As I ambled through the tropical grounds—there’s 36 acres in total—I came across a curious creature strutting his stuff: a white peacock. Reading the plaque nearby, I learnt that he’s considered the original guardian of the gates of paradise. And throughout my stay, I appreciated over and over why he was such an appropriate mascot for Shanti Maurice.
For Shanti is like the Garden of Eden: a very unspoilt setting with thickly planted trees, colourful shrubs and patches of wildflowers that attract butterflies. The resort sits on a stunning peninsula in the verdant south—regarded as the most unspoilt part of Mauritius—almost completely surrounded by a combination of mountains, a turquoise blue lagoon, a reef, the ocean, and sugar cane fields. It’s a place to connect with nature and your own well-being, take a semi digital detox and completely wind down. After all, ‘shanti’ means ‘peace’ in Sanskrit and there’s a very tranquil air; days as well as evenings spent here are very low key.
As well as the very special connection with nature, there are three excellent reasons to visit. Enter the gorgeous golden beach, followed by the stunning Nira Spa and finally the range of activities—many of which are complimentary—that suit the tranquil tone and setting to a tee, from guided snorkelling to tours of the herb garden, yoga to finger painting, as well as culinary evenings spent with the resort’s ‘grandma’.
I embraced all that Shanti had to offer and fell in love with the place, however, as with all love stories, there were moments when true love let me down. When it came to service, for example, I was left in ‘peace’ a little too often and for too long. But overall, my stay left me feeling uplifted, calm and with a renewed respect for mother nature. So leave your shoes and your worries at the door—many do…outside their suite, outside the spa, under the table of the feet-in-the-sand dining areas—and just relax.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Buffet breakfast
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Spa credit
- Mauritian Rupees 2,000 per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability, minimum stay applies
- 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.
- Detailed Review +
- Facts & Amenities +
After a pleasant journey along the sweeping driveway, past a giant chess board set up on the lawn and a practice putting green, I was met at the hotel entrance and warmly welcomed. It was very quiet and the aura of peace continued as I walked along the open air corridor, flanked by koi ponds, into the lobby, minimalist in design with natural materials including lava rock, slate, granite and hardwoods taking centre stage against soothing cream walls. Check-in took place in the Red Ginger Lounge, where I was given a cold towel and iced tea whilst the formalities were taken care of, allowing me the opportunity to gaze out at the dreamy view over a pretty water feature adorned with bowls of brightly coloured petals, as well as the pool area and the beach and ocean just beyond. By the time I was taken to my room, my suitcase was already waiting for me and I was given a quick tour of the essentials.
Rooms and suites
I stayed in a Junior Suite—the entry level room category—which at 81m² (872ft²) was a good size. All rooms face the ocean here and all are housed within a cluster of four—two suites on the ground floor with direct beach access and two above—covered by a thatched roof. Mine was on the upper level at the end of a wooden walkway where to one side there was an area of untamed tropical wilderness with a pond frequented by the occasional waterbird. At nighttime, the walkway was lit up with little string lights and looked quite magical. Due to the location, there are plenty of mosquitos around, so do take plenty of repellent with you.
As I entered the suite, my eyes were drawn towards the panoramic ocean view which was beautifully framed by the huge window. It made me want to get straight out onto the balcony for a better look. Furnished with a table, two chairs and one sun lounger, and with the beach right below almost within touching distance, it was a lovely spot to watch—and hear—activities unfold, like guests trying out water sports and early morning joggers. At night, there are curtains as well as a huge Japanese style set of sliding doors (that were easy to move) to block out any light.
Decor was understated and modern with a cream colour scheme and warm wood furniture, including a small desk and chairs, as well as a piece of African art that provided a sense of place. The bed was large and, on arrival, it was dressed with freshly plucked tropical flower heads and a lovely beach bag for use during my stay. It was very comfy, with cotton linens and both feather and synthetic pillows provided. A bar area with the kettle and coffee maker out on display was easy to work, whilst the mini bar was well stocked with soft and alcoholic drinks including champagne, plus sweet and savoury goodies. Complimentary filtered water was packaged up in stylish reusable bottles, rather than plastic, which always earns a green point with me.
