Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding - September/October 2023 (Issue 100)

Magical Editor Claire Ridley fell in love with this year-round honeymoon hotspot A LUXURY RETREAT Nestled on the north coast of the island in Anse la Raie (a popular kite surfing spot) sits the five-star, eco-committed boutique hotel Paradise Cove. With Mauritius fast becoming a sustainable island, Paradise Cove’s effort to go green includes being part of the Positive Impact Movement (created by the Attitude hotel group) ensuring local sourcing and no single-use plastic. ROOM WITH A VIEW I was excited to visit this adults-only tropical paradise, an acclaimed Small Luxury Hotels of the World, having benefitted from a renovation in 2019. It offers a warm welcome with 75 rooms and suites including the Deluxe Premium Rooms, one of which was to become my home for three blissful nights. This honeymoon hideout has been authentically designed in the island’s signature style with wood, rattan and tropical palm-print wallpaper and furnishings. The rooms have been positioned to admire the panoramic cove views, along with the cluster of other areas that make up this glamorous getaway. Centred around the main reception built under a charming thatch roof is the stylish STAY bar; the complimentary tea bar boasting locally grown flavours; the main swimming pool where I enjoyed an early morning dip each day and The Dining Room restaurant where the delicious buffet breakfast was brimming with exotic flavours. FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD There’s so much choice between the four restaurants at this dreamy destination with a Dine-Around experience available in three of them for half-board and all-inclusive guests. For delicious sushi, the à la carte Japanese XO restaurant won’t disappoint while if it’s seafood you’re after, try the Cove Restaurant’s private kiosks on the sand for catch of the day. I was in for a treat at the trendy Peninsular Restaurant and bar perched overlooking the jetty and lagoon with far-flung views stretching across to the five north islands in one direction, and the new infinity pool (that’s heated during the winter months) in the other. A highlight was an invite to the launch of the new five-course vegan fine dining experience by Michelin-starred Chef Alexis Gauthier. I tucked into a fondant heart of palm made with pressed watermelon followed by a semi-confit cut of giraumon with a medley of grains and wild rice. The lychee wine is a must-try while you’re on the island, it became my favourite tipple of the trip! RIDING THE OCEAN WAVES I was lucky enough to hop on board the hotel’s 12-seat catamaran for a full-day cruise around Îlot Gabriel and Île Plate (also known as the Flat Island). After settling in for a suntan, and a delicious barbecue lunch, the boat reached Coin de Mire where it was time to grab my swimmers and jump into the warm Indian Ocean to snorkel (dive enthusiasts can scuba dive here). Looking to make a memory on a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon? Then book a sunset cruise or the Stargazing experience with an astrologer out on the jetty which is just one of the many You&Me Moments the resort offers. Back on land, activities include yoga, Tai Chi, a gym plus two floodlit tennis courts. One of my favourite pastimes was relaxing in the cute love nests dotted around the grounds, promising privacy for honeymooners. ISLAND ESCAPE The wellness journey starts the moment you enter the lush open-air spa where the tempting treatments are known as Beauty Rituals of the World of the organic French brand Cinq Mondes. I indulged in a 50-minute full body massage with therapist Samantha who used a scented pure coconut oil made on the island. Dreaming of a couple’s massage in one of the love nests at the water’s edge? Consider it done! WITH LOVE FROM MAURITIUS Step back in time at the historic Château De Labourdonnais, a twostorey, colonial-style Creole mansion and heritage site which was once a sugar plantation. This local landmark boasts French-style furnishings plus an orchard in the grounds that contributes to the fruit production on the island. There’s a rum distillery, plus you’ll be spoilt by the menu choice at La Table du Château, ( No trip to Mauritius is complete without a visit to the vibrant capital city of Port Louis with its street markets and bustling scenes - it was a fun way to fill my Insta feed at every turn! TRAVEL SNAPSHOT Couples can get married at Paradise Cove – the Classic Wedding Package includes locally grown flowers, no single-use plastic and locally sourced ingredients for the dinner – a romantic Renewal of Vows is also an option. Stay at five-star Paradise Cove boutique hotel from £334 per room each night, based on two people sharing a Deluxe Premium Room on a half-board basis, Love nest with a view Climbing aboard the hotel’s catamaran Admiring the sunset Greetings from Île Plate MAURITIUS Chilling out in The Spa 94