On Club Med’s first-ever long-haul fam trip to its La Plantation d’Albion resort in Mauritius, TTG discovers myriad experiences for active clients.
One, two, three – allez!” It wasn’t so long ago that I was jumping 15 metres into deep water during a canyoning trip in the Philippines – and here I go again, flinging myself off things. Though this time I’m trying out flying trapeze at Club Med’s La Plantation d’Albion on its first-ever, fully hosted, long-haul fam trip to discover the resort’s highlights.
Flexibility is the name of the game here and indeed Albion, as it is affectionately known, has a plethora of exciting experiences for clients to dive into.
I find it unbelievable that guests don’t need to fork out extra for flying trapeze lessons, as they are included in the package, but that is one of the brand’s USPs.
As Matt Stuart, senior account manager trade and MICE for UK, Ireland and Scandinavia at Club Med, tells me over cocktails: “Activities completely set [the company] apart in terms of full access. We have 600 tennis courts around the world [for example], but it’s not just ‘grab a racket and hit the ball about’.
“There are academies and coaching. So if clients want to learn activities like trapeze, or if they want to learn to play tennis or golf or archery, there’s a tuition system available.”
Safely strapped in a harness, it takes me a few tries throughout my stay to pull off a manoeuvre where I’m swinging through the air without holding on to the bar. There is no way I’ll be hired for the circus any time soon – or ever, in fact – but I come away from the session feeling a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s not every day you get to pretend you’re in Cirque du Soleil, right?
I also try my hand at archery and book in for snorkelling, marvelling that I can do so without charging either activity to my room. Even kids’ clubs (for children aged 4 to 17) are complimentary; as are fitness classes including yoga, Pilates and tai chi; watersports including kayaking and sailing; and evening entertainment with themed nights and fun discos.
As its name suggests, Albion is a former plantation set within a 54-acre estate on Mauritius’ west coast, whose thatched roofs and elegantly carved dark wood furniture hark back to the colonial era.
It is actually one of two Club Med properties on the island. La Pointe aux Canonniers, located in Grand Bay near the northern tip, has four tridents (Club Med’s own star rating), while Albion – an Exclusive Collection resort – has five, catering for guests seeking a more luxurious experience.
This is certainly apparent in my super-spacious Garden View Superior Room, which has a balcony overlooking pristine grounds of leafy palm trees and geraniums. For clients who desire even more splendour, there are deluxe rooms and suites providing separate lounges, while the resort’s villas come with a dedicated butler, private pool, priority housekeeping and oodles of space.
Smarter: If clients fancy treatments at the Cinq Mondes spa (not included in the all-inclusive package), book them a few weeks in advance of arrival as availability can be limited in high season.
Better: The themed nights add to the fun of the holiday, so ensure clients are aware and let them know to pack accordingly.
Fairer: Albion has its own filtering garden onsite to recycle waste water, comprising plants including mangroves and reeds that help to purify the pond while supporting the local habitat.
The resort is divided into two main sections: the buzzing main area and Zen, offering an adults-only pool amid a more tranquil setting. Walking from one end to the other can take about 15 minutes, but electric golf carts are available for guests who want to make the most of their time on-resort.
Much like the mind-blowing array of activities on the menu, guests can pick and choose whichever gourmet cuisine they fancy from two restaurants: main eatery La Distillerie and Le Phare, located in the Zen zone with beautiful views across the Indian Ocean. My favourite place for breakfast, lunch and dinner is La Distillerie, as it features numerous buffet stations serving different fare from around the world, including traditional Mauritian dishes, with chefs who cook meals in front of you. And, with the Alouda and Banian bars open all day and evening, it doesn’t take me long before I settle into a routine of midday cocktails by the pool and champagne in the evenings for the live shows because, why not? They’re all included!
For clients who want to explore, the resort offers excursions to different places of interest on the island. These are not included in the package, but provide fantastic insight into Mauritius and are worth recommending.
Halfway through the week my group and I are zipped away to Ile aux Cerfs for the day, where we take a cruise around the coast, snorkel among schools of tiny fish, visit a historic lighthouse, enjoy a beachside barbecue lunch and go shopping at a traditional market set on sandy shores – all under the glorious Mauritian sun.
I come away from the trip chuffed with my newfound circus skills and I have no doubt sporty clients will flipping love this resort too!
Book it: A one-week stay at Club Med’s La Plantation d’Albion costs from £1,603pp including flights from Gatwick and transfers, departing 28 June 2020.
Tracey Hultberg, branch manager, Tailor Made Travel, Newport
There are so many activities to enjoy, or you can just relax. I would definitely recommend the Ile aux Cerfs boat trip, but make sure clients take sun lotion. Suggest downloading the Club Med app, as this will keep the client updated [throughout their stay] especially around the dress code, which all guests embrace.
Mark Swords, managing director, Swords Travel
There is buffet dining [at the resort], but of course being a French [heritage company] it’s done to a very high standard with a huge range. The biggest selling points are the activities and childcare included. My top tip is to break down the cost so your clients see they might pay more upfront but it’s [better value] in the long run.