Overall a good holiday experience.
The staff at this hotel are friendly and helpful. The buffet style food was fine with some of the local grilled fish being really nice. There was also the added touch of mid afternoon pancakes on offer. Some nights the restaurant was very busy although the timing of this differed so it isn't possible to recommend early or late dining.
Drinks and cocktails were ok with two drinks menus - one for the all inclusive drinks and one requiring payment. The all inclusive cocktails are made with local spirits. The local beer is an acquired taste, improved by a large splash of lemonade, but is drinkable. Beyond possibly creating slightly extra work for room service I don't get the logic of charging people on all inclusive deals for drinks supplied in their rooms (including tea and coffee after the first cuppa) . Most people simply order their free drinks (including water) from the bar and take these back to the rooms leaving empty glasses / cups for room service to clear anyway. Room service will still need to check the fridges in case someone has taken their supplies from there.
As reported elsewhere the entertainment stopped early, which for me was a blessing as I don't go to such beautiful islands to have my ears bashed by a beat box. The pool is on the small side. With six or more people in swimming it starts to feel overcrowded. That said most seem to gravitate towards the beach so it seldom did feel overcrowded. With very few notable exceptions this hotel seems to have escaped the usual towel bagging merchants who creep out in the middle of the night to reserve their sunbeds only to leave for a day's outing. The hotel issues guest with a card to echange for a beach towel. If the card or the towel isn't returned at the end of the stay a hefty fine is charged. Perhaps this helps to deter people from leaving their towels unattended? If so great! There are also some very nice mattresses on the way down to the beach - a really nice touch.
The size of the roped off sea area in front of the hotel varies with the tide but is quite small. Do watch out for the sea urchins. While they aren't rife they do exist. I am told it is necessary to separate swimmers from boats hence the need to cordon off an area. If you are looking for off shore snorkelling then forget it. It's too dangerous to dodge the passing boats and too far to get to the snorkelling area. The hotel has a boat that runs out to the snorkelling area once a day for an hour but this has to be at a set time according to the tide. If like me you prefer to snorkel as and when you feel like it this isn't the area for you. Nb this comment isn't unique to this hotel as it applies to all the others hotels along this stretch of the coast.
The hotel is in a good location in that it is right on the beach. However the nearby town of Belle Mare (15 minutes walk along the road or via the beach) has very little to offer by way of shops, cafes or restaurants. Possibly not surprising as most all of the hotels in the area offer all inclusive deals so there isn't really much demand from tourists. There are a couple of 'designer(?) clothes shops and small local shops but after 30 minutes to an hour you have seen it all. It is worth taking a trip to the nearby market a taxi ride away to sample a more local flavour of sights and sounds. Taxis from the hotel or on the adjacent road will cost you ten times the rate of the local taxi/bus from Belle Mare. Most tourists pay the premium rather than walk into town as it still won't break the piggy bank. NB be warned taxi drivers will encourage you to join them on a visit to designer clothes shops as they get credit for taking tourists there. If you are looking to spend loads of money, bored and / or it's raining you may not mind otherwise insist you don't want to go. If you want to venture farther affield you will need to hire a car or a taxi and driver for half a day to a day.
I don't want to give the wrong impression as I really did enjoy the holiday but I can't really go along with the superlative descriptions of other travellers e.g. 'second to none'. I have rated the hotel as very good as I felt 'average' was being unkind. I wish trip advisor would introduce 'good' as a sixth rating category as I feel the top end of good would be a fairer reflection for this hotel. For a very good to excellent rating I would be expecting more / better amenities (e.g. larger pool), larger beach side swimming area and a wider range of food and drinks. That said I personally liked the smaller / friendly feel of this hotel as opposed to the larger hotels nearby. The beach is nice, sea is warm and clear and it is relaxing here. If not for the fact that I rarely if ever go back to the same place twice I wouldn't hesitate to stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- THE JOY OF SEASIDE LIVING Limpid blue waters, white sandy beaches, shady filao trees… what more could you want? Veranda Palmar Beach Hotel, on the superb east coast boasts one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. The seaside hotel offers the whole gamut of delights that the ocean and the beach guarantee. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Veranda Palmar Beach Hotel Belle Mare
- Veranda Palmar Beach Mauritius/Belle Mare