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La Demeure St Antoine

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La Demeure St Antoine

Mauritius

This traditional guest house gives you the opportunity to step back into a slice of Mauritian history. Built in 1830, the property is one of the few remaining French colonial homes on the island.

There are just four guest rooms, each traditionally furnished, and the feeling is very much of staying in someone’s family home. Relax in the cosy sitting room or on a cane chair on the long veranda, or find a spot of shade in the gardens. Although the property is set on the edge of Goodlands town, once you step into the gardens it’s easy to forget about the world outside.

The restaurant is very popular, with a traditional French-colonial setting — pre-booking is recommended.  Although there aren’t any other facilities at the guest house, a stay here is all about the historic, family home experience, great food and a chance to rest and relax. It is also a good base from which to explore the island further with Chateau de Labourdonnais and Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens just 10-15 minutes’ drive away.

As this was once a family home, it doesn’t have a conventional reception area. If you need anything, head to the restaurant where the staff will be happy to help.

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Rooms

As this was once a family home, each room is unique, complete with four-poster beds, period wooden furniture and original family photos. Each room leads directly out onto the wrap-around veranda, and has an en suite with shower. There are no televisions in the rooms, but Wi-Fi is available. Unusually, if you’d like a bath, there’s a separate (lockable) bathroom off the main living area.

Location

Located in the peaceful grounds of the (now defunct) family sugar factory, you can still see a 19th-centry water tank and well in the well-tended gardens. Built alongside the main road heading into the town of Goodlands, you’re a short walk from a series of local shops selling fresh fruits, saris and locally-made furniture.

Food and Drink

Arguably the highlight of a stay here is the restaurant. In the evenings you can dine on the candle-lit veranda looking out into illuminated gardens. The menu is an a la carte fusion of French and Mauritian cuisine, with fresh local ingredients as well as high-quality imported specialities. There’s a carefully curated wine list and the desserts were some of the best we’ve tried on the island.

Breakfast is also served in the main restaurant, and is a continental selection of fresh bread, homemade pastries, fruits and yoghurts, as well eggs to order.

While there are basic tea and coffee facilities in your room, the restaurant staff are on hand to serve you drinks on the veranda outside your room if you wish.

Families

As the hotel doesn’t have any children’s activities or the ability to add extra beds into the rooms, we don’t suggest this as an option for young children.

Local Excursions

The hotel’s location in the north of the island makes it a good base from which to explore Chateau de Labourdonnais, Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens and L'Aventure du Sucre, a sugar factory museum. You can also take a walk into the town of Goodlands, where you’ll find a selection of local shops and an array of brightly-painted Hindu temples that welcome visitors (please remove your shoes before entry).

Historic Marine, a model ship building company, are also within walking distance and offer complimentary tours (there’s a small donation box by the exit) of their workshops — ask for directions from staff.

Our opinion

This simple but charming guest house offers a unique experience, ideal for those wanting to discover more of Mauritius’ history. We recommend combining a one or two night stay here with time at the beach or in the mountains.

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