I booked a 10 day stay at the Recif Attitude Hotel from the 16th to the 15th of December. I had high expectations for my stay after reading rave reviews on Trip Advisor and having the hotel recommended to me by my travel agent. While there is no doubt that the Recif Attitude is a value for money proposition, I believe a few simple changes could significantly improve the service and quality of guest experience.
Before getting going I'll disclose that I worked for cruise lines and 5 star hotels for several years in the service department. I often rolled my eyes at the type of report I am about to write, but my experience of working in the industry did highlight some serious problems with the service and quality on offer at the Recif and I'd like to share this with the hotel and potential guests.
First the positives:
The hotel itself is lovely - its whitewashed buildings sprawl over the beachfront on a quiet corner of Pointe Aux Piments. The grounds are immaculately maintained, and there are a wonderful variety of blossoming trees on the grounds that perfume the air and are home to a variety of colourful birds. At night the hotel looks particularly beautiful, as the night lighting has been tastefully and thoughtfully done. All in all it creates an extremely beautiful, mellow and romantic setting.
The common areas are tastefully decorated, and the restaurant is positioned on a terrace with panoramic views of the beach and ocean. In the evenings a local band plays soothing tunes, and there's a free Sega show on Saturdays, which was a huge amount of fun.
The hotel beach is perfectly servicable, and although public is very quiet - if anything the local Mauritian children who venture onto it to play on the pier or swim ground the hotel and prevent you from feeling like you're on a 5 star island cut off from the reality of island life. The sand on the beach is covered in shells and coral pieces at the tideline, but is otherwise a beautiful deep gold and softest close to the water.
The hotel beach lies in front of a coral reef, with a small sheltered bay right in front of the hotel. This is perfectly adequate for swimming, and we never had need of beach shoes. The reef is also a wonderful place to snorkel, with snorkel gear available free at the boathouse.
The enclosed bay is home to thousands of fish, and if you swim out the bay and explore the living coral on the reef you'll find a breathtaking variety of tropical fish - which means you have really top quality snorkelling right on your doorstep. In addition pedalo boats and kayaks are available for free athe boathouse.
Unlike the hotels on the lagoons, the shores at the base of the Recif are washed by the waves of the Indian ocean, and the sound of waves breaking on the shore provided a really soothing backdrop to our holiday. If you're a surfer and can handle a reef, bring your longboard as a servicable 1-2ft wave breaks down the reef at virtually all hours and you'll have it all to yourself.
The rooms are nothing special, but perfectly adequate. The beds are comfortable, the spaces are clean, and you have everything you need for a comfortable stay - and you won't need to spend much time in your room anyway. If anything, I'd suggest forgoing the expense of a beachfront room, as we ended up spending hardly any time sitting on our balcony. The only real minus here was having the toilet located off the main room in a shuttered alcove - not the height of privacy, and it can be awkward if you travel with company.
The quality of the hotel food is good overall. At breakfast you can have eggs prepared any way you like, and can eat your eggs with cakes, toast, excellent fresh croissants, yoghurt and fresh fruit. Unfortunately bacon is not available every day, and is substituted with cheap and fairly awful sliced Mauritian chicken viennas (which appeared to make it on to the dinner buffet salad selection the same night on more than one occasion) every second day. The juices served with breakfast appeared to be freshly squeezed and are delicious.
The lunch menu is set, and we found it the best and most consistent menu on offer. You can order suprisingly decent pizzas, toasted sandwiches and other treats and we enjoyed everything we tried off the menu. On one afternoon the hotel served a buffet of local Mauritian street food that was out of this world.
Dinners alternate between buffet and set menu. The buffets are a hit and miss affair, but you'll generally be able to find something tasty on offer, and there's plenty of variety available. The set menus were decent, and some of the dishes we were served (such as the local fish curry) were nothing short of exceptional.
One thing that lost the hotel points was the coffee. I absolutely fail to understand how a hotel frequented primarily by European clientele gets away with serving the tasteless brown dishwater in silver canisters that were dished up every morning. It was without a doubt the worst coffee we have ever had. Not only was it made from instant coffee added to water, but it was extremely weak and thin, and often undrinkable.
If you're used to drinking quality coffee this can be quite unpleasant, and to make matters worse the hotel has a proper coffee machine, but charges a fortune for a cappucino from the bar (even if you're on all-inlcusive, in which case you can only get decent coffee after 11am).
