Travelling is my favourite thing in the world. My hobby and passion. The thing I spend most of my time dreaming about and almost all of my money on doing. And let’s face it, travelling can be hard work. To be honest, I often get back from a trip feeling way more exhausted than before I left. Living out of a suitcase, rushing to catch planes, trains and boats, waking up early and arriving late… it’s all part of the experience of course, but it’s certainly not relaxing. That’s why, to celebrate my 30th birthday, I wanted to go on holiday. There’s a difference between travelling, and going on h-o-l-i-d-a-y, and for once, I really just wanted to unpack my things, stay in one place, chill out and holiday. And for that, the Ravenala Attitude in Mauritius was the perfect place.
Staying at the Ravenala Attitude in Mauritius
Resort holidays and all-inclusive packages often get pushed aside in favour of the kinds of travel that takes you far and wide across a new country, hitting all the sightseeing spots along the way, rushing from one thing to the next. But there are times when what you really want is just to drink 5 cocktails a day next to the pool or read a book under a palm tree in a luxurious setting. And at times like these, you really don’t want to be calculating the cost of every piña colada before you order it.
Mauritius is the ideal mid-winter holiday destination since it’s only a four-hour flight away and South Africans don’t need visas to visit. The weather on Mauritius is mild all year round, but the east side of the island blows all winter, so I was looking on the west coast. When I was researching the perfect Mauritius resort holiday, I had three criteria; somewhere the wind doesn’t blow all day, somewhere all-inclusive and somewhere lush.
The Ravenala Attitude ticked all our boxes. Located in the north-east of Mauritius, with an all-inclusive package that covers drinks, meals and water sports, beachfront rooms opening out on white sand beaches and best of all, a real passion for showcasing local Mauritian culture. If there’s one criticism I have of most resort holidays, it’s that they can sometimes feel very same-same and isolating. It’s easy to leave a resort after a 10-day holiday without having experienced the local culture once. But Attitude has created lots of different ways for visitors to discover Mauritian culture, in an authentic way, while enjoying the many many perks of their resorts.
From Kot Nou restaurant, which is dedicated to Mauritian food, to the OTENTIK Discovery app, which provides informative tours around the island, Attitude makes sure that you leave knowing more about the island and Mauritian culture than when you arrived. One of my absolute favourite experiences on offer is the Otentik dinner, where guests get to leave the resort to dine with a local family in their home.
When it comes to a resort holiday in Mauritius, all-inclusive is the way to go. Booking half-board sounds like a good idea before you leave, but on nights that you don’t feel like leaving the resort for dinner, it can work out really expensive. Opting for the all-in package, you’ll have breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of the resort’s 10 restaurants (including sushi, hello!) local beer, wine and spirits (including sparkling wine!) and cocktails on tap. The resort also has SUP, canoes, a glass-bottomed boat, skiing, wakeboarding and a variety of other water sports on offer, all inclusive.
The Ravenala Attitude resort
The Ravenala Attitude is a large resort bordered by a long stretch of lagoon beach and a stunning river. It’s a family friendly resort, with a variety of restaurants ranging from an Italian eatery to a French Bistro to a street food concept on the beach, a fully equipped gym, a huge pool (and a kiddies pool) with ample loungers and lots of activities, like beach boulle and volleyball. Palm trees shade the beach while swing seats invite you to spend long afternoons around the beach bar. At lunchtime, the smell of barbeque fills the air, the sun sits high in the sky and water glows bright blue.
No matter what time of day or night you run into or walk by one of the hotel staff, you are always greeted with a warm smile and a “hello” or “how are you enjoying your holiday?” Our days normally started with breakfast (does anyone else find self-control impossible at a breakfast buffet?) followed by a swim in the sea, before I settled onto a lounger on the beach (each seaside adult suite has their own) for some reading. If you’re thinking that going all-inclusive means the hotel might hold back on drinks, think again. After my first couple of piña coladas, the amazing beach crew stopped taking my order, just casually placing one after the next beside me while I read my book or watched the water.
In the evenings, after a couple of hours at the spa or maybe an afternoon nap, we’d take our sun-warmed bodies for drinks at the pool bar before dinner. One night the bar team built us a tower of glasses before setting it alight. On another night, they plied us with a series of colourful cocktails before sending us to bed with a bottle of bubbles. What I’m saying is, you aren’t going to feel like you want more – of anything.
Lunch at Gran Zil
When you’ve had enough relaxing for a while, just when you start to feel a little antsy, there’s something new to do. At the nearby Zilwa Attitude Hotel, we took a boat to the tiny Gran Zil island, where we had a bbq lunch cooked right there on the beach. With rum in hand, I hung out in a hammock between bursts of rain, feeling like a mermaid washed ashore, or an intrepid explorer come across my very own treasure island.
