This is our review of the Le Méridien Ile Maurice (that’s Mauritius, for anyone who doesn’t speak French!) resort.
This was our final stop, after staying at the Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial in Flic-en-Flac (review here) and the Westin Turtle Bay (review here). It is just ten minutes up the coast from the Westin.
Le Méridien is a brand I generally like – my stay at the Le Royal Méridien in Dubai was my favourite hotel there. Originally owned by Air France, Marriott sits it in the ‘Distinctive Premium’ category together with Westin and Renaissance, although in my experience it sits a notch below the Westin brand as a more mid-tier, family-friendly brand.
The hotel website is here. Marriott gave us two nights for review purposes.
Where is Le Méridien Ile Maurice?
The Le Méridien is on the North West coast of Mauritius, north of Port Louis, the capital. This is where you’ll find the majority of beach resorts due to the calmer winds.
The local town/village is Point Aux Piments, although I don’t think there is much going on here: it certainly didn’t seem so when we drove through.
It is just up the coast from the Westin and about 45 minutes from the airport which is down on the South East coast.
Arriving at Le Méridien Ile Maurice
Curbside appeal is not this Le Méridien’s strong suit. There is no grand entrance or impressive banyan tree as there is at the Westin – instead, you have a fairly plain concrete ramp leading up to the main car port, with the resort on one side and fields of sugar cane on the other.
It is also by far the biggest of the three resorts I stayed at, with 261 rooms. This necessitates a certain scale and gives the hotel more of a mass-market feel.
That said, the recent renovation of all the rooms and public areas is impressive. First up is a slightly-oversized lobby:
You are given a welcome drink and towel when you check in:
Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived at 1pm – check in is normally at 3pm – so we were told to come back in an hour. We wandered down to the beach and lay on one of the loungers – by the time we got back it was all ready to go.
Rooms at Le Méridien Ile Maurice
There are several different wings at Le Méridien and it is worth talking you through them.
The good news is that all the rooms face the Indian Ocean and have been refurbished as part of the renovation.
There is one other choice you have to make for your stay: whether you stay in the ‘normal’ wing or choose one of the 51 rooms and suites in the adults-only ‘Nirvana’ wing. The Nirvana Wing is at the far northern reaches of the hotel, so it is a fair trot from the central restaurants and amenities, but it does mean it is out of the way.
Staying in the Nirvana Wing gets you a number of extra benefits including a dedicated reception, beach area and infinity pool with pool bar, You also get a welcome bottle of wine, daily fresh fruits and hot and cold soft drinks at the pool from 11am until 6pm, plus daily sunset cocktail and canapés. It is the resort equivalent of a Club Room.
I was not staying in the Nirvana Wing but in the main part of the resort, in a beachfront king room on the ground floor.
‘Beachfront’ is a bit of a misnomer, as the room actually overlooked one of the pools that itself overlooks the sea. That said, the sand at Le Méridien does reach very close to the rooms!
The rooms have been impressively refurbished and are highly themed. They are also very spacious. First up is a large bathroom:
The toilet and shower are behind frosted doors. The bathroom can also be completely separated from the rest of the room by sliding doors, so it’s definitely the most private of the three resorts I stayed at.
The shower is large, with a rainfall and handheld shower head:
The only annoying thing is that the shower door opens in the wrong direction, away from the room rather than into it.
You get two wash basins plus a large wardrobe too:
…. and, on the other side, a free-standing tub. Toiletries are the usual Le Méridien MALIN+GOETZ which I generally like.
From the bathroom, or the little corridor along the side, you then enter the room:
As you can see, it is very spacious, with the king bed towards the bathroom:
Connectivity is good, with universal mains power and integrated USB.
I mentioned the theming earlier, and here is where it emerges, including with the bedside tables made to look like stacked suitcases (they are in fact fully usable drawers!)
Opposite the bed you have an integrated luggage rack and desk. It is actually bigger than it looks in the photo – we had two large suitcases open on the rack:
The television is also wall-mounted, although it’s quite a distance from the bed.
On the desk was your usual hotel information sheets, plus two vouchers – one for free entry into the L’Aventure de Sucre, the sugar museum in a converted refinery, and the other for a free coffee in the resort. I managed to swap out the coffee for tea, so it’s not super-strict.
(By the way, if you are looking for things to do, Rob recommends the sugar museum which also has a decent restaurant – you don’t need to pay for the museum to eat there. I ended up going to the botanical gardens opposite instead which I thought were a bit of a disappointment – the landscaping at the resorts was in better condition.)
Also in your room is a lounge area with sofa, armchair and coffee table:
Plus a mini bar, again disguised in an upright trunk:
The mini-fridge is stocked, although there’s no coffee machine – only instant – which is perhaps why the coffee voucher exists.
Last but not least is your terrace or balcony – depending on which floor you’re on:
The beachfront rooms have a sofa in one alcove and a chair in the other. There’s also a light so you can continue sitting out even when the sun sets. It was a lovely spot for pre-dinner drinks. If I were to change one thing it would be to add the room numbers on this side so that you don’t accidentally walk into someone else’s room when coming back from the pool!
Pool, gym, spa and beach at Le Méridien
Apart from several pools and the beach, which obviously straddles the entire resort, the majority of the facilities are concentrated around the main entrance hall.
The gym and the spa are on the ground floor. The gym is fairly large and seems to be well equipped.
