Having not looked up from my computer for about 2 months I was delighted as darkness descended over London as the days shortened and a long winter was setting in. Why? Well because with each passing day it was bringing me closer to travelling to Mauritius, A.K.A Neverland.
With my Aspinal of London luggage comprising mainly of sunglasses and Havelock Bay swim shorts, I was able to focus on what really matters most in life; friends, family and loved ones! There is no point being spirited away to paradise without fellow lost boys and lost girls.
Alongside my resident partner in crime, Mr Charlie Morris, was DJ, Model and all around badass Miss Zara Martin. Long-time friend and Taylor Morris Campaign photographer veteran, Mr Grey Hutton. Model, man and legend Mr Toby Huntington-Whiteley, Mauritian Goddess Miss Alicia Rountree. The worlds nicest and genuine blogger, Miss Sarah Mikaela and finally and of course by no means least, fashion empress Miss Millie Mackintosh. That shall be the final time they are all referred to by their official names as formality was certainly not a requirement for the trip. We operate a very much “come as you are” policy at Taylor Morris, though Charlie seems to have interpreted this as “clothing optional”.
Directions to Neverland are “second star to the right and straight on till morning”. In our case it was Terminal 4 and via the Air Mauritius Lounge. Great journeys always start with champagne and we were certainly not disappointed on this occasion. Ian from Air Mauritius guided us safely on board (and to more champagne) and into the wonderful hands of their team. Imagine a fantasy where you are laying down and there is button you press that sends you delicious wine and food. You sit in this magical reclining chair until you wake up in paradise. The secret to flying; fairy and happy thoughts.
Arriving in Mauritius is like arriving home. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I know it sounds like a cliché but for an island with such a fascinating and diverse history, it really is a microcosm. A melting pot in the southern Indian ocean of varying influences, nationalities, cultures, religions, degrees of wealth, birds, fish, dogs. If variety is the spice of life, Mauritius is a madras. The same can be said of the weather. Sun and rain can be interchangeable every few minutes, but when you are kicking back with a fresh coconut and have your feet in the sand what does a little rain do to dampen the spirits?
Our first port of call was Beachcomber Trou aux Biches Golf Resort & Spa. We all had our own villas equipped with everything to make your own episode of MTV cribs (outdoor bath tub, private butler, private pool). In fact should you wish to never leave the comfort of your villa and optional clothing, you might miss the beach. This however would be a crime. Within 50 meters you have about 4 restaurants, 4 bars, white sand beaches and crystal clear water. My eagerness to indulge all my bacchanalian fantasies and indulge like sloth was palpable, but we were looking beyond the beach and in true Peter Pan style, we were off on an adventure.
Nothing gives you more of a thrill than sea karting. Its like a more comfortable jet ski with a dash of James Bond to it . There are safety restrictions which keep you from hurting someone but aside from this its one of the best mornings I spent on the island ripping down the cost as fast as I could be taken. Grey and Toby where worthy drag race advisories. My biggest mistake was to wear no sun scream (something I would later pay the price for).
At this point my memory of the trip does get a little more fractured. I had rather miserably attempted to stay pure health and pure sober throughout the trip but with so much delicious wine and locally made rum its almost impossible to resist. It would seem almost rude to not accompany the freshly caught fish with a cold glass of wine. I did pay the price for this again (no actions without consequences) as after lunch one day Air Mauritius kindly laid on a helicopter to take toby and I around the island. The lightest turbulence amplified by 3 glasses of wine resulted in some seriously embarrassing air sickness. All worth it though to see the varying topography of the island. The boy in me was imaging pirate ships, hollowed out volcanoes layers, secret passages behind waterfalls. Mauritius truly is most magnificent from the air.
As we were trying to keep busy Kenwood travel organised loads of fun activities. We visited the Seven Coloured Earths, Fed Giant tortoises, Yoga, botanical garden visit and so much more. In our down time though at the wonderful Beachcomber Trou aux Biches Golf Resort & Spa we were continually treated, complimented and fawned over. Their spa was on another level. My shiatsu massage defied belief, curing me of the aches and pains acquired over months hunched over the computer (where I am currently sat… nooooo!). With everything done with a smile from reception to beach to butler your natural happiness grows. Multiply that by outstanding natural beauty, travelling with your closest and best friends and within two days you are truly in another world. If someone is an hour late for dinner, who bloody cares, we are on island time. Do that to me in London and I am going to exact a cruel and furious vengeance on the culprit.
Tortoise feeding at La Vanille Park
Half way through our week stay, our merry band of lost boys and girls had our final cup of tea and set off the for the south west of the Island and to the Shangri La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa Mauritius. The hotel has a vibe, aroma and touch of years at practise at making people feel relaxed. The buildings hugs the landscape harmoniously and wherever you go, are almost by yourself despite the place been at full occupancy. It’s so spacious but cosy at the same time (more island magic for you). Perfect case in point; Our first lunch was held on their own private island. We had a rose tasting, 3 varieties including Brad Pitt’s from his estate in South of France, and they served truffle pizza. Now I don’t know if they had stalked mine and Millie’s Instagram but that’s pretty much like sending us both to heaven, its one of our favourite holiday activities. It was so kind it was almost cruel as I want that every day of my life. I sit here in London now furiously googling where I can get this. Short of eating a dominoes in a sun bed, I am lost for ideas.
We also had a 5 course dinner in the sand hosted by artist Gael Froget who had designed his own menu to reflect his amazing skills with a brush. To have art and food come together like this was something more common for a boutique hotel rather than a major international power house, like the Shangri La is. Its this island mentality and attention to detail which make the place so special. After dinner the wonderful manager of the hotel on hearing that I loved a Negroni cocktail, made me sample theirs which used only the finest ingredients. He hands down promised me it was going to be the best I ever had, in his beautiful sumptuous French accent. Well, he was not lying. 5 of them later and he wanted to prove it with the Old Fashioned.
With Chef Filippo Abisso and Artist Gael Froget
I think they next day was some what of a write off but I am sure it included a Dom Perignon butler plying me with Champagne in a beach front villa. Every now and again one can party like a Rolling Stone. Its good for the soul.
Our final day was one of my favourites. The entire group set off snorkelling. I am happiest when under water chasing fish and trying to find treasure, I am convinced I will find something soon. Grey Hutton, also an avid fan of holding ones breath, proclaimed he had seen the “largest puss (OctoPuss) ever in the wild”. With the warm sun beating down and the girls in their bikinis lounging on deck, I was wrapped up in a moment I will cherish forever. Our speed boat captain then whisked us off to a lunch of fried fish and chicken with cold beer on a small island.
Our final night spent watching the sun go down all together was pure magic. The entire trip went far too quickly and I am left with my screen saver showing us all on the perfect beach at the Shangri La. My life has a rather Mauritian shaped hole in it. I miss the smell of the morning on the beach. The rain drying from the night before as the sun comes up. I miss collecting shells on the beach and nap time on a super king bed.
But most of all I miss my fellow lost boys and lost girls. Memories bind us for life. Our #TaylorMorrisTravels are what makes our brand what it is. The loving, giving and sharing of one times is precious and what life is about.
So a HUGE thanks to all that came and all who took care of us. My humblest thanks and my deepest apologies as you will be seeing a lot more of me in years to come!
With love, as always
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