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In Conversation with Akshada & Sylvabelle from Constance Prince Maurice

25 January 2024

Chasing Perfection at Constance Prince Maurice

Perfection’s a tricky thing to define, especially for a company who sells it. And at Love To Explore, we know it exists in countless forms, at countless hotels, around the world. For those who want a slice of Mauritian perfection, though, we’re pretty sure that this is as close as we’ve found. We are, of course, hopelessly biased, as Constance Prince Maurice is the hotel that our founder has been visiting since he was old enough to strap on a pair of water skis. It’s also the place that the author of this blog has spent some of his happiest weeks, tagging along on family holidays up to an age that he’d care not to disclose. So, when we say that the Prince Maurice is verging on perfection, we like to think that we’re talking from experience. We chatted with the Akshada, Assistant General Manager, and Sylvabelle, Head of Sales, to find out how they do it.

If you struck out from Madagascar’s east coast, you’d be swimming – or sailing – for almost exactly 1000 kilometres before bumping into an island of volcanic rock that rises from the sea below: Mauritius. The chances are that you would have washed ashore on one of its many perfect beaches; the chances are that you’d want to stay put. We’d recommend something different, though. Across the island, on its east coast, there’s a town called Poste de Flacq; drive there, head out of town a couple of kilometres, turn towards the sea and you’ll come across a manicured driveway, stylish signposts directing you towards Constance Prince Maurice. There’s a sign just after the gates – ‘From this point, the birds are slowing down. Why not do the same?’ – that nods to the pace of life that you’re about to encounter. Everything there’s more relaxed, more laid back, more stylish.

Akshada, the wonderful Assistant General Manager who’s been a fixture at the hotel for as long as we can remember, tells us that the ethos at the Prince Maurice is one of total luxury and privacy. The architecture of the place reflects this, with traditional Mauritian thatched buildings that are both open to the sun and home to cosy corners and tempting bars. They spill down towards the hotel’s infinity pool, which in turn overlooks a sweeping stretch of sand, deck chairs subtly hidden among the palm trees.

It’s no wonder that so many people come back year on year (Ludo among them), as Sylvabelle tell us; and they often come back for weeks at a time. She talks about how welcoming they are to all sorts of traveller – something we can attest to. There’s a first-rate kids club, with its own pool, dedicated staff and programme of activities to keep any child in a constant state of ecstasy. Romance, too, is part of the Prince Maurice’s ethos, according to Akshada. This is a honeymooner’s paradise, with suites and villas tucked away on stilts, beach villas with their own private pools, as well as a series of experiences dedicated to couples. There are private beach dinners, individual wine tastings, sailing lessons, kayak trips, doubles tennis lessons dual pool beds. And that’s just what’s offered officially. As far as we can work out, there isn’t a lot that the hotel won’t do for its guests. Last time we visited, there was a proposal: fireworks were arranged over the bay, a segment of the beach was raked, a line of flowers laid out, leading to an ice bucket of champagne and – we hope – a yes.

And then there’s the food. It’s a reflection of the island’s unique blend of influences: European, Asian, African. This delicious fusion, everything from light fish curries to Asian-inspired meat dishes, is on offer at the hotel’s main restaurant, the achingly elegant Archipel. There’s also the finest selection of Asian dishes a stone’s throw across the pool, at another restaurant nestled among bamboo features and orange umbrellas. The piece de resistance, though, is Le Barachois. It’s a restaurant that both Akshada and Sylvabelle say is one of the hotel’s most unique selling points and, forgive us if we sound over the top, it’s jaw-dropping. To get there, guests take a short stroll along a boardwalk cut through the mangroves; en route, there is a pontoon bar offering whatever tipple takes your fancy, framed against a backdrop of silhouetted mountains and mirror-flat lagoons. Once the aperitive is out of the way, it’s another short walk to the restaurant which is, quite literally, floating. A handful of pontoons, each one covered on top but open to the lagoon on all sides, sweep round the walkway, diners enjoying their meals whilst gently rocking to the swell. If you’re lucky, Sylvabelle says, you’ll catch a glimpse of Johnny, the lagoon’s resident (and non-dangerous) shark, who often slips between the lights of the boardwalk as guests tuck into the Mauritian fine dining menu on offer.

For guests who feel somewhat over-indulged by all this eating and cocktail-sipping, there’s a wide range of sporting activities on offer here, too. A pair of championship golf courses are a shuttle bus away; both beautiful, both ball-guzzlers. There’s also tennis, water sports, hiking, diving, snorkelling, kite surfing, a wood-panelled gym with every machine under the sun, cycling and more. And for those whose muscles need a bit of R&R, the fully decked out spa is calmness and pampering personified.

“As far as we can work out, there isn’t a lot that the hotel won’t do for its guests. Last time we visited, there was a proposal: fireworks were arranged over the bay, a segment of the beach was raked, a line of flowers laid out, leading to an ice bucket of champagne and – we hope – a yes.”

With a slew of repeat guests and a non-stop flood of rave reviews, it would be easy for management to sit back and enjoy the ride. That’s not what they’re doing at the Prince Maurice, though, as Akshada lets us know. There are room developments under way, increased focus on the already exemplary sustainability programme and a constant search for where to improve in service – a tough gig, we imagine, given the already sky-high levels and continuously charming staff.

As you can tell, this is a place that we’re really keen on. It truly is special, combining effortless style, an unpretentious atmosphere, and phenomenal service. As the conversation wraps up, our founder is quick to mention to Akshada and Sylvabelle that he’ll be back soon. They both seem thrilled – then again, there’s nothing like a personal endorsement.

Read more about the hotel here

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