Considerations about the choice of accommodation
When planning a trip to Mauritius, it’s best to decide in advance what your preference is: an extravagant, multi-service hotel or a human-scale, family-run hotel, which of course offers a smaller range of services. The latter is now favored as boutique hotels. Of course, we can find very cozy small hotels and boarding houses, where if we’re lucky the owner is diligent in looking after guests.
Hotels in Mauritius typically charge high prices. There are two main reasons for this. One is that have to ship almost everything to the island, which is a costly procedure, and these costs are passed on to hotel guests. Another is that in the last two decades, Mauritius has consistently positioned itself as a premium destination in world tourism, trying to keep backpackers and lower-middle-class travelers away with high prices. It used to face less competition in this regard, but these days the Maldives and Madagascar have begun to compete with it in the Indian Ocean region. For now, it is staying ahead thanks to better infrastructure and Western European marketing. Western Europeans are glad that Mauritius has not yet been flooded by Russians. Anyway, most hotel guests have a distinctly cultured behavior, and you aren’t likely to be troubled by drunk, boorish groups of British tourists either.
In Mauritius, lower-end, 2-3-star hotels usually have some minor issues: there is usually a distinct lack of customer focus, or else the condition of the rooms leaves something to be desired, or the staff is slow and often unskilled. Staff laziness can be an issue in better hotels, too. The explanation for the lack of enthusiasm of the service staff may lie in the fact that the cleaning lady’s monthly salary is half the amount that a luxury hotel guest pays for a room for one night.
Still, it’s possible to find some real gems in the 3-star category, and there are also great special offers for 4-star hotels. 4-star hotels are, it has to be said, a bit of a lottery when it comes to the price/value ratio.
It is important to point out that the vast majority of hotels in Mauritius do not have a private beach. This is because, according to local law, the coast all around the island is public property. This is why you can take long walks of several kilometers along the beach.
Mauritius is a tropical island, so travelers should make their peace with the fact that small, harmless insects, ants, lizards, etc. may appear in the room. Geckos are friendly lizards, between two and ten centimeters in length, that can climb using their suction cup soles. They are useful roommates, as mosquitoes provide much of their food. Their appearance is not a sign of a lack of cleaning in a hotel. The architectural design of local hotels, which is attractive, is usually such that the buildings have a lot of open-air space. Outdoor meals can also be disturbed by flies and birds hunting for crumbs.
Which side of the island has the most going for it?
Before traveling, it is worth deciding which coast of Mauritius you want to look for a hotel on. There is no part of the coast that has only advantages, nor is there one that has only disadvantages. In my opinion, the hotels on the west and north coasts are most worthwhile. The west coast may be romantic, but the north coast has more entertainment, more life! Many say that the most beautiful beaches are on the west coast. The east coast is quite wild, with its own pros and cons.
More and more people are choosing the west coast of Mauritius, which is about 50 kilometers long. The informed swear that the most pleasant part of the island is in the catchment area of the central section of the west coast, around Flic-en-Flac and Wolmer. The climate is drier and warmer than on other coasts of the island because the weather is less windy. On the west coast, Flic-en-Flac and its catchment area have become increasingly popular in recent years. It even has a Spar supermarket. The great advantage of the west coast is the proximity of the capital, Port Louis, and the big city full of markets and entertainment venues, Quatre Bornes. It is easy to mingle with the locals on the west coast. It’s easy to find restaurants where locals, for example, dine. This is also the disadvantage of the west coast: for example, there are a lot of local families on the beaches on weekends and so not much peace because of the many children.
Nor is it an advantage of the west coast that there are more than a few rocky, coral beaches where bathing can be risky. Fortunately, there are always good beaches 5-10 minutes away by car. It is worth asking (firstname.lastname@example.org) to look into it: what is the situation in the specific place in terms of the nature of the beach? The west coast has more of an exciting, beautiful coast in terms of the natural environment than the north. The sand on the beaches is dazzlingly white. According to others, the most beautiful natural beauties of the island are on the southwest coast, between Tamarin and Baie du Cap. There, however, the choice of accommodation is much more limited. The transfer time between West Coast hotels and the airport is usually 45-50 minutes.
The northern coast of Mauritius has the most popular (and crowded) beaches. The atmosphere could hardly be described as idyllic, due to the many speedboats, water skis, etc. The beach sand is also less than ideal in a few places: it’s coral sand, but not so powder-fine as in other places, and a bit gravelly. The volcanic rock formations are attractive. You can also find some particularly beautiful stretches of coast here, for example in the area of Pereybéré. From here, catamaran trips depart for a dreamlike little island nearby. In the north, the Trou aux Biches coastline is ideal for water sports lovers, while the more significant Mont Choisy is calmer.
Both areas are close to Grand Baie, which is a very bustling place by local standards. Outside of the capital, this is perhaps the place with the most shopping opportunities (e.g. Sunset Boulevard shopping street, Super-U large supermarket). Oddly, the shops close at half-past five in the afternoon, just when holidaymakers are strolling in the vicinity (there are few properly constructed sidewalks!). Fortunately, the bars and restaurants are open. The descriptions of Grand Baie in brochures as ‘the Saint Tropez of Mauritius’ are an exaggeration. It is enough to wander into a side street and you will quickly find yourself among dilapidated, collapsing shacks. Of course, this is also interesting, but the milieu is certainly not elegant. The larger streets are relatively clean. Most hotels are in the northern part of Mauritius, so of course, most tourist service providers are based there too, including the larger nightlife venues. The average transfer time between the hotels on the north coast and the airport (non-stops) is 1-1.5 hours, although the distance is only 75 kilometers. Luckily, you can see beautiful, interesting landscapes during the transfer.
"I think it's better to choose a hotel on the north coast because the sky is cloudier in the south and it rains more often. I was on the island in December and stayed in the north, where I got away with just minor showers." (Balázs, 2017)
The East and South Coasts
“On the east coast of Mauritius, the hotels are built in isolated, beautiful natural locations. There is little accommodation there, but we can find very good stretches of beach for diving (for example at the beaches near Poste de Flacq). The seawater on this side of Mauritius is not as beautiful as on the west and north coasts. Many places on the east coast stink, thanks to the stone-age sewage disposal systems. The east coast is more deserted, and further away from the island’s main road. Not many hotels have been built on the south coast. It is the windiest part of the island, which is a great advantage in the heat. This is the best place for surfing and sailing, as the waves are often huge. Excursions to the eastern and southern parts of the island are worthwhile. Getting around this part by bus can be complicated, so you will probably need a rental car, or else to rent a taxi for a day.”