When deciding to go to Mauritius a common dilemma is whether to go HB or AI. Half Board will consist of a buffet breakfast and evening meals. Drinks and lunch are chargeable extras. Of course at breakfast you will be able to drink fruit juice, tea, coffee and water. 

If you choose All Inclusive it will normally include breakfast, lunch and evening dinner with drinks included and it may also include free water sports. Some hotels also include a free mini bar as you can have the contents of your fridge be it drinks, crisps or chocolate. Some may have afternon tea also included.

A few hotels will have a Full Board option.This includes breakfast, lunch and evening meal but drinks will be excluded.

Significant exclusions for AI in Mauritius hotels commonly include imported beers and spirits and also freshly squeezed juices. There may be restrictions on a choice of hotel restaurants or credits given if you choose a certain restaurant instead. So locally produced wines, beers, rum, whiskey, gin etc will be part of the AI package but not Bells Scotch whisky, although a few hotels are now including premium branded drinks as part of their AI such as the Shandrani Hotel.

On the other hand some hotels will include the mini bar as part of the AI package (one hotel includes chocolates and crisps inthe mini bar as part of the package). There may also be ice cream breaks by the pool on late afternoons. 

Whichever option you take you are likely to sign a chit (They do not tend to bother with wristbands that AI guests have to wear in other countries) after a meal and please check for any discrepancies before you sign. For HB customers, your drinks and your lunches will form part of your final bill. For AI customers, extras such as imported alcoholic drinks will count as extras and will be part of your bill.

To decide which option to take, it is suggest that you take into account the following factors:

  • Location of the hotel.

On the sothern and eastern side of Mauritius, many hotels are on sprawling estates with nothing much outside. There is little by way of other restaurants and shops and you are a captive market a far as the hotels are concerned and this is reflected in the price of food and drinks. It may make more sense to go AI.

  • Comfort of paying everything up front.

Once you have gone AI you have taken care of a significant part of your holiday expenditure. Except for tips, taxis and souvenirs you may not spend another penny, dime or euro during your holiday. Those drinks by the pool bar seem to taste twice as good when you are on AI and you can have it countless times.

If you go HB then all those drinks that you have and any other lunches can mount up significantly. If you are lucky and there is a café or a fast food joint nearby then lunch can be cheaper, but this is not always the case in Mauritius, where restaurants in tourist areas tend to be expensive.

  • Budget

If you wish to go AI then you need to consider the difference between the HB budget and the AI budget and see if it is worth upgrading.

Imagine you are a family of 4 that are considering going AI on a 10 day holiday. To upgrade to AI will cost £20 per day per person. That is for a family of four; £80 per day and the total cost over the 10 day would b £800.

It is a lot of money but with mid-day lunch averaging at hotels, £10 -15 per person in 3 to 4 star hotels, soft drinks at £2 per glass then it will not take much to calculate that lunch and 5 drinks a day will mean you will break even. (Remember drinks with your evening meals are extras when you are on HB).

If you are on HB as a family of four it may not be unusual that your spending pattern for the same 10 day holiday has exceeded a £1000. If you are one of these people that like a bottle of house wine with your meal or like to relax and watch the evening entertainment with a glass or two of beer then it will be expensive and you may be better off going AI.

Disadvantages of AI

If you do choose the AI option then neglect to take advantage of it, you have wasted your money. This does not mean you should force yourself to eat the chocolate bars in the mini bar if they are part of the deal or drink like a fish. But if you are out touring everyday then you have not exercised your lunch options for example.

A more abstract disadvantage is if you go AI is that you are not actually spending money in Mauritius that benefits the Mauritian economy. Once you have paid for the trip to the travel agent, your money tends to end up with multi national chains such as Hilton, Meridian , and Sofitel etc. You could certainly go to Mauritius and spend very little actual money directly at the place you are visiting.