As you might know having followed this blog for a little while, I usually spend Christmas-time in Europe, usually not too far from the Alpine slopes of Courchevel, having dashed from one airport to the other as Hubby Dearest and I try to shepherd our little ones from one family to the next. Exhausting... And not to be repeated anymore, if our last holidays are anything to go by. We wanted to be somewhere relaxing and fun after the busy-ness of the last few months, and to spend time as a newly extended family, this being Little Madame's first Christmas.
We picked Mauritius because, despite the long flight, the time difference is bearable, even for babies, and the weather around Christmas is just fantastic. And of course the hotel industry on the island is so good you are spoiled for choice! Though this was our third holidays in Mauritius, we had never stayed at the LUX* Belle Mare, and now, well, it's very clear we will never be staying anywhere else if we ever come back.
From the moment we were picked up at arrivals until the moment we were dropped off at the airport after twelve blissful days, it felt like a little interlude in paradise. The resort is quite large, yet arranged amongst the coconut trees and lush tropical gardens in such a way that it never felt crowded, not even on the beach or around the pool.
The service is impeccable. Between the reception team who is always keen to help out, the beach boys who are never too far away with a fresh and plush towel, and the restaurant staff who learned our names and preferred morning drinks from day two, I can't say any of the employees of the hotel made us feel anything but welcome and spoiled.
Like the gardens, our suite was beautiful, big enough to accommodate our little family of four. Little Madame had a baby cot, and our beautiful boy had a bed pulled out of the sofa every evening, by the super attentive housekeeping service who knew that my little ones went to bed by 8 every night so needed their beds opened and ready whilst we were out at dinner.
The bathroom was fabulous, with a bathtub perfect our two little munchkins to bathe together, though they both preferred to shower with me instead (how very practical for Mamma...) Oh well... There is a little walk-in closet, which was just big enough for all our clothes and shoes, so nothing stayed in the way.
We had a little balcony with steps down to the garden, and then on to the beach, and the view every morning was well worth paying the little extra for.
Days were mostly spent on the beach, because neither Hubby Dearest nor I understand the appeal of flying half way across the world only to lounge around a swimming pool. And what a beautiful beach this is: white sand, plush loungers, coconuts and parasols providing well-needed shade from the tropical sun, clear blue warm water. Perfection. Even Little Madame enjoyed her daily swim in the Indian Ocean.
There are four restaurants, including one Indian and one Chinese, but the beach one was our favourite for lunch. The main restaurant is great, with buffet for breakfast and dinner, and options for all the family. The chefs didn't mind making vegetable purees for Little Madame.
For snacks, there is a great food truck on the beach, serving American junk food (there is no way to describe it but it was delicious!) and fabulous ceviches, although in the afternoon the little ice cream parlour by the swimming pool is quite popular, when children and adults flock for a taste of the tropical sorbet lollipops. My favourite? Coconut milk.
There is a coffee bar near reception, which seemed to be a great attraction to a lot of people, but really I don't fancy a hot moccha when sitting on a tropical beach so I can't say I sampled it...
Children have a grand time at the LUX* Belle Mare, with the kids club fully equipped for children from 0 to 12 years old, and for teenagers I spotted a hang-out club with a ping-pong table and games by the tennis courts. We don't like taking our little ones on holidays only to have other people take care of them full time and not to see them but at bedtime, but this is definitely an option... The kids club has a busy schedule which starts at 9AM, and children can even have dinner with the kids club team instead of their parents, if that's your cup of chai...
Whilst we didn't make use of these options full time, it was nice for Little Monsieur to spend time playing with children his age, and we valued the chance to have a nanny look after Little Madame during her lunchtime nap and the hottest hour of the afternoon, meaning I was able to fit in a one-hour workout everyday whilst in the resort, including some reformer work, as they do have one and I was seemingly the only client keen to use it whilst we were there.
Overall, this was a beautiful holiday. The only parts of our vacation we didn't enjoy were actually the flights, which we took on British Airways economy, but then again I always knew that BA doesn't really go out of its way to make economy flyers feel welcome, let alone those travelling with little children. Increased lighting in the economy cabin, ill-timed meal services, bassinets which are too small for babies over the age of 3 months old,... check, check and check, and that's for what I can remember clearly!
Next time we fly down to the Indian Ocean, I think we'll try one of the Middle-Eastern airlines instead...
If you're thinking of holidaying in Mauritius with your family, I couldn't recommend the LUX* Belle Mare any more. It's simply wonderful.
Find out more here: LUX* Belle Mare,