A winter holiday in land of rainbows

If you are looking for a tropical getaway this winter, look no further than the One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius – an idyllic retreat set among the natural beauty and serenity of tropical surroundings.

The stately gates of the retreat, which nestles peacefully in the private white sands of its own peninsula, welcome guests into a Mauritian garden paradise of friendly calm and easy luxury. Under the sway of thousands of coconut palms, immaculate gardens run down to the edge of the coral sand beach, which seamlessly wraps the peninsula for more than one-and-a-half kilometres.

The hotel – winner of numerous accolades including Best Overseas Hotel Spa – offers a haven of tranquillity six-and-a-half hours away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai.

The sheltered lagoon and calm waters of the Indian Ocean provide the ideal conditions for a range of watersports. For golf lovers there is the luxurious Gary Player nine-hole golf course, and a golf academy for anyone wanting to improve his or her game.

Shoppers need not worry as the hotel has all the local souvenirs any traveller could possibly want, and for culture vultures there is an array of sightseeing opportunities, including the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens – with more than 8,000 different specimens of palms and plants. Also while there it is worth visiting the L’Adventure du Sucres, where you can discover the history of the country’s sugar cane industry.

The paradise island, situated on the Indian Ocean 900km east off Madagascar, is the perfect destination, whether you are honeymooning, want a spa break or fancy a spot of deep-sea fishing.

Mauritius, known as the “land of rainbows, waterfalls and shooting stars”, was first sighted by Arab dhows as early as the 10th century. The Portuguese visited around 1510 before the Dutch first took possession of it in 1598, giving the island its present name in honour of their head of state, Prince Maurice of Nassau.

The Dutch introduced sugar cane, which, in addition to tourism, is still a pillar of the Mauritian economy. The island remained an important port of call for ships en route to India and the East Indies, and a landbase for pirates in the Indian Ocean. Nearly five centuries after gaining independence, this jewel in the Indian Ocean has evolved into a harmonious mosaic of cultures and religions with just about 1.2 million inhabitants.

For those who have spent time getting their Padi in Dubai, Mauritius is the perfect place to show off those new-found skills. With hundreds of species to look out for – including blue and black marlin, all types of sharks, yellow tuna and the barracuda – diving has never been so fun.

This winter the One&Only Le Saint Géran is offering five nights at the price of four on a bed-and-breakfast basis inclusive of one spa treatment per person.

The offer is available until September 30, 2008, and is subject to availability.

 

GETTING THERE

Air Mauritius - The country’s national airline offers direct daily flights to the island in comfort and class; and the early morning travel from Dubai allows time for rest en route, so you arrive on the island fresh and ready for that adventure.

Outbound (Departure - 2.35am; Arrival - 9.05am) 

Inbound (Departure - 11.20pm; Arrival: 5.50am)

Travel time: 6.30 hours

Economy-class fare: From Dh2, 700

Business-class fare: From Dh8,540

 

Emirates - If luxury travel is what you have in mind, then Emirates is the best way to directly fly daily to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius in the comfort of the A330 Airbus.

Outbound (Departure - 2.35am; Arrival: 9.05am)

Inbound (Departure - 11.20pm; Arrival: 5.50am)

Travel time: 6.30 hours

Economy-class fare: From Dh8,500

Business-class fare: From Dh10,300

 

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