Veranda Pointe Aux Biches Hotel

Rating: 

Laid back and likeable beach hotel within easy reach of lively Grand Baie 
 

This compact four star hotel with a barefoot concept is chic yet casual, with shoes kicked off on arrival, and an intriguing Deep into Mauritius activities programme.

Information & Facts

Accessibility

Two rooms are specially-equipped for guests with mobility issues, including one family room.

Activities / Excursions Outside the Resort

There are hotel partners desks at the hotel to organise underwater submarine and subscooter trips in nearby Grand Baie, as well as the gamut of family-friendly island experiences.

 

The Deep into Mauritius programme features Deep into the Blue - a catamaran cruise, with snorkelling, to Bernache Island (and a lobster lunch on Sundays) for Rs2500(£56)/1250(£28) adults/children (for children over 3), while Deep into Nature has a snorkelling trail at the less visited Anse La Raie devised and led by Reef International (at extra cost) offered 2-3 times a week depending on demand. Deep into Flavours offers Mauritian cooking classes with the chef on Saturdays, a sharing table, and an expert-led street food tour of the capital (for adults and teens) with Taste Buddies once a week for Rs2500(£56)/1250(£28) adults/children.

Best Bits for Kids

Being shoes off on the sand, snorkelling at Trou aux Biches, guided bike ride, traditional fishing trip, cinema on the beach.

Best Bits for Parents

Compact size and casual vibe, restaurants and the bar along the waterfront, imaginative activities offered by the Deep into Mauritius programme.

Best Family Beaches

The hotel’s 200-metre beachfront lies on a calm reef-fringed bay, with a swimming zone which is not too deep for young kids to swim even at high tide, although bordered by rocks either side make sure you wear swimming shoes. All beaches in Mauritius are public, and as this one isn’t secluded, local people pop in for a swim.

 

The hotel is well-positioned to access other good public beaches. There’s a complimentary daily shuttle to Trou aux Biches beach Monday to Friday (book at reception) – a pretty white sand beach with clear shallows for swimming and a reef close to shore, although it can get busy with day trippers and boat traffic at weekends. A thrice weekly shuttle takes guests to snorkel on the lovely coral reef there. Grand Baie’s concentration of beaches, including Pereybere, popular with families, is a ten minute drive or a bus ride away.

Digital Detox / Digital Overload

Free WiFi is available throughout the resort (with a code). There are no electronic games offered in the kids club.

Endorsement Quote

The arrival ritual at this hotel, is to wash your feet in a fountain – which ‘represents love, peace and happiness’ – and cast your shoes aside. Bare feet set the tone for a relaxed stay in this likeable hotel, with ocean blue colours and a beachy feel. There’s no dress code, staff are easy-going and a separate adults-only section, Sandy Lane Village, behind basalt walls means families don’t need to worry about disturbing anyone. The open-sided restaurant overlooks the beach so you can keep an eye on kids swimming. Service isn’t slick, but staff are friendly and helpful, and kids will love the towel animals on the bed created at turndown.

Family Traveller's Recommended Family Rooms

While rooms are officially garden view, some second floor rooms have glimpses of the sea. Six family rooms (200-206) are right beside the pool, so parents can watch kids swimming from their terrace or balcony. The garden rooms (5000) just behind the beach have a large garden scattered with sun loungers, where toddlers can play. Room numbers 5007/8 5107/8 are closest to the beach.

Food & Drink

The hotel has one family-friendly beachfront restaurant with three different eating zones, and one beach bar. The majority (80%) of guests are on all-inclusive which includes afternoon tea with tea/coffee and crepes (chocolate, honey, sugar), and cocktails with local snacks at the bar at sundown and a drinks station at Senses restaurant in the evening. There’s also a complimentary in room mini-bar.

