like Club Med might not be the first choice when it comes to experiencing the real Mauritius, but with the general high prices of food and drink on the island, it seems like a sensible thing to do. Plus, long gone are the days when Club Med was filled with screaming toddlers and middle-aged men in Speedos by the pool sipping cocktails with little umbrella.
In fact, before long, we’re soaking up the sun at the adults-only infinity pool, cocktails in hand (no little umbrella), enjoying the Indian Ocean breeze in a peaceful state of mind. It’s a backdrop that’s so blissful to become acquainted with. And from the king-sized bed, separate living area and a private terrace overlooking the sea, everything has been designed with pleasure in mind. The bathroom, separated by wooden shutters, comes with a freestanding bath tub that sits opposite the black-tiled shower, transforming it into a romantic space for couples.
As comfortable as the room is, you don’t come to Mauritius to stay indoors. From flying trapeze, scuba diving and kayaking to a series of sea sports, there are simply too many things to do in the resort. If you’re travelling with kids, there are three age-specific clubs where the young ones can spend days doing different activities. Outside, the island is as idllyic as it is fun. A guided day trip takes you to some of the island’s most underrated beauty like the Chamarel Falls and the geological oddities of Seven Coloured Earths (although we only spotted four colors). Or simply spend a morning at the tea plantations, rum factory, temples and churches – the island’s an eruption of exploration and diverse culture.
Back at the resort in the evening, we sit barelegged at the Beach Bar for an aperitif before dinner at one of the resort’s two restaurants. While The Distillerie offers buffet-style food with plenty of choices, we much prefer The Phare which specialises in local delicacies. And the view of the ocean is a plus point.
As you’d expect with any Club Med, there are different themed activities every night. We spent one night watching performances by a Michael Jackson impressionist; another, at a beach party dancing under the twinkling sky; saw a fire show by oiled-up GOs and hopped on a mini-rum adventure on our final night.
It was plenty of fun with endless supply of rum. Mauritius rum. That much we remember.
This article was first published in Esquire Malaysia's April 2017 issue.