Mark Twain once said, “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” I thought this statement sounded rather ostentatious, but once you’ve arrived on the island – or, more specifically, checked into the Shangri-La’s le Touessrok Resort & Spa – it’s hard to disagree.
Location and weather
1000 km off the coast of Madagascar, comfortably sitting in the vast Indian Ocean, is an idyllic 34 acres of unspoiled land and white sand beaches. On the island’s east coast in Trou D’Eau Douce, its beaches are regarded as some of the island’s best and most private, with multiple sandy escapes on the property totalling 6 km. You can find it an hour’s drive north of the airport, only 40 km away. It is worth mentioning that the island itself is only 65 km long, making it quick to navigate while enjoying the spectacular views along both coasts of the vibrant blue ocean and vast mountain ranges.
The best time to visit Mauritius is during the months of May to December, which is the dry season. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny with low humidity, making it ideal for outdoor activities. July to September is considered the coolest months, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 26°C. Keep in mind that Mauritius is a tropical destination, so even during the dry season, there can still be occasional rain and high humidity, and the temperature can still reach 30 °C or more.
Shangri-La le Touessrok, Mauritius
Arriving in le Touessrok, we drove through the nearly mile-long entrance down the perfectly groomed palm tree-lined driveway, passing casually by the helicopter pad, gaining an impression of the property’s sheer size. We were warmly greeted by the staff, who offered a refreshing cold frangipani-scented towel and a trolley with a choice of coffees, mocktails, or champagne upon arrival. The lobby is an open-air space with a direct view of the infinity pool overlooking the sea, allowing the interior and exterior to interchange, letting in a cooling sea breeze.
The resort was originally founded in 1978 as a family-run hotel, changing hands a few times since, but since 2015 it has been part of the beloved world-class Shangri-La group. The resort is laid out in a network of palm-fringed paths that pass through tropical gardens to the resort’s low-rise whitewashed Mediterranean-style villas, which are dotted around the beaches. All 203 rooms within the resort boast turquoise-blue ocean views. Designed with the mindset of capturing picturesque glimpses of the ocean, you are treated to endless views from the resort without losing any of its charms. Some are hidden coves; others are wide open beaches. Here, you can appreciate the beauty of photo worthy spots from every angle.
The Shangri-La le Touessrok Mauritius Character
The hotel is a multicultural hotspot with some of the friendliest locals I have ever met. The team of devoted staff here are friendly and hospitable but discreet, with great attention to detail, with some who have worked here for over 30 years! What makes this place stand out are the guests who keep returning, not for the resort but for the people, building lifelong friendships.
The atmosphere radiates a zen feeling from couples and families of all ages. There is something for everyone, offering the perfect setting to relax, disconnect, and daydream.
We stayed in the Club Junior Suite Ocean View in the Frangipani Wing. Upon entering the room, you are struck by the stunning views of the sparkling lagoon and lush greenery surrounding the property. My first instinct was to go straight out onto the private furnished balcony and bask in my little piece of heaven. Rooms facing east mean you are treated to the glorious sunrise. Our suite spans a total of 70 square metres of secluded luxury, and the furnished rooms are world-class, with high-quality linens, comfortable beds, and plush armchairs, all smartly positioned – everything we expected from the Shangri-La. The décor is stylish and understated, with a neutral colour palette and coral artwork, creating a sense of calm and relaxation.
The spacious marble-clad bathroom is separated by a raised level and sliding wooden doors; the main focus is on the enormous free-standing bathtub, allowing you to indulge in the tub whilst soaking up the charming view of the ocean (big enough for two if you’re in the mood). The bathroom has endless amenities, from plush bathrobes and slippers to mosquito repellent, after-sun lotion, and high-end toiletries from L’Occitane—all the luxury holiday essentials.
The benefits of staying in the Frangipani Wing include exclusive club privileges such as champagne on arrival, a dedicated butler service available in the 24/7 pavilion, an exclusive à la carte breakfast, and daily complimentary sunset cocktails at Republik Beach Club and Grill.
After reading about our room, you’ll be surprised to learn that for all its exclusive seclusion, the Frangipani Wing isn’t even the most luxurious part of the hotel. For those after the best of the very best, there are three-bedroom private villas nestled at the far end of the secluded grounds with their own private beaches, infinity pools, and private chefs. The space spans an impressive 423 sqm of ultimate luxury and privacy, which can comfortably sleep six adults and two children.