Next door is the spa, with a number of treatment rooms but also an outdoor relaxation area with sauna, steam room, ice room (temporarily closed whilst I was there) and a plunge pool.
I had an excellent massage in the spa and made use of the facilities on several days. We had one day that was particularly cloudy (it is their Winter) which made the use of the sauna all the more satisfying!
In total, there are three pools in the resort.
The main pool is overlooked by the main house and is by far the biggest:
It is also closest to the various dining options, including Zoli Mamzel, Kumi and Nomad.
The second pool was right in front of our room, to the north of the main house. This seemed much newer, with more organic shapes and more of an infinity element. This was my favourite pool – it had plenty of loungers with views of the pool and sea. Given that it was literally four steps away from our terrace it seemed like a no brainer
The only downside is that, because the Nirvana Wing is the designated ‘adults only’ section, all other pools are open to kids and adults alike. This did mean that the pool was sometimes quite noisy.
Third and finally is the Nirvana pool. This is at the far end of the resort – you wouldn’t think there was another pool unless you knew about it. It is a split level pool:
There are plenty of sun loungers at the back of the pool, although these are also quite shaded from the palm trees that are planted there.
There is also a pool bar.
To be honest, I still preferred the middle pool to the Nirvana pool. The only thing it had going for it was the solitude.
You won’t run out of loungers. In between the pools you’ll find a huge amount of sun loungers and cabanas. This is particularly the case in front of the spa and gym, where there isn’t a pool (the beach, of course, is always there!)
Restaurants and dining at Le Méridien Mauritius
There are four restaurants at Le Meridien:
Nomad is the main buffet experience at the resort. It’s located on the same level as the lobby on the first floor, with views across the main pool and ocean.
This is where breakfast is served in the mornings. There is plenty of seating indoors and out, on the terrace, with the bifolding doors open on nice days:
For breakfast, buffet stations include a Middle Eastern section including falafel, houmous, baba ganouche. This was by far the largest selection of Middle Eastern food of the hotels I stayed at, I imagine because there is a larger Middle Eastern clientele at Le Méridien in general.
There is also a station with Indian flavours, and one with cereals and pastries, a large table features salads, fruits and juices. Hot options include full English items, plus a egg and omelette station. You can also get fresh crepes.
There is no smoked salmon, although you do get smoked marlin. In general, the breakfast selection was good but not quite as extensive as at the Westin.
Underneath Nomad is Kumin, on the ground floor by the pool, the Indian restaurant where we had dinner on the first night. It is only open for dinner.
If you’re staying on half board you can enjoy a three course meal as part of your package, with only a handful of dishes requiring a supplementary payment.
Poppadoms are included:
We went for the tandoori chicken and the masala prawn (which had a small surcharge):
Both were excellent.
For my main course, we shared butter chicken and a lamb curry with naan bread:
On our second night we opted for Papparazzi, the Italian restaurant. Unlike the other dining options, this is at the far end of the resort between the normal wing and the Nirvana area. It has a lovely beach-front setting overlooking the sea:
First up is a delicious amuse bouche:
For starters, I had two tentacles:
For my main course a buffalo steak:
…. and, finally, an apple tart:
All the dishes were included with half board which I was very happy with.
Whilst we didn’t eat here, Zoli Mamzel is the final restaurant at the resort. Like Papparazzi, it overlooks the sea, but it is much close to the main house.
This restaurant serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and looks very good, albeit with a more compact menu. Purely in terms of looks I thought it was the most stylish of all four, with more of a boho theme.
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. Half board entitles you to breakfast and dinner, whilst full board includes lunch as well. All inclusive also covers you for drinks which you would otherwise have to pay for – details on that below.
At Le Méridien Ile Maurice all restaurants are included, regardless of whether you’re half board, full board or all inclusive.
All the restaurants feature additional dishes you can pay a supplement to have, although this tends to be limited to just 2-3 dishes per course. I certainly didn’t feel put out and the supplements tend to be fairly reasonable.
All Inclusive benefits includes a wide range of pre-selected alcoholic and non-alcholic drinks (eg house wine, beer, basic cocktails etc) until 11pm. Your mini bar is also replenlished once a day with house wine, beer and snacks, and you get a 20% discount on spa treatments.
If you’ve ever stayed at a Le Méridien before you should know what to expect, but Le Méridien Ile Maurice is a particularly good one, with a refurbishment that has transformed the rooms and public spaces.
Whilst it isn’t super high spec – don’t expect entirely marble clad bathrooms – it is well designed and executed and definitely the most attractive of the rooms I had.
My only other comment is that, at times, the scale of the resort needs filling. The main hall, for example, feels vast but ever so slightly empty, and there’s also a lot of space between the two main pools where you could fit another, freeing up one of them to become an adults-only pool.
The service is also slightly less proactive than at the Westin – you’ll often have to flag someone over, rather than automatically being approached. This is particularly true at breakfast where the staff will take your plate away but won’t replace your cutlery.
Le Méridien Ile Maurice is more family friendly. If you’re travelling as adults you may wish to try the neighbouring Westin instead, which is slightly more sophisticated and refined. That said, there is plenty of space at Le Méridien to let the kids roam freely so I can see why it attracts families.
Nights at the Le Méridien Ile Maurice start from US$243 per night or 24,000 points in September. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.