Every parent knows the reality of going on a child-free luxury holiday is very different to how you think it’s going to play out when you first book it. When I looked at my reservation email for the glorious Four Seasons Mauritius Resort at Anahita, for example, I thought, “Hell yeah! I’m going to hit the cocktails every night and spend whole days on the beach reading and sleeping and enjoying the silence.”
Three days into my Mauritian adventure however and things have gone horribly wrong. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m LOVING the resort’s spa, water sport options and external activities (I’ve tried both the one-hour introduction to golf at their lush, lagoon-side green and a cooking class held in the property’s quaint herb garden) but, drum-roll…. I miss my kids terribly and compounding that grief (and guilt) is the fact that I appear to have chosen the most child-friendly resort in all of Mauritius to go solo.
At first I almost don’t notice the sound of happy children; I’m busy checking in and getting settled into my beach villa with private plunge pool (it’s one of 136 villas and residences on the property all of which have their own pool). The room is light and airy and features an outdoor shower and a killer view so initially I loll around and just trace my fingers over everything like I’m inspecting a prize-winning stallion. It’s only after I retire to my garden that I cast my eyes on the Kids For All Seasons brochure and my heart sinks to new lows.
Okay, I knew that the Residence Villas offer a choice of two, three, four, five or six bedroom, with extensive indoor and outdoor living space and use of a personal butler. Unless you’re travelling with a posse of hangers-on like you’re some kind of Jagger wannabe, this alone would suggest the resort is geared for families. Or those who really struggle with claustrophobia.
But as it turns out in true steak knife infomercial fashion – wait! There’s more! Cots, infant toiletries, prams, playpens, highchairs and just about everything else is made available at no extra charge, and kids aged 4 – 12 can take advantage of The Hobbit Village Kids’ Club which features its own swimming pool, amphitheatre (Hallelujah they can watch Frozen for the #456th time without your presence), bakery, quiet room, play room and sandpit – all supervised by the dedicated Kids’ Club staff.
And should your kid suffer from a bad case of the ‘Veruca Salts’ (“But Mummy I’m still bored!”), there are additional activities such as crab hunting, mini-tennis and mini-golf, water sports and baking classes in the private bakery. Sadly, counselling sessions for borderline sociopathic tendencies are not on the list but I digress…
Initially my stay is a delight and I find joy in being alone, reading books and sleeping, but with each day that passes, I find myself edging my beach towel a little closer to the family building sandcastles by the water, eager to join in the conversation. “Hey kids! Do you want some help with that moat? I’m world-class at moats! You can call me Aunty Dilvin!” It’s downright creepy I know, but God I miss my kids.
Let’s just cut to day three and I’m loitering around the doorway to the fabled Kids Club, waiting to talk to toddlers – any toddlers really. I miss my daughter’s smell, the snot, her banana-crusted shirts. But my enthusiasm at hanging around the doorway is making other parents nervous. I get it – I do, but in my defence let me just say I can’t have been the only parent to ever just stand in front of this particular kids club in awe. With a Hobbit Village design brought to life by pointed, thatched roofs, Hobbit-height chairs and tables and a sea of toys in primary colours to engage kids, it’s a powerful tool that works wonders in the art of family holiday harmony. And the teens? They’re covered with Karokan, a soothing ‘rent-free hangout away from prying eyes and nagging lips (but still within watchful eye of the Four Seasons staff). Of course this doesn’t detract from the fact that I’m now standing around a kids club practically sniffing random children as they walk past as I get teary about my own.
Happily I come to my senses before security gets called and I manage to enjoy the rest of my stay thanks to the power of Facetime and an ever-patient husband who has to wake up sleeping angels so their deranged mother can speak to them from the other end of the world. Also – insider tip: If you ever want your hotel room to feel more like home, travel with a pack of bath toys and throw them around the designer bathroom as soon as you get in. Removing half-chewed inflatable ducks from your armpits/lower-back/buttocks while you try to bathe will instantly fill you with a sense of calm.
I don’t know if Four Seasons will ever have me back but oh I would love to go, but this time? I’ll definitely be taking the kids with me.
NOTE: The resort will be closed from May 11 through to July 31, 2014 due to an exciting renovation project which includes the conversion of six One-bedroom Pool Villas into exclusive Four Seasons and Deluxe Suites, and also the enhancement of their Presidential Suite.
NEED TO KNOW:
Where: Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, Coastal Road, Beau Champ, Mauritius
Cost: From $960 a night including daily breakfast and three-course dinner (excluding beverages), complimentary daily golf and complimentary breakfast and dinner for one child under the age of 15 sharing their parents’ villa.
Pool: One infinity-edge, one California-edge and a lap pool in addition to the children’s pool.
Meals: Restaurant menus include little person favourites such as pizza, pasta and burgers. You’re safe.
Going up: The Four Seasons mattresses – it’s like being kissed all over by angels.
Going down: Some of the private gardens could do with a little colour.
DISCLAIMER: The writer was a guest of Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita.