Often, travellers are torn between the enticing hotel offers and the freedom a holiday rental promises. I was in the same dilemma when I was planning my holiday in Mauritius.
As I am travelling with my two children, the hotel offer seemed to be the right choice at first, as it was offering a Kids’ Club with ongoing entertainment for the little ones. Still, I felt like missing out on something extraordinary by travelling to the other side of the world and spending my holiday on a hotel resort, surrounded by other travellers from all over the world. It seemed to be lacking the quintessential purpose of travelling : the aspect of discovering a foreign culture.
I started searching travel blogs, contacted friends who lived in Mauritius and others who have already visited the island. My research dissipated all my doubts, and I opted for a holiday rental instead of following the well-trodden path of a hotel stay. I will explain to you why and how, and will tell you the story of the holidays of my dreams.
A little bit of culture, please!
Mauritian culture – what is it all about ?
This multi-cultural island has a rich historical background. When the first colonialists arrived during the 16th century, no men had ever set foot on the island before. Hence, the Mauritian culture is based on the different civilizations that arrived on the island : Africans, French, Dutch, Indian, British, Portuguese …. Every nation has left a mark, which can be seen in the different museums that are scattered around the island.
So what language do they speak ?
English is the official language of Mauritius, mainly used in government schools and businesses, but for the most parts, French is widely spoken. The local population usually converses in Creole and Hindi. It is easy to get around, barter at the local markets, ask for directions… and if the language ever becomes a barrier, the very friendly Mauritians will find a way to communicate.
What religions do they follow in Mauritius?
Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Shintoism… you will see colourful Hindu temples next to majestic churches and mosques. The different beliefs are practiced harmoniously side by side, to the traveller’s greatest delight.
Is it really necessary to mention the fantastic tropical climate of the island, or the paradise-like beaches that line the coasts like a string of glistening pearls? Ask your travel agency for the best region, depending on the time of the year you are planning to visit Mauritius.
I would recommend a holiday rental, without a hesitation.
If you would like to benefit fully from the cultural riches of the island, the rental of a villa will be the best option for your holidays.
I will give you all the arguments that speak for the rental of a holiday home, above all the one that convinced me the most: freedom!
At the hotel, you are surrounded by other tourists, which can be upsetting at times, and certainly does not contribute to the local flair of your environment. What bothers me the most is being crammed up in a hotel room with my suitcases and little room to move about, then having to comply with restaurant opening hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner … what happened to sleeping in and relaxing during the holidays? Furthermore, the foods on offer are more often than not a reflection of the multi-national clientele of the hotel and have nothing to do with local fare.
You might not be aware of it, but when you rent a holiday home in Mauritius, you automatically benefit from the services of a housekeeper. She will attend to the daily chores most mornings of the week, so if you don’t feel like doing the dishes or sweeping the terrace, you don’t have to worry about it.
Most housekeepers are even prepared to offer their cooking services. A friend of mine urged me to give it a try – and what an unbelievable experience it was! My trusted housekeeper and I went off to the closest local market where we purchased all the necessary ingredients for a cari poul (chicken curry) – and the delicious meal was enjoyed by the whole family. And I certainly paid close attention to the preparation of this delicious meal, so that I could surprise my friends with this dish at the next dinner party. Please don’t forget to reward your housekeeper with a tip for this additional service J!
One of the things I liked most were the visit of the Mauritian fruit and vegetable seller. He came directly to our villa with his van full of tropical fruits – what a delight! We had a mango tree in front of the house which provided beautiful fruits, but thanks to “our” seller, we tried a variety of other local fruits.
Ali, the local fisherman, came on a regular basis with his fresh harvest from the sea: crayfish, babonne, sacréchien – we enjoyed fantastic seafood barbecues every night on our private little beach… it felt like a dream! And yes, the beaches in front of the houses are private, so enjoy the privacy and make the most of it!
Through our villa rental agency Oazure Villa Mauritius, we also rented a car for our discovery tours around the island. The vehicle was delivered directly to the villa, and we went exploring on our own terms, like real adventurers.
Our welcoming hostess Jennifer gave us excellent advice regarding the most beautiful Mauritian sites. And the villa I had chosen was fantastic and very well equipped … a dream come true.
I hope that you will enjoy your holidays on this paradise island that is so full of cultural riches, just as my family and I have loved it ……. Enjoy your trip!