There are those who claim that the journey is the destination, but when it comes to Mauritius, we’re inclined to disagree. There’s something about that combination of powder-soft sand, crashing waves and verdant jungle that whispers, “you’ve arrived”, and that’s certainly the case at Shanti Maurice; a picturesque resort on the southern coast of Mauritius.
Spread across 36 hectares of pristine beachfront and fragrant tropical gardens, the resort is a couple’s delight, with 61 suites and villas nestled among the vegetation; all offering privacy and seclusion that’s requisite to a romantic getaway.
Honeymooners love Shanti Maurice, drawn perhaps by the Luxury Pool Villas, whose private gardens, outdoor dining pavilions and private pools with built-in Jacuzzis mean you don’t have to leave the 250 sqm villa unless you really want to. But few can resist the allure of the Shanti Spa, where treatments, couple’s massages and wellbeing classes focus on body, mind and soul, and fully-immersive wellness retreats can provide the perfect opportunity for couples to reconnect. Culinary experiences abound at Shanti Maurice, from in-villa dining to a secluded picnic overlooking the mountains and ocean in a remote corner of the resort.
If you’ve chosen Shanti Maurice for your special day, there’s a choice of settings in which you can exchange or renew vows: perhaps a pavilion perched over the turquoise waters at the end of the jetty, or in a beachside cabana with the waves lapping at your feet? Whatever you choose, when you settle down to watch the sun dip below the horizon at the end of the day, you’ll know that you’ve found unadulterated beachfront bliss.
FOUR SEASONS RESORT MALDIVES AT KUDA HURAA
It’s hard to beat the Maldives when it comes to romantic escapes. There’s something about being marooned on a desert island surrounded by crystal clear water, spending languid days idling by a private pool and being waited on hand and foot that, unsurprisingly, makes us feel very much at ease. Of course there are plenty of activities to keep active loved ones busy, but at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, there’s a whole series of programmes designed with couples in mind.
Think private island picnic under swaying palms, with a treat-filled hamper and complete privacy for the ultimate castaway experience. Or how about a candle-lit night spa ritual; a two and a half journey combining body-wrap, beauty bath, massage and facial treatment, all performed under a blanket of stars on a private beach at the resort’s Island Spa. If all that pampering isn’t enough, you could always have your bath butler draw you a romantic bath in the comfort of your villa, complete with essential oils and a selection of decadent treats for the perfect end to the day. All of the villas and beach bungalows at Kuda Huraa are ideal for a romantic break, but our favourite is the Sunset Water Villa with Pool; a spectacular overwater villa with more than 110 sqm of outdoor space, including private infinity pool, daybeds and hammocks, open air dining area and plenty of extra space for an al fresco spa treatment or private tai chi session.
If it’s complete seclusion you’re after, look no further than the Private Ocean Retreats at Jumeirah Vittaveli. Bobbing on the tranquil lagoon a stone’s throw from the main island resort, these spectacular 256 sqm villas are only accessible by boat, affording the utmost privacy during your romantic escape. Complete with private pool, wrap-around sundecks, bar area and direct access to the lagoon, these two-level suites are just the thing for a honeymoon treat or anniversary celebration.
Don’t fancy making the short journey to the island? Have a chef come to you and prepare a private candlelit dinner for two on the outside deck, or bring a Talise Spa therapist and yoga teacher over for a morning of massage and wellness set to the soundtrack of lapping waves. If your idea of romance means a more active bonding experience, you can don a snorkel and facemask to explore the house reef, and qualified divers can explore the five shipwrecks within easy reach of the resort. Prefer to stay dry? Vittaveli’s semi-submarine allows you to explore the underwater world of the house reef without getting wet; day and night excursions in the company of a dive-team expert mean you can learn the names of the marine life that inhabit this underwater world (rather than simply gurgling through a facemask) and experience the reef like never before.
Surrounded by miles of glorious Indian Ocean, guests staying at Baros Maldives are spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring the watery world of the North Male atoll. The resort experience starts with an unforgettable 25-minute speedboat ride from Male Island, as you’re whisked over the crystal-clear water that’s teeming with coral and marine life. Once you’ve checked into one of the 75 beautiful villas (we recommend the beachfront Private Pool Villas, which come with their own stretch of powder-soft beach) and had a dip in the lagoon, chances are you’ll want to get back out on the water to explore more of that aquatic environment.
