By the time we arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel Mauritius we were already quite accustomed to this wonderful Island in the Indian Ocean. After a week staying in a friend’s villa in the South it was time to head to the North of the Island. We were ready for a little pampering!
Checking in at this hotel was our first pleasant experience. The check in itself was a lovely introduction to this up-market hotel. The reservation hall was simply..Wow! An enormous open balcony with views across the bay, wonderful high ceiling with modern yet character furniture. We didn’t even reach the check-in desk before being kindly led to a discreet high backed wicker chair where we were provided with an introductory cocktail. From there we simply enjoyed the ambiance of the wonderful and exciting architecture while our check in was completed by a very experienced member of staff. Check in completed we were escorted to our room and made to feel very special.
As advertised we had our Ocean View or rather a side Ocean view as most of the rooms appear to have been built at an angle to the sea. However, the view of the sea was across a lovely landscaped garden and we were still able to view the most wonderful sunsets. Our room was as comfortable as expected, modern facilities including a large flat screen TV, King Size bed, refrigerator, safe, comfortable sofa. A very trendy bathroom although in my opinion the large free standing bath was definitely a designer’s mistake. Whoever suggested this type of bath for a hotel room had not themselves tried to use it. Once full of water stepping into or should I say climbing in was not risk free … I can see the hotel facing claims for injuries to elderly or less agile people slipping and crashing against the rather sharp bath edges. The narrow sharp edge of the bath leaves absolutely nowhere to stand even the smallest bottle of shampoo or bar of soap so a rather long armed person is required to reach over the bath side to place any bathing accessories on the floor??? Getting out is another task that calls for a reasonable level of fitness. Very much a case of a good looking design for a bath but totally unpractical, where I suggest Intercontinental have failed to carry out any Risk Assessment in this area. But don’t be put off; this is a minor problem as the separate shower room is more than adequate.
The hotel covers a large outside area that has been most carefully thought out (unlike the bath) With 4 or 5 eating areas you can experience a range of eating experiences where all of the food is extremely well prepared, delivered by experienced and informative waiters or waitresses. Unfortunately the wine list is a let down but more of this later.
For those who just want to laze on the beach the comfortable loungers under thatched umbrellas were always available to us. The beach has been created around what you might consider natural looking lagoons which have been seascaped (can’t say landscaped can I ) The depth of water in these lagoons varies slightly with the tide but it is a very safe area to swim and suitable for all ages. The pools are adequate but in my opinion rather small for hotel of this size but then we hardly used the pool preferring to use the sea. Fresh Beach towels were available throughout the day from conveniently placed small kiosks and you are never to far from a bar or waiter ready to serve you.
Only staying for 4 nights we were not able to fully use all of the sporting facilities available to hotel guests. However, we did get good value and just coming up to my sixty fifth birthday I have water skied for the very first time; I’m still on a high! The water sport instructor gets my top vote for teaching me how to stand on water skies on my first and only trip. Although the tide level over the reef restricted our use of the sailing facility we did take a trip in a glass bottomed boat and did snorkel around part of the coral reef, again well supported by the hotel Instructors. For anyone interested in a casual approach to water sports then the Intercontinental is a very good choice.
It’s possible that many visitors to Mauritius sadly never leave their hotels. I can understand there are those who just wish to chill out and this is a fine hotel to do just that. For others, take my advice and use the hotel organisers who will book you a taxi or hire a car. Mauritius is an Island of contrast and interest, it’s an Island with lots to see and experience. Mountains, rivers, wonderful scenery with happy and hospitable people who are interested in you enjoying their Island. A rich culture where Creole an Hindu make up the bulk of the population and bring with them traditions unlikely seen outside of Mauritius. Take a side street through the Sugar cane fields and witness some cane still being cut by hand but make sure you avoid the aging Lorries transporting the cane. Take a hire car and venture off the beaten track to see the other side of life where many are still struggling to make ends meet. By using the local restaurants and shops you can support many of the local residents struggling to find work. For those unsure about driving in Mauritius remember, like us in the UK they drive on the left (mostly). It’s not unusual to see a bike or moped on the wrong side and at night often without lights. Out of the towns the roads are not too busy so driving is OK and most places are easy to reach. I even found driving into the capital Port Louis to be quite easy and they still have policemen controlling the traffic so everything is quite orderly.
Back to the Intercontinental and after a morning or afternoon out it is good to come home isn’t it. This is lovely welcoming hotel with everything you need for a relaxing stay in Mauritius.
Would we go back to Mauritius? Yes! Would we stay at the Intercontinental hotel? Yes! Would we recommend the Intercontinental? Yes! Anything wrong with the Intercontinental? Yes, the wine list!
With the cheapest bottle of white wine at 21 euros the next is nearly 40 euros and twice we requested the 21 euro bottle only to be told they had run out this was most disappointing. I see no reason why a hotel of this size can’t get their act together and produce a wine list that provides good wine at a fair price. Given the opportunity I could easily provide a list of good quality wine at reasonable prices that would sell. Wouldn’t it be better to have say, a few bottles at 16 euros where customers might buy two or three with a meal or have customers shy away from drinking wine when on average costing over 40 euros a bottle. I suggest it’s better to bring in your own wine from a local store and make use of the refrigerator in the room.
Great Hotel, great position pity about the wine list.
John & Jane Cootes August 2009
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort is located on one of the most pristine stretches of beach overlooking Balaclava, Mauritius. Offering 210 well-appointed rooms including 10 presidential suites, 40 family-type, 20 Jacuzzi rooms and 140 Deluxe rooms. Facilities include: 3 bars, 5 restaurants, 2 swimming pools ( all heated in winter ), 8 massage rooms, a unique private island, Planet Trekkers kids club, recreational activities, tennis court, 4 meeting rooms & 1 ballroom. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Mauritius Resort, Balaclava Fort Hotel Balaclava
- Intercontinental Hotel Mauritius
- Intercontinental Hotel Balaclava