This was our third trip to this island and we have a great deal of affection for it having married there some years ago.
However, this was our first time at Veranda Paul & Virginie (P & V) and we came away with mixed feelings about our whole experience.
The hotel is an arduous 75 minutes from the airport but at the P & V we were given the usual courtesies received in those parts, though the staff can be a bit pedantic at times. (This may be an over reaching desire to please or something lost in the translation).
The P & V is a very pretty hotel with a mainly wood construction topped by a thatched roof and a proliferation of colourful bougainvillea growing throughout the grounds.
We were shown to an upper floor room with a view of the bay, although all rooms are effectively with a sea view. This room was a new experience for us in that the clothes storage facility was to be found in the bathroom! There was not a drawer to be found in the bedroom itself and where the logic of open shelves and hanging rails in such a damp environment came from, I cannot think.
We did have other problems with our room which the management did their best to resolve.
The restaurant was probably the P & V's achilles heel in our view, since it did its best to please, but there was too much of the same for our liking. We realise that when travelling one will encounter various issues, but whilst a lot of the food was OK, we came home never wanting to see another grain of rice and one or two other dishes. Asian influence food is to be expected there, but not all the time. Pasta was occasionallya light relief. The breakfast choices were good and the kitchen anxious to please, but lunch and dinner were repetitive. Along with the relatively isolated spot of the hotel on the island, going out to get something different (Grand Baie being the nearest town of substance) was a bit of a mission.
Getting a drink, even on an all-inclusive basis, was another area we had trouble with compared to past experiences. A beach bar on the jetty that doesn't open until 11am - and closes at 3pm. It always took planning to make sure we had sufficient water in this hot climate and after 3pm we had to walk all the way to the hotel bar even though there was 2 hours or more of sun left. This jetty was also home to a pleasant little restaurant which only, unfortunately, served food for payment - pizzas at lunch and a la carte in the evening - even to us all-inclusive guests. A shame really that another system does not exist to encourage more people to use it.
The hotel bar was a unique experience to us. Situated in a cramped area with a supposed dance floor in the middle, customers were required to give orders and then told to go and sit down somewhere and as referred to by a recent visitor on the site asking 'what is all that about', I had to agree. Neither was it unusual to order a number of drinks only to be asked to sign for many more and then be told, 'it's not a problem, you're not paying for it'.
The hotel's title is from a book written in the 18th. century and a French / Mauritian story similar to Romeo and Juliet. It therefore attracts a lot of honeymooners. You could easily spot them as they were the bored looking ones in the bar or reception area of an evening clearly looking for something more lively, so once again, a trip to Grand Baie will be the answer. A DJ played for guests until 11pm. so if it is a loud, late night you are looking for, then it won't be at the hotel.
Mauritius strikes me as a generally gentile island, proud of its traditions and cultures and is very set in its ways, so full research should be carried out if you are looking for a 'lively' holiday.
The beach at this hotel is very small and the sand is not the powdery type we all hope for. Sea swimming is not really ideal from there due to lots of weed and rough coral and small rocks. Plastic or similar footwear is needed if you wish to explore in the pretty shallow sea inside the reef. We found a great spot around the excellent main pool and happily stayed there for the duration rather than battle for space on the beach.
There is a second 'infinity' pool in front of the main restaurant which no-one used. Whilst it looked impressive, they would be better to fill it in and extend the restaurant and bar areas to produce a seemingly much needed larger facility with a nice aspect. (apart from the rocks at low tide).
Mauritius is not the most commercially developed place you will ever visit, although building is going on all the time now. Most excursions are localised, historical or sea oriented.
We used the excellent Ashwin from the local taxi rank just near the hotel to show us around for the day and this can be obtained for about 1700 local (£35) for the day in his comfortable car. Like many others, he will show you the sights and wait patiently if you wish to explore.
Grand Gaube itself has little to offer the tourist, and as above Grand Baie town is the most developed in that part of the island and where we took our catamaran day trip from - booked through the hotel rep' which ensures a good day out on a quality vessel.
So, a curate's egg of a hotel really. Staffed, mostly, by willing, pleasant staff, it suffers from limited outlook and bureaucracy. Small things, such as no umbrellas in the room to enable you to get to dinner when there is a downpour as in our case indicate to us that it is a very localised enterprise catering for an international client base. In that respect, the management need to look at some broader issues of hotel catering and bring the P & V into the 21st. century.
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- Also Known As:
- Veranda Paul And Virginie Hotel & Spa
- Veranda Paul & Virginie Hotel Grand Gaube
- Veranda Paul Virginie Grand Gaube
- Paul Virginie Hotel
- Veranda Paul & Virginie Hotel & Spa Mauritius/Grand Gaube