Lapped by the Indian Ocean’s beryl waters, luxury resort hotel Constance Prince Maurice has beachfront, lake-edge and palm-shaded luxurious suites made for romantic escapades. Its many facilities – a free-form pool, luxurious spa and spectacular floating restaurant – are dotted around the sprawling grounds, and the attentive service can’t fail to charm you. Just stretch yourself out on a sunlounger and sink into the hedonistic rhythm of Mauritian life.
Get this when you book through us:
A fruit basket, bottle of wine (champagne for GoldSmiths) and for GoldSmiths staying five nights or more, a 30-minute back or foot massage each
12 noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Guests can access the shower-equipped Orchid Lounge or pay an extra night’s stay for a guaranteed early check-in including breakfast and lunch. 6pm check-out (including a snack) is available for half a night’s stay.
Double rooms from £358.51 (€425), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates usually include a buffet breakfast of pastries and breads, vanilla or citrus honey, French toast, waffles, pancakes, and cooked egg, smoked marlin and cheeses. Full board can be arranged; call Smith24 (03334 146 786) to find out more.
In a secluded garden spot, the luxurious Sisley spa has six treatment rooms and two couples’ rooms, built around a small heated thermal swimming pool. Guests have free use of the steam room, Jacuzzi and chilled bath, and there’s an extensive menu featuring luxurious Sisley facials, warm-oil Shirobhyanga massages or the signature Rum Spirit, a two-hour ritual using fragrant vanilla and cinnamon.
There's a festive-meal supplement for stays over Christmas Eve (€130 per adult and €60 per child) and New Year's Eve (€265 per adult and €90 per child).
At the hotel
Swimming pools, spa, private beach with watersports facilities, kids club, access to Belle Mare Plage Hotel’s golf course, gym, playground, beach volleyball, mini golf, tennis courts, library, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD and CD player, iPod dock, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
Spacious and luxurious, the suites and villas are decorated in earthy spice tones, with colourful Mauritian textiles and large comfortable beds decked in soft linens. All bathrooms have a bath tub and separate shower, some of which are outdoors, in a private enclosure. Junior Suite on Stilts are built over the lake, with a deck overlooking the water and incredible sunset views. Family Beach Villas have their own heated private pool and a romantic outdoor bath; some are set right on the beach, with a stretch of white sand that will feel like your very own. If you’re really celebrating, then go for the 350sq m Princely Suite, which comes with two pools, three terraces, a private garden and, best of all, your very own villa master to attend to your every need.
The main pool stretches between the thatch-roofed central pavilion and the edge of the beach, weaving between the dining areas and terraces and flanked by four-poster sunloungers dotted around its edges. Nestled further in the grounds, the second more secluded pool is slate-lined and surrounded by decking. Cushioned teak loungers and matching parasols are lined up around the edges; languid guests can set up camp on the surrounding grass in the welcome shade of palm-trees.
Don't forget your bargaining skills: Port Louis’ bazaar is the place to stock up on spices and sarongs. Bring plenty of insect repellent if you’re planning on exploring inland Mauritius.
In-room manicures and pedicures are available – get beach-ready feet with treatments for healthy nails, anti-ageing rituals and chip-proof polish.
Under-6s stay in parents' bed for free; extra beds for children aged seven to 12 are €110 a night on the B&B rate or €145 a night on a half board basis. Over-12s are considered adults. Babysitting is available, from €12 an hour.
In the golden glow of the setting sun, a corner table facing the lake at Barachois is perfect for dinner à deux; for even more island romance, ask for a table to be setup on the beach under a canopy of twinkling stars.
Kaftan and sandals by day; silky, sultry or besuited by night.
Four. Archipel wraps around the main pool, an atmospheric terrace of carved wood, crisp linens and candlelight. In the mornings, the breakfast buffet is laid out by the busy open kitchen area; at night, poolside fire pits flicker in the evening breeze. Tall-toqued chefs add a light Mauritian touch to fusion dishes and fresh seafood. Feast on tapas-style sushi, sashimi and dim sum at Asian Corner. The Beach Deck is a casual lunch affair for sun-seekers and shallows-paddlers: snack on fish tartare or palm-heart salads from your seafront sunlounger. Down a lantern-lit walkway winding through mangroves, Barachois’ wooden platforms float on the lagoon; it’s the perfect sunset setting to sample Faye Faye crab or grilled lobster from the Indian Ocean; keep an eye out for Johnny, the three-metre-long shark who can sometimes be spotted circling beneath.
