Review: The St Regis Mauritius – A Beachfront Junior Suite
We had a five day stay in Mauritius at the enjoyable St Regis. While there are many choices of resorts to stay at in Mauritius, we were happy to be down in quiet Le Morne under the large views of this scenic part of the island.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, a Safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Mauritius. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Kenya & Mauritius via South African Airways, Swiss and Air Canada Business Class
- Vancouver Airport Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge
- United Business Vancouver – Chicago O’Hare
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse B
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse C
- United Business First Chicago O’Hare – Sao Paolo International
- Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare
- United Business Chicago O’Hare – Washington Dulles International
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge – Washington Dulles
- South African Airways Business Class Washington Dulles – Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar
- Dakar Technical Stopover
- South African Airways Business Class Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg International Airport
- South African Airways Baobab Lounge – O.R Tambo Johannesburg Terminal A Domestic
- South African Airways Economy Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Cape Town international
- Westin Cape Town
- A Visit to Robben Island: South Africa’s Most Famous Jail
- Exploring Table Mountain by Cable Car, Cape Town
- Where the Two Oceans Meet: Visiting Cape Point at Cape of Good Hope
- The Test Kitchen
- Le Quartier Français – Franschhoek
- Touring Western Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch and Franschoek
- The Tasting Room
- South African Airways – Cape Town Cyobab Domestic Lounge
- South African Airways Economy Class – Cape Town – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- Hyatt Regency Rosebank Johannesburg
- Soweto & Informal Settlement Tour
- SAA Baobab Premium Lounge – OR Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Mauritius
- St Regis Mauritius – A Beachfront Suite
- St Regis Mauritius – Le Morne Penninsula, Iridium Spa and The House Reef
- Air Maurituis Amédée Maingard Lounge
- South African Airways Business Class Mauritius – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Jomo Kennyata Nairobi, Kenya
- Fairmont Norfolk, Nairobi
- Travelling the Gritty Streets of Nairobi, Kenya
- Air Kenya – Wilson Airport – Ngrende Airstrip
- Fairmont Mara Safari Club
- Locating Elephants, Rhino’s and Giraffes in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Being Surrounded by Lions in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Dancing with the Elders at a Maasai Mara Village in the Rift Valley, Kenya
- Air Kenya Ngrende Airstrip – Nairobi Wilson
- Swiss Air Business Nairobi – Zurich
- Swiss Air Arrivals Lounge – Zurich
- Swiss Air Concourse D Lounge (non Shengen) Zurich
- Swiss Air Business Zurich – London Heathrow Terminal 1
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge – London Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada / SAS Lounge – Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada London Heathrow – Vancouver International
Review: The St Regis Mauritius, Beachfront Junior Suite, Le Morne Peninsula, Coastal Road La Gaulette, Mauritius
” Competing in the category of Mauritius’ top luxury resort properties, the St Regis Mauritius offers a great hard product, reasonably strong house reef, a solid spa amid some minor growing pains”
Our five day resort stay was interesting and peaceful. Given the amount of activities that we did at the resort, we’ve split up our experience into two separate posts. This post outlines the Beachfront Junior Suite and the Food and Beverage around the property. The next post outlines the Resort Area, our experiences at the St Regis Iridum Spa and the wonderful house reef.
How we Booked:
We were excited to try the St Regis Mauritius. It was brand new hotel having opened in 2012 as a new build and was our first stay with the brand. We used Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Cash and Points at the rate of 8000 points and $150 USD per night. (now 10,000 points and $180 per night). The regular room rate was 660€ per night (over $950 USD) so we had an interesting comparison of the value of the resort.
The current reward redemption rates for this property under the new Marriott Bonvoy Program are around 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points per night at a Category 7 Property. If you assume that Marriott Bonvoy points are worth about 0.005 cents per point, you’d be better off using points at this property if the rate is greater than $300 USD per night. Given that the rates are usually upwards of $500 USD per night, this is a worthwhile place to burn your collection of Marriott Bonvoy Points.
The property is located approximately 58 km away from the airport. When we booked, the asking price for an airport transfer in the Range Rover or Jaguar was approximately $200 USD each way. They now have a cheaper option in a Hyundai. Instead, we elected for week long rental car with Sixt for about the same price (not including gas).
