This report is quite long and “factual” because I found it quite hard to find out what this hotel was really like before we visited it.
The Sofitel So is located on the quiet south coast of Mauritius about 45 mins drive from the airport. The feeling of seclusion starts when you leave your car or taxi at the top of the resort and are then transported by golf buggy to reception. The luxury Belle Riviere villas separate the hotel from coast road ensuring that there is no road noise. The hotel rooms are in the form of semi-detached villas organised in two horse shoe patterns east and west of the main reception/bar/restaurant buildings. They face in towards lawned areas that fill the centre of each horse shoe. Surrounding all the buildings of this lovely hotel are the most beautiful and well kept gardens maintained by an army of gardeners. Narrow curving paths link the buildings - there is not a straight line to be seen. We were lucky enough to have a beach villa which was spacious and beautifully appointed including a gigantic Sofitel Mybed which just has to be the best bed in any hotel (including Four Seasons...). There is a coffee capsule machine (kettle and tea facilities on request) and free bottled water in the room. We were looked after by a team of butlers. We wondered what to expect and the best way to describe them is "super mobile concierges". At most Sofitels there is an excellent concierge desk where they will organise anything you require. At the Sofitel So the concierge service comes to you or is just a call away. Anything you need - just ask. This is important because this is a very low key hotel and you will not be presented with "today's activities" or anything like that - so just ask your butler. All the staff at this hotel are excellent, brilliantly trained to be very attentive and friendly without ever being overbearing. There are far, far more staff than guests, plenty of sunbeds and loungers for everyone and never any pressure on the restaurant facilities. There are two restaurants. The main one serves breakfast and dinner (although breakfast can be served in your room). Breakfast is in the form of an extensive buffet but a chef is on hand for eggs, omelettes etc. The dinner menu is a la carte, with both international and Mauritian menus providing a large choice. Twice each week a buffet is served although the a la carte remains available, a good touch for those like us who dislike buffet meals. The second restaurant is at the western end of the resort close to the boat house on the beach and called appropriately "La Plage". Here lunch is served in the form of salads, BBQ meat and fish plus daily specials. During our time at the resort, La Plage was open 4 nights per week serving a small range of special menus including a superb Lobster menu, a creole “tapas” buffet and a Mauritian "curry sampler" menu. We found the evening ambience at La Plage rather special and ate there several times. The food at this hotel is of the highest quality and is impeccably served in the best French tradition. If you enjoy fine dining you will not be disappointed. Drinks are high quality but expensive which meant that the main bar was usually very quiet, although most nights live music of various forms is provided. Wine is also expensive so we “stretched” a bottle over two nights with the staff taking care of the bottle in the meantime – even transporting it from one restaurant to the other if required. The beach at this point on the island is protected by a reef about 100 metres from the shore. The lagoon is quite shallow (less than 1 metre at low tide and about 2 metres at high tide) and was good for gentle snorkelling – the coral was in good condition and there are quite a variety of small fish. The Sofitel’s on-site water sports are limited, but other activities such as boat trips are just a short taxi ride away and can be organised by your butler. The sea beyond the reef was quite rough while we were there with large breakers rolling in from the vast expanses of the southern Indian Ocean. I am a keen diver and the hotel has an arrangement with the nearby Heritage Awali hotel for SCUBA diving. The dive centre at the Awali is reached by a short taxi ride and they provide everything you require. However, diving is beyond the reef and was affected by the moderate seas. The underwater visibility was poor due to the breakers on the reef and the waves would make it quite challenging for a beginner. I suspect that there are better sites on Mauritius for diving – I need to do more research. While I go diving, my wife likes to make use of a spa. She was a little apprehensive because she had recently broken her clavicle and was worried that she would not be able to explain her needs in French (as this is the predominant language). Her fears proved completely groundless and she was delighted to find that the staff at the spa spoke excellent English, so good use was made of the beautiful Sofitel So spa where she just had to keep booking “one more treatment” because it was doing her so much good! The spa is set in beautiful tranquil gardens and has a full range of facilities. We had expected this hotel to be full of honeymoon couples, but in fact the guests proved to be of all ages and a great variety of nationalities. The management and staff provide little treats and surprises during your stay; these made our holiday really special – thank you. Overall, this is a truly beautiful hotel set in fantastic gardens with service and food is of the highest standard. It is perfect for a peaceful romantic holiday away from the madness of the 21st century.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre is located on the southern tip of the island in the most naturally beautiful place. The resort has 92 rooms, suites and villas, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, So Spa, So Fit. The resort also has a tennis court, kids club, outdoor swimming pool, 520 mts of beach, natural lagoon and corals, boat house with water activities and 24 hrs personal butler service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre Hotel Bel Ombre