By Audley Mauritius specialist Lucy
With its powdery white sands, bright turquoise seas and elegant hotels, Mauritius is classic honeymoon territory. While its beaches are its main appeal, there’s more to do here than you might expect. Venture beyond the coast, and you’ll find a green, mountainous country full of walking trails, scenic lookout points and gardens.
If you’re the type of couple who gets restless after several days of relaxation, Mauritius – to a greater extent than other Indian Ocean islands, like the Seychelles, offers a lot of different experiences to hold your interest. Some are once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon extravagances, but others are more down-to-earth, like short walks or bicycle rides in Mauritius’ quiet interior.
Trips can focus on Mauritius’ beaches, but there’s scope to experience both mountains and coast within the same break. These dual-area stays are also possible on shorter, week-long breaks.
Best honeymoon hotels in Mauritius
Stay in an overwater suite at Constance Le Prince Maurice
Overwater villas on stilts at the Constance Le Prince Maurice
Polished, sleek and contemporary in its styling, Constance Le Prince Maurice sits on a crescent of quiet beach on the east coast. Its junior suites on stilts are some of the best accommodation for honeymooners in Mauritius.
Jutting out over a coastal lagoon, they’re decorated with local textiles and have spacious decks, making them good places to watch the setting sun as its burnt oranges and reds are reflected in the languid lagoon waters.
Constance Le Prince Maurice is a particularly good pick for golfers: the hotel has access to two championship golf courses and offers free golf lessons, along with equipment.
Take afternoon tea at 20 Degrees South
The beachfront at 20 Degrees South
Boutique in size and design (no two rooms are the same) and tucked away in a coconut grove at the northern tip of Mauritius, this hotel has the welcoming feel of someone’s country house, rather than a beach resort.
All beaches in Mauritius are public, but the beachfront of 20 Degrees South is enclosed by rocky coves, making it less windswept as well as more secluded.
I’d recommend the Austral Suites, sea-facing rooms with their own private plunge pools or Jacuzzis. There are many thoughtful touches, such as tea served every afternoon with homemade patisseries.
Stargaze at the Oberoi Mauritius
The beachfront at the Oberoi Mauritius
The Oberoi Mauritius is a hotel for honeymoon couples looking for a sophisticated retreat. I’m also going to stick my neck out and say that its sunset is the best in Mauritius.
All rooms have their own private garden or pools, and the property sits in extensive manicured subtropical gardens in the north of Mauritius. It has a Moroccan-style spa, an adults-only infinity pool with views over Turtle Bay, and fine dining (the dress code is more formal and less beachy than in other properties). The skies are so clear here that the hotel offers stargazing sessions.
I enjoyed going to one of the hotel’s restaurants, On The Rocks, and ordering the idiosyncratic local dish of clay-baked fish. It was served in a box and I was given a little hammer to break the clay crust. For something a bit more exclusive, book a private candlelit table on the beach.
Enjoy your own private butler at the Residence
The Plantation Restaurant at the Residence
This east coast hotel makes my list for one main reason: the butler service that’s available for each room. More like a private concierge service, it’s rather good fun, and adds a few theatrical flourishes to your stay. I came back to my room one night to find that my butler had run me a perfumed, petal-filled bath. Couples looking to kick back might enjoy having someone else pack and unpack for them.
Food is also a talking point at the Residence. Its three restaurants serve classic French and Creole dishes, but I especially enjoyed sampling sea urchins and oysters at the weekend seafood buffet.
Escape to the mountains at Lakaz Chamarel
The Sea View Pool Suite at Lakaz Chamarel
Nestled in the Chamarel Mountains in Mauritius’ sleepy south, Lakaz Chamarel is a good choice for honeymooners who want to stay in the island’s lush, mountainous inland.
Spending time at Lakaz is about being ensconced in the tropical forest. The hotel is on the route of several walking and cycling trails, its grounds are teeming with birdlife, and there are morning yoga sessions in the garden.
Rooms have quirky touches, like quotes from Baudelaire on the walls and wrought iron sculptures by a local artist. Couples seeking a room with a view should pick the Garden or Sea View Pool Suites –the latter look out over the forest canopy with the basaltic monolith of the Morne rising up in the background.
