We went to Paul and Viginnie for our honeymoon at the end of September for 14 nights. We had heard this was the best time of year to visit Mauritius and in all honesty while the weather was sometimes wonderful it was not great every day. Unfortunately the location of the hotel was not fantastic for numerous reasons. As the hotel is on the North East point of the Island it is very windy, making the hotel complex a lot cooler than you would expect. They have a wonderful infinity pool but it is more for show than for use as the area it is located is in a particularly windy part of the complex and it was just too cold to get in. In our 14 night stay we only saw 3 couples brave it on separate occasions. Also the transfer to the Hotel is very long, the hotel literature states it takes an hour and a half but you could add another hour onto that easily, especially with the traffic driving through Port Louis. After travelling for almost 24 hours this last stretch is painful … The area of Grand Gaube is not fantastic either and the hotel is amidst a residential area with little to do around the hotel. We hired a car so we could explore the island and this really made our trip. From all the areas we visited we wish we had booked a hotel at Flic en Flac, it was beautiful there. Obviously none of the above is the hotels fault, it is just the location but something to bear in mind when booking.
Our initial impression of the hotel on arrival was good. We were greeted with a refreshing drink, neck and head massage and provided with information about the hotel. The reception area is beautiful. We booked half board but decided to upgrade to AI through the hotel when we arrived as this was cheaper than doing this through our travel agent. We did this for about £45 per person per day. We were AI for the first 4 days and the last 4 days, the rest of the time we were just half board. This worked out very well for us as in the middle days when we had the hire car so we didn’t need to be all inclusive as were rarely at the hotel. Note that not everything is included in the AI package, there are a lot of supplements to pay. A down side top the hotel is that you do feel as though you are constantly being encouraged to spend money beyond the AI package, be that on day trips, in the restaurant, on drinks or the spa.
The food was very good for a four star hotel although half way through the stay the procedure changed. When we arrived lunch was served at the beach restaurant and you could choose from a menu what you would like, including burger and chips or salads. It was really lovely and to a very high standard. Your evening meal was a four course menu and you just chose your main and it was all table service. Again lovely, you felt like you were eating at a romantic restaurant every night. However half way through our stay this changed and lunch began to be served as a buffet in the main restaurant and evening buffets became more frequent, which really was not as nice and you we were pretty sick of buffet by the end. Breakfast was always buffet and very very enjoyable, with eggs cooked fresh to order. Although with the food came the birds and while pretty to look at they were real pests, more than once I saw them perched on the bread board picking away. Needless to say the bread was not cleared after they were shooed so some poor person is likely to have proceeded to eat that bread. The Beach restaurant in the evening was a real treat and definitely worth one visit at least, although expect expensive wine and a hefty supplement to pay.
As a honeymoon couple we were hopeful for a room upgrade as when we booked with Thomsons and the honeymoon package included a room upgrade (subject to availability). We expressed our disappointment when shown to our standard room and were told by guest relations that the matter would be looked into. While waiting for an answer about a room upgrade we enquired as to what the current status was and we were told that as we had switched to AI (i.e spending more) it may now be possible as better package so.. ‘we will see’. We were shocked at this as how much money we were spending should not have had a bearing on if a honeymoon couple got an upgrade, which was in the package from the start. It was either available or not!! This highlighted the hotels emphasis on spend spend spend and this did get irritating by the end. We were advised after a couple of days that it would not be possible as there was ‘no availability’. We disbelieved this as the hotel was not at full capacity, especially during the first week of our stay. However saying this to the hotels credit our standard room was very pleasant and to a good standard for a 3 star hotel, it was clean with a nice bathroom area and good shower. All rooms have sea views, which was lovely. As a honeymoon couple we were treated to a free candle lit meal at the beach restaurant by the sea and that was very good. We didn’t get a fruit basket or champagne but about a week into our stay 2 warm fruit skewers appeared in our room, which was amusing more than anything.
Some of the staff at the hotel did go above and beyond to make your stay very special, they were very friendly and helpful with outstanding customer service. Others it has to be said left a lot to be desired. There were times when we felt ignored and felt as though your age and board status may have had something to do with that.
We often felt invisible when stood at the bar waiting to be served and on one occasion in the restaurant we were totally forgotten about. One couple had three courses in the time it took for us to have one. This sadly happened all too frequently and some of the bar staff in particular were just plain rude in their manner. One night I was drinking out of a certain type of glass and mid drink the barman asked me for my glass. I wondered what on earth he was doing, he then tipped my remaining drink into a different shaped glass and said he needed mine as he had had an order for four margaritas and he did not have enough glasses of a certain shape for all four drinks so took mine. These were margaritas that you had to pay for (even on AI package). So my drink and my custom was less important obviously !!
Avoid the very expensive day trip to the island with Blue Marlin. It is a rickety old boat, cheap odd bits of scooba gear, warm cocktail and not the idyllic Island you would expect. BBQ was lovely though. If you want to see Mauritius get a hire car and a map and enjoy.
All in all would we go back to a Veranda hotel? yes absolutely. Would we go to the Paul and Viginnie? Unfortunately no we would not and that was mainly because of the location. As for a honeymoon hotel, while there was a romantic air to the complex and we had an amazing time we did feel the hotel could have done more to add that special touch to our stay, as after all you only get one honeymoon.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC