|Constance Le Prince Maurice - Mauritius|
My husband and I came back from our Christmas holiday feeling a little knackered. Gone are the days where Christmas was all about lazing about in my cashmere trousers, eating Panettone by the fire and chatting away with my sisters, these days I'm essentially Greta's chaperon/full time nanny traveling across Italy for a few days here and there to make sure everyone in our extended family gets a piece of her, and then not getting any family time of my own. It was still lovely but definitely not relaxing or restful, especially as a six months pregnant woman. So when we got back to the UK I longed for some alone time with my husband and Greta, just the three of us, no trains, no planes, no family visits, hopefully no chicken pox to deal with or stomach bugs that would keep us awake every night, somewhere warm and tranquil away from it all... and all of this before we welcome our new baby in May and all mothers know what happens for a good few months after that (sleep deprivation, mastitis, exhaustion, baby blues you name it!). So one day in January I called my husband from the street and I said: "I've taken an executive decision: we are going on a baby moon!”
There are so many factors that we had to take in consideration when deciding our final destination: we were traveling with a 3.5 year old so jet lag was concern number one. We didn't want to get to our exotic location and then spend every night awake because of the time difference, so that quite quickly ruled out all of the Caribbean. Then there's the fact that I was 6 months pregnant, so we couldn’t' really go somewhere too remote or difficult to get to, but favour places with good medical structures. We contemplated South Africa (sea too cold), Seychelles (too remote) and then someone suggested Mauritius and we soon realised that it ticked all the boxes. A peaceful country, with good medical assistance, easy to get to with either direct flights or traveling via Dubai, with sandy beaches and tropical weather. And there the decision was made.
Why Mr and Mrs Smith
Quite plainly, because in my experience www.mrandmrssmith.com always has the best selection of hotels out of every other travel website I've encountered. I've tried to use other ones, but ultimately I always come back to them. I guess it's a trust thing as I've never been let down. I started using them years ago, I've booked holidays for myself, for my honeymoon, for my parents, for weekends away and I have stayed in countless of their recommended hotels and I have never, once, been disappointed - and that's something. They have a great selection of accommodations handpicked by undercover taste makers, always a bit unique and despite being upmarket they are never 'flashy'. They make the booking system so easy; they are friendly and efficient and assist you all the way. Smith24 expert travel specialists are there for clients 24/7 - with an office in London and LA, their gurus are available to speak to any time. They have a wealth of knowledge about the hotels (almost photogrpahic minds of exactly how the properties look so that they can walk you through!) and great insight into local areas - what to do/see and where to eat etc. If you book via them you always get what they call 'Smith Extra' which could be anything from a complementary beauty treatment or a bottle of champagne on arrival (ours was a fruit basket, bottle of wine, a 30-minute back or foot massage each!). Also to be noted, they have best price guarantee - if you happen to find a better rate elsewhere, Smith will match it and give you a £50 voucher as compensation.
Mr and Mrs Smith sent me a few recommendations but I immediately liked the look and feel of Constance Le Prince Maurice and despite it being a luxury hotel it felt approachable and authentic. It had the Smith and Family seal of approval and I loved the fact that the property expanded over such a large property - if we were going to be in one place only for 8 nights, that was going to be the place.
There are 64 Junior Suites, 12 Family Suites and 12 Villas and the hotel is set up in what I can only describe as a vast park by the beach. There are two pools, a Spa, three restaurants, a private beach, Kid's club, tennis courts and a golf driving range, yet despite this the hotel feels incredibly intimate. There's a calm and discreet feeling in the air at all times... it really was like heaven on earth!
There are three different restaurants on the hotel grounds - a main one that served a buffet breakfast with a huge selection of food, an informal lunch and more formal dinner, an Asian restaurant with everything from Sushi to Pat Thai and stir fries, and a rather unique 'floating' restaurant amongst the mangroves only a short walk through the hotels gardens (Greta absolutely loved feeding the fish from the platforms!). We had no intention to explore the island preferring to stay in one place for the whole week, so it was really nice to have the opportunity to eat at different places and having the choice of so many different cuisines and menus. I should also mention that they pretty much serve food everywhere in the hotel so we also enjoyed lovely breakfasts in our own private balcony as well as many lunches underneath our parasol on the beach! A must: the house Club Sandwich - HUGE but insanely good (even with gluten free bread!).
I have rarely been to a country, let alone a hotel, that is so child friendly. I thought I had it good with Itlay's predisposition to children but Mauritius is on another level! Everyone was super kind to Greta, they have a great outdoors kids club available to all kids supervised by parents up to 4 and then supervised by staff thereafter. It had all the toys you can think of, a trampoline, play ground and swimming pool and you can book trusted baby sitters if you want to take some time out. When you book a room with a child they welcome them with a gift and a bath toy, and in your room they think of everything from providing tiny slippers and robes, to stools in the bathrooms so they can reach the sink.
We booked a Family Suite with an adjacent room for Greta and a spacious balcony overlooking the gardens below. My husband and I kept on going on about this: the rooms are gorgeous, spacious and luxurious but what we loved about them the most was the stripped back feel and simplicity of the decor. We had a large comfortable bed decked in soft linens and all bathrooms have a bath tub and separate shower - the bathroom was almost as big as our room and my favourite thing of all!
Guests have free use of the steam room, Jacuzzi and chilled bath, and there’s an extensive menu of treatments. I was limited in what I could get because of being pregnant, but the 'Mama to be' massage was a real treat!
To me, the staff really made the holiday. I got really sick when I arrived and was pretty unwell for most of the holiday. Their kind assistance throughout meant that I enjoyed every moment of my holiday despite not being well. Everyone always had a smile on their face and it seemed as though they really enjoyed working for the hotel. We spoke with some of the staff that had been there for 16 years and still loved every moment there. Everyone remembered ours and Greta's name and despite being super friendly, I still thought everyone knew their place and when to withdraw and give guests their space.
To sum up...
For me this holiday meant a lot. I absolutely hate flying and I hadn't been away on a long haul flight in almost 4 years. There's a sentimental value in knowing that this is the last holiday as a team of three; it was really special and I felt very lucky to be able to have this time with my family. As a WIT mama I can only recommend it highly and hope that some of you can maybe experience this lovely warm country and exceptional hotel too.
To see all my Instagram pics from the holiday see my @WITblog account - or look at the #WITbabymoon hashtag. To book and for more info see here