The last time I visited Le Touessrok, I left feeling things were slipping and the property needed work. And presto! Renovated and reopened in 2015, I was eager on this visit to see what new life had been injected into this beloved, iconic resort.
The 200 rooms and suites are housed in three wings; all face the ocean. The older Coral Wing houses deluxe rooms and the popular Hibiscus Suites overlooks Hibiscus bay with its ground floor suites with direct access onto the beach. The most sought after suites are located on Frangipani Island and are popular with couples due to the adult-only pool. There are a selection of interconnecting rooms available should families require more space, as well as the one bedroom Deluxe Suite which offers a separate lounge area and bedroom. For the ultimate in space and privacy, the three beachfront villas each come with a 24-hour butler service, private beach access, a private swimming pool, and three large bedrooms.
The introduction of Shangri-La as a management company feels like a breath of fresh air has drifted through the resort which now has much more of a young, clubby feel to it and, with the introduction of the new beach club, DJ, cocktail hour is the flavour of the day. Funky egg-shaped cabanas for two are also now dotted along the beach. Edgy and chic, I liked the new style.
Yet whenever new management teams come onboard, staff can often become unsettled. This may be the case here. Perhaps some were reassigned to new roles and are still re-adjusting? Because the service I experienced was lacklustre and flat in some places and in others it was wonderful.
This resort, on the surface, is brochure perfect. Set on a beautiful beach above a blue lagoon in an idyllic setting of swaying palm trees with lovely rooms, excellent dining spots and fabulous facilities, what more could you want? But behind the scenes, there are still some cracks in the walls; some ‘refurbishment’ of the staff wouldn’t go amiss.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Buffet breakfast
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Spa credit
- US$100 or equivalent for treatments at the spa
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- 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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The entrance to the resort is hidden by a stunning, huge Banyan Tree; my taxi negotiated its way around and I was greeted under the archway with the strike of the ‘welcome gong’ which prompted another member of staff to escort me through to the lobby. I was taken to the upper lobby terrace and offered a cold towel and welcome drink. Check-in was completed as I sipped my drink and as I arrived early, I opted to go for lunch by the beach while my room was being prepared. The friendly and relaxed style set the tone of my stay.
The lobby felt light and fresh in cream tones with splashes of blue cushions and accessories. This new décor scheme has incorporated a modern, light and airy space with traditional pieces of furniture, wooden artefacts and traditional elements. It now offers Asian elegance with touches of Mauritius and Africa.
Rooms and suites
My Junior Suite was located in the Frangipani wing and with this came some nice extra benefits, such as champagne on arrival, a complimentary mini bar, daily a la carte breakfast in Republik, and beachside cocktails between 5 and 6pm every day.
The suite felt open and bright upon entering. Down two small steps and I was in the main living and bedroom area where a large king-sized bed dominated the space with a light grey chaise lounge and a plasma TV off to one side. Shutter style, sliding doors led out onto the private balcony; not the largest but it did have a chair and a mini day-bed with a table and the ocean views were breathtaking.
Back up the steps and directly behind the bed was a desk with a plug and USB sockets. The minibar (selected beverages included) housed in a cabinet with a marble top. I did notice a lot of stain marks on the top of this, an oversight from housekeeping perhaps? Everything needed to make a morning cuppa and a Nespresso machine were provided.
Other extras included your very own beach bag and flip flops and a small torch for negotiating your way back to the room should you decide to stay out late any time.
The natural light bathed the room and bounced off the light grey wood furniture and walls and with splashes of navy blue. This room felt fresh and contemporary, a local piece of wall art was the only reminder that I was in Mauritius.
WiFi was complimentary and quick; plenty of plug sockets were available and USB charges were next to the bedside reading lights. Nothing complicated here, with good, old-fashioned dimmer switches for the lights.
Through another set of shutter style doors was the standout feature of this room: the bathroom. The deep soaking tub took centre stage, with his and hers single marble vanity units either side. Each had a full mirror and shelving to one side, offering plenty of space for all the bits and pieces we carry around with us. The shelves also housed standard amenities, such as a hair dryer which plugged in next to the mirror, mosquito repellent and after-sun lotion should you have forgotten to pack some.
The backdrop of this was a very effective glass screen, embossed with a lilac and pink shimmering design. It broke up the grey marble décor and added to the luxurious feel. Behind the screen was a separate shower and WC.
Toiletries were dispensed in wooden containers therefore I was unable to identify what brand was on offer, but they smelled nice and they were at least 100 ml in size.
I had dinner at Safran one evening which was a lovely experience.
I was greeted at the entrance by burning incense and a Bhindi was stuck on my forehead, setting the scene for an authentic Indian dining experience. It even had a traditional copper clad tandoori oven and contemporary, open kitchen. It was a lovely setting for this traditional restaurant overlooking Hibiscus Bay where Chef Ramesh Bundi offers an extensive a la carte Indian and Mauritian menu.
Spoilt for choice, I opted for spiced prawn skewers to start and a traditional chicken curry with minted pilau rice and a garlic naan. Everything was delicious with just the right amount of spice.
The service in this restaurant was excellent; all staff where attentive and efficient, in particular the head waiter who was very patient with me and guided me through the menu whilst I made my choices.
Other restaurant options
I had breakfast at Republik Beach Club and Grill, a perfect location right on the beach with fantastic views of Trou d’Eau Douce Bay.
The menu is a la carte with a nice selection of fruits, cereals and pastries to help yourself to. My eggs were cooked perfectly and the mini cakes were a real treat. The service here was mediocre; I felt the staff were going through the motions, with no real eye contact when greeting you and taking your order, and they chatted between themselves whilst my finished plates remained in front of me. I was even brought a second cup of coffee and my plates still weren’t removed.
The Republik Beach Club and Grill came to life from 5-6pm, offering Frangipani guests happy hour cocktails while subtle music played and guests mingled and enjoyed the ambiance. Certain evenings during the week, this area is host to a DJ and themed nights; it has a chic, beachside feel to it.
I didn’t visit during my stay, but The Sega bar looked lively when I passed by, located over the main pool it had specially designed stage for local performances as well as a resident jazz and blues band. The cocktail and rum list is huge but, sensibly, I walked on by.
Spa and wellness
CHI spa, has replaced the Givenchy spa of old and it’s a fresh, luxurious addition. It has eight treatment rooms and a beauty salon. There’s a range of treatments from hot stone to Ayurveda therapy, facials from Carita, and body massages by Decleor, and, of course, Chinese treatments are prominent. Guests can pick ingredients from the garden to be included in their treatment, and there is even a special spa menu for kiddies and teenagers.
The health centre is open from 7 to 9pm and located on Frangipani Island, it is well equipped and offers state-of-the-art equipment. I usually enjoy a workout but the location did put me off slightly and the floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowed people to see you whilst you were training.
Complimentary bikes are available for adults and kids to use within the resort, and tours of the neighbouring villages can be arranged.
There are four floodlit tennis courts, rackets and balls are complimentary and professional trainers can be arranged at an extra charge.
Pool and beach
There are two pools here: the main pool is located at the Hibiscus Wing and is available to everybody; the second is located at the Frangipani Wing and is an adult-only pool, available to children aged over 16 years. Both pools have plenty of sun loungers and pool service is available.
For a few hours of relaxation, I opted for the beach—there were in fact three to choose from. I chose Hibiscus Bay, the largest of the three with the widest beach and where the mini boat house is located, just in case I was tempted by the complimentary paddle boards, kayaks and pedal boats. I found myself a lounger and umbrella and settled down for a few hours. I waited for some service and even though a chap on a Segway whizzed past me at least twice, I was beginning to feel invisible. But, third time lucky, I managed to finally catch his attention and he swiftly brought me some water, without a smile. Considering the beach was not at all busy, this was a disappointment.
The T-Club is open from 9am to 10pm for kids aged 4-11. It’s a great space and offers a vast array of facilities for the little ones. These range from a kid’s shaded swimming pool, stage area, tree house kitchenette, indoor chill-out area with books, crafts and painting, all complimentary.
For teens aged 12-17, the Active T-Club offers a more grown-up area where activities are arranged by the team and include archery, beach volley ball and basket polo.
Staff and service
The resort is separated by two islands and like the style of the resort, the service seemed to be divided into two halves. Some staff were extremely warm, professional, courteous and attentive, others slightly sullen and disinterested. This did surprise me as Indian Ocean service is some of the best in the world and combined with Shangri-La management, I was expecting a little better.
There were a lot of young couples staying during my visit, and young families, understandable due to the facilities available and the relaxed ambiance. Slightly older clients were also here, staying mainly at Frangipani Island enjoying the quieter area.
I was directed to the checkout area just off the main lobby, a relaxed area with a few desks where you could check out in comfort. The gentleman that assisted me was an absolute delight, funny, warm and friendly. Too bad it wasn’t contagious.
How to get there
50 minutes by road transfer from Mauritius Airport
203 Rooms, Suites & Villas