No sleepy resort, Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers in Mauritius keeps you entertained from dawn til dawn. Well, almost.
While it's family-friendly, it's also perfect for solo travel. All the single ladies and any woman keen for a bit of an escape on their own can wake up to an early morning breakfast at 7:30am, numerous activities throughout the day and dance the night away to fall into bed at 2am. Five hours is enough sleep when you can take naps during the day or you can spend the afternoon floating in the infinity pool.
If you remember the movie Dirty Dancing released in 1987, Jennifer Grey plays Baby, who falls in love with Johnny played by Patrick Swayze.
Dirty Dancing, incidentally turned 30 years old last year...
Set in 1963, Baby finds herself at a resort with her family with little to do and is drawn to one of the professional dancers - Johnny. By a turn of important events, she lands up having to fill in for one of the other dancers in the resort's big talent show to end off the summer.
Fast forward to 2019, to a four-star resort on the Indian Ocean after a four-hour flight and one-hour airport transfer with a consenting adult in tow, I was ready to find out what resort living was all about. Usually when I plan my own holidays, I pick a destination where I can explore the food and culture within and around the city at my own choosing.
I had to suspend my disbelief. It didn't take much though once I got there.
And who better than Baby who was the perfect character to help me shed my inhibitions? As well as the perfect muse to inspire my resort Spring/Summer 19 wardrobe.
I thought to start with this look. When you download the Club Med app, they tell you all about the parties, events or dinners they have each night and what the dress code.
First one I experienced?
The Grand White party.
My look? Channeling this dressy number.
I'm jumping the gun a little. You see, everyone's encouraged to have as much fun and flirt like no one's business with the very charming instructors, bartenders and entertainers. They're called the GOs, the great organisers and guests are called the GMs, the great members. It's a way of making everyone feel super special and connected. And to have fun.
Every night carries a dress code - some nights more loose than others.
The theme of playfulness and fun runs throughout the resort, even down to how you access your room, which is with a small digital disc attached to a wristband that acts as your room key.
So fantastic for those of us who are always losing things. And a reminder to let loose too and relax. It's all about play.
WHAT TO SHOP
This off-white jumpsuit from Zara, R799
Baby never showed us any real swimwear in the movie that I can remember, which is strange, but the style inspo I took from this body suit, denim shorts and white takkies. And I'm going to call the top, coral, which is 2019's Pantone colour of the year.
WHAT TO SHOP:
Superbalist's coral cami one-piece R407 (on flash sale), is almost an exact match, right?
I'm not one for crop tops, but this is a great look for when you're exploring the rest of the island. Like Grand Baie for example (the taxi costs around R500 return for a 15-minute trip to the town centre). Get some vanilla pods and essence (apparently there's a shortage around the world) or shop for a cute sarong along the bay.
WHAT TO SHOP:
Isn't this two piece from Mr Price, super cute? The top is R20.
Or this colourful number. also from Mr Price. The top retails for R30.
Just in case you want to twirl the night away at the dance challenges, look your glammest in a low pair of metallic heels?
WHAT TO SHOP:
These silver sandals from Zando should keep your feet fancy free for R199 (on sale)
And when you're not on the dance floor, you'll need to refuel throughout the day.
There is one a la carte restaurant, which is a beach lounge, a few steps away from the shore which you have to book, but otherwise there are three buffet meals every day.
And the selection is excellent. And very fresh. Think an abundance of small oysters, tuna sashimi, grilled prawns, shrimp salad, melt-in-your mouth fillets, pastas, breads, wine on tap. And you don't pay for anything except really premium drinks. Except for the choice of wine, you really won't miss anything if you have expensive taste.
I even got to try my first sea urchin. It reminded me of a creamier oyster, but I know what I still prefer with my bubbly.
And what else can you get up to?
- Nothing like a Zumba class looking out sea
- Snorkelling is the most popular activity but it's more about tiny coloured fish than any coral
- Don't miss out on their sunset kayak. It might not give you Michelle Obama arms but there's nothing more beautiful than bobbing in turquoise water while the sun turns in for the night
- Learn how to sail and then take part in the regatta if you dare
- I wasn't ready to try the water-skiing even though I feel like that would have been my Baby moment where Johnny holds her like a plane above the water. Next time.
- Spa treatments are an extra and quite pricey so make provision for that if it's a must-do for you
- Shop at the boutique store if you didn't pay attention to the themed evenings - it's an easy way to be an automatic part of the fun
Or do absolutely nothing. No one's going to judge and you're there to get whatever you need out of YOUR holiday. It's totally okay to catnap in the beautifully-renovated and chic club rooms to welcome the air-conditioned reprieve from the heat
SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER
1. Download the app
This is where you'll find out more about
- what the night entertainment's about and what to wear
- which activities take place when and how you can book
2. The airline will determine what time you arrive
SAA flights leave earlier in the day, which means you arrive in the afternoon and can jump into the sea or pool.
Mauritius Airlines leaves later which means that you arrive at night, could miss your first buffet dinner (they serve cold plates to make sure you don't starve), but all is okay once you wake up in the morning and gasp at the view as you eat your breakfast in the sand as the boats holding guests who are sailors in training.
3. This is a package deal, which is subject to change so please check with your travel agent or refer to the site
As of 28 Jan, a four-night stay with flights booked (excl. Joburg) with Club Med (airport transfer included) average around R20 000 for one person all inclusive. All inclusive means they basically take care of everything - from a kids club (age 4 - 17), gourmet food and open bar, sport academy and activities as well as day and night entertainment.
4. Foreign exchange
The Mauritian currency is the Mauritian rupee. Keep some on hand if you'd like to catch a taxi, get a massage on the beach and all those other sundries. One rand will give you around 2.5 MUR.
SO WHAT TO PACK?
1. It's best to pack one bikini and one full costume. To rinse and give time to dry off, it will also give you room to make a choice about how conscious you feel about your food belly when it gets the better of you.
2. A sarong and a kimono. Don't you love these ones from Kimono Africa?
3. Flip flops or a pair of sandals for the evening
4. Yoga or workout gear for the gym and Zumba classes
5. Keep your dressy outfits lightweight, but check the weather - in January, not even the slightest breeze warranted worrying over not having packed something to throw over your shoulders.
6. A hat plus plenty of sunscreen.
When you spend most of your day in the sun, sand and in the water, there's a magic switch that goes off in your brain and muscles that few other things can flip. But the absolute charm of this place is how much you want to join in that limbo challenge and test your boundaries. And how effortless it is. The joy of not lugging a wallet or cellphone around.
As the lyrics go in that song (sing with me)... 'I've had the time of my life'... there's a particular bit which goes 'and we felt this magical fantasy'. And that's pretty much it. You really don't have to try hard or do anything at all to fulfill that fantasy.
Ready? Then bon voyage!
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