This is our review of the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa in Balaclava, Mauritius.
For our second stop, in between the Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial in Flic-en-Flac (review here) and the Le Meridien Ile Maurice (review) we headed up the west coast, beyond the capital of Port Louis and on to Balaclava, to Westin Turtle Bay. Marriott provided a two night stay for review purposes.
I had an enjoyable stay at the new Westin London City (review here), the first Westin in the UK, so I was looking forward to staying at the Westin Turtle Bay. The Westin brand is the most wellness-focussed of the Marriott brands with six brand pillars: Eat Well, Sleep Well, Move Well, Work Well, Play Well, Feel Well.
Our article on how to use air miles to get from the UK to Mauritius is here.
Where is the Westin Mauritius?
Just south of Turtle Bay, this part of the coast is packed with resorts, one next to the other. You have the Westin, Oberoi, Le Meridien, Angsana, an InterContinental and more.
The Westin is at the southern tip of Turtle Bay beach, about 15km from the more touristy Grand Baie. It is about 45 – 60 minutes from Mauritius Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, the main airport on the island.
Arriving at Westin Turtle Bay Mauritius
Opened in 2014, the Westin Turtle Bay has cleverly been built with a remarkable old banyan tree at its centre, which makes for an impressive entrance:
At the heart of the resort are the main hotel facilities, including several of the restaurants, overlooking the bay:
As with most hotels in Mauritius these public areas are partially open to the elements and offer a lovely indoor-outdoor hybrid. Behind the lobby are a series of large, attractive ponds that gently terrace down towards the sea:
They style of the Westin Turtle Bay is modern and sophisticated, with the unusual triangular roof line and glass railings providing a fresh take on the more typical thatched roof resorts you’ll find on Mauritius. The grounds are lushly planted:
First up is a welcome drink and hot towel (in the winter at least!) whilst you check in:
Check in was quick and easy and my Marriott Bonvoy status was acknowledged.
Rooms at Westin Turtle Bay Mauritius
I was fortunate enough to be upgraded on arrival to a junior suite. These are allegedly 124 square meters, although I assume that includes the incredible spacious terrace which about doubles the footprint.
Our room was on the first floor, up a stairs. Fortunately the luggage was carried by the hotel staff!
Immediately as you enter is a short corridor with a recessed alcove containing the mini bar, Illy coffee machine and fully stocked mini fridge:
If you are on an all-inclusive package this is all free and replenished once a day. Two half bottles of wine are included, plus two cans of the local Phoenix lager.
This little corridor then opens onto the room, with the king bed front and centre:
USB-A, USB-C and a universal mains plug are available on both sides of the bed:
At the foot of the bed is a two-person sofa and coffee table:
You then have a large flat screen TV in the corner:
…. with a large desk on the opposite side:
Behind the bed is an open plan bathroom, with an open window in the wall above the headboard:
The bathroom is pleasingly symmetrical. It features two sinks. On either side you also have two larger wardrobes, with safe, ironing board, umbrella etc.
In the centre of the bathroom is large free-standing bathtub, with bath salts supplied. Either side of this is the toilet and shower, in separate glass-framed cubicles.
Note that the glass isn’t fully frosted, featuring more of an intermittent patter, which is particularly odd on the toilet side! There are no doors or curtains separating the bathroom from the bedroom either, so it is extremely open, particularly with the window above the bed.
Toiletries are Westin branded in these medium-sized refillable bottles:
Only the soap bar was ‘Heavenly Spa’ branded.
That’s the room. There is a vast terrace accessible via the French doors, with a hanging chair, sofa and two sun loungers:
The terrace gets plenty of direct sunshine during the day (the area by the sun loungers is uncovered) but it also has spectacular views, particularly at sunset:
It is definitely one of the nicest balconies or outdoor spaces I have had in a hotel.
Unlike the resort, the rooms are arguably more traditionally styled, with dark wood, pale stone and beige tones. Not super-modern, but not outmoded either.
Pool, beach and spa at Westin Mauritius
There are two pools at the Westin Turtle Bay, but neither of them are heated. There is the vast, family-friendly pool on the left hand side of the central building:
It is gigantic with plenty of loungers spaced very generously around it. You certainly aren’t on top of other guests here.
The main pool also laps right up to the edge of three of the restaurants – Fusion, Kangan and Mystique.
The second pool is on the other side of the hotel, by the last wing of the property. This is the adults-only ‘Whisper’ pool and straddles another beautiful banyan tree:
It is a bit of a trek but well worth it for the peace and quiet. It’s also far smaller scale.
There’s only one oddity about the pools. There’s no towel stand. You have to bring your own special pool towel from the room, as I discovered too late. The only reason I can think to do this is to stop people stealing towels, but it’s very odd and a little bit frustrating.
