Mauritius is celebrated for its water sports and one of the very best places to go is the Shandrani Resort and Spa. They have catamarans, kayaks and windsurfs aplenty, all included in the resort and the boat crew are the best we have ever come across in any of our travels. In fact they win our Excellence Award for the best boat house service on a resort. First of all there were quite a few of them, so you were never kept waiting, someone was always ready to help and they enjoyed looking after you and getting you out on the water. We regularly took a catamaran out into the bay and the wind was terrific, you could really get those kites flying, but you did need some sailing experience to handle them as you got further out where irregular gusts could send you right over. For those with less experience it is easy enough to remain in the bay and potter about in complete safety. The selection of windsurfs was impressive too, with bigger boards for the beginners to smaller ones for the more expert. You could also pick from a large selection of sails according to your competence and the wind.
Where the chaps at the boat house really excelled was waterskiing. They took such pleasure in teaching and showing people of all levels how to ski that this was clearly their passion rather than a job. I have waterskied all over the world and never have I experienced such friendly and skilled teaching. They encouraged children as young as ten to get up out of the water and ski, wakeboard or even mono. Natural teachers and excellent boat drivers, they explained everything very clearly and were so patient that even utter beginners were skiing and looking good quickly. They were all great fun to spend time with and one of the charming crew was even a front runner for the Miss Mauritius beauty contest!
This love of the sport coupled wth their superb efficiency at running the boats made this a firm favourite of the holiday. All the children were skiing, wake boarding and even mono skiing very swiftly.
One of the best memories of my trip occurred out on the water with the boat team. We had been informed that there was a solar eclipse due around 2 pm on a particular day so I arranged with them to take us out whilst this happened. As the moon began to obscure the sun I strapped on my single ski and jumped in the water. The boat chief Vincent swung his craft around and with a roar of the engine he set off. The rope whipped out of the water, ripping me up into the wake and, as I started to weave back and forth, the light paled to a grey mist. As the moon fully eclipsed the sun I found myself mono skiing in a wonderful, eery, monochromatic light. All colours were drawn from this usually electric blue and yellow seascape as I slalomed across the bay during this planetary alignment.
There is a video here of the boat crew performing a water ski pyramid at the Shandrani https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t2cqzKIoxo
The hotel also provides free boat trips every day, where you can dive down to the coral or simply potter about and admire the scenery. It is a lovely way to view the Private Island and marvel at the large waves crashing down over the edge of the reef far out to sea. The whole peninsula is just as fun and exciting to explore as the bay and I highly recommend visiting the wild beach off to the rocks at the end of the golf course. We often played a tennis here late afternoon into the evening, before ambling off to one restaurant or another.
There are four restaurants at The Shandrani, each providing a different menu and atmosphere. The buffet, Le Grand Port, overlooking the pool and main boat beach, with a huge range of freshly cooked dishes, catering for every palate. The Ponte Vecchio, an elegant Italian style restaurant with a smart interior and attentive service. Then Le Sirius, which overlooks the second pool and Blue Bay Marine Park, offering fine cuisine and luxury decor next to a superb circular bar. Lastly the Teak Elephant presents quality Thai cuisine in a resplendent luxury ambiance of stepped wooden floors, surrounded by crafted teak sculptures of various indian gods, including Ganesh, the elephant god known as the remover of obstacles and the patron god of travelling.
The cuisine is heavily French influenced, with Indian and Creole mixed in. This history and fusion of nationalities underpin the superb quality and variety of the cuisine. You can choose from the four different restaurants, simply by booking them or go for the buffet. Children will prefer the buffet every time as there is such a wide selection of dishes which cannot fail to please even the fussiest eaters. They can pick from a huge range of fresh fish, chicken, steak, countless vegetable dishes, rice and sauces. There is a massive temptation to over eat which is not just down to their chocolate moose that could have come straight from Belgium, a country that treats desert as a religion. The bars also serve free ice creams and slushies, as well as a huge range of drinks and superb fruit cocktails. The quality of the wines and spirits is extremely high, almost certainly due to the French influence and we spent many an evening enjoying a glass of bubbly, a fine wine or even occasionally an aged cognac, whilst looking out over the pool and the bay and wishing we could live here forever.