A warm island breeze flows through the tall open-walled lobby to gently greet new arrivals at Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita. It’s January, which means summer; mango and lychee season. The Indian Ocean archipelago is around 500 miles east of Madagascar and has drawn everyone from Charles Darwin to Mark Twain to its alluringly remote shores over the past 150 years. The jet lag caused by the 12-hour flight from London is soon forgotten as you gaze beyond the bar at the end of the lobby to see the crystalline turquoise lagoon that awaits.
Welcome drink sipped, you’re soon whisked away on a buggy to reach your very own island hideaway. The 64-acre, all-villa resort located on Mauritius’s serene east coast is an expanse of lush tropical gardens and swaying coconut palms, featuring two beautiful beaches (with a third on a nearby islet), a thatched-roof overwater spa, fitness center, watersports center and access to two golf courses.
Accommodation at Four Seasons Mauritius is spread between the mainland, where the majority of the facilities lie, and the resort’s private island, which is joined by an elevated pathway over the lagoon. Privacy is in abundance whether you stay in one of the 45 sprawling residences or one of the 90 1,130-sq-ft one-bedroom pool villas.
Guests can opt for an ocean or garden setting, which is often a no-brainer. Though, here it has to be said that there is something special about being cocooned within an expanse of mature flora and birdsong in one of the resort’s Garden Pool Villas.
Four Seasons Mauritius’ Three Bedroom Royal Island Sanctuary suite spans 4,850 sq ft and is located in prime position at the tip of the resort’s private island. The contemporary Mauritian interior boasts raised white reed ceilings and natural hues which are complemented by coral artworks and palm-laden Pierre Frey wallpaper.
The full-width glass doors of the open-plan living and dining room seamlessly glide open to the 860-sq-ft veranda and a family-sized infinity pool gazing straight onto the Indian Ocean lagoon.
The villa’s fully equipped kitchen has a separate service entrance for the utmost privacy. The master bedroom features an additional plunge pool on a separate private terrace, as well as a dreamy ensuite with an enormous chandelier floating over an equally enormous stone soaking tub.
Mauritius is blessed with a rich cuisine influenced by its history and position. A mosaic of African, Chinese, Creole, French and Indian flavors makes sampling the island nation’s cuisine a joy. And you won’t need to go far. The culinary offering at Four Seasons Mauritius is one of the most extensive on the island.
Bambou, named after the towering Bambou mountain that forms the resort’s backdrop, is a breezy beach and poolside eatery delivering a breakfast of endless possibilities. Traditional potato curry with fresh chapatis, miso soup, freshly whipped-up crab benedict, a crepe station and a juice bar all form just part of the morning menu.
Beau Champ serves fine French bistro fare with the option of a private dinner or tastings in the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar. For sushi, head to Umi.Zaka, the resort’s Japanese offering, while authentic Indian flavors can be enjoyed at Chatkar (the fresh shrimp biryani and tender chicken tikka are delicious choices.)
Acquapazza, the resort’s modern Italian restaurant recently hosted a six-month residency by acclaimed Tuscan chef Marco Garfagnini, whose European eateries have gained two Michelin stars.
For a relaxed lunch, hop on the resort’s boat for a short journey across the lagoon to the picturesque uninhabited island of Ile aux Cerfs. Here you’ll find fresh Creole flavors and cocktails at Four Seasons’ La Plaz Beach Grill set on the hotel’s third beach. Opt for Mauritian rock lobster or the locally sourced fish of the day cooked to crispy-skin perfection over a charcoal grill.
Out of the resort’s three beaches, the Quiet Beach, to the south of the resort’s private island offers a sanctuary away from the main resort hub. As to be expected at Four Seasons, the beach service is impeccable. There is even a staff member on hand offering complimentary sunglass cleaning.
Views from the massage table don’t get much better than at the resort’s overwater spa with 12 individually-contained treatment rooms with their own sauna and outdoor shower, each set on large wooden pillars over the lagoon.
The spa stocks a combination of Mauritian, African and European products including sustainable South African brand TheraNaka and Parisian anti-aging treatments from Anne Semonin.
The Mauritian Fusion treatment combines meridian therapy, reflexology and traditional Swedish massage to balance water levels and release toxins and stress. One of the spa’s expert therapists will check your preferred level of pressure before using an all natural oil infused with local eucalyptus and mint.
For an even deeper massage, a sugar cane can be rolled over the skin (akin to a rolling pin). All the while, a light tropical air flows in through the open floor-to-ceiling windows. The treatment ends with a cup of local ayapana tea, an ancient herbal drink used to treat everything for headaches to stomach problems.
The spa is also home to a stilted glass yoga pavilion that would tempt even the most-reluctant yogi into a group or private lesson with the resort’s resident instructor.
Though traversable by foot or golf cart, the best way to explore Four Seasons Mauritius is by bicycle, which will be delivered to your villa’s front gate on your arrival. You will feel a little bit like you’re cycling through an idyllic five-star village as you drift past pops of pink hibiscus on your way to breakfast.
With Mauritius near surrounded by coral reefs, it is a haven for snorkeling. The resort’s onsite watersports center ‘The Boat House’ offers an abundance of complimentary activities for exploring including three daily snorkeling trips, kayaking and paddle boarding.
The health of the reef that encircles the Four Seasons’ beaches is monitored by the resort’s resident marine biologist in partnership with conservation charity, WiseOceans. Guests can join WiseOceans for an expert-led snorkeling trip to the mangroves or discover the work it is carrying out to restore 30,000 sq ft of nearby reef.
Beyond the resort, Mauritius offers a beautifully green and mountainous landscape to explore. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss a hike in the protected Black River Gorges National Park, home to three of the island’s most endangered bird species. Combine a visit here to the nearby town of Chamarel to witness its colorful dunes and visit the island’s premium rum distillery, Rhumerie De Chamarel.