Hotel Beachcomber Troux aux Biches
Mauritius is known for its numerous posh hotel complexes with dream beaches. The Beachcomber Hotel Troux aux Biches is such a dream hotel in which we spent two weeks in June 2005. In the following chapters there is my very personal evaluation of this hotel complex.
General Information about the Hotel
Beachcomber is an hotel chain that operates several upper-class hotels in Mauritius and in the Seychelles. The Hotel Troux aux Biches is located in the same named place Troux aux Biches (in English: doe-hole) in the north-west of the island, thus there where the weather is always a notch above as in the rest of the island. The hotel was built in the year 1973 and is therewith one of the oldest hotels of the island Mauritius. In the following I will explain the advantages and the disadvantages of this. Troux aux Biches is a small and unattractive place, where one actually does not notice anything if one is spending the holiday in the Hotel Troux aux Biches. There are some further hotels but they are so far away that one also has nothing to do with them. Thus, those who go to the Hotel Troux aux Biches are in an hotel complex that practically forms an isolated territory. This is why it is so difficult to visit from the hotel some shopping centers or restaurants on foot. There is also practically no possibility to leave the hotel in the evenings in order to have a walk, as behind the hotel limits, one soon gets to the middle of nowhere.
The hotel complex is huge. The whole complex extends over approximately 2 kilometres length and the wonderful beach is as long as the complex and der direkt in die Hotelanlage übergeht; As the whole beach is protected by a coral reef, the water is very calmed and shallow; it is ideal for bathing and of course for snorkeling too.
The hotel has 194 rooms and suites, but they are not arranged as in a standard hotel in a big building on several floors. The huge hotel complex consists on numerous small houses, each of them having between three and five rooms in two floors. Each of the small houses stand in a big palm garden. Between the small houses there is so much space that one does not feel like being in an hotel but rather in a small villa landscape, where the next neighbour lives far away from oneself. One should imagine that by sailing out a piece into the open sea an d look back to the hotel, one cannot recognize in any case that behind this gorgeous beach with the abundant palms there is a big hotel hidden.
By looking at the phantastic outdoor plant, one notices how old the hotel is: the palms have some thick trunks and are very tall, exactly the way one wants them in a holiday. But also numerous young palms are growing on this huge complex. One can nearly watch daily how the gardeners plant some new small coconuts with first sprouts into the earth, were there is still some space left. Therewith, the hotel complex is like a huge botanic garden, where one can walk through the tropical plants and trees.
I have never seen such a big hotel complex before in which so few people are accommodated in such a huge space. These days, such complexes cannot be planed and built anywhere, as simply the space and the free beach section is not available. The Hotel Troux aux Biches was not so big at the beginning; it was once expanded by a big piece. This gets noticeable by looking at the roofs: the houses from the "old" times have thatched roofs, while the new houses' roofs consist on small plates and are a little bigger.
The Beach and the Pool-Landscape
As already mentioned above, the hotel complex exapands over approximately two kilometres length right alongside the beach. Therewith, it practically does not play any role where one lives, one simply leaves one's small house and walks straightaway in direction to the beach. From the houses at the front there are maybe 20 m, while from the houses at the background, there is approximately the double distance. One gets to a dream beach section, where numerous deck chairs with matresses under small parasols with thatched roofs stand. These deck chairs belong to the hotel, even if the whole beach is a public beach.
A public beach is basically not a disadvantage, as the people rather visit some other beach sectrions of the proximity. But what is a big disadvantage is that on a public beach, numerous merchants want to do their business. From a necklace up to a wool jumper, from the coconut up to ananas and from catamaran-trips up to sea-angling nearly everything is offered what can be imagined. Unfortunately it is no so that occasionally, such a beach seller comes over, but these roamers partly appear any five minutes. And the sellers do not simply walk through the crowds, no, they talk personally to each single vacationer. Not even pretending to sleep does help. I have never seen such intrusive sellers in no country of the world as I did in Mauritius. Unfortunately, one can not even think on a relaxed and calmed relaxing on the beach.
I wonder why the number of the merchants is not stronger limited. If I am in Germany and I sit down on a chair for a few hours and are permanently exposed to selling offers, this is called a trip combined with a sales show. But most of the times, such a trip is free of charge and I do not pay an expensive hotel room at a 10.000 km distance for that. After a few days one really develops some tactics in order to get rid of the annoying sellers, but nevertheless, one does not get the longed calmness.
