Creating the perfect city and beach holiday is now easier than ever. Along with today’s world-class airlines, offering an ever-growing list of stop-over opportunities, world-renowned luxury hotel brands such as One&Only are expanding their enviable portfolios into ever more exotic locations. One extremely popular twin-centre holiday is the city and beach combination of Dubai and Mauritius, and I was thrilled to learn, first-hand, why it is so popular with our clients.
Part One - Mauritius
Our journey started with a five night stay at One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius – an iconic and well-established Mauritian resort, which is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. On arrival, it was easy to see why this hotel is such a firm favourite with guests, plus why so many return year after year. Its gorgeous open-air reception, with decadent water features, ensures you feel instantly calm and relaxed as soon as you enter the property, and the friendly staff offer a warm welcome, expertly proffering a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail to refresh and cool (the humidity had already taken its toll on my hair)!After being shown to our Junior Suite Beach Front, we were delighted to see that we had direct access to the beach and that the sand was soft and white, and the sea a brilliant turquoise colour. Our grand bathroom, with shower big enough to fit a team in, was my first point of call, before heading out down to the beach. The beach service was brilliant - I was frequently brought bottles of water and cold towels for comfort, and we enjoyed the using the flag system for ordering lunch and drinks. I decided upon the Club Sandwich Box and just fifteen minutes later, I was presented with an exquisite picnic basket.
We were equally spoilt and impressed that evening when we dined at ‘Prime’ and were greeted by name by the restaurant team. Prime is the resort’s signature restaurant and the à la carte menu was simply superb. Each dish sounded divine, however I chose a risotto made with the freshest local seafood. The service could not be faulted and we were made to feel extremely special, with nothing being too much trouble. For guests who enjoy a little live entertainment, there is often something arranged for after dinner. On several nights we enjoyed singing and dancing performed by local artists – all whilst sipping a few aperitifs, of course! When it comes to variety, Le Terrace, the main buffet restaurant, serves an impressive array of themes cuisine. We enjoyed the Japanese sushi and sashimi – I especially enjoyed the swordfish and prawn skewers with mango and coconut salsa - followed by the dreamiest of desserts, a silky crème brûlée!
During our stay, my partner, Dale, enjoyed the extensive fitness facilities at the resort – he actually went to the gym every day! He found the instructor, Ronnie, to be extremely helpful and his team even created a tailor-made workout to target the specific areas Dale wished to work on. There is, of course, also a nine-hole, Gary Player-designed golf course, three swimming pools, five flood-lit tennis courts and motorised and non-motorised watersports to enjoy! Families are particularly spoilt with the ‘KidsOnly’ and ‘Teen’ children’s clubs on hand to professionally care for, and entertain, younger guests.
Part Two - Dubai
Following a relaxing few days on the tropical island of Mauritius, we flew to the vibrant and futuristic city of Dubai. We arrived at night and were instantly in awe of the dramatically lit skyline. Having been before, I feel confident in saying that Dubai is my favourite destination! It was where my love of travel began and driving out to The Palm and seeing Atlantis lit-up in all it’s flamboyant glory, you cannot help but marvel at it’s very creation! After we finally arrived at One&Only The Palm, I could see the contrasting appeal – its boutique size and elegance – a calm haven set away from the main city attractions. We were escorted to our Palm Manor House, Premier Room – unbelievably, it is the hotel’s lead-in category room - and yet it was huge! Not simply spacious, it was beautifully decorated with authentic Arabic design and modern comfort, plus had the added bonus of a balcony. We were mesmerised by the views of the striking Dubai skyline!
The next morning (this was the first time I had seen the resort in daylight) I walked past the swimming pool, en route to breakfast, in total wonder - it was the coolest pool area I had ever seen! With double-size daybeds in the water and uber-stylish cabanas (complete with flat-screen televisions) it felt like an exclusive idyll. We ate breakfast at ‘Zest’ restaurant, where I enjoyed the best Bircher Muesli and sublime Eggs Benedict (the test of any luxury hotel), before being shown a Palm Beach Junior Suite with Pool. Guests staying here can take a dip in their own private pool, overlooking The Palm! The suite was simply enormous, all open-plan, with a huge bed in the middle of the floor. Past the walk-in wardrobe and sofa area, was the gigantic bathroom - the sheer size of this took me by surprise! It was easily the same size as the main living room, adorned with a decadent freestanding bath, with views overlooking The Palm, plus a rain shower - all accompanied by Acqua di Parma toiletries – what a luxury! As amazing as the interior was, it was the outside area that I found the most impressive - the large terrace, complete with private pool, with that view!
During our last evening in Dubai, we dined at ‘Zest.’ As it was Ramadan, we enjoyed our meal at the Iftaa buffet and were privileged to be able to sample the delicious, local Arabic cuisine and to gain a greater cultural insight. Our final morning was spent wishing we were staying for longer! With the luxurious One&Only brand, guests are assured of an exceptional standard of service throughout their stay. Both properties complement one another perfectly — the elegant beach-chic atmosphere at One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius combines beautifully with the city style and extravagance found at One&Only The Palm, Dubai.