Royal Palm has always boasted the best address in Mauritius with service to match. And, after a refurb completed in 2015, I was eager to explore if this was still true.
The hotel has been open for 32 years and is somewhat of an institution; it’s always been the place to ‘see and be seen’ and carries a reputation for being formal and exclusive.
Located on the North West of the island on a beautiful beach, the property is not far from Grand Baie should you wish to explore the environs, but I doubt you would want to escape this serene haven once you have entered.
All 69 suites are sea-facing, in three-storey, low-level clusters and after the recent refurbishment, the exteriors are now much lighter in colour with thatched roofs. Nestled between the palm trees, they have a wonderfully elegant and tropical feel.
The hotel offers a wide range of accommodation, depending on your preference for a ground floor, top floor, or a private staircase leading to the garden. For ultimate privacy, there’s the Royal Suite located at the end of the beach.
For a boutique hotel, the facilities here are outstanding: complimentary water sports, a vast spa and sports centre, an excellent kid’s club, and three fine dining restaurants.
For a unique experience, the hotel have their own 20-meter luxury yacht, the Royal Princess, which can be hired for day excursions around the North Islands or for a romantic sundowner. The yacht offers the same level of service you would expect from the hotel itself.
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- VIP welcome
- Personalised welcome at the airport
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
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I arrived through the large, iron gates at the hotel entrance and as I drove up the short driveway, the exclusive air of the property surrounded my senses. I was greeted by a staff member who escorted me to my suite and along the route, gave me a brief overview of the restaurants, the beach area and the activities on offer. The lobby area felt elegant and welcoming, with lots of warm wood mixed with plush silks and velvets, rattan chairs and traditional chandeliers.
Check-in was simple and quick and completed in my suite. My luggage had arrived before me and I was offered a glass of champagne which was delivered five minutes later with some nibbles, plus, there was also a complimentary bottle of bubbles already on ice in the suite. The head of housekeeping also knocked on my door to see what my preferred turn-down time would be in the evening and what time I would like housekeeping to come in the morning.
Rooms and suites
As I entered my suite from the ground floor terrace, I thought ‘wow’. At 105m² (1130ft²), it was very spacious. The floor tiles and the walls were a warm cream colour which made it feel very light and airy while the dark wood furniture was a nod to traditional Mauritian style. Mixed together with a modern, grey sofa, marble tables, a green velvet chair, and accessories, the living area was stunning. Essentially, this was an open plan suite but there was a separation in the form of a screen, behind which was the king-size bed, simply made up in crisp, white cotton. A TV stood opposite the bed with two low-hanging lights on either side.
There was a desk in the corner of the bedroom overlooking the 2nd outside terrace and offering natural light, should I have felt the need to open my laptop.
I did notice that there were stains and watermarks on the velvet chair and footstool, marks on the cream walls and some of the finishing here and there was a little sloppy. For such a smart suite, this was a shame.
WiFi was complimentary throughout the property; it occasionally dipped in and out of range, but overall was pretty good.
Light controls were simple on/off buttons and there were plenty of plug sockets in all the right places, and a separate USB socket. The TVs (there are two) offered a range of satellite channels and a DVD player.
Everything about this bathroom and dressing area was super-sized, including the bath, circular and so big it could comfortably fit four. The marble vanity unit had plenty of space for personal items and the mirror hanging above it ran the same length. Underneath were shelves offering further storage space. There was a large, separate rain shower and a small dressing table with a mirror and plug socket perfectly placed for the hairdryer, although the hairdryer was another story. It was not on a stretchy cord and only worked when you kept pressure on the handle. Great for my arm muscles…but surely someone else had complained about this bad piece of kit?
There was also a super sized walk-in wardrobe, again with plenty of shelves and a lot of hanging space and a full-length mirror. The combination of the light floor tiles, dark wood furniture and simple Mauritian décor worked really well and it felt luxurious in an understated way.
Toiletries were exclusively made for Royal Palm and Beachcomber Hotels; there were plenty dotted around the bathroom, all in 100ml-sized bottles.
I ordered room service one evening and very soon my terrace was transformed into a mini dining area complete with a white tablecloth and candlelight casting shadows. The service was prompt and the sushi and Mauritian curry was delicious.
