*** Important note: this hotel is not longer managed by St Regis. JW Marriott took over this hotel, after which it was rebranded to the JW Marriott Mauritius Resort. This review documents my experience during my stay when the hotel was still managed by St Regis ***
Today (March 12, 2014): St Regis Mauritius.
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: Coastal Road, La Gaulette, Le Morne, Mauritius
- Hotel website: St Regis Mauritius
- Tip: enjoy VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
The St. Regis Mauritius Resort is a tremendously impressive, 5-star luxury resort with 172 lavishly appointed guest rooms and suites that all offer breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean waters. It is the first property of the legendary St Regis brand in the Indian Ocean, and is located in the southwestern side of the island of Mauritius, where the beach, turquoise lagoon and backdrop of Le Morne mountain create a magical setting.
St Regis Mauritius features in my top 10 lists of the best resorts in Mauritius, the best hotel spas in the world,the most astonishing beach retreats in Africa, and the world’s best luxury hotels for amazing hotel redemptions..
In this review (more info and photos below the slide show) :
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- Tips for future guests & save money
- My verdict
- Comparison with other luxury hotels on the island
- Comparison of Mauritius with other Indian Ocean Islands (Maldives & Seychelles)
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The breathtaking location of the St Regis Mauritius is picture-perfect and comes close to absolute paradise. Nestled at the foot of the majestic World Heritage site of Le Morne mountain (with a height of 556 meters or 1824 feet), the resort sits at the edge of a deep blue lagoon with open ocean views. It is amazing that the St Regis brand was able to secure this exclusive spot for its resort, which is the absolute best on the entire island (no other hotel, except for those located on the same stretch of beach, come even close).
- The resort has a long and picture-perfect stretch of white sand beach (although not powdery, but rather rough coral sand), with a world-famous kite-surfing spot around the corner (the beach itself is sheltered from the winds).
- The public areas of the hotel are designed to resemble a colonial mansion and make a tremendously impressive and überchic impression, even more at night than during the day.
- The main swimming pool is very large and not crowded at all with plenty of day chairs and cabanas. The pool water felt a little chilly though. The resort also has a second, smaller and warmer pool, located ocean front between some pavilions.
- The resort is oriented towards the west, so you can watch very impressive sunsets from the beach (not possible from the high-end resorts on the East coast of Mauritius).
- The spacious rooms and suites are located in separate pavilions that are not part of the central hotel building, and are luxuriously decorated in traditional colonial style. The beds are heavenly soft. In the bathroom, you will find Laboratoire Reméde amenities. Almost all rooms have ocean views and most are just a few steps away from the beach.
- Rooms located farther away from the main building can rely on an efficient buggy service.
- The staff is very helpful and friendly. Simply the best! Every guest is appointed a butler at check in.
- The Iridium spa, a sanctuary of rejuvenation, features 12 private treatment rooms. The massage was one of the best that I ever had. Kudos to the therapist (forgot his name).
- WiFi is available everywhere, even when standing with your feet in the ocean. So, you can surf the complimentary internet on your tablets while lounging near the pool or on the beach.
- They offer special events for (platinum only) guests that are member of Starwoods loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG). As a SPG platinum member, I can say that it is the best SPG beach resort I ever stayed at (still have to try their sister resort in Bora Bora though).
- The resort has five restaurants on site, all serving excellent food. I found the buffet-style breakfast to be the gastronomic highlight of the day. At Le Manoir Dining Room, the island’s history is placed at the forefront, both in the décor and the gourmet Franco-Creole offerings. At Simply India, the resort’s signature restaurant, you will be engulfed in a creative mix of spice and innovation from celebrity chef Atul Kochha, while the reservations-only Inspiration provides a bespoke menu in the island’s most exclusive restaurant. Steps from the beach, The Boathouse Grill (my favorite!) serves fresh, locally inspired lunch and dinner in an enchanting outdoor environment, while the Floating Market and Atsuko serve Southeast Asian and Japanese cuisine respectively in gorgeously decorated pavilion.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- While the food is absolutely excellent and of high quality, I would not rate it as mind-blowing or memorable. I think this is the one and only point where there is room for some improvement.
- While spa treatment and massages are out of this world, this is the first luxury hotel that I encountered where you could only book a full-body massage for 90 minutes (or at least, so I was told by the spa receptionist). All the other luxury hotels that I stayed at so far offered a 60 minute full-body massage. While I do not mind being massaged for another extra 30 minutes, it did add up a lot to the costs as compared to the 60 minutes back-only massage they offered.
