spent 2 weeks at this hotel in early September 2013 & our opinion is that it falls very far short of a 5* resort, especially when compared with other long haul options.
On arrival- our room was ready for our early check in, and was nice, with a partial sea view. Bathroom a bit tatty round the edges but overall good. Having asked for extra clothes hangers, over the next 3 days (even going to the trouble of showing them a coat hanger) we eventually gave up and left clothing piled over chairs. Had an issue with petty pilfering from our room and the hotel seemed to take it seriously at the time, but no one got back to us to explain what had/had not been done. Servicing of the room was very poor, no real cleaning done, often no towels or only bath towels left. Turndown often didn't happen at all, or they turned up at 6:30pm when we were getting ready to go out (they never returned later)
Beach, very coarse and appears to be man made of fine gravel + washed up coral and not nice to walk on. The sea is very rocky and not suitable for walking/swimming - there is a small lagoon created for swimming which is a bit better. Please note the Hotel is close to Port Louis and there are a steady stream of container ships, and gas tankers moored out at sea (not so far out) and this does spoil the view somewhat ! Loungers are knackered and tatty as are the beach towels (when available..)
Dining, Veda Indian restaurant was fantastic and all the staff there were lovely (also the only eating place they appeared able to control the fly problem) Segala was also nice, especially for breakfast and lunch (both have set menu's in the evening, which may prove restrictive for some - al a carte is available but expensive) the Senso buffet was not to our taste, cold food in a mass catering environment with a cafeteria feel to it. The beach bar for lunch was reasonable (pizza, BLT, fish, burgers etc) although hampered by poor service and organisation.
Drinks, if you are a wine drinker beware..the house wine is all that is available on AI, and it was pretty dreadful (we couldn't drink the red at all) the white was harsh and the rose had an interesting characteristic, where if you left the glass for a few minutes it seemed to go clear with a large sediment forming at the base of the glass. A bottle of wine was in excess of £40 we did not bother since it seemed to be from the same producer of the house wine (south African, where good value exists so we cannot imagine what sort of a deal the hotel has brokered for itself in order to increase it's profits) Lots of exclusions to the AI on drinks - only local spirits, rum is ok but other items were a tad rough. Cocktails were varied and depended on who made them (Barracuda Bar was really excellent and run on professional lines, whereas the beach bar was a joke, with many of the staff rude and unhelpful and clearly expecting tips before doing any work , watered down drinks also seemed commonplace) On a better note the lager beer is ok.
Everything winds down early and you will be tucked up in bed well before midnight. The entertainment is a bit naff (dance shows in the main) although they do try hard. If you want to leave the hotel be warned the hotel booked taxis are about 2-3 x as expensive as outside and you can walk out of the drive and pick one up there (prices can be negotiated) Port Louis is not worth a visit, but the north of the island is very scenic and more upmarket.
Our biggest concern with this hotel is animal welfare. You will see that 'Shane.J' the marketing manager has responded to past reviews and told us about the feeding station at the boathouse for stray dogs etc. Well let us reveal the truth. There is no feeding station and never has been, the hotel has a policy of not feeding the stray dogs that roam the beach (we saw around 7) or the poor cats that live outside the buffet restaurant. There are no neutered animals and consequently there is fighting among tomcats with sores and wounds all over them. After a few days a litter of 5 kittens 'vanished' overnight, then one day we spotted a large white dish in the cat area, with the remnants of meat in it (the dish was one of those used for serving food in the Senso buffet) an hour or so later we were horrified to sea cats staggering around and collapsing; they had clearly been poisoned and were really suffering. On complaining we saw the resort manger 'Marc', who claimed that the hotel has a policy of not poisoning cats and dogs, and in fact works with a Mauritian animal welfare charity ! he stated that things had got out of hand and he thought 'someone' had taken it upon themselves to poison the animals. He claims to have investigated but not been able to establish who 'gave the order'. We did not really believe Marc, and suspect that tacit approval was given for this inhumane practice. When we pressed Marc as to why the animals are not neutered and fed and why 'Shane.J' is telling lies on trip advisor, Marc only said he would ensure the animal welfare agency was brought in to neuter the animals. When we pointed out that some people like to see well cared for animals, and some do not like animals - but any normal human being does not want to see suffering, cruelty and neglect, Marc agreed, but could not get his head around the idea that if they were neutered and fed, there would be no more litters, fighting and desperate begging for food scraps from diners - he simply did not seem to get it.. One of the main reasons we chose this hotel was because of Shane.J' s assurances of animal welfare measures being implemented. We were so upset and feel that we were mis-sold this holiday, and feel that as a USA based company there should be an external investigation into the animal welfare. Please can future visitors report on the welfare of the cats and dogs and complain and push for better treatment and most importantly put a review here on trip advisor of what they see.
- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Mauritius Resort, Balaclava Fort Hotel Balaclava
- Intercontinental Mauritius Resort, Balaclava Fort Hotel
- Intercontinental Hotel Mauritius
- Intercontinental Hotel Balaclava
- InterContinental Resort Mauritius Balaclava
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort is located on one of the most pristine stretches of beach overlooking Balaclava, Mauritius. Offering 210 well-appointed rooms including 10 presidential suites, 40 family-type, 20 Jacuzzi rooms, 20 Executive rooms with free WiFi and 120 standard rooms. Facilities include: 3 bars, 5 restaurants, 2 swimming pools including one heated pool, 8 massage rooms, a unique private island, Planet Trekkers kids club, recreational activities, tennis court, 4 meeting rooms & 1 ballroom. ... more less
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