There are over 200,000 islands in the world, but at last month’s World Travel Awards 2010 Grand Final, Mauritius was voted the finest of them all.
The paradise island is currently enjoying a rich run of form, having won “World Leading Island Destination” for the second year in succession.
Meanwhile Mauritius has come in a new survey by brand consultancy Futurebrand into the hottest destinations in 2011. The survey asked over 3,000 people worldwide about their perceptions of destinations in five categories, including tourism, with Mauritius beating the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Rio de Janeiro as the most trusted, offering excellent value-for-money in these times of austerity whilst also being the ultimate exotic getaway.
(National carrier Aur Mauritius is boosting capacity to cope with buoyant demand)
Its popularity is reflected in national carrier Air Mauritius increasing capacity on its route network by 15 percent in 2010. UK services increased from three per week to five, with six flights per week during the Christmas period.
Donald Payen, commercial and communications executive vice-president for Air Mauritius, said: “We are working towards a non-stop daily frequency out of Heathrow. We would like to see that happen in the next three years, but really the sooner the better.”
So what makes Mauritius such an incredible travel experience?
Mauritius is a fascinating, world-in-one-island slice of paradise that combines tropical luxury with barefoot extravagance.
Unlike other destinations that also boast cobalt-blue seas, sandy beaches and luxury hotels, it offers an incredible array of activities beyond sunbathing and swimming.
The island is home to historic sights, cultural diversity, geographic variation and almost limitless adventure activities. But perhaps its single biggest asset is the relaxed charm of its warm and welcoming people.
(The mountains of Mauritius)
Mauritius is a fusion of Asia, Africa, France and Britain, and blessed with the world’s most breathtaking island locations.
Unsurprisingly, Mauritius is perfect territory for honeymooners, with palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear water, coral reef-sheltered lagoons – plus an incredible array of luxury hotels.
The stunning coast rings a less-explored but equally spectacular interior - forested mountains and gorges, bright tropical flowers and palm trees, meadows and arable land, all interspersed with emerald-green jagged peaks. This includes Black River Gorges National Park’s dramatic virgin forests.
The southern interior rises sharply to the island’s highest peak, Mount Piton (828m). The village of Chamarel is surrounded by lush coffee and pineapple plantations, and is best known for its barren volcanic landscape.
Here the Black River waterfall falls into a steep gorge, whilst the enchanted forest is inhabited by endangered birds, rare plant species and monkeys.
Mauritius boasts 177km of coastline, the majority of which features beaches of dazzling beauty. The coral reef means that much of the shoreline is protected by translucent, calm lagoons, with the opportunity for snorkelling, diving and watersports out by the reef.
Hotels are clustered along the west, north and east coasts; the south is quieter and more rugged.
One of the most stunning spots is the overwhelmingly romantic Le Morne peninsula, in the south-west. There are few more striking sights than this basalt rock bathed in the orange glow of the setting sun.
The new Trou Aux Biches re-opened in November after a top-to-toes refurbishment costing €100 million. The architecture reflects tropical elegance, modernity and comfort in a contemporary 5-star plus village-style resort that is the most luxuriously authentic in Mauritius.
It was also awarded “Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination” at World Travel Awards 2010 Indian Ocean Ceremony.
The legendary hotel for couples and honeymooners, is set in a palm-shaded grove, on the island’s North-west coast, Trou aux Biches has earned a reputation for true Mauritius hospitality, warmth, friendliness and the highest standards of service.