Lotus Bar has a colonial feel, with scattered chairs and sofas creating romantic nooks and secluded spaces. Laguna’s central bar is illuminated by sculptural pendant lights, with polished wooden floors and low mesh bucket seats to lounge in. Barachois’ romantic floating bar, with ocean views and a stunning backdrop of Mauritius’ mountains in the distance, is the perfect setting for a tropical sundowner of pineapple and pink pepper. Head sommelier Jerome Faure guides guests through the incredible and very cold wine cellar (they have pashminas to keep Mrs Smith warm).
Breakfast is served 7.30am–10.30am; lunch 12.30pm–3.30pm and dinner 7pm–10pm. Laguna Bar is open 9am–midnight, and Lotus Bar 6.30pm–11.30pm.
24 hours. An all-day menu of salads, pizzas and sandwiches is available 11am–6.30pm. For dinner (6.30pm–10.30pm), feast on grilled lobster or the catch of the day. Overnight, a light menu of cold cuts, soup, pasta and pastries is available 10.30pm–7am.
On the tranquil eastern shore of Mauritius’ Flacq district, beachfront Constance Prince Maurice is nestled in sugar cane plantations, facing the Indian Ocean.
Fly into Sir Sewoosagar Ramgoolam International Airport, named after a former Prime Minister. Mauritius is well connected with daily flights to international hubs such as London, Singapore, Paris or Dubai. The hotel is an hour’s coastal drive from the airport, along the B28 road.
Taxis are available outside most hotels in Mauritius, but ask reception to help calculate your fare so you can negotiate with the driver. The hotel can also organise car rental for guests if you want to explore at your own pace. Buses in Mauritius are reliable, if slow, and can get you to just about any part of the island.
Helicopter transfers from the airport take 15 minutes and should be arranged when booking.
Worth getting out of bed for
Facing the Indian Ocean on Mauritius’ east coast, Flacq is a district of pristine coast, quiet coves and translucent lagoons. Many a day can be spent lounging on the white-sand beaches and idling in the spa, but it pays to leave the comforts of the resort to explore the island, with its rich history, exuberant markets and tastebud-tickling cuisine. Take a boat trip to Ile aux Cerfs, a pretty island off the village of Trou d’Eau Douce to the south; venture up to the sleepy fishing village of Cap Malheureux and its picturesque red-roofed church; arm yourself with patience and a smile for a colourful ride on the local buses. Don’t miss Port Louis’ bazaar, a vast and bustling market where you can soak up the local atmosphere and stock up on saffron, juicy vanilla pods and, with a bit of haggling, beautiful sarongs to last you a lifetime.
Head inland, an hour’s drive away, for a unique view of Mauritius’ forests and rivers. Strap in at Chazal Ziplines to fly through the treetops, swim in natural riverbeds, and splash through waterfalls. Bring plenty of mosquito repellent if you’re going to explore the river and the banana and sugar cane plantations along the way; sessions include a wholesome Mauritian lunch at the table d’hôte. A 10-minute drive from Port Louis, Domaine Les Pailles offers a glimpse into Mauritius colonial past. Tour the grounds on horse and cart, and visit the 18th-century sugar mill and distillery, where you can indulge in a spot of rum tasting. In the south west of Mauritius, near the rolling variegated hills of Chamarel, the road to Rhumerie de Chamarel is lined with sugar cane and tropical fruit plantations. Rum tastings, guided tours and tasty meals are on offer; finish your visit with a Café Chamarel – a vivifying mix of gold rum, syrup, black coffee and cream.