 

There’s no dress code here – so families can have a relaxed dinner in shorts and flip flops - and eating is usually finished by 9.30pm. The resort caters for children’s food needs, and parents meet Chef Ravi on arrival to create a tailormade menu for babies, with flexible delivery, with high chairs are provided in the restaurant (and in room, on request). The food offering reflects the local feel of the hotel, with families invited to try Mauritian specialities.

 

There’s a daily lunch buffet at the kids club, hot dogs at the Senses buffet at lunchtime once weekly and afternoon pancakes, and cooking classes to learn how to make pizza. Kids can dine early with the kids club, in the Timomo corner in the main restaurant, Senses whose buffet has homemade pizza, and the kids a la carte menu features classics such as spaghetti bolognese, burgers (and a vegetarian meal on request), and the chef can always provide fish and chips or fried chicken etc if kids fancy something else. Kids treats (on different days) include ice cream, a chocolate fountain and candy floss.

 

Senses

The relaxed main restaurant, Senses, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (with a la carte to order anytime), is on an open-sided deck under thatch beside the sea, with royal blue glasses and ceiling and white pillars, chairs and elegant rattan lampshades to match the ocean view.

 

Its international lunch and dinner buffet, features mostly European choices, but with a Mauritian and Asian corners. Themed buffets draw on the islands’ heritage, with Mauritian, BBQ, Indian, French, Chinese. The buffet isn’t a highlight of a stay, but covers all bases [JANE not sure we should put this, but I thought it was a bit poor both on choice, quality and imagination for a four star – but may have just struck a bad evening as others didn’t seem to be complaining – but most reviews you’ll notice, are from guests staying at upmarket Sandy Lane Village – which is far nicer – anyway, you know, as you’ve seen it, and perhaps tasted the food too?!].

 

Senses, has three other zones: the Sun Deck restaurant has intimate candlelit tables with white chairs on the pool deck for al fresco a la carte dining between the pool and the lagoon. The other side of Senses, is Spice Garden, with covered ‘barefoot’ dining on a sandy floor overlooking the lagoon and the Coconut Corner, with al fresco dining on intimate white rattan and glass topped tables nestled in the garden.

 

Romantic dinners can be arranged on Ilot Bisou (‘Gold Island’) 100 metres offshore, and drinks and dinner on the beach (weather permitting).

 

Foot Loose Bar

The Footloose Bar overlooking the lagoon is the spot for the daily cocktail, or dodo mocktail, on a giant rattan armchair with your feet in the sand. Open from 11am-11pm for all-inclusive guests (so there’s no late night noise), it has live entertainment every evening, with shows, live bands and DJs. A fun touch is Veranda pop up moments, once weekly (weather permitting), which include sunset vibes (a tropical punch to a djembe drum beat around a firepit on the sand), coco’lidays (a freshly-cut coconut drunk right on the beach) and Love me Tender (champagne and candlelight around the firepit with your feet in the sand).

 

Picnic boxes are offered for excursions, including a vegetarian option, and typically feature sandwiches, yoghurt, juice and water for kids.

Getting There

The resort is a 90 minute private transfer or taxi ride from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.

Hotel Shop

The small Blue Earth shop, next to Footloose Bar, sells everything from Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream and Magnums to newspapers, fishing nets, beach toys and clothes, souvenirs and local handicrafts.

Hotel Vibe

The giant foot sculpture (which kids can clamber on to pose for photos) near the lobby, symbolises the ‘barefoot bliss’ concept at this compact, boho-style hotel decked in beachy white, blue ocean and sandy colours. Open-plan areas are connected by narrow sandy paths winding through tropical gardens, with sandy play areas for kids, and the restaurant and bar stretches along the waterfront. It has a chilled casual vibe, and families are happy here, under the watchful eye of Clifford, the Mauritian GM. Eco-chic is expressed in the hanging fishing baskets, rattan lamps and polished tree stumps as side tables, while mirrors in public areas extend the sense of space.

Kids Clubs

Just paces from the lobby, is the complimentary Timomo & Friends kids club, open from 8.30am to 8.30pm. It organizes daily activities for children between 3-11 years old, dividing them into two age groups, and the ‘little barefoot’ concept means they have plenty of time playing in the sand.

