And now for something completely different – the swan song of our holiday to Mauritius. We’ve had the independent lifestyle at Paradise Beach Apartments, experienced our little adventure on Rodrigues Island (a possible Simpson Secret), and now we await the big test – the family are about to arrive, or at least part of our family – three grandchildren plus their parents are coming for a family holiday in Mauritius. With ages ranging from 3-8 the venue had to change – the key to any successful holiday involving children is how to occupy them so that Mum and Dad can relax. Well, one of the answers is of course Grandma and Grandpa – or should I say ‘Super Gran and Gramps’ who fulfil a number of roles ranging from babysitting to gathering sea shells. But more important is where you stay and we did quite a bit of research on this. Our choice was The Paradis Hotel on Le Morne Peninsular for the family and the Dinarobin next door for the grandparents. Now I pride myself as Grandpas go as pretty user friendly – I’m very good at playing ‘Let’s push Grandpa in the pool’ and am more than happy to babysit when required. The numerous questions that come my way from “Why do sharks eat people?” to “Who made the moon?” need considered responses and I do my best. However, the great thing about being a grandparent is you can hand them back when you’ve had enough!
So, the plan was to disappear back to the sanctuary of our hotel which was only a five minute ride on a chauffeured golf buggy across the private 18-hole golf course shared by both hotels, to our own beach and facilities. I might add The Dina Robin Hotel is perfect for couples and even families with teenage children, but if you’ve got young ones like our brood then the Paradis will serve you better, not least because you won’t get embarrassed if one of your little darlings decides to throw a hissy fit. But the ‘pièce de résistance’ at the Paradis is the Children’s Club. We at Simpson Travel know a little bit about crèches and kids clubs as we run a very successful one of our own at Periyali Villas Crèche and Children’s Club on the island of Zakynthos in Greece. Now in its 7th year, our crèche has received numerous accolades from satisfied parents who gain a little respite on their holiday by letting us take the strain.
With any children’s club the biggest test is the reaction from the children who attend it – the proof was in the pudding. Once sampled our ‘gang’ couldn’t get enough and to be honest the grandparents became almost redundant. With an imaginative array of pursuits on the ‘menu’ ranging from face-painting to searching for crabs for our granddaughters, Leila and Scarlett, to the more energetic adventures for Lucas, our 8-year-old grandson, who learnt to play golf and tennis. He also partook in a variety of water activities and also discovered fishing – in fact the question frequently asked was “Where’s Luke?” – and the answer was “He’s gone fishing”. All these activities are of course organised following strict health and safety guidelines as in Europe with staff as gentle, kind and patient as I have encountered anywhere.
So, we are now coming to the end of our five week sojourn in this most glorious of islands. I for one am refreshed, healthier and ready to face the world and whatever it may throw at me. Yianna and I both know how lucky we are to be able to spend such a long time in a wonderfully warm climate away from the cold and damp but there has to be some pluses to getting older!
Will we return next year? Well, there’s every chance – we’ve got a taste for this island and there is definitely something to be said for returning to a familiar place and knowing exactly what to expect.
But in the meantime, there’s a lot of work to be done for Simpson Travel in the coming months – not least working with the team and putting in place some of my Mauritius ideas plus exploring the way forward with our core destinations of Greece, Turkey, Corsica and Mallorca for 2014.
I can’t wait to get started!