Five-star beach resort, golf course and wellness spa on the south coast of this sub-tropical island.

First impressions
Past security at the gated entrance, we sweep up the drive (we’re in a taxi). Uniformed flunkies quickly dispatch our luggage and we mount the steps to… ooh, la la. I’m thinking French colonial village with accents of Disneyland. While waiting for the usual passport checks, we sit in lofty white plantation house (above) and stare at the view: a bridge across a river, a blue infinity pool, palm trees, the glint of the sea in the distance.

What’s the story?
Le Telfair is one of a collection of resorts owned by Mauritian group, Rogers Hospitality
(formerly Veranda Leisure & Hospitality). They have one other Heritage Resort (Awali is next door and shares some facilities) and five properties in the Veranda Resorts brand – the latter more casual, less expensive and mostly on the island’s north coast. Le Telfair takes the name of Irish botanist Charles Telfair (a resident of Mauritius during the early 19th century, he helped establish the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens near Port Louis).

The location?
Set in a former sugar estate, the Domaine de Bel Ombre, Le Telfair is on the island’s lush green south coast, right on the beach and its own stretch of shallow lagoon (replete with seahorses I’m told, though we didn’t see any). The hotel has two golf courses. The nearest public beach is at St Felix (10 minutes); the nearest village is Chemin Grenier (check out the regular local markets). The airport is roughly an hour by car.

The rooms?
Love the rooms – or should I say suites – all 158 of them. Arranged in clusters of white-painted, two-storey garden buildings, many of them sit right on the beach or overlook a pool (as in real estate, you pay a premium for the location; prime spots are sea-side). Expect armchairs on a veranda, roomy bathrooms, flowery decorative panels designed by Christian Lacroix, wood floors, Venetian blinds, cooled and scented air. Premium suites (below) get butler service (someone pops up every now and again and asks if there’s anything you need – massage, cocktail, club sandwich, restaurant booking etc).

The pillow test
No expense spared on the bed front. Crisp white linen, soft feathery pillows (if you don’t like yours, ask for the pillow menu). Beds are equally sumptuous. Ours was a contemporary four-poster, draped in white muslin, facing the French-windows and the beach.

Dinner?
Spread across Le Telfair, its sister property next door (Awali) and the Chateau de Bel Ombre, there are 12 restaurants and bars to choose from. Things were still a bit Covid-conscious when we visited so there was only one open at Telfair during the evening, so we booked a seafront table at laidback Le Palmier (pictured, below) – a posh take on a beach bar serving fresh fish and seafood cooked in an open kitchen by the pool. Another option is Heritage Le Château: a golf-buggy ride away, this is the former owners’ former residence, set on a hill above the resort, restored by French architects Perrot & Richard (who designed the facade of the Paris Ritz) and featuring a colonial-era Anglo-Indian interior and dreamy lawned gardens. Great place for afternoon tea on the verandah.

The egg test
Buffet style in breezy Annabelle’s restaurant (French Brasserie with a dash of Creole). Grab a table by the river and help yourself to cereals, fresh fruit, pastries and a global smorgasbord of classic breakfasts from English (eggs any way you like) and continental to Mauritian and spicy Indian.

Reality check
The drinks are expensive. Worth looking at all-inclusive deals if you want to hit the rum cocktails.

The verdict
Worth splashing out for a night or two (and look out for special offers – our rate included breakfast, dinner and a 30-minute massage).

The details
Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort, B9 Coastal Road, Bel Ombre, Mauritius. Rates start from £395 per night, for two adults sharing a Deluxe Suite including breakfast.

More info on www.heritageresorts.mu

Above, the verandah at Heritage Le Château; below, the hotel’s own beach and lagoon

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