 

Kids club activities include arts and crafts and traditional games, ‘Timomo top chef’ – where kids put on chef’s whites and learn to make chocolate popsicles or pizza, sega (traditional Mauritian dancing). The Deep into Mauritius programme for kids includes learning traditional instruments (Deep into folklore), a treasure hunt (Deep into adventure), Chinese chopsticks initiation (Deep into tradition), kayaking and pedalos (Deep into the blue), and become a botanist, exploring the garden to spot birds and learn about endemic plants and fruits (Deep into the green).

 

An excursion to the nearby Mauritius Aquarium (Rs 275 per child) includes feeding the fish and helps to educate older kids what to look out for when snorkelling, and there’s also bowling in Grand Baie.

 

In the evenings, is Zumba on the beach, a mini disco, and a ‘pirates dinner’ – where kids dress up for a BBQ, while teens can get mocktails at the Footloose Bar.

Location

Veranda Pointe aux Biches hotel is located in the traditional fishing village of Pointe aux Piments, on the island’s north west coast. The lovely long sandy beach at Trou aux Biches is close by, and its just ten minutes drive from the lively coastal village of Grand Baie, the island’s tourism hub, with small coves, restaurants, bars and shops. The capital, Port Louis, is a 25 minute drive. [There’s no mountain backdrop on this part of the coast.]

Pools

A decent sized family pool overlooks the beach, and there’s a small fenced pool at the kids club. An adult only infinity pool is reserved for Sandy Lane Village guests.

Rooms

The 85 garden view rooms, set in two storey tropical-style buildings under thatch among the coconut palms, are painted an airy white, with a smart colour accent, pale wood features and a terrace or balcony. Bathrooms, with shutters to create an open-plan space in the daytime, have a shower (but no bathtub). The lead-in cocoon-like comfort rooms, set back from the sea, have a dark blue accent, while the superior rooms, in royal blue, and family rooms are more spacious (43 square metres) and romantic, with a muslin mosquito net on a bamboo frame above the bed. The 24 family rooms, with a dark blue accent, and overlooking the pool and close to the beach, have an adjoining kids room with bunk beds, window and shelving (no a/c, ceiling fan only). Comfort and superior rooms can accommodate two adults and a baby, and family rooms can accommodate up to three children. There are no interconnecting rooms.

 

A separate adult only wing, Sandy Lane Village, behind basalt walls, has 30 privilege rooms under thatch with an exclusive restaurant, bar and pool.

Spa & Pampering for Adults

The Seven Colours Wellness Lounge, right on the beach, is tiny, but cute. Treatments (including for mothers to be and dads)which revolve around balancing our energies (or chakras) through the use of colour, and aromatherapy, are in three wooden treatment cabins under thatch, with wood and ravenala walls (and hot pink towels), one overlooking the lagoon. Manicures and pedicures are also on offer. An air-conditioned fitness room (with modern equipment) lies conveniently next to the kids club. Complimentary are aqua zumba classes in the pool, once weekly laughing yoga and stretching sessions in the garden/on the beach.

Spa & Wellbeing for Kids

Mini yoga classes and aqua zumba are on the menu at the kids club.

Sports

Complimentary watersports include kayaking, pedalos and stand up paddle boarding in the lagoon and a thrice weekly shuttle which takes guests to snorkel on the lovely coral reef at Trou aux Biches, and for a glass bottom boat trip. There’s also waterpolo, beach volley and petanque on offer, darts, a pool table and table tennis, poolside. The hotel can arrange scuba diving with a local PADI dive centre, and deep sea fishing trips (both payable), and guests can access motorised watersports at nearby Trou aux Biches. Golf can be arranged at nearby Mon Choisy Golf Course – the newest championship golf course on the island.

Room Service

Room service is from 7am to 10pm, with a kids menu and baby puree delivered to the room (with tray charges). 

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