An infinity pool, white sand and the crystal blue sea is the first thing I see as I walk into the newly opened four-star Zilwa Attitude on the Mauritius’ north coast. The place is immaculate, peaceful, and, as I find out during my stay, fully embodies islander spirit Mauritius is renowned for.
Only three weeks after opening, the hotel is completely full. Although, this could be something to do with the Creole music festival taking place nearby. Several of the musicians on the line up have chosen to stay at Zilwa, lending the place just a little frisson of glamour.
Zilwa means “islander” in local Creole language, and that laid-back theme runs throughout. Rooms are fashioned into crescents. The first crescent of accommodation is for families, the second for couples. All rooms are modern with white walls and natural wood furniture, made by local craftsmen, plus trendy Beton Ciré floors. Textiles and paintings are inspired by Mauritian painter and philosopher Malcolm de Chazal, whose brightly coloured creations feature seaside scenes. Each room comes complete with a pair of funky Dodo flip flops – apparently an iconic Mauritian brand – the comfiest flip flops I’ve ever worn, I barely took them off throughout my stay.
Island-inspired activities are the order of the day. Some start early (5.15am) including the sunrise cruise on a local fisherman’s boat. There’s also bike riding to a local village or lessons in ‘sapsiway’ – a traditional Mauritian keepie uppie game that’s harder than it looks. Later, Creole cooking and rum making lessons are on offer. The latter is a definite highlight.
Beachside activities including paddle boarding, snorkelling and scuba diving can be booked daily, while kite boarding is set to start up soon. Children aged 3-12 are catered for at the ‘mini club’. Most guests stay on an all-inclusive basis that includes most activities, although some (including the spa) are at additional cost. For those who prefer a more relaxed holiday, there’s plenty of beach space and three pools to soak in.
Food and Drink: Guests can choose from two on-site restaurants for lunch and four for dinner. These include Lor Disab, a beachside restaurant serving seafood and steaks (adults only in the evening), a set-menu satay joint, and a good Chinese-Mauritian fusion restaurant and a buffet with a nightly theme (Indian, Chinese etc). Restaurants should be pre-booked in the evening. Although the service in the restaurants was a little patchy, and we sometimes waited a long time for food, the helpful and positive attitude of staff make up for any teething problems. But you don’t always have to eat in the restaurants. A home-cooked fish curry with all the trimmings can be experienced in a nearby village at the family home of one of the hotel staff (£15 per head including drinks). Meanwhile, guests can book to eat on a nearby private island, where the hotel will serve up a tasty Mauritian barbecue (£20 for all inclusive, £31 on half board).
Price: Rooms start from £92per person per night.
Address: Royal Road, Calodyne, Mauritius, zilwa-hotel-mauritius.com
Rating: 8/10 – A stay is this paradise setting is great fun, and the staff are friendly. Although, I’d like to see more Mauritian food options available in the all inclusive package.