Work hard (and work out harder) all year round. Book a holiday, spend the week prone and poolside. Return nursing a beer belly and a negative bank balance. Repeat. What was once an all-too-familiar scenario in the late nineties and early 2000s is swiftly becoming a thing of the past. Just as our ideas about how we exercise, what we eat, and how we work have started to evolve in recent years, so too has the way we now think about holidaying.
Until March 2020, anyway. Then along came the coronavirus pandemic, juddering global travel to a halt and putting the kibosh on trips both health-conscious and hedonistic.
If the prospect of staring down a long, bleak winter has sent a chill up your spine, it’s not all bad news. As of October 1, the Mauritian government has given UK visitors the green light (subject to stringent quarantine conditions), sending the tropical island to the top of your travel bucket list. As the UK government publicly backs vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – as a key supplement to ward off COVID-19, lounging by the pool has never been so beneficial.
Before the pandemic took hold – when times were still precedented – MH visited Mauritius for five days of nature-fuelled adventure and unconditional R&R. Our base for the trip? One&Only Le Saint Géran, a secluded luxury bolthole nestled on a pristine private peninsula that overlooks more than a mile of sandy beach. Consider it your refuge from the rest of the world.
There are a million reasons to stay at One&Only Le Saint Géran – the legendary service, for one. Many of the staff are approaching 20 years at the resort, and others far longer. The lush, green, jungle-like tropical gardens are another, complete with evening frog chorus. Then there’s those spacious suites with private terraces and marble-lined bathrooms. But perhaps the biggest pull is the resort’s one-of-a-kind experience offering.
Traverse nature reserves and climb waterfalls with an eco-ranger on an island trek, or take to the skies and view Mauritius from above with a helicopter excursion. Set sail on a 55-foot fishing boat and enjoy your freshly-grilled catch on the beach, or head off the beaten track and kayak through mangrove forests. Head out to a local food market and cook up a storm with the head chef during a one-on-one lesson, or board a 33-foot speedboat for a luxury Champagne brunch.
That’s assuming you can muster up enough motivation to leave. There are floodlit tennis and padel courts, indoor and outdoor pools – the swim-up bars and luxurious linen-clad cabanas make you feel like a Bond villain – along with a 9-hole mini golf course, guided bike tours, and water sports that vary in intensity from stand-up paddleboarding to waterskiing. If you’re big on surfing, a Land Rover Defender – equipped with a cooler, camping chairs and snacks – is on call to drive you to the best swells on the island.
For downtime, you can pick from yoga, meditation and mat-based Pilates classes, or book your sun and sea-battered bod for a treatment at the wellness centre. We can personally vouch for the Biologique Recherche facial, which involves a digital skin analysis – measuring hydration, trans-epidermal water loss, elasticity, pigmentation and sebum levels – to diagnose your specific skincare needs in exacting detail, before remedying them all with peels, serums and steam. You’ll be unrecognisable in your next Zoom meeting.
Elsewhere, boxing, spinning and HIIT classes will help you get a sweat on, while on-site PTs are available to coach you. If calisthenics is your jam, the outdoor gym is fitted with MyEquilibria training frames – a welcome option after a year oscillating through varying degrees of lockdown – while inside you’ll find state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, from Skillmills to Kinesis Stations.
Once you’ve worked up a sweat, refuelling comes easy. Four on-site restaurants cater to every cuisine, from authentic Mauritian-style barbeque dishes at poolside hangout La Pointe to contemporary Japanese tapas at Tapasake, perched on stilts in the lagoon. From Peking duck to stonebaked pizzas, beachfront La Terrasse has it all, while fine-dining steakhouse Prime offers organic steak and local seafood with 736 wine varieties from an in-house cellar.
So, don your scuba-diving gear and explore vibrant coral reefs. Trek through uninhabited forested valleys and discover hidden waterfalls. Hire quad bikes and hit the road in search of the island’s grand Indian temples. And when DOMS finally kicks in, while a day away on One&Only Le Saint Géran’s private powder-white beach. If you’re going to live through a pandemic, you might as well do it in paradise.
For more information or to book at One&Only Le Saint Géran visit: oneandonlyresorts.com/le-saint-geran
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