Where do we begin? We stumbled across this hotel on-line by accident. We wanted to get married in Mauritius with the sand between our toes, and we did just that and more!
For the first week of our stay we were a group of 8, then for the second week our 6 guests travelled home. For the first week of our stay, a table for 8 was sent up at the restaurant every night, and decorated beautifully. The staff at the bar were also more than happy to re-arrange some tables and chairs for us each evening to fit us all in.
The hotel is on the West of the Island, in an area recommended by many for it's plentiful beaches and fabulous sunsets. It is smaller than the nearby resorts, and in our opinion, this is what made it so special. Sited at the end of a chain of other hotels, the beach was quieter and the whole site felt tucked away and quite private. The lagoon area in front of the hotel appeared to be unique to the Sands when we walked past other hotels further along the beach. This gives a perfect area to swim, snorkel and paddle especially if you're not usually comfortable with going in the sea. We did take reef shoes with us, which were needed in the water due to the coral, but the beach itself was fine barefoot.
We stayed half board (breakfast and evening meal). In the two week stay, we didn't have an evening meal duplicated, and got the chance to experience a whole wealth of new foods and flavours. The staff were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly and there was always plenty of food. If ever there was nothing in the main buffet that took your fancy, the staff were more than happy to cook you something else. One evening we had some "nice fish" and a couple of plates of chips brought to our table. On a couple of occasions we ate at lunchtime in the bar. The food was equally as good, and on par with most hotels price wise When we travelled home, we were due to leave just before evening dinner service began, but we were still offered some food to be packed up to take with us.
We arranged a couple of trips and activities through the hotel, including a driver to take us around the north of the island, a trip to Casella to walk with lions and tigers, and a boat trip out into the bay in front of the hotel to watch the spinner dolphins. The hotel has a list of prices at reception for hiring a taxi or a driver to take you to various places across the Island, so everything can be planned in advance. It is cheaper than hiring a car, and you have the added benefit of someone knowing where you should go!
The rooms were very spacious, fitted with well needed air conditioning, and had almost all that you would need. The beds were huge and so so comfortable. The balcony area was nice and private, and a lovely spot to sit and relax in the evening. The TV's had a large selection of channels, but mainly in French. The mini bar was always well stocked as were the toiletries.
The thing that set this hotel apart from anywhere that we had previously stayed were the small personal touches and as always, the "little things". We all felt that we were treated ever so well throughout our stay.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the on shift manager, and his deputy along with some very well received and refreshing cool flannels. Our bags were whisked away to our rooms. We were shown to the bar area, where we sat and admired the magnificent view and had our welcome drink of sparkling wine. It was here that we completed our check in, before we were shown to our 4 rooms.
We were given an explanation of where everything was in the hotel, and our rooms, and left to unpack. We were then greeted by a member of housekeeping who had a selection of bath salts and toiletries for us to choose from for the duration of our stay. We were also then offered more pillows, coat hangers and any laundry / ironing services. Although some people have previously remarked that this "disturbance" was unnecessary, we found that it gave us a chance to appreciate the level of service that the hotel strive so much to offer.
Some of the other little touches included some free foods and drinks being brought along the beach and around the pool each day. Every evening at sunset canapés and a shot of flavoured rum was left in the rooms. We stayed over the Easter period, and on Easter Sunday, a large gift wrapped chocolate egg was left in each room. On the day we were due to leave, we were allowed to keep our room until our departure time (18:00 rather than 12:00).
All in all, we cannot wait to go back, and feel that no other hotel will meet these same standards!.....
Now onto the wedding...
We chose to book the wedding directly with the hotel rather than through our travel agent. This proved to be ideal, and gave us complete control over our special day.
Deepsheeka, the wedding co-ordinator at the hotel, was happy to e-mail me with menus, price lists, legal instructions and answered a whole host of strange questions of mine!
In hindsight, I needn't have worried about any of it. The staff at the Sands have more ideas of how to make your day special than you will ever have! The laid back attitude was the best approach to have to it all! We had emailed copies of our official documents to Deepsheeka a few weeks before our Wedding in order for our request to marry in Mauritius to be registered.
We met with Deepsheeka the day after we arrived in Mauritius. We then chose the location for the ceremony, the flowers, the cake, the music, the drink, the meal and the photographer. Although we got the impression that most of this could have been changed right up until the last minute! As we had a group of 6 guests, we wanted a BBQ on the beach as our evening meal, we met with the head chef who designed a menu especially for our Wedding Day.
The day before the Wedding we travelled with Deepsheeka to the Capital of Mauritius to carry out all of the legal paperwork to be able to get married. This involved visiting 3 different buildings including a solicitor, and confirming that we were legally entitled to marry. On the way back, we then visited the Registrar's office for the area of Flic en Flac where we met the person who would be conducting our ceremony, and it was then that the time for our wedding was set (15:45 local time). We were back at the hotel by lunchtime.
On the day of the Wedding we were up bright and early, the hotel grounds staff were out sweeping the area of the beach where the ceremony was to be held, and when we returned from breakfast, the floral arch was already being set up and the buttonholes and bouquet were being assembled.
I went to the spa/salon around 13:00 to have my hair done, I had chosen to return to my parents room next to the spot on the beach where we were to marry to get ready, but this can be done at the spa also. Deepsheeka was on hand to ensure that all of the wedding party and the photographer were where they were supposed to be, and to make sure that everything was set up in the right place.
The ceremony went without a hitch, the cake and bubbly were ready for us afterwards, and the photo's were all taken before and at sunset. The floral arch had been moved by the hotel to be over by the table for our evening meal which was lovely, and our marriage certificate was taken to our room for us along with a few wedding gifts from the hotel.
The evening meal was out of this world, we were certainly very well looked after. The following morning we had a private breakfast in the gazebo on the beach which was a lovely touch.
In the days that followed, our wedding DVD was left in our room for us, and we had agreed a time to meet up with our photographer to see our album which was ready within a few days.
On our last night we had our honeymoon dinner on the beach. This was a private meal which was chosen from one of 4 menu options, it was fabulous, and the perfect end to our perfect wedding / honeymoon.
We cannot thank Deepsheeka, Rishi and every single individual staff member at The Sands enough for giving us our dream wedding and Honeymoon, we have never felt more welcome anywhere else that we've stayed and cannot wait to return. :-)
The rooms in the Tamarin Wing are away from the bar and entertainment area so are a little more secl...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.