But back to the positive things: finally, we are lying on a dream beach in Mauritius, which special feature is that one can walk without any thongs comfortable with bare feet into the shallow water. In many other beaches of Mauritius, one should wear some thongs in order not to prick oneself, for example with some coral pieces with sharp edges or with sea urchins. The water is crystal clear and really inviting to have a bath in it. But there are some strong ocean currents in this beach, so that one either can be drifted down alongside the beach or simply swim for a quarter of an hour on the spot against the sea current.
The beach in front of the Hotel Troux aux Biches is not only a paradise for sun lovers and bathing guests but also the snorkeling tourists get their money worth. The fist little fishes are already visible by the naked eye right at the shallow beach waters. We already come across to bigger fishes after a few metres, where the water is barely half a metre deep. And by swimming 10-20 m into the sea, the ground colour changes from a sandy white to a coral green and we can see some numerous colourful little fishes. It is possible to swim a few hundred metres outside up to the edge of the reef, the sea ground becomes increasingly covered by the corals. The depth varies between one and two metres, thus it is a real paradise for snorkeling people. Today I can still not believe what wonderful couloured fishes I saw right at the beach of the hotel where I was.
Approximately in the centre of the hotel complex there is a pool around which there were also numerous deck chairs arranged. The pool itself is not anything special, rather a little boring, the newer hotels have some fancier facilities, for example with bridges that run over the pool or some small balges, where one can lie in. In our case, the pool water was really cold, so that we simply ignored it. Moreover, it is only a few minutes walk within the hotel complex in order to get to the centrally located pool.
In Mauritius, water sports belong also to the beach and pool area, and in this concern, we had a dream offer at our disposal. Two times a day, one could daily go by a fisher boat behind the riff in order to snorkel there. It was also possible to get by a glass bottom boat out to the sea in order to watch the underwater-world. I learned water skiing, some canoes were at our disposal and also paddleboats could be borrowed at any time. And the most sensational of this offer: everything was free! All these possibilities made a day on the beach go by very fast. There was simply always something to do and all this was possible at a short term without any long bookings. I cannot stop emphasizing how we repeatedely enjoyed this fantastic service.
Our Hotel Room
I already mentioned above that the hotel rooms are not within a huge hotel building but in small houses with each 3 - 5 rooms. There are rooms in the basement and some others in the first floor. All rooms are faced to the sea, whereby only a few have a straight view to the sea, as many times, the abundance of palms in the gorgeous palm garden block the straight view to the sea. But one does not let oneself be disturbed, as one lives in a huge botanic garden and there are only a few metres to walk to the sea. I can hardly say how pleasant it was to get out of one's room and walk straight to the beach; Thus, one did not have to go first through an hotel lobby, but could leave the room straight in bathing clothes. And if there was something needed as sun lotion or a refreshment, no problem, as one was within a minute in the room - it was simply very pleasant.
Our simple room (I say simple because there are also superior rooms and suites) was big and spacious. Apart from our big double bed we had an additional couch that could be used as a couch or as an extra bed. Also our bathing room was nicely spacious; the toilet was in a separate room. Of course, in a good hotel room, a mini bar should not be missing, and kudos to the minibar that always was filled to the rim. It was not extremely expensive as the way I am used to from other hotels. Thus, it was possible to afford a drink from the minibar from time to time.
On the mini bar, there was a nice large TV, but unfortunately it did not have any value to us, as most of the TV programs were in French language. There was not one single german TV channel, only a German movie channel, but it did not inform one about the events in the home country. Thus, we spent a complete holiday without watching TV; this was also good doing.
The air conditioning of our room either cooled the longue as also the bathroom. But the cooling effect was not specially strong; the power was probably reduced in the winter time of Mauritius. But I have to Loben the air conditioning in so far insofern that I could switch it on, also if I was not in the room. As I was disturbed by the noise of the air conditioning at night, it was possible to air and cool down the room during dinner. In most of the hotels, this is not possible any more.