The terrible quality of the coffee just made the hotel come across as cheap. The cheese served at the breakfast buffet was right up there with the coffee, as you'd have a single cheese option - wedges of American-style processed cheddar that tasted awful. Once again, unneccesarily cheap, and doesn't make sense given the European clientele.
Then we come to the service..
A lot of reviews go on about the service. We found the service average at best, with a couple of excellent and attentive waiters at the restaurant saving the day. The groundsmen, boathouse staff and cleaning staff were all wonderful and polite and also did a good job.
However, the bar staff left a lot to be desired. On two occassions when we held out for a cappucino we were served cappucinos prepared with two heaped tablespoons of cocoa dropped into each cup for no apparent reason.
One day when I was drinking vodka lime and sodas the bartender arbitrarily decided to replace my lime cordial with pure lemon juice, and the 'soda' in the drinks was generally flat sparkling water that totally ruined the drink's flavour. I eventually took to ordering the spirit and a bottle of mineral water separately to ensure my drinks weren't served with flat, room temperature sparkling water.
Despite the hot climate the bar staff don't chill their beer glasses, and if you order a beer it is served to you in a tall glass rather than a beer glass (and your wine will be served to you in a cocktail glass). Half the cocktails were served without any garnishes, and the bartenders have not been taught how to free pour or even use a shot glass for measuring, which means drinks with mixers can be incredibly strong.
Because the hotel runs its restaurant service bar out of the main bar (a fatal mistake in a hotel setup) the bartenders are almost always more focused on serving waiters than on serving bar patrons, and as a result you end up being treated like an irritation when you order a drink. I was at the hotel for 9 days, sat at the bar every day at least two or three times and only one of the apprentice bartenders took the trouble to figure out what my drink was (beer in the bottle) and offer it to me when I came to the bar.
I knew the bartenders by name from their name tags, but none ever bothered to ask me mine, introduce themselves to me or even chat to me. This may sound trivial, but a simple way to significantly enhance a guest's experience at a hotel is to get staff to interact with guests, learn their names and interact with them - which is what you'll find at quality service establishments. The service at the Recif bar was frequently nothing short of rude, and some of the wait staff were hardly better.
The hotel director never formally introduced himself to us, and despite being assured of a mid-stay check-in by our MyTime program, no such thing happened, and we were never asked about the quality of our stay or experience of the hotel service and facilities. As I mentioned earlier, some of the wait staff were really excellent and saved the day, but apart from a handful of waiters, the service in the restaurant and bar was definitely the worst I have experienced at a hotel, and amongst the worst I have experienced at any hotel or catering establishment.
The last thing I'd want to share with potential guests relates to the tours offered at the boat house. While the boat house staff were all very pleasant and helpful, we took one of the tours on offer and decided not to go back for seconds. We went on the trip to Ile du Cerfs and experienced it as being treated as so much human cargo, with the boat staff using the expedition as an attempt to sell us parasailing and a lobster lunch. Once again they were pretty rude, and the service was atrocious. We booked our second excursion through Solis, taking Adrien's Dream to swim with dolphins and visit the Western lagoon, and it was really superb, with outsanding food and friendly service.
And that concludes this rambling review. Focusing on the problematic elements of our stay makes it sound like our experience of the Recif was negative, and that's unfortunate. The hotel has a lot going for it in terms of location and facilities, and it's silly to let cheap breakfasts and poorly trained service staff prevent this establishment from being outstanding rather than simply good.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the north west of Mauritius, Recif Attitude is a must if you want to go back to essentials, to recharge your batteries, to spend time together as a family or as a couple, to spend time with friends...Nestled in a white sandy creek overlooking a beautiful natural marine preserve, this "Adult Only" hotel is an invitation to farniente. Guests can spend hours chatting, sipping an exotic cocktail bare feet in the sand or in one of the cosy sitting corners... At sunset, the ideal spot to watch that enormous orange sun entering the sea slowly...Dressed in white and wood, Recif Attitude is a mix of comfort, vibrant Mauritian soul and boutique hotel spirit. The 70 room hotel with its cubical architecture, modern furniture and refined design, is decorated with taste. Warm welcome, caring and discreet staff, together with unique body care and facials of the Spa Attitude, without forgetting the seafood restaurant, contribute to the subtle luxury of this 3 star sup. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Holiday Gems, Booking.com, Odigeo, Agoda, Traveltool, S.L.U., Hotels.com, Travelbag, TripOnline SA, Southall Travel, Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Recif Attitude reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Le Recif Hotel Pointe Aux Piments
- Le Recif Pointe Aux Piments
- Recif Attitude Mauritius/Pointe Aux Piments