MAURITIUS wins hands down for being as close to the Robinson Crusoe tropical island as you could imagine - but with 5-star luxury and no mosquitoes. Lying east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, off Africa's east coast, this bit of coral encircled paradise has had its fair share of visitors.

First found, uninhabited, by the Arabs in 975AD the island became a republic in 1968 after three centuries of colonial - Dutch (blamed for killing off its famous dodo), Portuguese, French and, from 1810, the British - French brought sugar and slaves, British indentured labour from India, whose descendants make up 70 per cent of today's population.

Once pirates and bounty hunters terrorised the island's waters - hijacking British trading ships - but these days it's mainly wealthy tourists bound for its most exclusive hotel.

Le Touessrok nestles on the east coast so close to the ocean it's virtually paddling in the surf. It even has its own private islands, the Ilot Mangenie (for sun seekers) and the Ile aux Cerfs (for watersports) that you get to by water taxi.

The main, village-style hotel is a mass of white-washed walls and shocking pink flowers. Despite its size, Le Touessrok is pleasantly quiet during the day - but it is popular as a honeymoon destination.


Le Touessrok Hotel, Trou d'Eau Douce, Mauritius (00 230 419 2451/fax 00 230 419 2025)

Local transport: Primary idea behind most luxury resorts is that you never have to leave, but it only takes an hour or so to drive anywhere on the island, so it's worth seeing the sights.

International flights: The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan International Airport is 46km away and the hotel can set up taxis or, for the more ostentatious, helicopter transfers.


There're 200 rooms and suites, from standard to plush York and Princess suites, and, yes they did come here for their honeymoon. Hotel has three wings - the Hibiscus, the Coral and the York (on an adjoining island with its own swimming pool). Each wing also has several private beaches, all with waiter service. Nothing is a problem; someone was even sent from the hotel's Indian restaurant to help fold me into a sari bought in the market in Port Louis.

Rooms: 1101-1914 give the soothing impression of being surrounded by the sea and have spectacular views of merging sea and sky. Room decor is restrained, simple warm colours, huge beds, lounge area, and a terrace or a balcony.

Bathrooms: Local wood, fluffy white bathrobes and towels and a scatter of hibiscus on arrival.

Dining: Choose from four restaurants and three bars, all specialising in either French, Mauritian or Indian cuisine and with emphasis on seafood. There are also restaurants on Ile aux Cerfs and one on Ilot Mangenie: 24-hour room service ensures you won't starve after a midnight swim

Sports: include sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, golf, horse-riding, scuba diving, game fishing, parasailing, leisurely swims.


Communications: Direct dial phones, teletext information system, satellite TV, fax, e-mail and a secretarial service all available, but after a day or so, contact with anything more than room service is too much of an effort.

Facilities: A beauty salon, dispensary, florist, film processing, foreign exchange, several boutiques if you are having shopping withdrawl symptoms.


A standard double room, on half board basis, costs from MRs5,200 (Mauritian rupees) (pounds 130) to MRs10,050 (pounds 250) per day.

I'm not paying that: You've come here to spend and be pampered honey - go Duchess and splash out on a Royal Suite (from MRs34,700 [pounds 875] per day).