When it comes to dining, guests are spoiled for choice, with five dining options from around the world—a reflection of the multi-ethnic history of the island itself. The hotel’s main restaurant, Le Bazar, offers a range of Asian-inspired and international dishes. For breakfast, you’ve got a choice of the main buffet at Le Bazar, which has everything you could ever imagine, or an a la carte menu at the Republik if you are staying in the Frangipani Wing.
Safran offers a beautifully crafted wooden structure and a soundtrack of lapping waves. The cuisine is a nod to the strong Indian influence on the island, mixing Mauritanian staples like chicken and prawn curry with southern Indian classics such as tandoori salmon and yellow-spiced lentils. The impressive restaurant is helmed by chef Ramesh Bundi, who trained under Michelin-starred chefs Atul Kochhar and Vineet Bhatia.
The Japanese restaurant Kushi is a popular choice, renowned for its high-quality ingredients and signature dishes such as Wagyu beef, tempura, and sushi. All are prepared on yakiniku grills by an on-site master sushi chef. The chef’s specials change daily depending on the arrival of the fresh fish, a routine that guarantees guests only receive the freshest and most delicious cuisine each day.
For relaxed dining, head to Republik Bar & Grill, which serves delicious western classics and charcoal-fired Mediterranean grills. My favourite aspect about the Frangipani Wing privileges is that this restaurant also hosts the daily sunset happy hour, where a selection of rums, Prosecco, and other drinks are on tap from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Happy hour is scheduled during a chilled time of day when guests congregate to watch the sunset in an Ibiza-esque, beach-party vibe, sipping cocktails and listening to live singers and a jazz band.
If you were impressed by some of the staff who have been here for over 30 years, just wait till you find out who the oldest residents are. My favourite characteristic of the resort was, no doubt, the three giant Mauritian tortoises that live within the reserve, one of which is over 120 years old! We went to visit them every morning after breakfast.
Activities at Shangri-La le Touessrok, Mauritius
The resort offers two large infinity pools, one in the Frangipani Wing, reserved for adults only, and the other in the Hibiscus Wing. Both pools are lined with plenty of cabanas and beds, with clean towels ready. The staff were always accommodating to our needs as soon as they saw us arrive, bringing us an icebox with water bottles and a cold face towel.
If you’re tired of lounging by the pool, head to the coconut hut for a fresh, chilled coconut. Or try one of the many water sports available, including water skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, and snorkelling. These are are complimentary and worth trying. You’ll also find bikes, tennis courts, and a great fitness centre too. We were spoiled by their impeccable service and choice of things to do. Daily activities are always happening around the resort, from rum tastings to morning yoga, so be sure to check these out.
The Spa at Shangri-La le Touessrok, Mauritius
Chi Spa is a haven for anyone looking for the ultimate spa experience, offering eight intimate treatment rooms, a spa garden, a hair and beauty salon, and a luxury boutique. Chi offers an extensive menu of massages, facials, and holistic treatments. I went for the “sense of place” massage, incorporating the use of local produce such as sugarcane and coconut oils alongside other essential oils and peaceful Mauritian music for a decompressing treatment. If you want to maximise your state of relaxation, a sunrise yoga class is also available.
A showstopper that really sets Shangri-La’s le Touessrok apart from its well-heeled five-star competition is Ilôt Mangénie. The only resort in Mauritius that can boast a private island has a shuttle boat service that departs every 20 minutes. It takes less than 10 minutes to pass through the glassy blue water to a paradise-like island with a bar, beach club, and cabanas dotted carefully to maintain absolute seclusion. You can also walk around the island and explore the greenery.
Ile aux Cerfs is a stunning 18-hole golf club designed by two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer. It is located on a spectacular island just a short boat ride away. Many enthusiasts regard the golf course as one of the best in the world. Guests staying five days or more can enjoy complimentary green fees.
What makes it special
Shangri-La le Touessrok, Mauritius merges the very best of chic Mauritian style and le Touessrok’s legendary history with the classic luxury hospitality of the Shangri-La Group. But what makes this place special is not the fabulous facilities, great culinary offerings, or the two offshore islands that make this luxury hideaway stand out from the overflow of hotels on the island. Instead, the people and magical atmosphere make the resort a truly special place.
To discover more, visit: shangri-la.com
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All imagery courtesy of Shangri-La unless stated otherwise.