The room service came in the mornings and in the evenings; our room was cleaned and the bed was done in the mornings; in the evenings, the bed was opened and the floor was mopped again. It was always a pleasure when in the evenings, the friendly enployee knocked on the door to do the service. A friendly conversation was also a part of the room service in which one often got some very good explanations concerning the island and the life of the island inhabitants.
Unfortunately, I have to mention a very serious disadvantage of the hotel rooms: it is very clairaudient in the small houses. Our room was separated from the neighbour room by only a thin wall that even was interrupted by a doule door. Thus, we could hear each of the words said by our neighbours, listen to their TV program and of course we could also hear when they moved some chairs or closed the door. Those who are lucky by having some neighbours who sleep and wake up at the same time will not experience any disadvantage by this. But I heard from other guests that they heavily suffered from the noises of the neighbours, also if they were not willingly loud. One tip: those who somehow can influence the choice of their room should opt for a room in the upper floor of the small houses, as there, one hears a little less than in the rooms of the basement.
Eating and Drinking
There are three restaurants in the hotel complex, two of them are located straight at the pool and one is further in the backround of the complex. In the restaurant of the background named La Caravelle, we had our breakfast buffet in the mornings and our dinner buffet in the evenings, thus it is practically the standard-restaurant; here, people eat regularly. Both other restaurants are rather there for the case it should be something different.
Every day, the breakfast was a little highlight. The choice was huge and everything was carefully and lovingly prepared. It was a real pleasure to go 2 - 3 times to the breakfast buffet every morning and to fill one's plate to the rim. From freshly prepared omelettes, eggs and pancakes, there was everything available what can be imagined for breakfast. Coffe and tea was freshly poured at will by the friendly waiters. I think I never got such a good coffee for breakfast as I did in Trou aux Biches.
I can only compliment the evening buffet, that every day was a little different, the way I do it for the breakfast buffet. What was sensational was the fact that everything was freshly prepared; thus one was not served from big boards and hot plates but one got the piece of meat right from the pan or barbecue; Everything was served on the plate individually, there was practrically nothing to be done by oneself. Everything was delicious, no matter if the recently barbecued fish, the individually prepared salad or the little dessert appetizers. Apropos salad: one did not help oneself at the big salad buffet until the plate was full; one rather said to the cooks what should be put on the plate and then the salad was dressed for each of the guests. I have never experienced such a service in a 5 star hotel before.
Apropos service: it was a pure pleasure to be served by the well trained waiters. It was unbelievable how friendly the staff was to one, having always a nice word by passing over. Those who served some food on the plate at the buffet did not have to take it by oneself to the table but the waiters took the plate and did the "hard work" for one. Service was offered where it was possible, this was unbelievable.
Those who want to have some alternation in their evening buffet could have in the second hotel restaurant a three course menue instead. We made this two times and also enjoyed some delicious food, but we found the atmosphere in the quite dark restaurant area as a little boring, so that we came back to the buffet restaurant; Another alternative is the food à la carte in the second restaurant L'Oasis, but it was not necessary to go there with such an excellent buffet and/or a three course menue. The third restaurant is a fish restaurant named L'Espadon located right at the beach. Thus, there is a lot of alternation provided for the dinner; What is important: we always found it delicious and the service was always excellent.
At noon time and in the afternoon, there were some little snacks and main courses as pizza, pasta, salads and fish offered in the pool restaurant. The lunch meal was rather of an average quality, simply nothing special. I have experienced in other hotels some better snacks in the noon time. But therefore, it was really pleasing to order at the pool restaurnt one or two drinks without any concern and it was of course served at the deck chair; the prices for all kinds of drinks were very moderated. I bring this out because I have already been in hotels where one had to go each second day to a supermarket in order to buy some drinks.
The Hotel Personnel
In the huge hotel complex there are more than 400 people working. With barely 200 rooms, this approximately means that per each guest one employee is available. This is, of course, a sensational ratio, and as a guest one also notices this service. One is permanently served well and correctly; No matter if in the restautant, in the room, on the beach or at the reception, there is always somebody there for one who is helpful and friendly.
I already described the service in the restaurant as sensational. Here, I can only repeatedely mention the friendliness of the waiters that served us in the mornings, on middays and in the evenings. The waiters had always a smile on their face and liked to talk to one. But I do not have to compliment only the friendliness but also the correctness: from pouring the wine up to clearing the table, everything was perfectly done the way I seldom experienced it. I found it simply notable how good the restaurant personnel was trained and how they served the guests.
