By Dan Hipgrave For The Mail On Sunday Published: 22:00, 25 February 2017 | Updated: 22:00, 25 February 2017
The island is preposterously beautiful, with lagoons lapping white-sand beaches at almost every turn. Our hotel, Shanti Maurice, is located near the village of Chemin-Grenier. The word ‘Shanti’ in Hindi means peace, rest, calmness or bliss, all of which describe how Lynsey and I felt from the moment we walked through the wooden gates. The rustic design and earthy colours help the hotel blend effortlessly into the natural environment, while the ‘desert island’ concept is not only fun but helps promote a relaxed frame of mind away from the order of everyday life.
The views from the sun deck of our private pool villa were simply magnificent. Ferocious waves crashed against rocks in one direction, while there were inviting beaches and crystal-clear waters in the other.Shanti has four restaurants, each offering a unique dining experience, and on our first night we ate at the Fish Shack, a relaxed lantern-lit beach restaurant. Afterwards we were treated to a local band playing Mauritian music accompanied by dancers who performed by an open fire. We ate delicious barbecued lobster and enjoyed an ice-cold bottle of chablis while watching the performance.
One of the highlights of the resort is the Rum Shed, a shabby chic bar built from colourful reclaimed wood and furnished with antiques. There are more than 180 rums to choose from and an awesome bar menu lovingly created by the eccentric and hugely talented Chef Willy. The crispy pork knuckle with wasabi and sweet pineapple, prawn pancakes, and lamb ribs with pickled mango barbecue glaze were all delightful. The bar feels like a local hangout, which really appealed to me as I prefer to get away from the usual hotel bar atmosphere.