We visited the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius, a Starwood hotel, for a fun-filled, activity-packed and refreshing stay on the island’s North Coast
The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa is located in Balaclava, and facing the Turtle Bay marine park, and lies in close proximity to the Mauritius National Botanical Garden and the capital city Port Louis.
The hotel boasts an extremely stylish and modern design, having reopened following a complete redesign away from the typical thatched wooden structures of similar hotels. The Westin, instead, opts for a refreshing mixture of granite and glass which cleverly allows so much light to enter the hotel, meaning that a quick retreat indoors from the daytime heat, never feels like you’re missing out too much.
Likewise the rooms are designed to crisp, clean perfection. We stayed in a beautiful, spacious Banyan Suite with an Ocean View. The suite offers an indulgent amount of space with its own living room and dining table, and the wide-stretching balconies offer the perfect perch for a morning coffee or sunset view, as well as direct access to the Westin’s prime stretch of beach. Although, as with most of the beaches on the island, there are small rocks to overcome when entering the sea, the hotel offers an enormous sandy beach – meaning you can ensure privacy and your own space, even during the busiest of periods. This was one of the most appealing features, as I was alarmed to find the crowds of the breakfast hall, and the busy restaurant guests at dinner time, were hardly to be seen when we stepped out to enjoy the beach for ourselves. The hotel is, as such, designed to give a real sense of vastness, without losing it’s character or homeliness.
Whereas the hotel seems to mainly attract families, I would stress that it is also for couples looking for a longer stay that won’t leave them feeling claustrophobic or bored. The hotel offers such an array of activities, including two tennis courts, an infinity pool and an extremely large, enjoyable sister-pool, a nine-hole golf course and an equestrian centre for horse riding on the beach – and it doesn’t stop there. The boat house at the hotel offers all the watersports you can name including sailing, windsurfing and glass bottom boat trips (all of which are included as part of their complimentary scheduled activities). We took a glass bottom boat out one morning for a beautiful wizz around the resort’s waters, and here guests can also snorkel at leisure with guides. The hotel also offers daily sunset yoga sessions – sure to ease the body and calm the mind. One of my favourite aspects of the hotel are the sunset gazebos perched on the beach nearby the Mystique restaurant with its indoor and outdoor dining concept. The sunset gazebos are the perfect spot to end a beautiful walk along the beach, to observe the sunset, and toast with a glass of champagne and pre-dinner nibbles from Mystique’s creative fusion food offering.
The hotel also offers a wide choice of dining options. From the Seasonal Tastes Restaurant, where breakfast is hosted and you can enjoy the international cuisine on offer with beach-set dining or on the beautiful courtyard – to Kangan, the extremely popular modern Indian offering of both classic and contemporary dishes, which highlight traditional tandoor ovens and rich flavours. Three other restaurants are on offer meaning the choices are plenty – but our favourite was without doubt the Beach Grill. Set, of course, on the beach, by the infinity pool, it offers all day dining, but by no means does this mean that any compromises are made come dinner-time. We dined here on the Lobster night – enjoying everything from a lobster bisque, to a large, succulent, grilled half lobster main dish, as part of the 5 course set menu. Not to be missed, and definitely worth returning to, the restaurant offers both themed dining nights such as this one, and an all day a la carte menu of freshly prepared, hearty, good food. To top it off, the service at this restaurant is dedicated and kind; they will refuse to let you leave without a smile on your face (and a happy belly too!).
A commendable characteristic here at the Westin is that it aims to remain local and authentic, whilst still offering the expansive experiences and choices which travellers opting for a long stay will appreciate. No two days need be the same at the Westin – we spent one day on one side of the resort enjoying the beach, boat house, and the fantastic Beach Grill restaurant, and the following day relaxing by the main pool, and being serenaded by the local “Gino and Joe’ singing Mauritian songs as they sat by the rocks on the beach, playing the guitar and the Djembe (a West African drum). It is this sense of character and the immersive, vibrant, and upbeat atmosphere which gives the resort its flair, and the guests their enjoyment. Our last day at the resort happened to fall on Mothers day in Mauritius – activities were held for families in the turtle garden and the festivity of this special day could be felt everywhere. It gave me the sense that the Westin is a resort which looks to celebrate its guests every day – no matter the occasion. Whether it does this with national holidays, or with special dinners, boating activities, sunset beach rides, or local songs which echo from the djembe – the Westin sings it’s song happily and welcomingly. Everyone deserves to feel at home here.