The Westin’s one drawback is that it doesn’t have a full beach. It perches just at the edge of Turtle Bay beach, and whilst it has a few stretches of sand the majority of the resort’s coastline is not particularly beachy. Here is the small beach in front of the adult’s only pool, which admittedly connects to the larger sandy beach of the bay:
There is also little cove by the main pool, although it isn’t as attractive.
The lack of a ‘proper’ hotel beach (although all beaches in Mauritius are public) might have contributed to the fact that the Westin seems to attract fewer families, espeically with younger children. Whilst they’re still around, you’ll find far more at the Sofitel or at Le Meridien (review to follow) just next door.
I wasn’t complaining – the hotel felt more sophisticated and adult as a result, which suited me just fine.
The hotel also features a typical Westin Heavenly Spa and gym, although I didn’t visit these.
Restaurants at Westin Turtle Beach
There are five restaurants at the Westin.
Seasonal Tastes is the main buffet restaurant in the resort, located in the main building. This is where breakfast and dinner is served and features a well designed buffet around a central island:
At breakfast this includes an omelette and egg station, freshly made crepes and waffles, a salad bar, fruit, yoghurt as well as a hot selection comprising of Indian and Western cuisine. If you’re celebrating South African sparkling wine is also available.
The egg station will even make you an eggs royale:
I was impressed at dinner. The night we went, after failing to secure a reservation at Kangan, tiny oysters were on offer:
…. as was sea urchin and an all-you-can-eat prawn grill.
You also had various pre-cooked options including a lamb dish, duck and various curries, as well as a salad bar and gelato dessert station.
As far as buffets go it wasn’t half bad – and certainly the best breakfast I had of all three hotels I stayed at.
Beach Grill is right next to the adults-only pool and sits (you guessed it!) right on the beach. This is where various themed nights are hosted, including a 4-course prawn dinner which we enjoyed.
The food here was delicious and beautifully presented. The plates often looked like a botanical drawing with various coloured pastes and sauces as well as edible flowers and herbs. Here is the prawn cocktail starter:
Followed by the large tiger prawn main:
…. and finished off with a delicious pineapple and coconut dessert:
Kangkan is a popular Indian restaurant by the main pool. This was our first choice on our second date but we didn’t reserve in time and it was fully booked, unfortunately, so it’s worth booking this one in advance.
Next to Kangan is Fusion, a sushi restaurant. Unless you’re on an all-inclusive package, expect to pay a supplement at Fusion.
On the other side of Fusion, and straddling the beach is Mystique. This has more of a beach club atmosphere and is a great place for sundowners, with a DJ in the evenings plus a more Southeast Asian menu.
Half board, full board or all inclusive?
The different options are a little confusing, so here is what I have been told by the hotel. Note that Fusion is the only restaurant not included in any of the packages, although you can get 1000MUR meal credit if you wish to dine there.
- Half Board includes breakfast at Seasonal Tastes and dinner at Seasonal Tastes, Mystique and Kangan. Fusion requires a supplement, although you do get meal credit.
- Full Board includes breakfast at Seasonal Tastes and lunch at Mystique or Beach Grill. Dinner at Seasonal Taste, Mystique and Kangan. Once again, dining at Fusion requires paying a supplement.
- All Inclusive includes breakfast at Seasonal Tastes, lunch at Mystique or Beach Grill and dinner at any of the restaurants except Fusion, where you have to pay a supplement. You’ll also get afternoon tea at the Retreat Bar and ice cream at the pool, with packed lunches also available if you’re exploring the surrounding area. Local beers, wines and a selection of cocktails are also included, as is the fully stocked mini bar which is replenished once per day.
Despite its lack of a proper beach the Westin Turtle Bay Mauritius suited me best of the three resorts I visited. I really liked the design and landscaping of the resort which was modern and sophisticated whilst still embracing the island’s heritage.
The Westin definitely feels more like an adult-oriented resort, although children are still welcome. I probably wouldn’t personally bring kids here though – I would go somewhere more family friendly where I would be able to roam a bit more freely without disturbing the other guests.
The lack of a towel stand at the pools is perplexing and the resort is incredibly long and thin, which can mean walking a couple of minutes to and from the pools or restaurants.
I was especially impressed with the staff, particularly the wait-staff at Seasonal Tastes and Beach Grill who were incredibly proactive and engaged. There was a noticeable difference in service at the Westin versus the other two hotels I reviewed.
Rooms at the Westin Turtle Bay Resort and Spa start at US$281 per night in September for a standard Deluxe Room, although you can expect to pay an extra $100 or so for a Junior Suite. Points redemptions are between 42,000 and 63,000 points per night, depending on the season.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2022)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
EDIT: Until 8th November 2022, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 points!
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)