Firstly let me say we had a wonderful holiday at what is a really nice, very friendly, comfortable, homely hotel full of great staff and a cosy informal atmosphere. But is it 5 Star ? ... No, not compared to other hotels I have been to and the main problem appears to be not lack of willing or facilities but ORGANIZATION!
My husband and I along with our 14yr old daughter stayed here between Oct 27th to Nov 10th. We booked a Presidential Suite for the 3 of us thinking it had a separate bedroom for our daughter as we found the hotels web site not that easy to navigate but it didn’t which of cause wasn’t the hotels fault but we fell in love with the suite we got. BUT....no bed had been set up for our daughter even though they had known she was going to need one for a month. We had to ask TWICE for it to be done along with asking for extra towels and a third set of slippers and a third robe. After asking 3 times the slippers and robe never ever turned up. Not 5 Star.
On the web site we did see that the Presidential Suite got a nightly turn down service which I am the first to say is not something anyone NEEDS but when paying for 5 Star Service and when you are told it’s what you are going to get it’s something that adds that little bit of luxury. We got it 5 times in the 2 weeks with no rhyme of reason as to when it would or wouldn’t happen. We ended up playing the “guess if he’s been in or not game” when we returned from dinner and drinks. Every time we go 5 Star elsewhere as soon as we leave for the evening after napping of hanging out on the veranda somebody is in your room tidying and turning down the beds. If it’s advertised and paid for you expect it. The room was cleaned beautifully every morning (the Jacuzzi wasn’t always even when we had used it) and we left Nitin a good tip because we are aware these fella’s are not paid much. He left wonderful towel animals and flowers until my daughter bed was surrounded by a zoo almost.
A lot of people complain about the birds which do fly into the restaurants during lunch and breakfast and the flies are a pest but if we want to go to hot countries and eat and drink sticky yummy food that’s what going to happen. The hotel is very open to the outside and better for it. I think it drives the staff just as mad. They try very hard to keep it under control. My advice is to chill out about it. We didn’t get ill...its only birds. I had a thought that one eco way of keeping them under control would be to have a hotel bird of prey with a handler as if fed these birds don’t take many wild animals but do put them off an area. We have them in the City of London to keep the sea gulls away and in rubbish dumps as well. Just an idea. The swim up bar can get a bit fly blown if the pool guys get behind on the washing up also. Again....ORGANIZATION.
The chair cushions in the restaurants could do with changing. Due to the birds they get dirty and are rubbed down (I know this as my husband and I spent a dinner sat on some wet ones without noticing until we stood up with damp bums) and the beds around the beach and pool need updating. Some are very stained and some have broken slats. Again these are 5 Star touches.
The food is good (pasta and pizza tends to be cold...heat lamps not working ?) but Segala is the best place to go for dinner and breakfast. We didn’t have to book as the hotel wasn’t busy. We didn’t try the Indian of Chinese due to the teenager not being very adventurous but apparently they are very good. The cocktails are great and as the guys have a large area to work in you need to get up and get them yourselves sometimes but after a few the exercise is required.
The lobby is amazing and a nice place to chill with a book and a drink and people watch but OMG please stop the very very noisy discos that seem to happen most night. We could hear it from our suite and we are not early birds. 2 nights a week would be enough. It’s all a bit Club Med. It would be great to just sit and listen to the wave. The entertainment is nice and for us was enough.
The beach was disappointing at first because it’s not the blue lagoon that we are used to but it is actually very nice and if you snorkel you will see loads. Some people have moaned that you can see industrial Port Loius and container ships from the beach but i'm not sure what they think the hotel can do about that. If you want a view of open blue sea research your holiday.The lagoon seems to be a nursery for baby Moray Eels. Take beach shoes as there are nasty urchins and some rocks. It’s very shallow. The pool is cold if it’s a cloudy day but on a hot day it is great and there is always the heated pool which I found too hot but great for little tiny ones. The guys at the water sports shack don’t seem to push for work but are pleasant enough. You must check out Coco the baby parrot. My husband went for one dive with them which was pleasant but not challenging so if you want to dive I recommend Omi who has a place at the back of the Plantation hotel down past the Maritim. He will build a dive around your requirements.
You have to go to Casela and walk with the Lions or play with the cubs...it’s amazing. We hired a car for a couple of days and then a taxi for another day out...there isn’t much difference in price but a taxi driver can get through the terrible traffic better with local road knowledge. There are some nice beaches within an hour up north. Take the time to park up and explore. Don’t be put off by the public car parks etc. I found the diverse peoples of this Island fascinating and mostly very friendly. There are some very poor areas and if you have not travelled widely that can be a shock. It’s not a cheap place to shop. The factory shops are more expensive than my local boutiques so we didn’t bother.
In conclusion we had a fabulous time but in my opinion this hotel is not 5 Star but could be with just a few tweaks and a little more management. The managers are always around which is great but maybe they need to manage the tiny things that add up to a luxury experience.
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Mauritius Resort, Balaclava Fort Hotel Balaclava
- Intercontinental Hotel Mauritius
- Intercontinental Hotel Balaclava
- InterContinental Resort Mauritius Balaclava