The white-sand islands of the Indian Ocean have long been synonymous with paradisiacal five-star luxury, but there’s also a more affordable side.
Take Mauritius, which, while it remains popular with honeymooners and luxury-loving clients, also boasts a good selection of affordable resorts, and is better value compared with the Maldives or the Seychelles.
“Mauritius offers some top-of-the-range three and four-star properties for holidaymakers who are keen to visit the destination on a budget,” says Kevin Ramkaloan, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.
“For the last two years now, MTPA has run its ‘Mauritius 365’ campaign from May to September. The initiative includes more than 100 deals on land-based, nautical and spa activities, with discounts ranging between 15% and 30%, details of which can be found at mauritius365.mu,” he adds.
Once in resort, opting for an all-inclusive stay helps keep costs within expectations, and there are excellent options appealing to families, couples and adventure seekers.
“If you travel to Mauritius in low season – between May and September – you will usually benefit from the most affordable prices,” says Zoe Betchley, senior destination manager for the Indian Ocean at Hayes & Jarvis.
June is the most price-driven month, and though it’s technically cold season, daily temperatures average at a balmy 25 degrees. Booking far in advance will also ensure clients bag the best deals.
“All-inclusive packages to Mauritius can offer excellent value-for-money,” adds Betchley. Some of Mauritius’s top hotels are beginning to offer more and more in their inclusive offering, from dine-around options to excursions, ensuring that clients get plenty of bang for their buck.
Tricia Birmingham, senior product manager for the Middle East and Indian Ocean at Gold Medal, says that longer stays in Mauritius can ensure better deals.
“I would suggest booking a minimum of seven nights and looking for hotels that offer free nights, such as stay for seven nights and pay for five,” she advises.
Graeme Evans, global product manager at Travelpack agrees: “The longer you stay in Mauritius, the better the value – many hotels offer a second week for a reduced cost and a third is sometimes free (on a room-only basis).”
He also says clients needn’t obsess about being located directly on a beach. “Many of the island’s best beaches are public and there will usually be a good beach a short walk or bike ride from the hotel.”
Powder-soft beaches framed by volcanic mountains and top-notch hotels make Mauritius eternally popular with loved-up couples. Recommend they plan their trip outside of the school holidays to keep prices low and for greater hotel availability.
For those seeking a purse-friendly option, Deborah Wadhams, product manager for the Middle East and Indian Ocean at Travel 2, suggests the 3.5-star adult-only Veranda Paul & Virginie hotel. “The all-inclusive option is great value and guests can even request a picnic basket if they want to leave the resort and explore for the day,” she says.
Couples staying in the Privilege rooms enjoy a full-day catamaran cruise including lunch and an open bar, as well as daily access to Saint Geran restaurant for a la carte dining at the end of the jetty.
Kuoni’s senior product and commercial executive Ben Axelsen recommends Preskil Beach Resort, where the lagoon location gives it a romantic setting. Prices start from £1,114pp for seven nights, based on travel in September, and clients can upgrade to all-inclusive from £44 per person per night.
Mercury Holidays recommends Jalsa Beach on the north of the island for couples seeking serious relaxation, with its views of the Indian Ocean and mountain scenery. Prices start from £1,099pp for 10 nights.
Axelsen suggests the five-star Heritage Awali as a good option for those who have trouble sitting still, offering windsurfing, yoga, mountain biking and sailing.
The resort also has a European Tour-branded golf course to keep the golfers happy, with the all-inclusive package including a round of golf per day.
The 2,500-acre on-site nature reserve meanwhile acts as a real-life adventure playground, which can be explored by quad bike and 4x4, or as part of a guided tour. The resort also features a dine-around offering for clients keen to explore the island’s diverse cuisine.
“For adventure-seekers who enjoy water sports I would recommend the Merville Beach hotel, which is a good affordable option with a range of complimentary water sports and activities for all resort residents,” says Birmingham at Gold Medal.
Clients can get out on the water with a range of activities, including windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and big game fishing, while novice divers can hone their skills thanks to the resort’s Padi-qualified diving monitors.
“A good alternative to an all-inclusive package is to book a villa with ‘home-to-home’ amenities such as a private pool, kitchenette and up to four bedrooms,” says Nikki Hain, Indian Ocean product manager at Premier Holidays.
“Opt for a villa that’s close to shops, bars and restaurants so clients can buy and cook their own food. The locations are great on estates in Grand Baie and clients can eat cheaply there.
They can also save money by hiring a car to explore the island rather than booking excursions. In Mauritius, they drive on the same side of the road as the UK and roads are easy to navigate.”
Hain recommends Athena Villas in Grand Baie. Prices for a seven-day package start from £1,055pp with Premier Holidays. trade.premierholidays.co.uk