Here I am. Back in London. Sitting on my bed. Grey outside. Very, very cold. Unseasonably cold. You know when you look forward to your holiday and when you are there you never think it's going to end and you take it for granted? Well, I do. So well. You spend ages looking forward to it and it's over. We so nearly stayed another three nighst. We were so tempted. You really need two weeks to properly enjoy Mauritius. To get into the swing of things and to relax. We split our holiday into two parts and the second was 'beach, beach, beach'! Soft, white sand beach as far as the eye could see, fringed with palm trees to shield you from that wonderful thing called the sun that we don't see very often here! And then, a turquoise sea; the picture postcard image, it truly was.
I thought it was a great idea to split the holiday as Mauritius is an island that has so much to offer and is different wherever you go. Trou Aux Biches Resort and Spa, on the north-wast coast is said to get some of the best weather as Mauritius has micro-climate. It can be sunny where you are and raining five minutes away. The north is seen as very warm with the east being blessed with the tradewinds too, so a wonderful spot for a beach hotel.
Travelling with a 16 month old to such far-flung places isn't always easy. As I have mentioned previously, if you have a 3 or 4-year-old then you have your pick of places to go with facilities. I'm not an easy customer though. I don't just want mediocre 5 star. I won't accept mediocre, so once you start doing your research, the choice narrows considerably. I have never liked huge hotels; always gone for 'small is beautiful', exclusive. It gets harder and harder to keep standards high and consistently so the bigger a hotel gets. Now, I know I've turned a corner for now. Yes, I can't believe that I said it. We picked a hotel with no less than 6 restaurants as our part two! I do not think I have ever stayed somewhere with 6 restaurants unless you count Disneyworld when I was a child!
You live and learn. We are a family now and actually, there's nothing at all wrong with six restaurants. I have to say that we didn't try all of them as the Thai (I was so tempted) and the Indian (Mr PCG was so tempted) didn't take children which is nice in a way as it keeps large hotels with brilliant kids' facilities from feeling too much like a 24 hour playground. Had we been staying longer we would have definitely arranged a babysitter. It is also comforting to think that when you are given the choice of these exotic cuisines that they are much more likely to be authentic in Mauritius with its melting pot culture you get the best of all worlds. I have to mention very quickly though, the one thing that I do like about big hotels is that you usually get a BIG breakfast and at Trou Aux Biches I was like a kid in a candy store. Breakfast is my thing. I love cheese, meats, pancakes, bacon, baked beans (yes, I am a heathen!) and a selection of freshly cut fruit and vegetables to rival a greengrocer's! There were three different egg stations; waffles, omelette, boiled, poached....I won't bore you but I couldn't eat enough and never had room for lunch except on the last day when I had a simple but yummy toasted sandwich - it's always nice to have the comfort food away sometimes. You have to have at least one good club sandwich! The other great thing was that Alexander ate free. We chose anything we wanted from the children's menu and it was his! At every meal. Perhaps this happens often but it is definitely worth appreciating.
Moving on, I need to talk about the mini-club. Again, a haven for children with it's own pool, popcorn and candyfloss machines ( it's a holiday for them too!), outdoor and indoor play areas and a snoozing room too. Maybe it is because I haven't seen many, although I have seen a couple of grotty ones, but again I was blown away by the standard of facilities. The mini-club at Trou Aux Biches won't take infants under two unaccompanied but what they do do is provide nannies on request. Nannies who have worked with the hotels for years ( our had been there over ten and had two children of her own). Mancha, our nanny who stayed with us for the three days was a godsend. Working out at roughly £5/hour she even accompanied us to breakfast where she patiently followed Alexander around or carried him in her arms (he's a little prince-like sometimes!) showing him all the different things to see around the gardens whilst we ate breakfast. I neglected to mention that he decided that highchairs weren't his thing this holiday which was not easy at all! Anyway, Mancha came to meet us a breakfast, came with us to the beach and our room and basically was an extra pair of gentle and responsible hands. I was overwhelmed. maybe because I haven't experienced the freedom before but I highly recommend it. She then spent four hours in the afternoon with Alexander at mini-club. A 16 month old doesn't like the beach yet really or at least not to make sandcastles so whilst I read my book under a palm tree, Alexander pushed trucks around and played with the few other little kids that were there. The socialising for him was also good and I could see he really enjoyed it. So, happy days!
Lastly I have to mention that the property has the most beautiful suites situated in gardens punctuated by secluded communal pools (as well as the main huge infinity pool) that are kept in immaculate condition by the hundreds of staff that attend to every need. The hotel was recently renovated and to the highest level. Our suite on the beach had a plunge pool ( gates swiftly put up to protect Alexander) and a huge bathroom with outdoor shower.Also decorated in a luxurious but understated manner and in keeping with the surroundings, dark wood and a huge, comfortable bed. Of course, it had all the mod cons with a very clever 'charging box' (my description, not theirs!) which basically contained the end of each cable necessary for charging any phone or electronic device that you would need - genius! Just hook up and charge. As expected everything we needed for Alexander was there and waiting including a steriliser which although he doesn't have formula anymore, was very useful as he still drinks a lot of milk!
The hotel also has a PADI centre and beach club where every conceivable water sport is offered along with free shuttles out to snorkelling at the reef just a few minutes away. So, if you are looking for a true beach holiday with the family and you want your every need catered to, then look no further!