There’s a certain kind of magic to One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius. It’s not just a five-star swathed-in-luxury kind of magic, but a magic that exists because love, labour and passion went into its creation and evolution and the feeling exists some 40 years after Sol Kerzner stood on a stretch of white sand and said: “This is the spot…”
His intuition was well-founded and many a story is told about the Rock Star of Hospitality’s ingenuity and passion. This legendary hotel is a salute to this vision four decades later. (The fact that, this year, SAA celebrates 50 years of flying to Mauritius also underlines SA’s love affair with the destination.)
Arriving in the lush grounds of the resort after our commute from Jo’burg, we began to exhale immediately. An hour or two later our Jozi “we’re so busy” adrenalin high seemed to go into reverse as we sat with a cocktail in hand and the promise of four glorious days at the resort ahead of us.
Heading out towards the pool area, One&Only Le Saint Géran ticks all the boxes and every tropical island cliché in the book – the location is perfection, the blueness of the pool frames a pretty pathway to a white-sand, palm-fringed beach with loungers that beckon with the promise of a long sunny day in paradise, where the hardest decision is whether to have the prawns or the calamari for lunch and if indeed it is too early to have a Coco Loco cocktail.
The rooms are outrageously comfortable with every amenity known to man. I loved our walk-in wardrobe, bed the size of an ocean liner and wide balcony with views of the beach, complete with a hammock just below the bedroom window.
While it might be five-star all the way, there’s a very relaxed resort-like feel about the place and walking through to eat at one of the many restaurants, you get the idea of just how sprawling the place is.
Did I say eat? I meant feast, because whether you’re dishing up blueberry pancakes and waffles from the breakfast buffet at La Terrasse, eating langoustines splashed with lemon butter straight from the braai with your feet in the sand, savouring the korma at the Indian Pavillion restaurant or sampling the Australian Wagyu beef expertly prepared by chef Vikash Coonjan at PRIME Restaurant, every mouthful is a designed to add to your memory bank and have your taste buds asking for just a little more.
While it might be five-star in every sense of the word, the atmosphere at One&Only Le Saint Géran is friendly and relaxed and, if you’re travelling with kids, you probably won’t see much of them – the resort has a fantastic kids’ programme (KidsOnly Club), meaning that mom and dad will have plenty of time to laze around the pool, read a book in the hammock or enjoy the watersports and golf. Or even work off that korma in the gym (which, not surprisingly, also has palm-tree fringed views).
And while it’s all pretty chilled, there are the little things that stand out – the beach butler who politely asks if he can clean your sunglasses and brings a frosty glass of water (with lemon) just in case you’re thirsty; the chef who sees how much you liked the langoustines and mysteriously arrives with a few more – and, of course, you can’t resist; the waitress who remembers just how you like your cafe latte for breakfast (with the coffee on the side); and the miles of Mauritian smiles you get when leaving a place that feels like home even after just a few days.
But don’t believe me, check out the video interview we did with Charles de Foucault, General Manager One&Only Le Saint Géran, who really calls the place home…