Staying at The Residence Mauritius is like stepping back to a time when life was simpler. This gracious resort invites you to enjoy life’s ultimate pleasures: beautiful scenery, good Mauritian food, gracious service, and somewhere comfy to lay your head.
Built in the style of a grand, turn of the century plantation house, the hotel is a fitting tribute to Mauritian history. A colonial feel extends from the breezy verandah-style lobby to the classically elegant rooms and the meticulously maintained grounds, overseen by gardeners in traditional planter-style dress. The icing on the cake is the old-school hospitality, which always comes with a smile from staff who clasp hands and gently bow every time they greet you—everyone will know your name, whilst the butler service that comes with every room type, is designed to make everyone feel pampered.
Its raison d’être is the beautiful beach on which it sits, part of the gorgeous mile-long stretch of white sands at Belle Mare—easily one of the nicest, natural beaches on Mauritius. Gazing into the azure blue and turquoise hues of the lagoon and listening to the sound of waves breaking on the reef is instantly soothing. There’s a lovely gentle breeze here on the east coast too. And there’s a good range of complimentary activities including water sports and a daily programme including Tai Chi classes, cinema nights under the stars, parlour games with the staff and, when I was there, even an ice bucket challenge for a bit of fun.
Whilst The Residence isn’t the most up-to-date in terms of decor or technology, it exudes nostalgia. There is a soft upgrade of the guest rooms in the planning stages and I think a splash of colour will refresh the rooms whilst maintaining their personality.
If you want to walk into the kind of place that you can make yourself very at home, enjoy lazy days and low-key beachside living, whether with family or your other half, The Residence will make you feel very welcome.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Maximum upgrade level of accommodation applies
- Spa credit
- 10% off spa treatments, restrictions may apply
- 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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I was helped out of the car and my bag taken as I was welcomed by name; a gong marked my arrival. After climbing a few steps over a koi filled pool, I clocked eyes on the striking lobby with a vaulted ceiling and a cathedral type arch. The turquoise blue of the ocean and the sky in the background merged into one. Indian carvings on the wall, potted plants and flower arrangements provided homely touches.
I was greeted by another member of staff and refreshed myself with the cold towel and drink provided as the formalities were completed. I was taken through my half board dining options and given an overview of the hotel’s facilities, before being escorted to my room. A few minutes later, my butler came to introduce himself and show me the key features of the room, including the all important ‘do not disturb’ sign: a simple little hessian bag to hang outside the door.
Rooms and suites
My Colonial Ocean Front Room, an entry level option, had a stunning view of the turquoise lagoon and ocean beyond. Other entry level rooms have garden views and side ocean views. As I walked in along the beige tiled floor, passing the bathroom to my left, my first impressions were how light and bright it was and at 58m² (624ft²), it was spacious. A traditional, classic and timeless kind of room, it was decorated in calming soft whites and shades of beige with wooden furniture, a ceiling fan, wooden window shutters and details including standing and table lamps. There were drawings of plants and black and white prints depicting local boating history; the colonial style shone through.
My king-size bed had carved wood bedposts and the firm mattress, the pillows and soft white cotton bedlinens were very comfortable. In one corner of the room there was a seating area with a two-seat sofa, a marble-topped coffee table and a chair. In another corner was a writing desk with a leaf that lifted up to reveal a mirror, making this a good spot for hair drying. The butler service was stellar and nothing for them was too much trouble.
The balcony was accessed through sliding doors that I found very heavy and took some effort to slide. Outside, there was enough space for the table and two chairs.
The mini bar was stocked with nuts, crisps, chocolate, soft drinks and beer, with a menu of alcoholic drinks available on request, whilst a kettle and tea and coffee were provided.
This isn’t a room with many technology features. However, there were electric blinds but I personally didn’t want to be hemmed in and embraced the faint wisps of daylight peeping through the shutters each morning that gently woke me up. The air-con (dial not digital) worked very well.
I must mention the alarm on the door. You must lock your door properly otherwise it goes off the next time you open it. Apparently, I never got the hang of it; nor did others by the sounds, as the sporadic ring of alarms (not loud) going off could be heard.
I didn’t feel there were quite enough plug sockets. There was one at the desk/dressing table which took a UK plug (great for me) and another (adaptor required) that was great for the iron. However, I would have liked to have had some accessible at either side of the bed. It wasn’t a huge problem for one, but if you’re in a couple you may need to fight for it.
The bathroom was roomy and decorated in neutral shades of beige marble and cream painted walls with a few carved wall decorations and a hand drawing of some shells. It felt cosy. There was a bath with a handheld shower attachment, while the separate shower cubicle had a rainfall shower and a handheld attachment. The vanity area had one sink and there was plenty of space to spread out my stuff, whilst on the wall there was a large, gold-framed mirror, two hurricane style lamps and a wall-mounted magnifying mirror and shaver point.
In addition, there was a small walk-in wardrobe and dressing area with a stool, screened off by a white muslin curtain where there was just enough space to pop your bags, plenty of hangers and a handy umbrella was provided.
I really liked the concept behind the laundry service. You can toss any dirties straight into the laundry basket to be collected and laundered for you without having to spend time filling in laundry forms. (There is a price list so you know what each item will cost.)
Subtly scented 100ml bottles of Residence branded shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion were provided and one of the most beautiful smelling hand soaps I’ve ever come across.