The room staff was equally friendly. If somebody came by chance when one was in the room, there was always a nice and amicable conversation. Everything was always nicely cleaned, it was never forgotten anything, simply exemplary! Of course, this perfect service was worth enough to me to leave a little tip every day on the bed, a thing that made the staff very happy. Once we were even rewarded with a coconut!
I was a little disappointed by the personnel at the rezeption, that was indeed always friendly but did not always make the effort to get the information I needed. Thus, for example it was not possible to give us a weather forecast for the next day or a prognosis for the week. I already experienced a better service for the guests in other hotels.
In general it can be said that the contact with the personnel, no matter if it was a waiter, a chambermaid,a pool-guard or the beach boy, it was always a pleasure, thus kudos for the well trained and friendly personnel of the Hotel Trou aux Biches.
Sports and Entertainment
In the Hotel Trou aux Biches there is a nearly infinite offer of sports and entertainment. I cannot remember and name them all, but I know that these two weeks were not enough to do all the things I would have liked to do. For me, the water ski that was free of charge was a highlight and the daily offered boat trips behind the reef that were free of charge.
It is almost a matter of course that in an extra-class hotel there is a fitness studio with top exercise machines. To the contrary, tennis courts are not a matter of course at all, on which one could play in the evenings under the floodlight, also free of charge including the racket, only the balls had to be bought by oneself. But for some people it was probably enough sports to have a walk of half an hour through the hotel complex. Also the golf players, who have a 9 hole golf course at the other side of the hotel go for a walk; but for playing golf there was a little fee to pay.
What else was available? A trial course in diving was available, deep sea fishing could be booked and of course many different excursions by bus or by ship were possible. And for those who did not have enough with the hotel offer, there were private providers waiting for them with all kinds of attractions. By this way, for barely 20 € with let a speedboat pull us ahead in big hoops passing the beaches; there is no roller coaster that can compete with this feeling!
Of course, in the modern times, the access to the internet should not be missing in an hotel. In the entrance area there was a modern computer with flat screen available. Only one computer for such a big hotel? Yes, as it was always free. With a cheeky expensive user fee of approximately half a euro per minute, people rediscovered writing letters and postcards, as on a keybord that for German people is quite wild (French? Mauritian?), writing an email would take 10 minutes and this would exceed any price scope.
The Audience in the Hotel
As known, Mauritius is the most popular dream holiday destination for just married couples. Who does not want to spend their honeymoon in a dream island in the south Indian ocean? According to that, in the Hotel Trou aux Biches, during the flight to Mauritius and also in the island, one comes across to numerous young couples that repeatedely huge each other. I think the average age in our hotel is of 35-40 years. A senior couple breaks ranks the same way as a family with two kids.
At the upper end of the hotel there is a small house right at the beach but it is only visible if one walks specially for that up to this end of the complex or if one's room is there by chance. Here, approximately 5 times a week there are weddings. Then,one sees some very happy couples that do their photo shooting on the beach and in the evenings have a celebration, either in smaller or in a bigger company.
Our first week was dominated by the French; the few Germans, Austrians and Swiss people that were also in the hotel were soon found. As a German, one was here not one among many ones but rather something special. In the second week, the german speaking quota increased a little, but it was still clearly lower than the one of the French and English speaking. But English does not mean in Mauritius England and least of all the U.S.; there are rather numerous South Africans spending their holiday in Mauritius, it is finally a stone's throw of a few hours.
What I found pleasant was that there were no anomalies wearing shorts and flip-flops during dinner. Thank god, banker types were equally missing as also dressed to kill women. Thus, as an decently dressed European one felt really well and exactly right.
For me, the Hotel Trou aux Biches is an absolute dream hotel. Those who not so unlucky to have loud room neighbours will live in a paradisiacal complex, will have a nice and spacious room with air conditioning, will have a 1-2 minutes walk to a dream beach, will have a fascinating coral reef for snorkeling right in front of the front door and will enjoy a wide free-of-charge offer of watersports. In this hotel,one can really spend one's dream holiday; this is why I clearly recommend this hotel.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz