Some say paradise is modelled on the island of Mauritius. There are certain features that point towards this being true; a crystal-clear blue ocean, pearly white sand, lush rainforests, rugged mountains, gushing waterfalls (one of which is “underwater”) and brilliant sunshine. Travelling to Mauritius to explore the volcanic landscape is an island getaway like no other, and while you’re there it’s imperative to find an equally smashing hotel. Luckily for you, I’ve found a luxury hotel that toes the line between having enough amenities that you’ll never want to leave and easy access to the island’s most exquisite spots. Best of all, Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa is an affordable luxury hotel, meaning you can experience the best life has to offer – which includes freshly caught seafood, infinity pools, waterfall showers and indulgent spas – without breaking the bank.
Continue reading my in-depth hotel review to find out more. Or click here for more tips to achieve affordable luxury travel.
Initial Thoughts of Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa
Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa is tucked away on the west coast of Mauritius, and it is only a few minutes’ drive from Flic-en-Flac, known for its surfing waves. It’s a peaceful and private haven, and from the moment I arrived through its grand iron gates, it was clear that Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial was in a class of its own. The staff instantly swept our luggage away, which magically reappeared in our bedrooms. In the meantime, we were escorted over a raised bridge and vibrant pond, towards complimentary welcome cocktails, namely a refreshing Mojito and revitalising hot/cold towel.
We sat in the lobby, a sleek and contemporary take on an indoor-outdoor design with towering columns, spacious seating arrangements and sweeping views of the pools, palm trees and never-ending ocean. Each Sofitel hotel draws inspiration from its local culture and traditions, and Sofitel Mauritius is no exception as it boasts Mauritian liveliness, French art de Vivre and a hint of Asia’s sublime temple-style roofs.
The attentiveness of the staff is only surpassed by the resort’s acute attention to their guests’ safety. Since we travelled during the pandemic (December 2023 – Mauritius is one of the top winter sun destinations), we were required to take several Covid-19 tests. The resort organised this for us, and within minutes of arriving, we were tested and cleared to roam the property.
Rooms at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial
Having travelled for 24 hours, we opted to head straight to our rooms. I use the term ‘room’ lightly because, at 50 sqm, it felt more like a spacious one-bedroom apartment. We stayed in one of the Superior Rooms, although if you’re looking for uber luxury, the Magnifique Room which features the signature Sofitel MyBed, or Opera Suite spanning 110 sqm might be more appropriate.
Upon entering our Superior Room, we found a small walkway to the right which led to a 360-degree walk-in wardrobe with a luggage rack, a safe, and plenty of hangers. To the left of this is a private toilet, but the main bathroom sits within the centre of the chamber. Since the resort mostly caters for couples (although there are family rooms), this open bathroom is a romantic gesture. But if you’re looking for privacy, you can use the wraparound wooden shutters. When these are shut, the bathroom becomes a separate identity with a waterfall shower, a large bathtub, two sinks and two towel racks, and local yellow flowers decorating the shelves.
Opposite the bathroom were soft twin MyBeds. The pillows were so cosy that they sent me into oblivion for a few hours, after which we made use of the 32-inch LCD TV, writing desk featuring a kettle and coffee machine, chaise longue, armchairs and the stocked mini-fridge. Please note, the hotel has removed all plastic bottles from rooms and replaced them with reusable glass bottles. These can be filled at the filtered water fountains throughout the hotel.
Finally, at the foot of the room is a balcony overlooking the palm trees and ocean with outdoor furniture. Watching the sun rise and set here, often with the 24/7 room service, is one of the most relaxing and dreamy experiences on the island. Beware, if you’re using the balcony, the playful wildlife will come and say hello.
Dining at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial
Like any good Mauritius luxury hotel, Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa has several restaurants. These serve a range of locally grown and caught cuisines, from Japanese to Indian, Mauritian to French, and a variety of intimate settings, from rooftops to beachside candle-lit tables.
Sofitel’s main dining area is Ravinala, a lofty restaurant with wide white tables and an Asian décor adorned with hundreds of plates and bowls featuring uniquely crafted dishes. Ravinala is a buffet-style restaurant overlooking the ocean and swimming pool. But what I enjoyed most is that each night had a different theme – Indian, French, seafood, Chinese, etc. – and I got to sample exciting culinary traditions from each region. Please note, flip flops and shorts are not allowed for an evening meal!
Breakfast is also served here, and before we get into that, the one thing you need to know is to look out for the chocolate chip muffins! These are the ultimate way to start your day, provided you can keep the small birds away. Breakfast is also served buffet style and is equally diverse. Mauritius is a former British and French colony, and breakfast really reflects this heritage with fluffy pastries and freshly baked bread, and every ingredient for a Full English. There’s also plenty of fruit, cereals, cold cuts, and yoghurts to devour!
