We stayed there for 4 nights, outmuscling our tour operator to book us into this property from the others he was suggesting – and it is courtesy Trip Advisor that I insisted on Sands. Here is what I found out.
1) Reached in the evening, after a slow and tiring hour long drive from their Airport (yes, it is that far). However, the express check-in and the sight of the Infinity pool, with the mountain at the other end were straight out of a postcard. The thought of jumping into this pool itself was rejuvenating. Finding my room almost at the edge of the beach was priceless.
2) The room is clearly laid out; bath and storage separate from the main living area is a blessing and helped keep the room looking neat. A personalized cookie for my son with his name was something he remembered the whole night. An extra bed for him provided us much bed space and the sleep quality was awesome. The interiors, with the balcony opening into the front pool and the beach were tasteful and the television worked (comparing it to Dubai from where we came here) wonders. Special mention about the bathroom! Spacious and compartmentalized enough for the whole family to get ready together. This is a huge plus for people who like to sleep more than spending time in front of the mirror.
3) The staff; got to give it to them, they are very helpful and accommodating. And they were everywhere – reception, restaurant, bell boys, and concierge, at the pool, at the beach. All with a smile!
4) The hotel itself, outside of the room was quite a discovery. Private beach space, a lot of complimentary water activities, bicycles to rent and ride, spa looked good, and a walk along the beach in the evenings when the sunset produces dazzling colors in Mauritius is so good. If you are the lazing in the pool variety, then the evening entertainment options just by the pool are also a great option to spend time. BTW, free Wi-Fi.
So, what were the things that I thought could improve? Here is my list –
1) Food. We expected Mauritius to be more Indian than it turned out to be. Hence, we struggled for couple of meals (survived on pastas) before we finally had to call in the chef and ask him for some Indian options. They did, and probably their best, but it could have been better. However, the selection of desserts and whatever Italian I could muster made me feel that the food quality was quite nice.
2) The entrance to the hotel demonstrates that it is a much smaller property than the others (and the way it is, you’d cross Hilton, Sofitel and other premium properties before you reach Sands). Being contagious, you could walk over to the Hilton part of the beach and compare. I guess Sands could invest a bit in the beach front and provide comparable options.
3) The beach towels. The amount of deposit money that the hotel keeps aside for them from a guest is what made me nervous and I guarded them day and night like precious jewels. Maybe, they could ease up a little on those orange pieces. Also, the beach is coral ridden so, it is a bit restrictive in terms of how often could you muster your will power to jump in. I preferred the pool mostly.
4) Finally, it’s deep in the west. It’s far from East (airport, surfing island), far from South (national parks, colored earth) and far from North (grand bay). Taxis are monuments of national treasure in Mauritius and charge a lot for their usage so keep that in mind. If you are booked with travel operators then expect longer travels as the caravans go pick guests from far flung hotels. But hey, flic-n-flac is a good place to stay, complete with a casino and a disco.
Overall, Sands is a great place to stay, would recommend everyone and would go back myself…and wife as well, if the food gets taken care of.
Room Tip: All rooms are good, try and stay anywhere.