On the tech side of things, there was a plasma TV with a number of satellite channels and games, however the reception wasn’t great on all the channels. There was complimentary WiFi but the signal dropped in and out often. Nor are there any USB ports but just enough sockets for charging the essentials. Lighting was subtle, but there were two handy reading lights on the headboard.
Spacious with a beige colour scheme, natural light shone in from two windows. The double vanity area wasn’t huge, but had enough space to put my toiletries and there were drawers underneath where there was also a bottle of insect killer (just in case) and a hairdryer which was ok, but nowhere near as fast at drying as my own. When it came to applying makeup, there was a very good wall-mounted, illuminated mirror and a shaver point next to it. A separate cubicle housed the toilet and bidet, while the shower cabin had a rainfall shower head and handheld one. A separate little seating area with a mirror provided a good place for hair drying. In one corner there was an open wardrobe with hanging rail, suitcase shelf and drawer space as well as the safe and an umbrella.
Cotton robes and slippers were provided, as were a good supply of towels and the usual vanity items, while shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion in Shanti Maurice branded pump-action bottles were in all the convenient places.
With the exception of Stars which is open daily, the resort’s restaurants open on different nights for a themed evening. On the day I arrived, it was the turn of Rum Shed. Based on the concept of a rum shop, a place of socialising in Mauritian culture, it’s an informal venue where there are 180 different types of rum to try. Outdoors were tables and chairs set up with candles and a fire pit on the go, all under the stars, whilst the kitchen was housed in a shipping container. Indoors, the rustic theme continued. You won’t find starched linen here—it’s paper napkins all the way, menus are chalked up on blackboards, there are drinking glasses that wobble until they regain their centre of gravity, a mismatch of furniture with an aged look that worked well together, and a general sense of fun. It was quiet at 7pm, so book in from around 8pm to experience the true atmosphere. And note that the dress code seemed to be at the more relaxed end of the ‘smart casual’ scale with some skimpy shorts and casual T-shirts in the mix.
Unsure whether to stay for dinner, I ordered a pina colada and had to wait while the ingredients were fetched from afar which, I have to say, was worth it—ice cold and very delicious. Lured by the sight of Madagascan prawns on the menu I decided to stay. When they arrived—all six of them—I did a double take as I thought I’d been brought the lobster by mistake. They were huge and served with garlic butter, home-cooked chips and a lovely green leaf and onion salad. It really was really good ‘soul food’; something I’m still dreaming about.
Service throughout was friendly but matched the venue’s laid back style on occasion. My glass was empty and my water didn’t get topped up even though two waiters came to my table. I refilled it myself twice and on the third time a different waiter spotted me and rushed over to do the honours.
Other restaurant options
As the signature restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and set right beside the beach, I was looking forward to trying Stars’ ‘aquacasia’ concept which unites destinations across the Indian Ocean into a comprehensive menu of street food and homestyle inspired recipes. I was greeted and seated indoors as outside was full, and I opted for the chicken makhan with saffron rice with a coriander and cheese naan. It was fragrant, fresh and nicely spiced but quite ordinary, especially in the presentation. And the ambience didn’t engage me at all. The restaurant was about half full at 7.30pm, mainly still the family crowd, but I expected it to feel more upbeat than it was. Instead it was quite quiet, while the music seemed a strange mix and included some nice ambient tunes alongside the likes of Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’, that came back round on repeat all too soon. I found myself beginning to feel very sleepy, very quickly. I was checked on from time to time by the friendly staff, but the service was on the slow side and seemed confused at times—I was asked my room number on three different occasions. My fellow diners, however, seemed to be happy enough.
Breakfast is also served in Stars, buffet style. Unfortunately, rather than being greeted on arrival, it was a case of wandering in and catching the attention of someone in order to be seated. By the second morning, I was recognised by a waiter who had served me a few times by now, including at the beach, and he looked after me and made a point of calling me by name. If you can manage to snag a table on the terrace, there are lovely ocean views. Some foods, including some of the fruits and fresh noodles, were left uncovered, attracting flies which put me off trying some things. There was a good selection of spicy dishes, yogurts, cereals, salads, meats, cheeses and pastries, as well as an a la carte menu of various hot dishes. I opted for the eggs benedict which was good.
