So, my partner and I have been back home and working for more than a month and thanks to our 13-night stay at Le Marina Privilege Club we are still feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Hand-on-my-heart, I have to say that this is my favourite hotel that I have ever been fortunate enough to stay in. Our holiday was so fantastic it has even compelled me to sign up to Trip Advisor and post my first review! Plus I feel it's important that I post a review considering there are no English reviews posted yet (and please read on to find out why!)...
So… let me put our holiday in a little context… we actually booked to stay at another hotel but due to a mix up with the travel operator (not the hotel) when we arrived there was no room available for us and we were asked to move to Le Marina Privilege Club for our stay. As you can imagine I was not best pleased at the time but it turned out to be the best piece of luck ever. From the moment we arrived at Le Marina Privilege Club we were quite literally treated like royalty! Le Marina is split into two hotels – one for families and larger groups (Le Marina Club) and one for couples/adults (Le Marina Club Privilege). At the time of our stay Le Marina Club was having upgrade work done so we stayed at the 41-bedroom Le Marina Club Privilege complex – and privileged we were indeed!
Did I mention that we were the first English guests that Le Marina has ever had? Well, we were. Previously the hotel had only been marketed in France (with Nouvelles Frontiers) but I was told that Le Marina has just started to advertise in England and Denmark so it’s safe to bet that we won’t be the last English guests. As you will discover when you visit Mauritius, although English is the official language, more people comfortably speak French. This language issue did not affect our stay at all. Enough people in Le Marina speak good English so as to make sure you are well looked after, and we really appreciated our special Menus each day en-Anglais! Our favourite translation was the very last dessert we ate – ‘Chocolate and Banana Brick’! We promise you, far more delicate and delicious than the literal translation would suggest! ;-)
During our stay we learned that the staff are taught to work with the ethos that they are a family rather than just employees or colleagues. This ethos is incredibly evident in the way the different staff members interact with the guests and each other. Having visited many countries and cultures over the years I don’t think I have ever experienced service like I did at Le Marina. In fact I am sad that I only have the opportunity to score service out of 5-stars because I actually think the staff at Le Marina deserve 10-stars. One waiter told me that he and his colleagues were taught and motivated to work from a place of humility and respect at all times. One manager told me that he was taught the best ‘tip’ a staff member can work towards receiving is not to be given money by a guest but to see a guest expressing happiness and contentment – as staff-members learn to recognise and appreciate that the guests have worked long and hard to pay for their vacation, and thus deserve the best service.
So, what did we love about Le Marina Privilege Club in particular?
1.The staff. I can honestly offer only positive feedback with regard to the staff. If you want to experience service that comes from the heart, rather than the salary-packet, Le Marina is the place to come. Sure, service in America can be great – you know, “have a nice day” and all that jazz – but how often does it come with true intention and goodwill. Too often I have felt such comments are empty and little more than lip-service. When a member of staff wishes you well at Le Marina, they mean it. That is very special and deserves full recognition. I could write pages on our positive thoughts about the staff and I mean just that, pages. So at this point I would like to take a paragraph just to mention the names of a few people to look out for if you visit (although every member of staff is worthy of a mention). In no particular order – Ravin, the manager (thank you for your hospitality and professional yet personal approach – we greatly appreciated you regularly checking in with us to see if we were enjoying our stay and whether there was anything we needed and we have really missed the Manager’s invitational cocktail parties each week!); dearest Natasha, the front desk supervisor (your warmth, endearing personality and exceptional English made us feel at ease and cared-for from the moment you welcomed us and sprayed us with water!); Jessen, front desk (we won’t forget you, thank you for being all heart); Hugo, assistant food and beverage Manager (your humility, friendliness and work ethic leaves us inspired still); Vadee, spa beautician (thank you for eliminating all my nerves and awkwardness about having a massage within minutes of my treatment beginning, you are so gifted and full of heart); Marie-Ange, cook (your beautiful smile and perfectly cooked crepes each morning started every day of my holiday in just the right way), Joan, George and Vanessa, animation/entertainment team (we have never seen anybody enjoy their work as much as you guys! thank you for all the fun, keep it up!); our waiters/waitresses Cedric, Vikram, Sunil, Melina and Melanie (you all have unique qualities and very special ways of working and we could not have felt more looked after, thank you); Yaasir, Avesh and Nadine, bar area (we miss your friendly attentiveness and the constant supply of delicious coffees and cocktails); Baveeta, room servicing (every day your arrangement of flowers on our bed got bigger and more beautiful! Thank you for looking after us so well!); beautiful Veronique and lovely Lily, front desk (you are both so professional yet so personable, and Lily, we will never forget your dancing!); and every other member of staff we met as well. As is so often said, there is no “I” in “TEAM”, and that is so true for Le Marina. You ALL do an amazing job and we miss you all!
