Hiking the spectacular Le Morne mountain
The imposing Le Morne mountain in Mauritius is a difficult hike, but offers spectacular views of the surrounding lagoon - along with a fascinating, and tragic, history. Video: Craig Platt. The reporter travelled with assistance from Lux Resorts.
On Le Morne lagoon on the south-western tip of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, the resort sits at the foot of the imposing Le Morne mountain. White sand beaches and coral reefs await guests, while the more active can go around the corner to try their hand at wind or kite surfing in one of the most beautiful places in the world to do it.
The Lux Le Morne is a large beachfront resort with 149 rooms, 64 in blocks of four while others offer a more private bungalow feel. There are three large pools with ample lounge chairs both around the pools and on the beach. There are three restaurants, a gym, a dive centre (where you can learn how to dive if you're a beginner), a boathouse, kayaks, paddle boats and more.
The long, narrow layout of the resort means no one is more than a few steps from the beach and despite the resort's size and high occupancy, it never feels crowded or busy. A nice touch at Lux resorts is the red, London-style phone booth, which contains a phone you can use to call anywhere in the world for free (landlines only).
I'm in an upstairs superior room, which is spacious and comfortable with a large balcony looking towards the Oasis pool and the lagoon beyond. There is a king-size bed, desk, a large bathroom with separate bath, toilet, large shower and a walk-in robe.
The bright, natural colours suit the environs with wood and wicker. The LUX group offers its own toiletries themed on its resorts' locations (Mauritius, Reunion, Maldives) and they are excellent. There is also a TV, which we never switch on, on the wall.
There are abundant dining options on site. The main dining space, the open-air The Kitchen, offers an extensive, rotating buffet – one night it's seafood themed, the next a selection of local Mauritian style dishes. The main problem is you can't possibly try everything, even if you take small portions.
The Thai-themed restaurant, East, is more expensive (it is not included for guests paying full board) but it has been rated the best Thai in Africa and certainly stands up to anything you might be served in Thailand. The Beach restaurant offers simpler fare such as salads, pizza and pasta. There is also an ice-cream kiosk for the kids (and, let's face it, the adults) to enjoy.
It should be noted that Mauritius is not cheap and neither are the resorts, so expect to pay significantly more for meals than you would in Australia. Cocktails, on the other hand, are similarly priced to home.
Despite the beauty of the lagoon, it would be remiss of any visitor to fail to explore the island's interior. Close to Le Morne is the Chamarel region, where you can see spectacular waterfalls, mountains and gorges and the mysterious "Seven Colours Earth", where the earth offers a rainbow of colours and nothing grows.
The fit and adventurous can try hiking up Le Morne for amazing views over the lagoon (see video above), including the site of Mauritius' famous "underwater waterfall" at a gap in the coral reef, though to truly appreciate this it needs to be seen from a scenic flight.
On an island filled with beautiful spots, Lux Le Morne is possibly in the most beautiful of the lot. The range of activities and places to explore means the resort suits those who are looking for activity just as well as those who wish to laze by the pool or on the beach all day.
Rooms at Lux Le Morne start from $A1048 a night. Half board and full board rates are also available. See luxresorts.com/luxlemorne
The location is spectacular and the relaxed feeling of the resort, despite its size, is great.
Although snorkelling is listed as an activity at the resort, we're told snorkelling gear is only available if you're heading out on a boat trip, so you can't snorkel off the beach unless you've brought your own.
The writer stayed with assistance from Lux Hotels and Resorts.