In the evenings, there’s Red Ginger Lounge for drinks which is elegant and chilled out, with live piano music played every other night. There’s also live music such as the local sega music at some of the themed dining nights.
Spa and wellness
Nira Spa is, quite simply, heavenly. One of the largest spas in the Indian Ocean, it offers an extensive range of Indonesian, Oriental, Indian and holistic treatments and is internationally recognised for its Ayurveda—a complimentary consultation is included in every stay—and yoga programmes.
I joined the complimentary daily morning Hatha yoga class in the open-air yoga studio. Tailored to suit all levels of ability, the instructor gave us all individual attention as required. The result: a feeling of more energy and happiness.
I also had the Shanti Fusion signature treatment, listed as one of Nira Spa’s most popular, and I can vouch for it 100%. It incorporates a variety of techniques including massages using hot poultices followed by warm oil and hot stones. Every inch of my body was worked, all in a lovely treatment room with a gentle breeze and relaxing music.
I was led back to the spa reception for a lemon and ginger tea. Once I’d ‘come round’ fully, I plonked myself on a comfy lounger by the spa’s swimming pool and I took a dip in the jacuzzi beneath the shade of the trees.
In addition, there’s a watsu pool and away from the spa, in a separate building, is the gym and there are tennis courts and complimentary bikes too.
Pool and beach
The main pool is very elegant and located on the beachfront with uninterrupted views of the ocean. Towels are provided on the loungers which are well spaced out in pairs with parasols. Nobody came to ask if I was ok for at least twenty minutes, so I headed to the beach where it was a completely different story.
Here there were plenty of loungers for hotel guests, while locals tend to visit at the weekends making it slightly busier. I was approached straight away by the beach server and asked if I wanted my lounger moving, and he swiftly brought me a menu and explained that all I had to do when I was ready to order was raise my little blue flag. So I did and my drink arrived quickly, as did my spicy vegetable wrap. It’s a pretty beach with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and the sands are golden. All very natural—not groomed and swept into submission as others are. Naturally, there are bits of coral washed up and these are very sharp, so do wear beach shoes if you plan to walk along the shore or take a paddle.
Complimentary non-motorised water sports including kayaking and paddle boarding, in keeping with the tranquil feel of the resort, are available but speak to the staff at the boathouse for the best times to head out. At low tide, they don’t operate.
I met the kids’ club leader for a mere moment, but she had a smile so warm and friendly that I could believe it when I was told that many children were upset when the time came to leave her side. With a lovely toddler’s pool, a games room including snooker table, DVDs, computer games, and extensive activities including shell painting, treasure hunts, baking, learning to sega dance, and yoga, I was tempted to stay myself. It caters for kids aged from 3 to 12 years, and for 13 to 16 year-olds, there’s tennis, paddle boarding, bike tours around the estate, beach volleyball, and more.
Staff and service
Managed by Nira Hotels and Resorts whose philosophy involves the abandonment of regimented operating procedures in favour of integrity and service “that comes straight from the heart”, service is very natural. All the staff I encountered here were warm, friendly, polite and a pleasure to be around. The trouble was that it was sometimes slow and occasionally a ‘DIY’ approach to service had to be taken. Without exception, the reception staff and spa staff were very efficient, but others weren’t as consistent. The service in the restaurants was slower and in my room, I waited 50 minutes for an iron and board to be delivered. I ordered a replacement bottle of water to my room once which didn’t turn up. Everyone was clearly working very hard, but it felt as if there weren’t enough staff on occasion. If you’re used to fast service and a very slick operation throughout, where you’re called by name the minute you give your room number, then you’re likely to find things different here.
My fellow guests were mainly from Germany, the UK and France, although I saw Americans and Chinese too. It seemed a fairly even split of couples and honeymooners—wedding ceremonies can be held here too—and young families.
I called the concierge in good time to request assistance with my bag and I was delighted that there was a knock on my door within little over five minutes. Check-out was friendly and efficient. My boarding passes had been printed out too (a request I’d made earlier in the day) and my bag was waiting for me and the concierge reconfirmed my transfer, and told me to take a seat in reception and he’d call me when my car arrived.
How to get there
45 minutes by road transfer from Mauritius International Airport
61 Suites & Villas