We just returned to the UK after a wonderful 17 nights stay at The Sands. We are not going to repeat all of the fantastic things people say about The Sands, except to say – it’s all true! Instead we hope to provide you with some additional information that may help you, particularly if you are thinking of getting married in Mauritius.
We were married at The Sands Hotel on the 27th October. We were originally looking for a wedding package via the travel agent (we had opted to use Virgin Holidays) but after choosing The Sands as our perfect venue we then found The Sands were no longer working via Virgin for their weddings. We decided to take a bit of a gamble and booked the wedding direct with The Sands instead. This turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. Their wedding coordinator - Deepsheeka is outstanding. A lovely person, totally professional and approachable – precisely what you need when planning your wedding. Just turn up and let her do her work, no stress, no worries – she takes care of everything. She was very responsive on email prior to us leaving for Mauritius – any questions we had, she responded to quickly. She sent us details of prices for different wedding packages in advance so we were able to think about what we wanted to spend and include in our package prior to leaving for Mauritius. We came in 100% on budget – there are no hidden extras, no surprises – what is stated is what is charged.
We arrived at The Sands on the 22nd October to give ourselves a few days to chill and plan the wedding before the big day. We went into Port Louis with Deepsheeka a couple of days before the wedding to organise the paperwork. The journey takes around 45 minutes. The process is pretty pain free even though it involved a visit to the court, a lawyer and the registrar. They were all very closely located so you walk from one to the other. It worked out fine and we were back by lunchtime. You may want to take a bottle of water with you.
After all the legalities were completed and we arrived back at the resort we sat down with Deepsheeka to run through the detail of the wedding – where we wanted it to take place, flowers, timings etc. We opted to have the wedding in the Gazebo. This provided a good amount of shade for us and our guests during the service and was very romantic. We also opted for a steel band and this was another great decision. The band was excellent and really put spirit into our day.
As we had family with us we did not need to worry about where I got ready for the wedding as my husband was able to go to his brother’s room to change. However, if you do not have this option you can get ready at the spa or the groom can use the Transit Room to shower and get ready etc.
I had a hair and makeup trial with Christelle when I arrived at The Sands. I showed her a couple of pictures to give her an idea of what I wanted and she replicated it perfectly – in fact it was better than my pictures. On the actual wedding day she reproduced it perfectly again – she is very used to looking after brides and is also very creative. She is very open to working with you on the look so don’t be afraid to say if you want to change something or try something else.
Our photographer was Rudy. He was funny, professional and had a nice relaxed style. We are very pleased with the DVD and photos we received from him. We told him briefly what we did and didn’t want and he got it spot on.
We opted to have our wedding reception dinner in The Spices restaurant – in the outside area (in the mini marquee type area). The food was superb and the staff (especially Rishi) went all out to ensure everything went to plan. We did not want to go with a set menu so we were able to choose from the main menu a day in advance and have what we wanted. In fact we requested something not on the menu for a couple of our guests and this was arranged for us with no fuss.
We took our own champagne and paid corkage. The corkage charge at The Sands is very reasonable at R500 so it is worth doing this. You can request a wine list with prices in advance to help you with your decisions. It is available on request from Deepsheeka.
The day following our wedding we opted to have our wedding breakfast on our balcony (you can choose to have it in the Gazebo). It was lovely to have it on the balcony, we sat in our dressing gowns and were really chilled.
We originally had booked to stay for 13 nights but we decided to extend this to 17 nights as we loved it there so much. Towards the end of our stay (after our guests had returned to the UK) we had a romantic dinner on the beach. Again, we opted for The Spices menu. It was a lovely experience and Rishi ensured once again that we had all we needed and were well looked after.
My husband and I are keen sports people so we took advantage of most things on offer at The Sands! The gym is small but clean and the equipment is fair. My partner would have preferred heavier free weights but he is a personal trainer so probably uses weights heavier than most. For me it was fine.
We ran along the beach – wonderful! Easier if you head north towards Flic En Flac or more challenging if you head south towards Black River (actually quite a technical off road run if you follow the shore line).
We went water skiing twice and my partner also went windsurfing and sailing in the small lazers. All of these sports are free of charge at The Sands.
We have seen a lot of people say the drinks are expensive at The Sands. Generally we did not find this to be the case – you can spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine or champagne but you don’t have to. Some of the cocktails were lovely (I recommend the Princess) and reasonably priced at around R250.
We believe The Sands have got it about right – they do not offer All Inclusive alcohol and they do not have entertainment on past 10.30pm. This means the resort retains an elegant feel with no chav element (harsh but true). That said, you can drink as late as you want to, the bar will stay open if you want to drink. We had some very fun evenings in The Dolphin Bar.
The Spa shop in Flic en Flac is more than a short walk away, we would estimate it to be approx. 45 min walk for an average pace, and then there is the walk back with the shopping! You can use the bikes at The Sands or get a taxi – the driver will wait for you to do your shopping and bring you back for around R500. The shop has most things you will need. There is a shop nearer to The Sands just across the road from the La Pirogue Resort but it is not as well stocked as the Spa shop.
Our wedding and honeymoon at The Sands was just perfect – it was above and beyond what we had hoped for. We are both seasoned travellers through work and pleasure and we agree that the service at The Sands is the best we have ever experienced. If you need something, if you want something changed, if you have any request – just ask, they will sort it. i.e. I was getting ready to go out one evening and realised I did not have a mirror in the room located near a plug. My husband called Reception – within ten minutes maintenance were in our room and had installed a wall mirror above a plug. Nothing is too much trouble.
We ventured out one evening (it was a Saturday) into Flic en Flac and we went to The Twins bar and then on to Sizzlers both were nice venues for a drink and a dance.
We also did the Walking with Lions trip – we booked this directly with the Concierge at The Sands. This was an amazing experience . The work this charity does is wonderful and being up close and personal with lions and tigers (while respecting them totally) is a fantastic experience.
Finally, in the Tamarind Restaurant the food was great. I am vegetarian and two of our guests do not like spicy food – we never went hungry. There is a great choice. A big mention has to go to Sam who looked after us here. What a complete gentleman and lovely person he is.
If we could change anything about the experience it would be the planning prior to leaving for Mauritius. Knowing what we know now, we would have been more chilled and less of control freaks about the planning prior to departing for Mauritius – Trust them, they are complete professionals – they will ensure your stay is perfect for you. We will definitely be returning to The Sands.
We will also book differently. Next time we will definitely not book with Virgin. We will book with The Sands directly and use BA for our flights. The package and service provided by Virgin is average at best. In fact all we saw of Virgin was the headed paper and briefly the rep at the resort and airport – the flights were Air Mauritius.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.