MAuritius Area guide
Grand Baie is a lively tourist region of the island and has many bars, hotels and restaurants. It’s got a lot going on, but still retains a laid back feel and doesn’t feel overpopulated with tourism. As the name suggests, it’s a large bay tucked between Trou-Aus-Biches and Preybere. I stayed at the simply awesome Veranda Grand Baie Hotel which offers exceptional value for money (starting from £100 per night) with great facilities and a location to die for with its colonial plantation house feel two great pools and a perfectly formed small private beach. It’s located away from the main entertainment areas of Gran Baie so it’s a peaceful and relaxing place day and night,
A hotel is much more than bricks and mortar and location, the people who work there really do make a hotel, and in this case, the people are bloody brilliant! The hospitality at the Gran Baie Hotel is simply some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world. They made my stay so pleasant and really nothing is too much trouble. The place simply runs like clockwork and it was a real delight to experience. The hotel rooms are starting to show some signs of age, but everywhere is clean and tidy and everything is at a great standard for the price.
The Hotel has a large plot with different accommodation buildings surrounded by manicured gardens and swimming pools. The adjoining spa is very much worth a visit with many treatments available in the stunning treatment rooms. There are lots of lovely areas to sit and relax or sunbath along the seafront and on the private beach. The beach has its own boathouse with various boats and sea kayaks available free for guests. There are also Tennis courts, Fitness rooms and table tennis tables for guests to use.
The food at the hotel is of a very high standard ranging from A la Carte menus to vast breakfast buffets. The food varies from traditional Mauritian cuisine to specially themed nights and appropriate accompanying evening entertainment. The bar is very well stocked and they have a great selection of locally made Rhum Arranges which are all very drinkable. I became rather partial to the Pineapple Rhum, and have been patiently waiting for my own attempt fermenting away in my cupboard at home. If only I could have bottled up some of the sun sea and sand to keep at home to go with it.
Grand Baie itself has lots to offer, with great bars (definitely check out the banana bar a short stagger down the beach from the hotel) night clubs, restaurants and shops. The main supermarket in Gran Baie is unbelievably civilised and has everything you could possibly ever want in it. There’s a decent pharmacy there too if you need medicines. There’s a Bazaar which has rows and rows of local crafts and bootleg T-shirts. There are plenty of other attractions on offer in the area including fishing boat trips and other sea-based excursions. There’s a lovely public beach a short stroll from the Veranda hotel called La Cuvette beach, it can get quite busy, but perfect for a change of scenery on your doorstep. I found the private beach at the hotel to be the perfect place for a swim, with its soft sand and mostly calm rock-free water.
Grand Baie is a location with many accommodation options for all requirements and budgets. I stayed at the Veranda Grand Baie Hotel, but there are plenty of choices in the area. There are also lots of self-catering options available too if you prefer more seclusion from the traditional resort setup.
It’s a good location to set up base to explore other parts of the island and isn’t too far from the capital, Port Louis. The capital is a great place to explore with lots of shops, restaurants and bars. I recommend the Taste Buddies street food tour which will take you around many of the hidden street food stalls.
The central market is worth a visit, with its many stalls of fresh produce and spices. I would steer clear of the spice stalls, which seem to inflate their prices over other outlets. The main parts of the capital are all easily walkable with a large public car park down hear the marina. It’s about 30 minutes drive between Port Louis to Grand Baie.
I thoroughly recommend Grand Baie and the Veranda hotel as a great place to stay in Mauritius. It was refreshing to discover such low prices could provide such high standards of living on an island which often has the perception of being expensive.
Grand Baie is approx one hour drive from the airport. There are also bus services and taxi transfers.
The hotel I stayed at is the Veranda Grand Baie Hotel which is the perfect base to explore the area.
Rooms are very reasonably priced at around £100 per room.
The key destinations in the area are Port Louis, Water sports, fishing and boat trips.