Transferring to the St Regis Mauritius:
On arrival to the Mauritius Airport from our South African Airways Johannesburg – Mauritius flight, we walked over to the rental car building. The rental car building is separate from the main terminal building. At the time of our arrival, only three out of the eight desks were occupied. The Sixt desk was unoccupied with no one there to receive us. We were already on island time and we got Budget Clerk to call the Sixt Clerk, who turned up within 5 minutes.
We went through a much easier and faster rental process than Europcar with completion of 5-6 forms manually by pen. This included a manual scratching stencil imprint of the credit card deposit and rental fee, paid all in advance.
We were given a island map from Sixt sponsored by advertising agencies, however the map conveniently had no highway numbers on it, only lines with no corresponding route or street names. The Google maps that we printed were not of much use as they were inaccurate, non-sensical and with outdated descriptions and landmarks. Driving is on the left. We got lost 4-5 times on the way as most of the streets were not posted and highway marker signs were often only posted once at the actual intersection itself.
We ended up taking the coastal B89 route, which was a nice drive. It didn’t offer specular coastal views, but it did offer us a glimpse into local life.
We did finally make it to the St Regis Hotel about 100 minutes drive after landing. As a reference point, Google maps displayed the trip as a 55 minute drive. The drive had many sharp turns, large scale bus coaches stopping to collect locals, double parked cars in the middle of town with no opportunities to pass, dogs cyclists and pedestrians wandering across and along side the road, and signs that weren’t clearly posted. Overall, I would drive again by car if you were comfortable driving in foreign countries.
We arrived to what appears to be on initial impression a gated staff entrance. I was perhaps expecting a slightly grander gate similar to an Asian resort property. However thinking back on it, it was way to grand to be a staff entrance. There wasn’t much of an approach and now looking back, it seems few people self drive themselves to the resort on arrival. There were only about 20 parking spaces for the entire resort.
Arriving to the St Regis Mauritius:
After the drive, we arrived to the resort. The theme of the resort was supposed to replicate a Mauritian manor of a family of “circumstance”- not an obvious comparison unless you read the history card in the room.
We were led to the welcome kiosk where we were given a non alcoholic welcome drink. We were escorted by golf cart to the room via the beach, ultimately ending at Suite #273.
The Room: Beachfront Junior Suite, Suite, 1 King, Sofa bed, Balcony
We were Starwood Preferred Guest Gold members at the time of our stay. Several days before our arrival to the hotel, a member of the St Regis Butler Service Executive Team contacted us by email to ask for information surrounding any room preferences of the stay. We had asked for an upper room as close as possible the water. This request was honoured. As a result, we received a soft upgrade to a room closest to the water. During our stay, the room was branded as a Deluxe Suite, but since then, the hotel has monetized the proximity to the water of the various rooms and now brands this room as a Beach front Junior Suite.
Suite #273 was a second floor suite in an outer facing building as close as possible to the beach.
The room was room was very well featured and spacious. While it’s been branded as a Junior Suite, it’s more of a spacious and roomy room than a suite with a separate sitting and couch area.
The room also featured a sliding glass wall that allowed the suite to be opened up to allow the ocean air in. This was easily the nicest feature of the room and the property.
Vijay (the butler) thoroughly explained the features of the suite, including the TV and how to operate the thermostat controls. Vijay, completed the check in formalities in the suite. Vijay had a sense of humor as he described the features of the resort.
A massive washroom fit for two:
The Junior Suite had a fully featured bathroom with rain shower, massive tub and soap the size of hockey pucks.
As with all St Regis properties, the bathroom toiletries featured Remede products.
The bathroom offered a desk for working or charging devices. There was also a small walk in closet off the bathroom.
The room also offered coffee makers, in addition to glass ware. We didn’t actually use the room coffee makers as the St Regis Butler service offers tea / coffee to all guests on demand. In addition to the coffee makers, there was a welcome amenity consisting of a wrapped fruit tray. The amenities included disposable his and her St Regis sandals, a beach bag, fabulous view. The sandals made a great souvenir of our travels.
There were lots of hand written notes welcoming us to the property.
After several days here, my wife noted some shortcomings with the cleaning. She suspected that room service was wiping out the glassware instead of replacing the glasses after they had been used. This suspicion was highlighted by coasters with multiple water mark rings from inverted glasses, and by fingerprint smudging on the glass wear after the rooms had been cleaned.
