Perfectly situated on a private tropical peninsula edged with bleached white sand, the One&Only Le Saint Géran is flanked by the balmy Indian Ocean on one side and a tranquil azure lagoon the other. The resort is surrounded by 4,000 palm trees, and a verdant garden – ideal for meditation – runs between its 142 guest rooms and suites. Tiny frogs croak as the sun sets and a crested crane preens itself and struts on elegant legs.
Mauritius is a lush location, covered with sugar-cane fields, and home to many brightly coloured birds with beautiful plumage. A few of these cheeky creatures are only too happy to share One&Only’s superb site, its colonial style inspired by Mauritius’ plantation houses and thatched roofs. “Is that bird bothering you, Madam?” I’m asked as a dainty red-whiskered bulbul alights on my table and eyes my bread basket at La Pointe, the relaxed beachside restaurant where grilled lobster with a virgin mojito is the flawless light lunch. The attentive staff are there to make sure Grazia’s every need is met, and a stern gaze is all it takes to see my feathered friend take flight.
First opened in 1975 and much loved by celebrities and royalty, One&Only Le Saint Géran had a multimillion-dirham makeover in 2017 with reimagined interiors by South African designers dsgn. Sustainable teak wood has been used for outdoor areas, and local sugar cane for thatching.The lofty reception gallery is airy and light, as is the remodelled accommodation, with its pale faux-parquet ceramic floor tiles, marble-lined bathrooms with spacious push-button waterfall showers and egg-shaped baths.
Each guest room has its own balcony or terrace, and for total privacy, larger suites are available with interconnecting doors. To ensure complete seclusion, the exclusive and separate two-bedroom Villa One has a private infinity pool and 24-hour butler, chef and valet. The extensive breakfast buffet at La Terrasse, with its overwater walkways, open air dining pavilions and sea views, is a peaceful delight. Succulent mango, pineapple, papaya, kiwi fruit and lychee are delicious with local honey and fresh yoghurt; the buttery, crisp croissants from the L’Artisan bakery far too tempting. To help stayed toned and balanced by rediscovering your flexibility, head to Club One, which encompasses a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor Fitness Centre. A one-to-one beach vinyasa yoga session and a Pilates refresher with highly skilled instructor Petra Fayolle at Soul Studio will help you exercise muscles you had no idea could stretch that far. Petra carefully concentrates on specific strengths and needs, and one hour of her focused time is worth many months in a class.
At the One&Only Spa, which has a new steam room and sauna, you can relax around the infinity pool before or after a pampering treatment based on ESPA’s Holistic Philosophy. The 90-minute Mindful Massage, beginning and ending with the tinkling of a bell, helps you find focus and positivity through breathing and visualisation techniques. The metamorphic zones on the feet are manipulated to help rebalance, before a soothing body rub and a re-energising scalp massage using warmed rose quartz crystals.
To prepare for a Biologique Recherche Only For You Facial, the health of your skin is tested and a tailor-made treatment devised, depending on your levels of hydration and elasticity. After that Mindful Massage, you’ll be able to stay calm as the computer reading reveals the shocking truth about the resilience of your lipidic shield. Soon you’ll be glowing, though, with cheeks and lips plumped, ready to choose where to dine.
One&Only’s PRIME steakhouse serves the choicest cuts of Angus and Wagyu beef, with a selection of piquant mustards, as well as fresh seafood. The softly lit restaurant’s modern leather seats sit on a rescued 16thcentury
French limestone floor. A complete contrast is Asian fusion restaurant Tapasake, housed in a traditional Mauritian pavilion on stilts at the edge of the lagoon and entered through huge weathered timber doors. The pan-Asian cuisine is prepared tapas-style with sushi, teppanyaki, batayaki and tandoori delights from the open kitchen.
In every venue, the warmth and thoughtfulness of the One&Only team is exemplary. Keen to help, they make each experience a pleasure. Wander down to the boathouse and book one of the many water sports on offer and yoy will always be greeted with a smile. There’s kayaking, water-skiing, windsurfing, snorkelling and even an excursion to swim with sharks in the crystalclear waters. Or you could just lounge on a beach cabana reading a book and order another pot of vanilla tea. Now there’s a plan…
NEED TO KNOW
Getting There: A Lagoon Room with breakfast at One&Only Le Saint Géran in January 2020 starts from Dhs3,224 (inclusive of taxes) per night. For reservations or information, visit oneandonlyresorts. com. The transfer from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport takes around an hour by car via the scenic coastal road, and there is a helipad for guests who wish to arrive by helicopter.
Explore Mauritius: The Trou aux Cerfs volcano rises more than 600m above Curepipe, is rich with dark volcanic rock, and has been dormant for the last 700,000 years. Keen hikers can enjoy the wildlife trails and waterfalls of the central highlands in Black River Gorges National Park.
Port Louis: Recycling is embedded in Mauritian culture. Visit capital Port Louis’ market for traditional basketwork made from sugarcane, bamboo or aloe. The leaves are dried in the sun before being crafted into bags, hats and mats for a unique souvenir.
L’aventure du sucre: The history of Mauritius and sugar are deeply entwined, and the Sugar Museum, in a former sugar factory imbued with the scent of caramel, tells the history of its cultivation and the creation of the island’s multicultural society.
Chateau De Labourdonnais: An example of graceful colonial architecture, the Château de Labourdonnais is set in historic orchards, with 50 varieties of mango tree on the estate. Grazia recommends lunch at the excellent La Table du Château, set beside this carefully restored 1856 grand mansion.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden: Officially the SSR Botanical Garden, but known locally as ‘Pamplemousses’,
the plot was planted out in 1770 and is famous for its giant water lilies. Named after Queen Victoria, the Victoria
amazonica’s leaves can grow up to three metres in diameter.