Off Trou d’Eau Douce’s pretty public beach, a 20-minute drive from the hotel, tranquil family-run Chez Tino (+230 419 2769) has an inviting terrace with views across the bay. Juicy rock lobster and enormous prawns are the stars of the menu, but the dainty samosas, crab-topped rice and refreshing salads are not to be missed either. Book in advance to eat lunch at Escale Créole, where mother Majo and daughter Christine dish up authentic Mauritian fare in a laid-back garden setting, a short drive from Port Louis. Generous servings of rougaille sausage stew, perfumed curries and flavourful pickles are set on rustic vichy-checked tables – just help yourselves to a second or third helping, but make sure to leave enough room for a slice of banana or coconut cake and a swig of the punch-packing spiced rum, made to a well-guarded family recipe. With vintage cars and an old plane scattered among the fruit and spice trees, eccentric Chez Tante Athalie (+230 243 9266) serves up delicious Creole fusion food, with a tempting set-menu and à la carte options of fresh seafood and grilled meats. Stop here en route to the bountiful Pamplemousses botanical gardens, a 10-minute drive away.
Cari poulet? Bol renversé (upside-down bowl)? Fish vindaye? If you’re looking for Mauritius’ national dish, look no further than dholl puri, paper-thin flatbreads stuffed with fragrant spicy lentils. Pull up a plastic chair at Dewa & Sons (+230 464 5646), a short drive from Port Louis – locals flock to this unassuming pitstop and are sure to point you in the right direction.
A drive through deserted misty fields of sugarcane in the wee hours of the morning had Mr Smith dozing away, completely immune to its eeriness. I, on the other hand, felt like I was watching the Blair Witch Project unfold.
The jumpy journey was promptly forgotten, though, when we arrived at the foot of Constance Le Prince Maurice’s grandiose staircase. In fact, from that point on, it seemed we forgot how to do anything for ourselves at all as staff magically appeared, leaving us to slip into full relaxation mode.
As the manager walked us up to the lobby, he helpfully pointed out the beautiful black-tiled sunken fountain in our path, lest we walk into it half asleep (a good call, as the grand wood and copper carvings certainly had me gazing admiringly upwards).
We were hardly expecting a welcoming committee at that time of the morning, but bright-eyed, bushy-tailed staff were there enthusiastically informing us that the culinary team were at our disposal, too, and that a table had been set up in our suite in case we fancied an early breakfast.
Although we sleepily declined the 4am breakfast offer, it was a joy to jump out of bed and perch ourselves at the white linen-clad table where we were served epic portions of warm croissants, buttery eggs, yogurt, tropical fruits and the most decadent French toast in history.
‘There goes my diet’, said Mr Smith, dusted in milky-sugary deliciousness. The chances are, if breakfast has you weeping with joy, it’s a good sign of things to come.
You know the kind of soothing white bedding with oh, I don’t know, a million thread count… that you just melt into and want to spend the whole day cocooned in? Well, our princely junior suite came with exactly that. When we did eventually end the spell of hibernation it prompted, we opened the glass door that led to an outdoor seating area, fought the compulsion to jump in the hammock and strolled lazily towards the beach.
We detoured past one of the swimming pools hidden among the foliage and surveyed the watersport-perfect depths beyond: jet skis, hobby cats, sailboats and kayaks were all provided by the hotel. On the bleached-blond shores, there were plenty of colourful oversized cushions and day beds to distract the less active.
Bars temptingly preceded restaurants and they were scattered from beachfront to poolside via some floating decks on a lake. We settled in for some local cuisine, which packed a whopping gastronomical punch: creole curries; French cuisine; seafood grills… Pashminas and reading glasses were offered as we took our seats; a toothpick at the end of the meal. It was all suavely executed and very much suited to our new eat-relax-sleep-repeat cycle.
The spa was a delightful pilgrimage into another realm of calm altogether. It began with a hot ginger tea and a cold towel scented with whiffs of Frangipani. Then I was ready for the solitude of the relaxation area where a thatched four-poster bed took center stage in a courtyard flanked by a Hammam, sauna and changing rooms. I dutifully inhaled in the steam room, baked in the sauna and dipped (my toes) in the icy cold plunge pool.
And, oh, the massage! Customized to perfection; its soothing long strokes sent me into a sound sleep. When I woke up, I was refreshed and, quite literally, functioning at a slower inner pace.
Well established and perfectly polished, clearly Constance le Prince Maurice is a Mauritian grand dame. The well-rehearsed and time-tested behaviour of staff makes for a special kind of spoiling. And if you don’t take my word for it, ask Michael Douglas – a note of his, packed with praise, is framed and hung in the library next to the other celebrity fans.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Constance Prince Maurice’s Guestbook below.
The service was unparalleled to any other place I have ever visited. I must come back.