The problem with finding shortcomings is that once you’ve found one, you start looking for more. Looking around, the waste baskets were in rough shape and some stains were prevalent in some areas of the room. Some of the towels weren’t super clean- marked with someone else’s lipstick. We found this to be a bit strange for a resort that was only 1 year old. This isn’t meant to be an investigative exposé on hotel room cleaning, nor did we alert staff about these shortcomings. However – those expecting a pristine new property at this price point may be a bit disappointed. I’d be a bit unpleased if I was paying 660 Euro a night as expectations at that price level are higher than $150 USD a night.
A Room with a View:
We really enjoyed the view from our room and the oversized balcony. We spent several days enjoying the sunset views. Despite having the best possible ocean view room – the height of the palm trees partially obstructed the view. These two photographs are taken from the room deck.
Food and Beverage at the Hotel:
Another area of concern to us was that the menu and food costs are priced astronomically. By astronomically, we mean that we had cheaper and more economical costs at the Park Hyatt Maldives last year – a resort that’s 1 hour by plane and 45 minutes by boat from the nearest supermarket and international airport. Comparatively, the nearest supermarket to the St Regis is 10 minutes from the resort down a paved road.
The first day of our stay, we approached the main restaurant for breakfast. It was clear that the staff at breakfast did not know how to handle reward customers like ourselves as they seem surprised when I asked how breakfast worked when we were not on the half or full board option. At the time of our stay, consistent with it’s European customer base, breakfast is normally included in the regular rate. The quoted price for the “St Regis Breakfast Buffet” was $80 USD per person. Are they kidding? Our buffet at the Sheraton Full Moon Resort in the Maldives last year was $22 USD a person (also an SPG Category 6 property). I doubted that the unlimited sparkling wine offered here made up a worthwhile $58 USD premium on the price. Some limited a la carte items were available to bypass this at $17 for a small Eggs Benedict on a single toast. Seventeen dollars unfortunately does not go far in Mauritius:
We decided to skip breakfast and instead just get lunch the next days. However, the disappointment on the higher on resort food prices continued. A cheeseburger and fries (with caramelized onions) on the beach bar $33 USD, a club sandwich with a salad for $26 was the sweet spot on the menu. Bring your xe.com phone app- everything was priced in Mauritius Rupees:
Wine and alcohol prices on the resort echoed the same trend, a bottle of Dom Perignon was $728 USD – at the Mauritius supermarket 10 minutes drive from the resort; it was $300 USD. To me, it’s not really clear to me where the market analysis is to perform such a mark up on food and beverage.
There were obviously some growing pains with the execution of the food and beverage. We turned up one evening at 8:20 PM without a reservation – we were told it would be a 30 minute wait as restaurant was fully booked. During the time of our visit, the hotel appeared to be at 50% occupancy. I can’t imagine what happens during high season? The food servers also seem vastly overworked. One evening had three waiters plus a manager attempting to service 14 tables. I have no idea what the correct waiter to table ratio was, but this seemed to be very lean. Waiters were always rushing around, and don’t seem to be available after the food has been dropped off. Even placing order is a bit assembly line in nature. Add this to that every meal was about $100 with a single glass of wine and without appetizers and we were having a little trouble seeing the value of the food and beverage part of the holiday.
Given these prices, we ended up taking a minimalist approach – paying for one lunch / breakfast and dinner a day and self catering all the nibbles and wines. We had hand carried from South Africa and purchased from the Supermarket at La Gaulette 10 minutes down the road.
The hotel took steps to ensure that it’s guests were looked after. I don’t know whether these were as a result of growing pains or being told by management to make sure all guests are accommodated. For example, on our last day, a letter was received under our door saying that the Boathouse Bar restaurant had an emergency air conditioning problem. The letter announced that the restaurant would be closed unexpectedly for 2 days while repairs are undertaken. Of course, on the last morning, we missed breakfast taking in our last snorkel. When we went to go find some food after packing our suitcases at 11 AM we were told –“Oh I’m sorry. The restaurants do not open until lunch at 12 PM. This meant that there was no food to be had anywhere on the property between 11 AM and 12 PM. Eventually a discussion ensued asking if we were leaving the property. Once they learned that we were, we were invited to have a seat “to see what they could do”. This meant bringing out the chef to the table to explain what could be ordered and prepared while they were in between service. While this was appreciated, it seems that despite their efforts to notify guests of restaurant closures, there was no contingency plan to make sure that a food and beverage outlet was open. Either way, the resort managed to make it work, just like they made the champagne sabering work when we turned up late.
In the next post, I’ll go over the resort grounds, our experience at the St Regis Iridium spa, and the wonderful house reef at The St Regis Mauritius at Le Morne, Mauritius.