2. Ming Court / Teppanyaki
Two floors above Ravinala, you’ll find Ming Court, a Chinese restaurant with the most delicious pork sweet and sour curry that I’ve ever tried. The majority of the tables are situated outside on a rooftop balcony overlooking the infinity pool, and it felt quite magical to dine under the stars and moon, with accompanying candles and the occasional frog bellows.
One area of Ming Court is Teppanyaki which basically has its tables inside the building rather than on the rooftop. Teppanyaki, as the name suggests, features a few teppanyaki cooking plates where you’ll witness dancing knives, sizzling ingredients, and cooking flames. Each person is given a tempura starter before the chef starts cooking the mains right in front of you. Mains could include tiger prawns and steak, and a fried-rice egg burrito.
2. Tamassa Beach Restaurant
My favourite restaurant – the one I spent all my lunches at – is Tamassa. Here, I enjoyed the warm ocean breeze in my hair while I curled the sand under my toes. The menu is full of local specialities, among the best is the calamari with sweet chilli sauce. It’s quite something to eat seafood and gaze at the ocean from which it came. The Caesar salad and club sandwiches are likewise delicious and the Mauritian pizza, made with basil, palm hearts and marlin is quite the flavoursome experience.
In the evening, guests can dine on the beach, accompanied by live music, and flickering lanterns. Sounds romantic, right? Also, Thursday night is a lobster night which consists of a five-course menu, beginning with an amuse bouche of lobster carpaccio.
Are there any bars at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial?
Absolutely, and my favourite is the Le Flamboyant Pool Bar which sits in the adults-only infinity pool. The bar stools are underwater, overlooking the Indian Ocean, and the freshly squeezed orange juice or fruity cocktails are refreshing beverages for a hot day.
The Kestrel Bar sits between the pool and sea with an extensive menu of classic cocktails as well as tropical delicacies like lychee and caipirinhas mojitos. If you’d like something healthier, Kestrel Bar has wellness in mind and serves coconut water, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, ginger syrup and lemongrass infusion.
Amenities, Spa and Fitness at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial
1. Swimming Pools
There are two pools at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa. The main pool is overlooked by the reception/lobby and most of the restaurants and bars. The pool has a gentle decline, meaning it gets deeper the further into the pool you go. If you’d like to join in, water aerobic exercises take place here every morning, and you can also take diving lessons here, before going out into the ocean.
To the right of this pool, is the adults-only pool which was, by far, my favourite swimming pool. Not only because the bar serves good cocktails, but it’s heated and there are exquisite views of Tamarin mountain.
Loungers and towels are available at both pools, as well as on the beach. While all beaches are public on the island of Mauritius, the Sofitel one doesn’t seem to be frequented too often by tourists.
2. The Spa
The spa at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial is what makes this luxury hotel truly luxurious. The spa is operated in collaboration with L’Occitane, and as soon as we walked into the building we were greeted with friendly smiles, and a spacious courtyard, featuring a heated pool in its centre. Surrounding the pool, under slate roofs and separated by large curtains, are rest and relaxation rooms with loungers to enjoy before or after the massage.
We were seated in one of these and given tea to sip while we waited for our masseuse. We had an hour-long detoxifying massage which sent us all to sleep, but when we woke, we felt unbelievably refreshed. Like before, we were taken to a lounger where we enjoyed another cup of cardamom tea. We were encouraged to relax here for as long as we needed.
Please note, you must arrive 15 minutes before your treatment to sign a form and to change.
Opening hours: 10 am – 7:30 pm each day.
3. The Gym
Adjacent to the spa is the gym which sits in its own colonial-style pavilion with semi-open walls. The gym is equipped with TechnoGym machines and free weights. Staff are also on hand to help you train.
Activities at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa
There are several activities available at Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial, and among my favourite was the giant floor chessboard and the glass-bottom boat trip. The latter allows you to view the fish and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean.
There are also several watersports included for free at the hotel, including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking (there are ones with clear bottoms so you can look at the fish), snorkelling and pedalos. On the beach, there are football goals and volleyball nets for the active among you to enjoy!
If you’re a water sports enthusiast, like my brother, you can also pay for scuba diving courses and lessons. From these lessons, you can get your PADI diving qualifications!
Half-board vs full-board vs all-inclusive – Which to go for?
Here is a quick cheat sheet to explain the difference between half-board, full-board and all-inclusive.
Half-board gets you breakfast and dinner. If you’re looking to save a few pennies this might be the best option for you, since both meals are quite substantial and lunch is almost never needed. On half-board, drinks are charged separately.
Full-board includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But like before, drinks are charged separately.
Unfortunately, there are no all-inclusive options available.
What do you think of Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial?
Has this tropical paradise impressed you, and if so, would you stay at Sofitel when visiting Mauritius?
If you’ve been to Mauritius, where did you stay and do you have any recommendations?