The Dining Room is the main restaurant, serving breakfast and dinner, overlooking both the pool and the ocean. In the evening, it feels elegant with a sophisticated air. Soft lighting from table lamps illuminate the vaulted wooden ceiling, while tables are dressed in crisp white linen. You can opt to dine indoors or on the covered terrace where the atmosphere is relaxed. Dinner is buffet style and every night of the week there’s a different theme. I arrived on ‘Gourmet Buffet’ night, but other themes include ‘Indian’, ‘Asian’ and ‘Isle de France’. As someone who will always ditch familiar dishes if there’s a chance to try something new, I was in my element. And, as Mauritius is known for its fantastic fish dishes, I helped myself to a little bit of almost everything from vindaloo fish salad—thankfully not that spicy—to start, snapper cooked fresh at the cooking station accompanied by sambal sauce for mains, and guava mousse with coconut biscuits and sweet corn pudding for dessert. Friendly and attentive staff made sure that I didn’t want for anything, topping up my glass when empty and clearing dirty plates very quickly.
After I’d finished, I took my drink through to the adjoining bar to enjoy the live piano music which was followed by a singer. On some nights of the week, there is a short Asian or Sega (the Mauritian dance) show after dinner.
In the morning, the culinary offerings include omelettes and pancakes made to order and an array of fruits, cereals, cold meats, bacon, potatoes, cheeses, cakes and pastries, whilst juices are freshly made to order.
Other restaurant options
A short walk through the delightful gardens, the sound of the ocean following me all the way, led me to The Plantation—so-called as it’s housed in a plantation house. It’s the fine dining restaurant and open for lunch and dinner. I opted to sit outside on the deck right beside the beach for dinner. It felt slightly more formal than The Dining Room and in the evening, it was mainly couples enjoying the romantic and quiet feel. However, Sega music was playing in the background and on some nights, there’s sega dance performances that totally transform the place.
For my dinner, I selected the set menu of the day (included in my half-board option) but there’s also an a la carte menu. To start, I opted for the bell pepper and raspberry gazpacho with a goat’s cheese crouton which worked really well. To follow, I tried the local fish curry with rice, pineapple salsa and coriander lentils which was divine. It wasn’t hot at all, but I was provided with a pot of chilli paste to spice things up a little if desired, as well as a lovely coconut chutney.
The night I visited, there was a ‘pop up’ bar on the beach where couples were enjoying pre-dinner drinks on oversized pillow chairs.
In addition, there’s the Verandah restaurant by the pool where you can have lunch or, for a change of scene, guests can head out to the restaurants of Trou d’eau Douce nearby.
Spa and wellness
The Sanctuary Spa is underground, rather chic with a zen-like style: cooling white interiors, water features and the occasional buddha or goddess statue. Softly lit white stone pathways lead to eight treatment rooms, a cool and contemporary meditation room; ditto for a separate relaxation lounge. There’s a menu of CARITA beauty treatments.
My back massage took place in a lovely treatment room that felt like a cocoon and there were tiny LED lights studded into the ceiling giving the effect of a night sky. Should you prefer, there is the option to enjoy treatments in the airy spa pavilion tucked away in the tropical gardens.
All guests are welcome to use of the sauna and steam room on a complimentary basis. For more active guests, there’s a fitness centre. Or book a private stretching, yoga, pilates, personal training or aqua gym class. If you like tennis, it’s complimentary, you just need to buy the balls. Golfers staying seven nights should also ask about the deals that The Residence has on green fees at the Anahita golf course.
Pool and beach
The large pool area is separated into different sections, with one zone being very shallow and suitable for kids and another offering a constant supply of bubbles. Around it are lovely wooden reclining sun loungers, each with a table and parasol. They are well spaced out and whether you want to be in full sun, under the partial shade of the palm trees or in the adults only area, you won’t feel crowded.
The beach is widely regarded as one of the best in Mauritius and it’s easy to see why: all natural, white sand, beautiful calm waters, and sheltered by the reef. As someone who isn’t for staying put on a beach for too long—preferring instead to walk along the sands or take a paddle—I surprised myself here. It was so beautiful and calm. As with all beaches in Mauritius, this one is not private, but sun loungers reserved strictly for guests are grouped both on the sands and on a lawned area. As soon as I plonked myself down, a member of staff greeted me with a bottle of chilled water, checked I was comfy, and asked if I wanted to order a cocktail or a snack.
Water sports are available from the yacht club and water-skiing, windsurfing, Hobie Cats, sea kayaks, snorkelling, glass bottom boats, paddle boats, and stand-up paddle boarding are all complimentary. Deep sea fishing, diving and catamaran cruises can all be arranged through the concierge.
I saw families with babies and children up to the age of about 10 years. Little ones aged 3 to 12 years old can spend the day at Planter’s Kids’ Club. Activities are planned throughout the day and include fun and games such as hide and seek and henna painting. With advance notice, little ones can eat here too.
There isn’t a specific programme for teens but depending on demand, activities including soccer can be arranged. Otherwise, they can join in with activities such as water sports.
Staff and service
Service was very good with most staff being exceptional, from the arrival staff to the restaurant staff who were helpful in explaining and recommending dishes. At breakfast service, I was asked if I wanted a dinner reservation made for me. The butlers who served my room were the stars of the show. Whoever was on duty, they’d introduce themselves with a card and checked the most convenient times for my housekeeping and turndown service. They asked if I’d like my case to be unpacked and when I requested an iron and ironing board, it arrived quickly.
Guests were mainly from the UK with French and Germans thrown into the mix—mainly young families, honeymooners and middle-aged couples.
My butler was at my door within minutes of calling to collect my bag and checkout was very smooth. I’d felt happy and relaxed here and I was sorry to leave.
I’d told the porter that I was due to be picked up by my own transfer car at 1pm and I waited in the lobby. But it was running late and after fifteen minutes, a member of staff checked on me and called the transfer company who said they were held up. A taxi was arranged and the whole hiccup was quickly taken care of in The Residence’s inimitable gracious and caring manner.
How to get there
50 minutes by road transfer from Mauritius International Airport
163 Rooms & Suites