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Destination Dispatches: Shanti Maurice, Bliss in the Indian Ocean

- Jean Marie Healy, Chief Marketing Officer and head of the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection, is a lifelong New Yorker now based in both NY and London.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t really like resorts. I prefer action-packed vacations with tons of sightseeing and cultural exploration. Or at least I thought that was the case, until I experienced Shanti Maurice on Mauritius.

The urge arose midway through my fifth British winter, the depths of which are not for the faint of heart. I finally realized that the Brits have the right idea by always taking a winter break in the sun, and began to think about where to go. Two of my trusted colleagues had visited Shanti Maurice and enjoyed it immensely, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and booked a six-day stay at Shanti.

There is only a three hour time difference between London and Mauritius, so I arrived feeling fairly perky after the 12-hour flight. Little did I know the wonders that were in store for me—which all began at check-in. I was greeted by the incredibly friendly (and not in an annoying way) front desk staff, and handed an ice-cold coconut filled with delicious coconut water. Then, as I was seated in the lounge area going through the check-in process, another lovely staffer arrived to give me a relaxing shoulder massage. I hated for that to end, but was eager to get going and explore the resort.

And I was not disappointed. Here are my top seven reasons why Shanti Maurice is an amazing resort, even for those like me who don’t love resorts:

1. Peace and quiet
Despite being almost full to capacity, the resort was tranquil and calm. This includes the beach. No hustling for sun loungers, nobody selling anything, nobody making much noise at all other than relaxed conversation. That meant lots of reading and snoozing. Shanti means “peace” in Hindi and the resort lives up to its name.

2. Plenty to do, or you can do nothing at all
Shanti offers a wide variety of activities, including daily morning yoga, kayak tours, Pilates, herb garden tours with the chef, snorkeling in the lagoon and lectures from the resort’s marine biologist, Judith. If you feel like leaving the resort (we did not), there are visits to the traditional village of Mahebourg and bike tours to Chemin Grenier. You can also partake in “Grandma’s Kitchen”, which is a bi-weekly dinner held in the home of a local resident.

3. Diverse and delicious food
Shanti truly embraces the cuisine of the region, with a mix of African and Indian cuisines, in addition to staples like excellent pizza and salads, etc. In the evening, the waterfront restaurant Stars serves African cuisine, including an amazing array of fresh fish. Try the seafood skewer, it was fantastic. Pebbles, the poolside restaurant, serves Indian cuisine, including a fabulous prawn coconut curry. Twice a week there is “Fish and Rhum Shack”, which is an elaborate barbeque on the beach, with incredible grilled lobster, among many other tasty choices. Overall we found the food incredibly fresh and delicious.

4. Breathtakingly beautiful and blissfully calm beach
Most of Mauritius is surrounded by a coral reef, which creates a lagoon for swimming. The water is clear and peaceful. The best part is that you can see and hear the waves breaking out at the reef, while swimming in calm, temperate water. Even more amazing is the giant tree on the beach, which offers cool shade for very pale people like me!

5. Top-notch spa with a variety of treatments
Shanti offers a combination of aruvyedic and other international treatments. The spa is one of the biggest in the region, so even when the hotel is full you can usually schedule treatments for the same day. I had a facial and a massage and both were bliss.

6. No such thing as a bad room
Actually, they don’t have any rooms. Shanti Maurice offers a mix of suites and villas, and they are all oceanfront. No need to experience the anxiety of wondering if you’ll get a bad room, because there are no bad rooms, just large, well-furnished suites and villas. Even better yet, the villas all have their own pools. Our villa included built in sun-loungers so we could sun ourselves while in the pool.

7. Great value
I’m not saying this is a cheap hotel. It’s a luxury hotel that delivers value commensurate with the prices they charge. I believe the prices are quite reasonable considering the top-notch quality of the resort and the incredible service. There are also many nice complimentary extras like bottled water on the beach and in the rooms, sorbet in the afternoon on the beach, many activities, a weekly cocktail party for guests, and internet access.

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