The first thing to say is that we found it much cheaper to book with an agent (in our case British Airways) than direct with the hotel. The hotel is just over an hour from the airport, so you might want to factor that in to your decision making. Our package included a taxi transfer, which we found preferable to a mini bus transfer which might have visited other hotels to drop people off and therefore extended the journey.
On arrival at about 9.30am, we were greeted by Rackib who settled us in to the bar, gave us freshly squeezed orange juice and very painlessly checked us in. He showed us around the hotel and gave us a choice of 2 different rooms, one with a sea view, which we selected. I should say that even though we had paid for a "charm" room (their cheapest) - it was lovely. Rackib suggested we return to the terrace for breakfast while our bags were taken to our room. Breakfast is a buffet, including fresh fruit, croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin, yoghurt etc. They also cook crepes to order and will happily do cooked breakfasts and omlettes too. There is a different freshly squeezed juice every morning, but you can always have OJ. You can take breakfast on the terrace by the pool, or indoors overlooking the sea.
Our bedroom was compact, but perfectly comfortable. There was a lovely sleigh bed, wardrobe, bedside tables, flat screen tv, DVD player and mini bar. They will gladly store empty suitcases, to give you extra space in your room. Our bathroom had a large roll top bath, "jack and jill" wash basins, loo and shower. There was a door leading to a small back yard, which also had an outside shower. At the front of the room we had a terrace with table and chairs. All rooms have airconditioning.
The beach area is fairly small, but as there are less than 30 rooms it never feels over crowded. The main area with sun loungers and sun shades is, I think, a man made beach. If you really want to spend your days walking along long sandy beaches then you probably won't choose this hotel.
There are free water sports such as kayaks, a sailing dinghy and a "hobby cat". They provide free snorkelling equipment and run a free 1 hour snorkelling trip every morning. There is a also a free boat shuttle to Grand Baie 4 times a day. The "boat house" staff are very friendly.
The hotel has 2 swimming pools, neither of which were ever crowded while we were there. The 2nd pool is particularly private and gets nice sun in the afternoon.
Dinner. You can eat by the pool or indoors, and if on half board then there are usually about 3 starters, 3 mains, and 3 puds that you can choose without paying a supplement. The full menu changed once while we were there (a 2 week stay), but there is a daily special menu (no supplement) that was different every single day. There is certainly an emphasis on fish, but then you are on an island! Some of the supplements are fairly hefty, so if you want steak you'll have to be willing to pay nearly £20 for it in a supplement. We did find the maitre d' a little pushy. He was keen to sell the lobster and sushi menus, both of which are pricey and he didn't seem to take the hint that we weren't interested. In the end we just said "we don't like lobster or sushi thanks". The wine list isn't particularly cheap, but they are happy to recork/save the wine so it's easy to make a bottle last 2 nights. We couldn't get them to give us tap water in the restaurant (despite speaking fluent french) - bottled water costs about £2 in the restaurant.
A really good feature is the afternoon tea and cake which is free. There was a different cake every single day. We made friends with Sanjay who found us wherever we were at 4pm and brought us plates of cake and cups of tea. A really nice chap.
A cocktail before dinner, seated by the pool, listining to live music (including local Mauritian style music) and chatting to other guests became part of our daily ritual. There's always a different "cocktail du jour" and on our last night Stefan made us "special" moritos. They bring complementary canapes, nibbles and coconut slices which are regularly replenished. Ann, the owner was often around in the evening and happy to chat to guests, while restocking the canapes!
We had dinner on the Lady LIsbeth (the hotel's private motor yacht) one night. It was fantastic. They cater for a maximum of 8 people and there were only 4 of us when we went. We were greeted with smiles and a tour of the boat, followed by cocktails and canapes on the deck. The boat cruised the bay and then anchored for dinner. We had a wonderful 3 course meal, followed by after dinner drinks on the deck and a cruise back to the hotel.
Apart from the maitre' d, all the staff were really friendly and made our stay really enjoyable. Stefan in the bar, Gess in the restaurant, Vic at the excursions desks and Sanjay at tea time. All the staff are mad about English football, they are mostly Man Utd and Liverpool fans and will love to talk to you about the Premier League! Gess was very good at keeping us appraised of latest scores on a Saturday night.
Other facilities at the hotel worth a mention are the extensive DVD and book libraries. A huge variety of books in French, German and English. A pool table tucked away for those rainy interludes. There are 2 computers with free internet access and there is free wifi, although we (and other guests) couldn't it to work in the room - but it did work by the pool.
We took an excursion with the hotel to Flat Island. This involved a 1 1/2 hour catarmaran cruise to the island, snorkelling and swimming in the crystal clear water, lunch at the "Governor's Hose" - the hotel's private restaurant on the island and then a bit more swimming and relaxing before returning by catarmaran to the hotel. It was a fantastic day out.
We also used the hotel's bike to cycle to Mont Choissy public beach (about 10 minutes ride away). If you want the more traditional long white beach backed by palm trees then this is worth doing. You will get some attention from beach traders but they weren't agressive.
We used the local buses to get back from Grand Baie when we wanted to come back sooner than next boat shuttle. It costs about 10 rupees which is about 25p. We also took the bus to Port Louis which was an interesting experience with plenty of sights and sounds en route (about 50p each). Taxis are much more expensive, the drivers are very anxious to secure your business and can be quite persistent.
It's worth pointing out that the hotel faces east so you don't get sunset views, and there is quite a bit of breeze, so the sea is not crystal clear at the hotel's beach. We did also experience some noise on Friday and Saturday nights from the night clubs across the bay in Grand Baie. However, this wasn't a huge issue, we just closed our bedroom door and put the air conditioning on and then we couldn't hear the music.
I believe some hotels charge extras in Euros, which makes it expensive for British visitors. This hotel charges in Mauritian Rupees. We found the exchange rates on the island better than at home, so it might be worth waiting until you get there to change money.
We were here during the Icelandic volcano eruption and ensuing travel chaos. While our flights weren't affected, we spoke to other guests who had to stay longer in the hotel. The owners made every effort to help stranded guests, offering much reduced room rates (unlike other stories I've seen in the media of hotels ripping people off) and they also provided regular updates on the various airlines and Mauritius airport.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 20°SUD Relais & Chateaux is the first Boutique-hotel on the island to offer both the luxury and excellence of a property within the dimensions of an attractive, privately run hotel. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, TripOnline SA, Hotwire, Cancelon, Agoda, Hotel.de, Priceline and HotelQuickly so you can book your 20 Degres Sud Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- 20 Degres Sud Grand Baie
- 20 Degres Sud Hotel Mauritius/Grand Baie