I also dined at La Goelette for breakfast and again for dinner another night. The restaurant, set on a large terrace overlooking the ocean, offers stunning views in the morning. In the evening, the sound of the ocean adds to the relaxed ambiance.
Breakfast was a selection of fruits, cereals, breads and yogurts from the buffet, and I ordered eggs from the main menu. The service was gentle, relaxed and attentive, perfect to help ease me into my day.
In the evening, the whole area was transformed by low lighting and candles and the staff were smartly dressed in crisp, white shirts and bow ties. I chose to sit around the pool area as it was a lovely night and the resident band played some lovely tunes, adding to the lovely atmosphere.
I went local for my evening meal: smoked marlin and palm heart salad to start and the catch of the day, a grouper with vegetables and mashed potato, for my mains. Everything was presented beautifully and was delicious. The evening service was excellent, attentive, warm and efficient, and I was made to feel very welcome.
Other restaurant options
I had lunch one day at La Plage, a perfect spot in the afternoon where the shaded, beachfront terrace offers an extensive lunch menu. I enjoyed a simple shrimp salad and pasta and a delicious glass of rose. Even though this is a relaxed lunch time venue, the service was still professional and attentive.
There’s also a Thursday night BBQ on the beach which is popular so book early and enjoy this beautiful spot, following which you can wile away the hours enjoying the tunes the live musicians churn out in the main reception area. The bartenders here won’t let your glass go empty.
Spa and wellness
The spa feels like a separate resort in itself at 1000 m² (10,764ft²) and has 18 treatment rooms: 14 for actual treatments and the rest for hairdressing and mani/pedi treatments. It has a very Asian feel to it, set around a small pool with sun loungers and relaxation areas. Surrounded by palm trees and water features, it is such a tranquil area you may wish to stay all day.
I opted for a Royal Palm massage. My therapist had magic hands and worked vigorously on some old injuries and I left feeling a like a new woman. The spa is affiliated with Clarins and has a wide range of massages and treatments available, including Ayurveda, reflexology, reiki, and meditation.
I used the fitness area whilst I was here. It has four rooms: one for cardio, one for power plate and kinesis, one for Pilates, and one for weights. I managed two out of the four, both fully equipped with Technogym equipment.
Yoga and other group activities can be arranged at an extra charge and PT is also available. There are three floodlit tennis courts, a squash court and, for more gentle exercise, darts and table tennis. Water sports are also available at the Boathouse.
Pool and beach
The beach may be small at 250 meters but it is beautiful with pure white sands and clear, turquoise waters. As a guest, you are allocated your own large sun bed on the beach, yours for the duration of your stay. I was greeted by the beach staff and showed to my spot which was just steps away from the ocean with an umbrella if I needed it. A bag of ice and a 1-litre bottle of water was placed next to me and through the day, goodies arrived including fruit sorbets and ice cream. Recently, the hotel has introduced a small snack menu including items like paninis, fries and hot dogs for those who who don’t want the full La Plage menu.
The hotel has three heated pools; all offer plenty of sun loungers and shaded areas. Guests seemed to move to the pool areas later on in day to enjoy the shade. The sun loungers that are poolside are not reserved for guests as on the beach but available on a first come, first served basis.
The complimentary kids’ club here is well equipped and is open from 9am to 11pm, a massive benefit for mums and dads. Ti Royal is open to 3-12 year olds, younger kiddies are accepted but with an accompanying adult. It has its own splash pool, sand pits, TV, games, basketball net, books, crafts and painting.
Teenage kids are welcome to use the facility if they wish; an xbox and pool table could tempt them to mix with the little ones, and there’s also darts and table tennis.
Staff and service
From the moment I arrived, I experienced friendly, warm and excellent service. All staff where immaculately presented and took a lot of pride in their work. They genuinely enjoyed looking after guests and ensured their stay was a wonderful experience.
Mostly French couples, young and older, and some with very small children. British and Germans made up the rest of the guest roster. Guests dressed up for dinner, adding to the exclusive, formal feel of the property.
Check-out was as slick as my check-in; my bags where collected and I settled up smoothly. I left the Royal Palm with a heavy heart.
How to get there
1 hour 15 minutes by road transfer from Mauritius Airport