Laguna Hotel is the backdrop for a brilliant stopover in Mauritius. Perched on the East Coast of the island just over half an hour from the airport, it’s very easy to reach but far harder to tear yourself away. If you’ve got just a few days to spare post-safari, it really is the perfect spot.
One huge charm of Laguna Beach is the totally tucked-away location. To reach the hotel, you’ll pass through the tiny fishing village of Camp des Pêcheurs, a heart-warming place packed with smiling, waving local people. It’s a glimpse of the real Mauritius, beyond the confines of the classy resorts and tourist-heavy towns. From the hotel beach area, you’ll see fisherman at work and local life unfolding throughout the day. This helps to break down the barriers between visitors and residents, bringing you a taste of behind-the-scenes Mauritius.
The hotel itself offers everything you could possibly need in Mauritius and a good deal more. There are 2 excellent swimming pools surrounded by rustling coconut palms, thatched parasols and comfy loungers. There’s a private beach with clear blue waters and a volleyball net to get you on your feet. The circular outdoor bar sits in the middle of this, providing an endless stream of refreshing cocktails, fresh fruit juices and ice cold beers.
At one edge of the beach, you’ll find a small jetty, which has more treats in store. Everyday at 1 pm, a free shuttle-boat takes hotel guests over to the Île aux Cerfs, a tiny castaway island with a seriously lovely lagoon. Mauritians will tell you that you haven’t seen Mauritius unless you’ve visited the Île aux Cerfs, making it a real must-do. Tourists staying all over the island travel up to 3 hours to reach the Île aux Cerfs, but from Laguna Beach the journey takes just 15 minutes. The return shuttle leaves between 4 pm and 5 pm, giving you a whole afternoon to stretch out on the bright white sand. It’s like having tropical heaven on your doorstep.
Île aux Cerfs aside, Laguna Beach also offers a wealth of ocean-based activities from its private jetty. You can hop into a pedalo, kayak or glass bottom boat and explore the lagoon totally free of charge. Snorkelling and windsurfing are also complimentary perks that are definitely worth a go. Back on solid land, there’s a pool and table tennis to keep you occupied, as well as free wifi with a reliable signal throughout.
If you fancy taking things one step further, there’s a huge menu of activities to keep you on your toes. Try parasailing, water-skiing or banana boating, take a multi-island boat trip via forested waterfalls, sail into the sunset on a pirate ship or even a fishing trip aboard a traditional Mauritian pirogue with locals from the village. If you’re a deep sea devotee, you can opt for scuba diving, deep sea fishing or the famous undersea walk, which gives you the chance to take a stroll on the seabed wearing a giant helmet. It’s simply impossible to get bored.
Inside the hotel, the restaurant lays on a brilliant evening buffet, with Mauritian specialities, griddled fish and an ‘Indian corner’ bubbling with pungent curries, dahls and stews. Breakfast is no less impressive, with favourites from all over the world to kickstart your day, as well as delicious local coffee. Tea and coffee is available free of charge at all hours, along with a variety snacks and sandwiches at the bar to keep you going. Outdoors, the seafood and meat grill is fired up for dinner on the beach twice weekly. Where dining is concerned, let’s just say that Laguna Beach Hotel has it covered.
Evenings tend to be fairly low-key, but the atmosphere is welcoming, the bar is popular and there’s nightly entertainment ranging from DJs to traditional Sega dancing up for grabs. It’s the kind of place to slowly sip on a signature cocktail, shoot the breeze and listen to waves lapping the shore. Quite often, a small local craft market sets up near reception, giving you a chance to pick up gifts for loved ones back home. Alternatively, round off an already relaxed day with a stint in the spa, which offers a long list of pampering options at surprisingly reasonably prices. If you’re looking for complete abandonment, drift away during a hammam or a honey bath. You’ll feel like a different person. Trust me.
The rooms themselves are spacious, calm and exceptionally clean with large beds and tea making facilities. The decor is chic but cosy, with clean lines, soft pillows and local touches. Each one has a private terrace with a pool or sea view for an intimate afternoon with a good book and a sneaky cocktail. The bathrooms are state-of-the-art, with powerful showers and double sink units, so they’re certain not to disappoint.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the Laguna is its wide appeal. It’s the kind of place that every kind of traveller can enjoy – honeymooners, families, couples young and old, businessmen, friends and bloggers… like me. The price is by no means prohibitive and it really is worth every Mauritian rupee. It’s a great base for a sunny sojourn on the island. More than great, in fact. I would go back in the blink of an eye.