A tropical jewel in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a haven for beach lovers and adventure seekers alike. Providing an eclectic mix of Indian, African, European and Chinese cultures, the culinary offerings are distinctly diverse, while the epic landscapes of majestic mountains, sugar cane and pineapple fields and powder-soft sands on an island encircled by coral reefs creates a paradise setting for an island escape.
SEE ALSO: The world's most colourful beaches
SEE ALSO: The best beaches in the world
An all-inclusive resort may not be the first place you think of checking in to for an authentic taste of Mauritius, but this five-star resort gives the best of both worlds. Experience the finest places on the island combined with an array of activities and beautiful spaces that couples, families and friends can enjoy.
Club Med La Plantation d'Albion, located on the west coast in the sleepy fishing village of Albion, is right on the beach, a five-star all-inclusive resort that is perfect for families. It has all the benefits of the Club Med brand, with much more besides. From the quiet adults-only pool to the stylis, upmarket decor creating a wonderful ambiance for couples, La Plantation d'Albion combines luxury and serenity with a wealth of activities in a natural setting.
For your own little oasis at the resort, book a Deluxe Sea View Room in the Bois Cheri cluster of rooms set behind the adults-only infinity pool (one of our favourite spots at the resort - great for watching the sunset). The room is spacious and exotic, decorated with dark wood furniture and vibrant pink and orange hues for a warm ambiance.
Then there's the bathroom - a freestanding bath tub sits opposite the black-tiled, super-spacious shower, making it a romantic room for lovers. Naturally, there are two (his and hers, if you like) sinks and the bathroom opens out to the bedroom, separated by wooden shutters reminiscent of the island's colonial architecture and allowing you to enjoy the sounds of the tropical birds and lush gardens while inside your room. To experience al-fresco living, the huge private terrace provides shade for soaking up the views and tranquillity from a lounger.
While at the resort, you will want to experience the many sports and activities on offer. Whether you are simply here to relax and fancy taking part in some light exercise with Pilates or tai chi, or prefer to try something new and exciting such as trapeze, archery or paddle boarding, you will be spoilt for choice at La Plantation d'Albion. In fact, there are more activities than you will fit into a week at the resort. To make the most of the glorious setting, take a kayak out onto the turquoise waters, spot tropical fish on a snorkelling excursion or play beach volleyball on the soft coral sands. Golf and tennis are available for those who want to be taught by excellent teachers, hone their skills or simply have a relaxed game with friends.
Dining at La Plantation d'Albion is decadent and all you have to decide is whether you would like it buffet-style or a la carte. Restaurant La Distillerie serves a buffet like you've never experienced and you can dine on the open-air terrace or the covered terrace overlooking the sea. From authentic Mauritian cuisine (dholl puri with all the fillings, mine frire, gateaux bringelles), to freshly grilled seafood straight from the sea and prepared right in front of your eyes (the tuna steak is to die for) - the dining options won't disappoint, despite the resort having just two restaurants. La Distillerie has six different stations, with local cuisine, European dishes, freshly made sushi and delicious dessert and Mauritian fruits beautifully displayed. For those who prefer a more intimate dinner, restaurant La Phare is open for á la carte dining overlooking the ocean.
What makes this Club Med resort stand out is its beautiful design and abundant offerings. The endless flow of Champagne, inviting Cinq Mondes spa and picturesque beach with four-poster beds and little cocoons make the resort a place for adults as much as for children. Families can benefit from four different kids' clubs for children aged two to 17 years, and at night there is entertainment for all at the Theatre, including the impressive circus show with moves that rival Cirque du Soleil.
What you will love most about La Plantation d'Albion is the choice. You can hide away to soak up the tranquillity from your room and the quieter, more natural second beach with rocks, or get social in the lively spaces such as the main pool and Bar Le Banian. You can opt for buffet or á la carte dining, travel as a family, a couple or friends, and experience a relaxing escape with little activity by retreating to the spa or have an action-packed trip to the island with the likes of golf, tennis and more.
One thing you must do when visiting Mauritius is get out of the resort to explore the beautiful island. While it is easily an idyllic place for a fly and flop holiday, there is so much to see and do outside of the hotel. Port Louis, the bustling capital, is great for seeing the locals go about their daily lives at the Central Market, taking a stroll along Le Caudan Waterfront and purchasing Mauritian delights from street sellers (dholl puri, fruit confit and savoury gadjacks are must-tries!). And don't miss mingling with the crowds during a race day at the second oldest racecourse in the world, Champ de Mars Racecourse.
Far from the busy capital, there are breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Sites, incredible waterfalls and extraordinary colonial architecture to discover. Le Morne Brabant, where runaway slaves came to shelter during the 18th and 19th centuries is a magnificent site to witness, as is the perfectly-preserved Creole mansion Eureka which reveals the island's 19th century colonial past. Nature enthusiasts will be in their element in Mauritius and can hike Tamarind Falls or the Black River Gorge National Park, dive or snorkel around coral reefs and explore the unusual village of Chamarel, home to undulating dunes of coloured earth and the picturesque Chamarel Falls. If it is beaches that tempt you, head to the northern shores of Grand Baie, Troux au Biches and Pereybere , where the emerald waters and powdery white sand offer a perfect day out.
Book it:Club Med La Plantation Albion offers all-inclusive holidays to Mauritius starting at £5,244 for a family of four (two adults and two children aged eight and four) staying in an interconnecting family club room with direct British Airways flights from Gatwick departing on 14 July 2016.
Save: From 30 May to 30 July and 20 August to 29 October, the resort is offering free accommodation to children under 12 when you book by 31 May 2016.
Download: To prepare you for your stay, you can download the Club Med app and familiarise yourself with the resort before your arrival, discover the diverse selection of sports on offer and find out the dress codes for themed nights.