We stayed at the Presidential Suite (room 1923 in building 9) for 9 nights from July 12, 2009 to July 21, 2009 and while the property itself was beautiful and staff friendly I found service to be mediocre at best, sometimes even poor. As this is a very new property, it is my hope and belief that service levels will improve with proper guidance from various managers who each have multiples years of experience on their “backs”. I very seldom talk about the hotels I’ve stayed at, but will categorize this review for an easier read.
Arrival: Since we rented a car from Avis, we drove on our own. Getting to the hotel from the airport was rather easy as there was proper signage up until the Grand Mauritian. By coincidence we pulled into the Grand Mauritian and thought, wow how ugly the lobby of this hotel is. Then somebody then told us, the InterContinental is next door. Ahh, a sigh of relief! Upon arrival, Guest Relations’ Jameel was paged to meet us and offered us a welcome beverage. Off the bat, I thought Jameel was excellent. He handled everything quickly, gave us his personal contact information and lead us to our room.
Room: From the moment we walked in, we were awestruck. Aside from the Conrad Maldives, this was probably one of the nicer hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. The room was huge and just as I thought Jameel had finished showing us our room, yet another door was mentioned leading to a side terrace and a second balcony. After Jameel left, I had to re-tour the room a couple of times until I could snap back into quick thinking. Unfortunately, we did encounter some problems with the mechanics of the room. One of the biggest problems was with the warm water. For the first three days water ranged from cool to lukewarm. Finally, when we decided to call a plumber, the water finally became hot, but every morning you would have to run it for about 5-10 minutes before it was hot enough. Normally, lukewarm water would be refreshing in a tropical destination, however as it was winter in Mauritius, we had to have our hot water! When it comes to the shower itself, the floor was not inclined so after every shower a puddle of water would form throughout the bathroom, which in my opinion is waste of water and towels. More importantly, be careful not to slip! Other quirks in our room included the lack of wall mounted hooks throughout the bathroom. I found it very annoying having to hang things on the door knob or lean it against a shelf. I also missed having an alarm clock/radio in our room; however the GM stated they are expecting alarm clock/radio/ipod dock sets “any day now”. Keep in mind the official grand opening will occur in September 2009.
Food/ Service at Restaurants: We mostly dined at the main restaurant (The Palms) which features a daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was included in our rate, but normally costs 15EUR per person. Lunch we skipped as we preferred smaller snacks which we bought in a local supermarket. Both lunch and dinner cost 35EUR per person. I found breakfast generally tasty, although I was upset at the poor selection of fresh fruits. I also opted to skip meat selections as they were outright odd in taste. On the other hand, I was able to have a delicious muesli with my yoghurt every morning. The various granolas and cereals had tasty spices that had quite the kick! What I also didn’t like about breakfast is how staff would pour tea and coffee from large thermoses instead of offering a hot tea kettle. It felt like I was dining in a cafeteria or canteen. Dinner at the main (buffet) restaurant was a different theme every evening. Monday- Chinese, Tuesday-Indian, Wednesday-Seafood, Thursday- African, Friday- Middle Eastern/Mediterranean, Saturday- Authentic Mauritian, Sunday- International Food Mix. I’d have to say my favorite was African and Indian. Aside from the main restaurant, we were also invited for dinner to the seafood restaurant, Segala, by the Resort Manager. As I’m not a fan of seafood, I opted for a Caprese Salad and a Filet Mignon. I thought Segala was top notch, including the service, though I found the plastic wine “cups” tacky. Two other premium restaurants are on premises- an Asian Fusion restaurant and an Indian restaurant. Keep in mind, the three non-buffet restaurants are closed on the days when the same type cuisine is served in the buffet restaurant.
When it comes to service at the property, I thought it was the low point of the stay. Throughout our stay we experienced many mistakes, forgetful & slow waiters and waitresses and a general lack of consistency. Although the staff was generally polite and friendly, it felt as if some individuals didn’t really care- felt like they weren’t working in the hospitality industry. I didn’t like that hot buffet items were piping hot on a certain day and cool the next. One evening we received check out information and good bye letter just 2 nights into our 9 night stay. It’s these types of small things that really make you go “hmmm” in a five star InterContinental Resort!
Property/ Facilities: Grounds are stunning, but let that grass grow! The small “island” with only three beach huts offers a quiet retreat. The beach is wide and huts are spread out far away from each other so you really feel like you’re relaxing. The sand itself is a little rocky, and you have to watch out for more rocks in the lagoon. The lagoon is manmade keeping you away from the waves and the water is very calm so there’s no problem with swimming in the Ocean. There are two pools- a main pool and a separate, smaller heated pool. Tons of activities are offered and they are complimentary for all guests which is a nice touch given all the nickel and diming going on at hotels. Definitely try Bocce Ball! It’s also worth noting that every Saturday evening, local dancers and musicians perform traditional Mauritian music and choreography.
Spa: Spa is run by Angsana and is a Thai spa. My Mom went there for a manicure and was really happy with the treatment. That’s about all I can say about the Spa. The gym is very modern but it’s a shame it closes at 8 PM.
Worth checking out: Casela Park (definitely do the quad safari while you are there). Ile Aux Cerfs- the nicest beach on the island of Mauritius. Also check out Triolet City Hindu Temple and be sure to take off your shoes when you walk in. Grand Baie is nice for some souvenir shopping and night life. There are two supermarkets, Jumbo and Super U (no food mart in hotel so buy your snacks/goods in one of the two). The souvenir shop with a very good selection- Le Dodo near the College of Dentistry in Baclava (5 minutes driving from the hotel). I’d also recommend renting a car. AVIS is the only car rental company at the hotel.
All in all, I’d give this hotel 4 out of 5 stars as service is the only real complaint I have about this property. That said, the managers are opening for comments and willing to make improvements, so I think time will bring positive changes. The grounds however are stunning and the beach/ocean/lagoon are as perfect as can be. You can really relax here. Would I go back? I would! Mauritius is beautiful and has a lot to offer.
Take a moment to check out the pictures of our room and of the hotel that are attached below.
Have a nice clicK life,