Catamaran to Gabriel Island
From the truly stunning Paradise Cove, we took a luxurious catamaran out to Gabriel Island. Of course, the bar was open, so I sipped on a glass of rosé while whales breached just a few meters ahead. I’ve never been closer! While we swam in some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen, our lunch of grilled fish and meats, salads and garlic bread was being prepared on the boat. Later, we were snorkelling between hundreds of tropical fish before heading back to our hotel for dinner on the beach. On my last vacation, I went on a catamaran snorkeling tour in maui and honestly, it was amazing! So much so, when the opportunity arose to go snorkeling, I jumped at the chance (quite literally). Snorkeling is amazing and if you ever have the chance to go, do it!
Port Louis Street Food Tour
One of my favourite experiences of the whole trip was exploring Port Louis, the island’s capital, using the Attitude OTENTIK Discovery app. There are 11 tours on the app, which is free to download. We chose to explore the Port Louis street food scene, which is bursting with flavours from India and China creating something uniquely Mauritian. Starting with a family-run stall selling delicious dhal puri (flatbread stuffed with a seasoned filling of ground split peas, served with a variety of chutneys), followed by alouda (a cold milky drink well known by every Mauritian), pani puri (a street snack of round, hollow bites fried crisp and filled with a mixture of flavored water, tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion or chickpeas) and Chinese dumplings. By the time we left, we’d seen loads of the capital and were about ready to roll home. I never learn more about a destination and culture than through their street food. I can’t recommend this experience enough!
The first thing you notice when you arrive in Mauritius is the genuinely warm culture. Genuine smiles and the question you’ll hear over and over, “first time in Mauritius?” at every turn. While the many food options on offer at the resort could have kept us busy all holiday, having dinner with a local family was our most delicious experience of all. We joined Ved, one of the Ravenala team members, and his family at their home not far from the hotel for an authentic local feast, served on banana leaves, in their outdoor dining area.
10 of the best things about staying at the Ravenala Attitude
1 The weather
Located on the north-west side of the island, the wind doesn’t blow in winter, so it’s a perfect escape from the cold in South Africa.
2 All-inclusive really means all-inclusive
The only optional extras you might want to factor into your budget are dinner at the fancy Riviera Restaurant (seafood served on a floating restaurant in the river), a visit to the spa, a catamaran trip to Gabriel Island, lunch at Gran Zil and the OTENTIK dinner.
3 The friendly team
Everyone who works at the hotel, from the front desk to the bar, will make you feel like royalty from the moment you arrive. They remember things about you, like what you like to drink, and where you had dinner the previous night, and tailor your experience to make it unforgettable.
4 The sunsets
The sun sets later on the west, and you’ll have the best view of the pink and orange sky show every evening.
5 The variety of things to do
Because you can’t just chill 24/7. Just when you’ve finished your first book, you look around and there’s loads to do.
6 The food
With 10 restaurants to choose from, you could easily eat somewhere new every night. My favourites were Lime for sushi lunch, Kot Nou for traditional Mauritian food, Rievera for a romantic dinner and Le Bistro for the most delicious burgers (and lunch that you can order right to your sun lounger next to the pool).
7 The OTENTIK concept
I really loved the opportunity to be submerged in Mauritian culture, learn about the food from people who live there. If you’ve ever felt like a resort holiday might leave you feeling cold, you’ll love Attitude.
8 Location, location, location
Nestled between the sea and the river, there is lots of space for long romantic walks, early morning runs and lots of swimming
9 The resort itself
Literally everything I was hoping for. A stretch of white sand beach between a pool and the ocean, a dreamy beach bar, big airy rooms, and the beach on my doorstep.
10 It’s so easy to get to
A four hour flight from Joburg, followed by a one hour drive to the resort and you’re on holiday. Such a pleasure after the long-haul trips I’ve taken to Bali and Thailand!
Booking your stay at the Ravenala Attitude
The best way to book is direct with the hotel. Considering the cost of flights from South Africa (as low as R5000,00 return), the money you’re saving on visa costs (up to R2000,00 per person if you’re travelling on a South African passport) and what’s included in the all-inclusive package, a holiday at the Ravenala Attitude is an affordable way to do 4-star. The quote I received in early 2018, which was for a beachfront suite (Executive Seafront Adult Suite) in mid-July, on an all-inclusive basis, came in at around R2800,00 per person, per night. There are 8 more hotels in the Attitude group, so have a little browse here if you’re looking for something smaller, bigger, more family-friendly or adults-only.
*We stayed at the Ravenala Attitude as guests of the hotel. As always, my opinions are my own and my views are true to myself.