Adventure is worthwhile
Exploring Preskil Island Resort on Mauritius
Review by Andrew Threlfall
In the 24 official James Bond movies, there’ve been some phenomenally off the wall and even strangely named baddie hideouts, from airships (the Led Zeppelin-esque Zorin Blimp) to futuristic space stations and abandoned islands even Google Maps would struggle to trace.
“We’d like you to come and stay at Preskil Island,” read the email. Was I being targeted for my anti-Republican Party rhetoric? How long would the stay be (indefinite)? Would the editor be okay paying a ransom? Or had I just read the email incorrectly without my glasses on, inadvertently jumping to the conclusion that this was some kind of Guantánamo Bay turned tourist location I could visit and thrill my colleagues about afterwards: “Yes I went to Preskil, and turns out the massages in the Banyan Spa centre are great!’
The sea; that’s what you see from above. And that’s probably why I said yes to flipping the seasons and travelled to the south equator and this Indian Ocean island, for Preskil’s meaning in Creole is ‘nearly an island’.
Long haul flights, twelve hours in this case, are not my favourite thing for short trips but at least this one didn’t have any accompanying jetlag at the other end. Air Mauritius really do appreciate that arriving as refreshed as possible on a night flight is imperative. Down came the blinds after just two hours out of Heathrow at 7.30pm. Good move. French wines? Even better move.
Mauritius is a small island (compared to it’s much larger though travel unfriendly neighbour Madagascar) but movement internally is challenging due to old buses navigating around pothole riddled B roads which result in surprisingly long journeys. Fortunately then the airport was a mere 15 minute drive from the resort.
Whoever designed Preskil clearly had a sense of humour. Incorporating multiple bars, serving the multiple varieties of the strong local rum, the journey to your room is virtually impossible even without the bar pit stops which leave you swiftly and joyously hammered. Let me rephrase that. Such is the numbered layout of the rooms, an American designed city centre grid system this is not, that it is highly unlikely you will ever take exactly the same route back. I chose to orientate myself to the waterfront each time I journeyed to my room, which proved not to be a great idea in midnight’s complete darkness after a few drinks and dancing energetically with the local girls (the same ones who had been on reception earlier but now in traditional costume) putting on their weekly show. The show is certainly recommended, so ask when it is on.
Planet Travel Holidays it turns out, and not Goldfinger or a man stroking a white cat, organise bespoke Preskil Island Resort and water sport packages, and this Christmas will be their first after a significant re-launch. Summer in the southern hemisphere will be baking with expected daily temperatures frequently hitting the 40°C mark. So this is the ideal place for moody Europeans to kick back and enjoy a multitude of watersports safe in the knowledge that the crystal clear water is around 20°C. In addition to this, is a maximum of five or six feet in depth as the resort benefits from being next to a lagoon isolated from the rougher Indian Ocean seas by a conveniently located reef a mile or so out to sea.
This is not to say, however, that your daily activities can be planned any more than 20 minutes ahead of actually taking part in them. The weather changes as often as your huge choice of watersports at the hotel (see the website). Wind is the key here to what you can do and in part two of my trip I will be talking more about the undeniable benefits of kitesurfing. If I just say the words Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean versus shallow Lagoon in the southern Indian Ocean you’ll get the idea!
Rooms were approximately £200 a night during full occupancy in September as this is absolutely the last word in luxury accommodation on the island’s east coast that included excellent buffet breakfast choices in the half board option. My chosen Bond girl was out on the full board straight after breakfast pulling yoga moves it was so calm.
The sunsets over Preskil were romantic in the extreme. And skinny-dipping wasn’t a bad idea in the dark in those temperatures. Get the tidal drift right and you might even wash up outside your room and together make a ‘cheeky’ run for the door.