Set on a private peninsula shouldering the famous Blue Bay Marine Park, the Shandrani Resort & Spa is only a short hop from Mauritius International Airport, and is the most convenient place for any visitor to relax and enjoy the sun. Throw in the fact that you have three different beaches to choose from, four different restaurants on site and a spa endorsed by Clarins, and you realise there is plenty to do on this vast resort.
We checked in alongside a number of Emirates Airlines pilots, which is usually a good sign if they are staying the night. A special mention at this point should go to our friendly host Angela who, while talking us through a map of the resort, realised that it was our honeymoon. Her eyes lit up immediately, and she excitedly presented us with a range of options to make our stay more memorable. As we had spent the last ten days almost constantly on the move, the couple’s massage was music to our ears and we quickly booked ourselves in for a session later that evening.
The first floor Superior Room had excellent views over the beach, with huge sliding doors that opened out onto the terrace. Inside, the main room was very spacious with the en-suite bathroom offering both a bath and a shower. I would say that the decor was a little more neutral than the other hotels we stayed in, but the main attractions were to be found outside our room. One of these was found on a trip to the main beach on Blue Bay, where I had an opportunity that I just couldn’t say no to; a chance to try and water ski. Being a skier on snow, I did have a bit of experience when it came to standing on two planks of wood, and within five minutes I was flying over the water at 30 miles per hour. Freedom.
The Clarins Spa at the Shandrani is an attraction in itself, with day visitors arriving by the coach load to relax within it’s grounds. Arriving just before closing time, here is where we found real peace and quiet; away from most of the other tourists in the resort. Our couples massage really was excellent with a good hour spent relaxing al fresco and under the increasingly bright moon. Afterwards, the spa even had an outdoor rain shower to properly wash off the oils under the stars above. It was a very different environment to the busyness found in the rest of the resort and comes highly recommended if you are really trying to escape it all.
Food at the Shadrani is served in the four different restaurants and, while we did sample a couple of them, it was the Le Sirius restaurant that proved to be a favourite. A little quieter than the rest, it served local cuisine against a backdrop of live music. Both of my meat dishes were cooked to perfection and the desert menu provided some excellent sugary options. As we were on a Half Board menu, the only extra to pay for was a bottle of rose, which was actually more affordably priced than on other parts of the island. Even if you are staying for a few nights, I would recommend spending most of your time here rather than head to the main restaurants; the quality of food is unmatched elsewhere.
The other real draw to this resort, for me at least, was the “wild beach” that faces out onto the Indian Ocean. While the other two beaches are fairly cultivated and resort-orientated, nature hasn’t quite let this one go. There was something incredibly serene about watching the waves crash onto this beach, and it was almost empty apart from a couple of fisherman who were chancing their luck on the exposed rocks at dusk. As well as providing some opportune photo shoot moments, it was a bold (and important) reminder that the island really is beautiful.
Overall, as with the rest of Mauritius, there are a few factors to consider before choosing the Shandrani. If you are happy to stay in a resort for a few days and would be content with the on-site activities then it could be a great option for you. Unfortunately for us, the weather did take a turn for the worse and so a snorkelling trip to the Blue Bay Marine Park wasn’t an option and so we scheduled a day trip north to visit Casela World of Adventures instead. That being said, the professional staff and vastness of the resort did mean there was still plenty to explore, even if the sea wasn’t very inviting. Plus, it is only a very short drive from the airport, so perfect if you want to power through that jet lag with minimum fuss.