Mauritius is such a popular destination. Weren’t you looking to get away from it all on a holiday?
Though I’ve travelled all over the world, I had never been to Mauritius. Le Telfair had its own golf course and we had heard that the water, too, was very good. I like to visit the best golf course wherever I go—there are so many great courses and each one is a new experience—and the ocean, too, is part of the holiday plan whenever possible. The hotel itself turned out to be fairly busy, but it was comfortable and the service was very personalized. It’s just 40 minutes away from the airport, on the southwestern tip of the island, but very quiet and exclusive.
Sea, sun, sand… lots of places in India offer the same combination. Why go across the sea?
The weather was unbelievable, it was cool even in the middle of the day. In the mornings, we wore sweat shirts, and in the afternoons, my wife needed a shawl on the beach, while I was swimming in the ocean. And, of course, the proximity of a world-class golf course is something no Indian beach destination offers currently.
This holiday was just about Charu and me. So, besides golf and water sports, we did not plan a daily schedule. We took each of those six days one at a time.
Is your wife into golf and swimming as well?
She enjoys both, but is not as excited about them as I am. Charu used to play regularly for India and won the Pakistan Women’s Open, but she’s very competitive and doesn’t care for casual golf. She enjoyed walking the course while I played, and either read or came out into the ocean on a boat when I was swimming. We took long walks together on the beach, which we really enjoyed. The weather was so good—you could walk forever and not feel hot. We also did some sightseeing in and around Le Telfair and went into Port Louis and checked out the waterfront shopping district.
What was the holiday experience you could never hope to repeat?
I used to swim competitively at one time, and I found the sea near the beach a little too calm. The big breakers were about 1,000m away from the beach, where the coral reefs are located. We had hired a boat to take us beyond the breakers when, suddenly, a few hundred dolphins broke the surface. I dove into the sea—the water was crystal clear—and there were dolphins swimming below me and above me. From about 50ft away, they looked really small, but when they got closer, I realized most of them were about 5ft long. I was apprehensive about bumping into one of them, but they are really graceful creatures. The most amazing thing was the absolute lack of fear. With any other kind of fish or animal that size, one would have been worried, but I felt absolutely safe and connected with the dolphins. I think that was a very special and rare experience. I stayed in the water for more than 30 minutes, and they came back and forth, circling in unpredictable patterns.
All that exercise—you must have worked up quite an appetite.
The food was a speciality of the resort. There was excellent pasta, seafood and wines. I remember having some delicious spicy Cajun fish, which is a local delicacy.
Why are you going back to Mauritius within just eight months?
I’m hoping my kids can relive the dolphin experience. Nikhil and Naina are 14 and 12 respectively, and both play golf and swim well. I’m looking forward to playing three rounds with them—last time, I played just one round of golf as, basically, I wanted to experience the fantastic course. Temperatures will be between 18°C and 24°C, with maybe a bit of rain—perfect for Indians wanting to escape the scorching summer.
As told to Sumana Mukherjee. Share your last holiday with us at email@example.com