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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa in Mauritius

We recently spent 17 days (16 nights) at the five star Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa in Mauritius.

Let's get the good news out of the way first. The setting and accommodation are more than worthy of the lofty rating. The beach is magnificent and very well maintained (it gets a daily mechanised grooming, as well as the usual raking), with more than adequate space between parasol-protected loungers. The villas are large, each with a private plunge pool. The staff are attentive and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and pander to your reasonable requests, with a smile. We were fortunate in being upgraded (side-graded really) to a beach front villa, with very early check-in (complete with beautifully prepared fruit salad for breakfast), and a very late checkout (with no pressure to leave).

If this is enough to make you part with your hard-earned cash and pay five star prices, read no further and have a great time at Maradiva; you won't regret it.

If you are still reading then, you expect even more than the above from a five star establishment; so do I.

What differentiates a five star hotel, over and above others is attention to detail and, especially, consistently high standards. Five star hotels do not have 'off' days, or at least they make sure that guests are unaware of any difficulties, so as to insulate customers from negative experiences.

Here are a number of examples of where the expectation of consistent excellence is not met at Maradiva:

I spent half of the first day attempting to get a viable Internet connection in the room. The hotel boasts Wi-Fi in all rooms, as well as a Business Centre which promises 'a wide range of services and equipment, including a personal computer with free internet access...'. The truth is that there is a keyboard, mouse, and screen. These are not actually connected to anything (no, not the very latest wi-fi/Bluetooth technology), there is no computer at all. As a joke, it is quite amusing, as a five star resource, it is an absolute disgrace. In the end, I made do with an Internet connection that was so slow that it could not even be calibrated on a speed testing App; it was a choice of that or check-out. In fairness, I should have anticipated that IT would not be the hotel's strong suite... their website is filled with errors, the worst being 404s (page not found) if you attempt to find rates or 'specials'.

There are a number of electrical appliances that either do not work, such as a socket on the terrace, the rheostat for the room fan (either swirling like a demented dervish or off), the fan on the terrace (absent), every other light for the pool (either external or internal). The lack of lighting made a meal on the villa terrace (an appealing idea) a non-starter. Al though the overall level of lighting is acceptable, the outside lighting is also a little sparse, making the walk from the restaurant back to the villa a bit of an adventure. The staff are more than willing to give you a ride on a buggy but, a postprandial walk is one of the pleasures of life.

Each afternoon a plate of three small 'pastries' is delivered to your villa. This is a nice attention, even more so as a lot of effort has gone into preparing these delicacies (always on a theme, so three very different pastries but always based on the same fruit). The problem is that, in order to protect the food from the rapacious birds, the plates are covered in cling film. The result is that what starts off as a great idea sometimes ends up as a squashed mess and is not appetising at all. Suggestion: serve the afternoon cakes protected by a cloche, or at least put a circle of card around the plate before applying the clingfilm.

The first evening we received a personalised letter detailing the next day's activities. This seemed a very pleasant attention to detail. The novelty and appreciation waned somewhat when the content remained virtually identical every day, even informing us of the activities at the Kids Club (hardly of import to a couple), or that the 'Laconium at the Spa is not accessible actually due to a technical problem'... must have been a major problem to never have been repaired. Suggestion: in order to minimise the ecological impact of 'no news' perhaps send a letter the first night and then, don't bother. It would be tempting to suggest sending the information by email but, this might be seen as causing mischief... on my part.

The hotel boasts three restaurants (one and two halves really). One restaurant is open all days, the other two (or two halves) are only open in the evening. These latter two appear to shut on a seemingly random basis. The aforementioned daily letter would be a good place to inform guests of a restaurant being shut the next day, rather than finding out when attempting to reserve a table.

Another nice touch is that one receives a moist perfumed towel as a 'refresher' towards the end of the meal. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes and not on other occasions. I have attempted to work out the basis for the towels being handed out but it is absolutely random. So, the expectation is built and then demolished. Suggestion: be consistent; always give a towel at the beginning or end of the meal (or even both!).

An evening turndown service is something which seems to be rapidly disappearing from many hotels; in a five star establishment it is almost a prerequisite. This service is provided at the Maradiva but, on one occasion, was not offered until after 22:00, and that happened to be the day my wife was unwell and was fast asleep. It seems that housekeeping is understaffed and overworked. Suggestion: if a guest books a table for dinner, the time for the turndown service could be made to coincide.

A warm climate and a cocktail go together like a horse and cart; it's difficult to imagine one without the other. A Caipirinia, Mojito, or gin and tonic should be within the capabilities of any reasonably competent establishment. Now, before anyone tells me that some barmen add their signature to cocktails, the real problem at the Maradiva is that you haven't got the foggiest idea of what you will be served in response to your request. It could be long, it could be short, it could be strong, or as close to water over ice with a sprig of mint as you care to imagine. The price of cocktails is not unreasonable for such an establishment; the value for money for that which is served is an abomination. Suggestion: check out recipes for cocktails; add your twist if you must, and then make sure anyone responsible for mixing a drink knows the formula and presentation.

So, how much time does a hotel guest need to spend informing his hosts that things are not as expected. My view is that only things which make it unfeasible to stay should be mentioned and rectification be expected immediately (or you may need to check out)

The hotel used to be known as the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa Mauritius, before morphing into Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa.

But, to finish on a high note... I am partial to a slice of lemon with my cold (preferably with ice cubes) water (not the most pernickety of requirements). The first day that we were using the loungers on the beach, which had already been converted with a towel, and an additional towel also provided, I asked for a slice of lemon with my water. I never asked again, and it was always provided, with ice cubes, and a smile. Now that's what I call service.

The acid test is whether or not we would return... and the answer is that we probably would. That just goes to show that the three supposed main selling points of a hotel (location, location, and location) really do hold... and the friendly and helpful staff also play a large part in a decision to return.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing great post which is done by you.i always read travel and travel related blogs and i like your post.

    Scopello Villas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like you've got some lovely villas for rent!

      Delete
  2. Looks like you are not happy with the services. Usually this is not the scenario of luxury villas. They comprises of each and every facility you want and they promise to you. Even, I have the most memorable stay of my life in luxury villas Barbados. which I had rented for five days on my vacation and I get all the comfort there.

    ReplyDelete

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