Experiences for honeymooners in Mauritius
Dine on a floating restaurant
The overwater dining at the Constance Le Prince Maurice
Constance Le Prince Maurice has Mauritius’ only overwater restaurant, Le Barachois. If you’re in search of intimate, one-off dining experiences, this is for you.
You leave the main hotel buildings and walk through mangroves to reach the sheltered lagoon where several softly bobbing pontoons branch off from a central bar area and walkway.
There was something extremely serene and private about dining here. Each pontoon only had four or five tables, the lantern lighting was kept low, and the service was discreet. I watched gentle reef sharks and fishes swimming in the water around the platforms as I waited to be shown to my table. Expect well-presented, gourmet cuisine. The menu changes regularly – my menu, for example, was largely inspired by Mauritius’ Indian heritage.
Visit the botanical gardens of Pamplemousses
Lilies at the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens
Even if you’re not particularly horticulturally minded, this exotic garden and arboretum makes for a peaceful afternoon’s wandering among shaded groves, birds of paradise and other kaleidoscopic flora.
The gardens can be explored without a guide, although I’d recommend hiring one of the on-site expert botanists to help you uncover highlights like the sausage tree, named for its oblong hanging fruit. Look out for the central pond, covered with giant waterlilies that are allegedly strong enough to support a newborn’s weight.
Take a private helicopter tour over the island
Alexandra Falls in the Black River Gorges National Park
With much fanfare, you’re handed a gourmet picnic basket and taken on a ten-minute private helicopter ride over the entire island of Mauritius. Hovering over some of the more precipitous mountains, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the dense tropical forest that carpets much of the country, and then the cliffs and the basalt outcrops to the south. It’s an extravagant, exhilarating way to take in the whole island.
Cruise at sunset on a vintage sailing boat
Built in 1929 the M/S Lady Lisbeth is the island’s oldest motor boat
Mauritius is good at intimate dining experiences. Sailing into the sunset-washed skies of Grand Baie – a sweeping bay in northern Mauritius sheltering a seaside village – in a restored teak sailing boat, with only a handful of other guests, is probably one of the best.
The Lady Lisbeth departs from the 20 Degrees South hotel every evening, and dinner begins with an aperitif on deck as you head out into the bay. Seafood is likely to be served, although dietary requirements are taken into account.
After watching the changing hues of the darkening sky, you’ll head into the cabin to eat before returning to shore. The interiors are charmingly old-fashioned, rather than slick and smart, and the service is warm.
Cycle to the Seven Coloured Earth and explore Mauritius’ walking trails
An area of sand dunes know as 'Seven Coloured Earth'
Couples looking for more energetic outdoor activities can head to the Black River Gorges National Park, known for the Seven Coloured Earth and its nearby waterfalls.
If you’re staying at Lakaz Chamarel and have a good level of fitness, consider hiring bicycles and cycling to this geological phenomenon – an area of dunes made of red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow sand. On the way, you’ll bike down well-marked, hilly trails through tropical forest dotted with pineapple bushes.
With several well-trodden paths that criss-cross mountaintops, untamed forest, plantations and sugarcane fields, Mauritius is an unheralded destination for walking.
Trails may not have specific names but are usually well signposted, so they can be easily explored under your own steam. Many open out into dramatic viewing areas. My pick would be the rest-stop in the Chamarel Mountains, known only as the ‘sugar cane’ truck viewpoint, after the ice cream van that’s regularly found selling fresh sugar cane juice here. As you look out over densely forested mountainside, you may be able to pick out a couple of waterfalls amid the trees.
Elsewhere in Mauritius, the Domaine de Etoile also offers good hiking, with wild deer wandering freely across the paths.
The best time to honeymoon in Mauritius
Le Morne Brabant Mountain in the far southwest of Mauritius
Mauritius enjoys warm weather and a temperate climate almost all year round. April and May, and September and October are the most pleasant months, but October would be my first choice as it often brings a soothing breeze. Avoid January and February – this is cyclone season, and the whole island shuts down when one hits.
Extending your honeymoon
Leopard in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve
Since its hotels are so well suited to relaxing, Mauritius can be a delightful contrast to a destination that’s fully focused on activity. It combines well with a safari at Sabi Sands in South Africa, as well as a city break in Dubai or Istanbul.