And your options are myriad: set sail on a private sunset cruise on the resort’s traditional Maldivian dhoni and sip on champagne as the sun slowly sinks down to the horizon, or hop aboard the 16-metre luxury yacht Serenity and take a romantic cruise in the company of spinner dolphins; look out for whales and other dolphins as you sail around the atoll. Since the resort is owned by a Maldivian family, they make it easy for guests to experience a slice of traditional island life, with private speedboat excursions to a nearby island, where you’ll meet with locals and experience village life first hand. For land lovers, a private yoga class with Baros’ resident yogi might be just the thing to help create a magical moment at sunrise or sunset, with a choice of locations such as a secluded private sandbank, the Lighthouse Restaurant terrace, or the resort’s Piano Deck, which floats alone on the reef.
TAJ EXOTICA RESORT AND SPA
The combination of Indian hospitality and Indian Ocean setting makes Taj Exotica Resort and Spa one of the most sought-after hideaways in the Maldives, surrounded by clear tropical waters that provide a playground for fish and visitors alike. Sprinkled across Emboodhu Finolhu Island (Three Coconut Isle) and the surrounding waters of the South Male Atoll, it’s hard to choose a favourite among the 64 villas and suites; some perched on stilts above the lagoon and others nestled among the foliage of the island.
For the best of both worlds, the One Bedroom Beach Villa Suites have private pools and decks looking out to a strip of pristine white sand beach, with your own hammock strung between the trees and plenty of outdoor space for al fresco dining or romantic evenings by the pool. The mezzanine level bedroom’s balcony looks out across the still waters of the lagoon for unforgettable sunset views and cool ocean breezes. At Taj Jiwa Spa, authentic Indian therapies including Ayurvedic treatments and deeply spiritual bathing rituals promote inner balance and harmony, which could be just the thing when celebrating an anniversary or important relationship milestone.
VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND
Whether you fell in love because of a mutual joy of fine food, or simply love to bond over a romantic meal, Velaa Private Island promises an unforgettable collection of dining experiences for foodie couples. Just tied the knot? Then check into the enormous 598 sqm Romantic Pool Residence, complete with personal spa (treatment room, hot tub and gym), plus private pool, beach, and a dining gazebo perched above the waters of the lagoon at the end of a jetty. From there you’ll want to visit the CRU Champagne Lounge to pop a cork or two, then make your way to the top of Tavaru Tower, where a flair-filled teppanyaki experience awaits, complete with spectacular views over the tropical canopy to the Indian Ocean beyond.
For a more classic fine dining experience, romantic tables at Aragu look out over the lagoon, with beautiful contemporary cuisine created by chef Gausham de Silva, and the mgnificent wine cellar at the foot of Tavaru Tower is home to more than 500 labels, from boutique vineyards to grand marques. Of course, we completely understand if you’d prefer to stay within the confines of the villa, and have your own bespoke dining experience served in the luxurious comfort of your own space.
ANGSANA BALACLAVA MAURITIUS
Even the air smells sweet at Angsana Balaclava Mauritius, where the aroma of fresh frangipani drifts along the warm ocean breeze; an intoxicating scent that sets the scene for romance. Here, couples can take it as slow as they like, with indulgent couple’s massage and body treatments at Angsana Spa, or a signature bath soak in the comfort of your duplex Beachfront Pool Suite, complete with flower petals, candlelight and bubbly, within a magnificent rock-hewn bathtub. Watch the stars twinkle from the L-shaped pool, which is heated in the cooler months so you can stargaze all year round, or jump in your jet-pool and soothe your cares away.
Prefer your water salty? The suites are just a few steps away from the gently lapping waves of the Indian Ocean. For more active couples, pick up a pair of bicycles for a guided tour of the neighbourhood: explore the coastal village of Petit Gamin and stop off for romantic photos in the endless green of verdant sugar cane fields, then pause for a picnic lunch on the beach at Le Goulet. For a different kind of romantic escape, board the resort’s two-seater underwater scooter and set off on an aquatic adventure to discover the marine life of secluded Turtle Bay, where the resort is nestled in the North West coast of Mauritius. Cap it all off with a candlelit lobster dinner for two on the beach: pure indulgence.