- The resort is not cheap (but you should know that when making a booking), especially when it comes to food, beverages and on-site activities. It is in line however with prices that are charged at the other high-end luxury resorts in Mauritius.
- I missed the presence of a hot tub near the beach (I am sure this feature would be loved by many guests on the more chilly or windy days).
- The hotel is very family friendly, which may be bothersome for those looking for a tranquil getaway to escape from daily life & children. I would suggest to the owners to make the small, second pool an adults-only area, in order to reserve a tranquility-guaranteed corner of the resort for those guests that are in need of that.
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like the St Regis Mauritius (and receive many free perks).
- Save money: I recommend to book a stay at the St Regis Mauritius through a Virtuoso travel agent, which has the benefit of complimentary VIP perks (e.g. free room upgrade, breakfast, 85 EUR food & beverage credit, daily buffet dinner for two guests in Le Manoir Dining Room or three-course a la carte dinner for two guests in either Floating Market or The Boathouse Bar & Grill, a 25% discount at Atsuko, early check in and late check out).
- Save money: book your room with an additional 20% off making use of a Best Rate Guarantee.
- Book a ground-floor beachfront junior or St Regis suite, which all have a large outdoor living space with direct access to the beach.
- Pre-book a half-board meal-plan to avoid extra costs.
- Request a room in a pavilion close(r) to the main hotel building if you do not like walking or relying on buggy service.
- Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out (when available), and free breakfast (SPG platinum). Click here to read our review of the SPG program (with pros & cons).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 8/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 10/10
- Overall experience: excellent: 8,5/10
COMPARISON WITH OTHER LUXURY HOTELS IN MAURITIUS
- The Four Seasons (east coast) offers the same in terms of service and luxury, and offers slightly better food IMHO, but it lacks the stunning location of the St Regis (I keep repeating it) as the FS is located in a lagoon without open ocean-views and with two nice but man-made beaches.
- The Shanti Maurice (south coast), the Oberoi (north coast), and Constance Le Prince Maurice (east coast) all have their own natural (and for the Oberoi: partly man-made) beach with open ocean views, but their setting is far less impressive or scenic as compared to the St Regis. Service at those resorts is excellent, with only marginal differences between them.
- The One&Only Le Saint Geran hotel, while lovely located in a coconut grove along a nice stretch of beach, is currently not playing in the same category as its competitors, because the resort needs renovation to restore its reputation as the Grand Dame of Mauritius, and because the other Mauritius luxury hotels offer villa accommodation as compared to One&Only’s rather modest rooms.
COMPARISON OF MAURITIUS WITH OTHER INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS
Mauritius, the Maldives and Seychelles are the 3 top island destinations in the warm Indian Ocean. While Mauritius is undeniably scenic, it is not in the same league of the stunningly beautiful and tropically exotic Seychelles and the Maldives. The latter islands have truly the most beautiful, powdery white sand beaches of the world, and are covered by a dense, jungle-like vegetation (with lots of palm trees), while I found the beaches at Mauritius nothing to write home about, and the island vegetation rather sparse (except for the implanted palm trees at the hotels you will stay). The only exception is the Le Morne corner of the island where the St Regis is located, as the latter really offers a tropical idyll and comes close to absolute paradise.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
During the Mauritian summer months (November to April) the days are long, hot and humid. This is also cyclone season with January to March being the wettest months – so if you do go on a holiday to Mauritius at that time you should be prepared for some heavy rain. Since it never really gets cold on the island in winter (May to October) the average temperature simply drops from sticky to balmy. So in general, the best time to visit Mauritius for cooler, drier weather is from May to December. That said, if you’re planning to stay on the east coast, we recommend avoiding the months of July and August as this is when the wind is at its strongest on this side of the island.
HOW TO GET THERE
The resort is located a 60-minute drive from the airport, and you can book a private transfer through the hotel, or prebook a much cheaper taxi. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (SRU) is served by many airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites):
- From/via Oceania: Air Mauritius (via Perth)
- From/via Asia : Air Mauritius (via Bejing, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Singapore)
- From/via Middle East: Emirates (via Dubai)
- From/via Europe: Air France (via Paris), Corsair (via Paris), British Airways (via London), Thompson Airways (via London), Condor (via Frankfurt), Edelweiss Air (via Zurich), Meridiana (via Rome or Milan), Transaero Airlines (via Moscow), Air Mauritius (via London or Paris)
- From/via Africa : South African Airways (via Johannesburg or Cape Town), Air Madagascar (via Antananarivo), Comair (via Johannesburg), Air Austral (via Reunion Island)