2.The atmosphere. Our personal welcome included a refreshing spray of cool water on our neck, a welcome-drink and an introduction to the hotel and its staff. Le Marina Privilege aims to reproduce a zen-like atmosphere and I feel they achieve just that. We found the hotel to be peaceful throughout the day and night. If you want to lie back in the sun and listen to nothing but the birds, sit by the pool. If you want to lie back in the sun and listen to nothing but the Indian Ocean, sit by the beach. The landscaping and gardens are beautifully designed and maintained. The employees are always working hard but they are so discreet. They make their way quietly, just stopping long enough to exchange a warm smile or ‘bonjour’ with you. In the evening any entertainment was finished by around 11pm and each and every night we had a long restful sleep untroubled by unwanted noise.
3.The general facilities. Perfect and all that we wanted. I appreciate that some of the larger 5 star hotels can offer huge pools and gyms, conference centres and nightclubs – but we didn’t want or need any of that. Le Marina Privilege offers 2 beautiful pools, the first is an infinity pool on the outer part of the complex that overlooks the stunning lagoon and Indian Ocean, the second pool is on the inner part of the complex and close to the rooms and bar-area. The hotel offers wonderful spa treatments (I indulged in two amazing 1¼ hour Mauritian massages – they were worth every penny!). Next time I am going to save up a bigger allowance for the spa before I go because the hotel offers good discounts if you pre-book multiple treatments. There are 2 spa-lodges that are contemporary, clean and very relaxing - and although the spa-staff are always around and waiting to assist any guests with a booking I was never once hounded to have a treatment. We appreciated that. The bar and restaurant are both partially open to the elements as is often the way in Mauritius (we learned that buildings are designed this way to protect against cyclones) and offer a relaxed and chilled atmosphere. The hotel has a glass-bottomed boat that will take you out to the reef for snorkelling every day (free of charge) and the hotel also has its own catamaran (we highly recommend the full day trip which includes sight-seeing, snorkelling at numerous choice locations in the lagoon, and lunch on a little [seemingly] uninhabited island just off the coast – all at a reasonable cost). There is also a marine conservation centre below the main building – a worthy project and very inspiring.
4.The food. Exceptionally good and far above the standard we were expecting. Breakfast is a buffet selection of fruit, cereals, pastries and hot food from the menu (which is cooked fresh and brought to you by the restaurant staff). Lunch is a buffet selection of appetisers (and tempting desserts for later) - salads, meats, and freshly cooked special dishes or pizzas etc. - and then a hot main dish from the menu (which is cooked fresh and brought to you by the restaurant staff). Dinner is all menu-selected and served by the restaurant staff and includes a choice of 2 starters, soup, 3 main courses (including a traditional Mauritian option) and 2 desserts. In addition to these meal times the hotel also serves some savoury foods (pizza, crepes) and sweet foods (cakes, cookies, crepes) with coffee, tea, milk-shakes etc. each day from around 4:30-6:00pm. We were on the all-inclusive package, which includes local wines, beers, spirits and all soft drinks. Let’s just say that we ate very well indeed and had no cause to complain about anything food-related from Day 1 to Day 13, and most importantly, no upset tummies!
5.The rooms. Large, contemporary and tasteful interior design, huge (double) shower, King-size+ bed (very comfortable), separate toilet room, flat-screen TV and DVD player, excellent air-conditioning, black-out blinds, complimentary anti-mosquito device (fresh tablets given each day), mini-bar (complimentary and refilled daily) and we were lucky enough to have a room with a huge outside bath tub (perfect for a long soak under the stars!). Everything was clean and well maintained, including a ‘turn-down’ service each night if you want it. Please let me share two little stories which illustrate the level of service at Le Marina: one day I reported that our toilet seat had developed a small crack in it – 15 minutes later the maintenance department had visited the room and replaced the broken seat with a new one; another day I noticed that one of our reading lamps was no longer working – I didn’t mention it to anybody but after our room had been serviced we noticed the bulb had been replaced. This attention to detail is so admirable and proof that a hotel does not need to be 5-star for it to provide 5-star service.
6.That Le Marina is in Mauritius. We have been lucky enough to visit many beautiful places over the years, including various destinations in the Caribbean, and for us, Mauritius excelled them all. There is so much to see and do in Mauritius and we have left enough things to do to keep us busy for many more visits. There are more than 20 mini-climates and a 5-minute car journey can take you from a beach that is cloudy and blustery to a beach that is sunny and without wind. Le Marina is on the East coast and there are lots of beautiful beaches – we particularly recommend visiting Belle Mare and Ile-aux-Cerfs (aka Paradise Island). We found the Mauritian people to be incredibly friendly, humble, dignified and inspiring. I would highly recommend visiting the sacred Hindu lake and temple in the South of the island – and I would challenge anybody to not feel affected by that very special place. Whatever you could want from a tropical holiday – whether it be culture, snorkelling, sunbathing on beautiful beaches, scenic walks, exotic food and drink, shopping, entertainment, peace and quiet – you will find it on Mauritius.
If you have any questions about our holiday/opinion please just email and ask as I would be happy to answer any that I know the answer to. That is how enthused I am about the place! The only thing left to say is that we will be visiting Le Marina Privilege again next year (and for many years after that, we hope)!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC