Q & A: Something for everyone

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Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort is a 5-star hotel located in Bel Ombre in the south-west of Mauritius. It’s a Heritage Resorts property and shares a stretch of beach with sister property Heritage Awali. Named after a famous naturalist, Charles Telfair, who lived in the area in the19th century, the resort is a member of the ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’. The beach-front property stretches across 15 acres with a lagoon, lush green setting and soaring tropical palms, along with ocean-facing rooms, a fitness centre, kids club and a relaxing Mauritian spa experience. A range of free land and water sports are available, including water-skiing and an 18-hole championship golf. It’s clearly leisure focused, but if you happen to find yourself in the area on business, you’d be hard-pressed to do better, as I’m sure General Manager Lindley Thomen would agree.

Heritage Le Telfair clearly caters more to the leisure traveller. Do you get any business travel to the hotel, and if so, what percentage of your business is business travel?

Our clientele is only composed of leisure travellers.

You have a quality golf course connected to the hotel, in the form of the Heritage Golf Club. How important is it for you to have this as part of your hotel offering?

It is of the utmost importance to offer a quality golf course, as there are so many lovely golf courses in the world, and this is why we have strived to have the best golf course in Mauritius. Also, we took the decision to choose a renowned South African architect – Peter Matkovich – to design our golf course, and it looks to have paid off.

Further to that, is a quality spa offering also becoming a ‘must-have’ if you are to be regarded as a credible 5-star hotel?

Of course, a spa does match with a golf course, as those who choose to play in couples often enjoy a spa in couples, and those who do not play golf have the option to enjoy a wonderful wellness experience. Any resort of a certain level now has to have a top spa in its offering.

Is there a concern that Mauritius is over-traded in terms of the number of hotels now available to travellers?

I really do not think so, as there are different offerings on the island which are well classified. It is more a positive aspect, as it does give the opportunity to guests to choose their hotel depending on which concept would suit them best.

What are the current trends, in terms of travel to Mauritius? Is there a greater appetite for the top-end hotels, or are budget properties becoming more popular?

I think it is a good mixture, which does make all the parties happy. Mauritius is, and will still be, considered as a luxury destination, as the island offers lots of high-end experiences. It has a 5-star resort infrastructure, with world-class service from the Mauritians – and this is whether you are in a 5-star resort or a 3-star one – with wonderful sightseeing tours and the discovery of the culture through the local people.

Are you currently seeing more business travel to Mauritius?

The island is becoming a great business platform for this part of the world. Many businessmen transit through the island before going to their main destination. The island offers this combination of holiday/business, a combination that other islands do not really have.

Should Mauritius be taken more seriously as a business travel destination?

Not really, as the island does remain a holiday destination. But there is a saying in Mauritius which best sums up the island situation… ‘Even if you are on business in Mauritius you are always 50% on holiday’.

As a hotelier, what do you have to make sure you take care of to keep the business traveller happy?

We as hoteliers need to make sure the business traveller has the right information about the island, in terms of distance and accessibility. We also have to make sure the hotel facilities are available at all times, as a business traveller, compared with a tourist, does have a hectic schedule.

What can the country of Mauritius do to change the perception that it is solely a leisure travel destination?

Mauritius is also known as a business destination. The number of city hotels is growing with the number of investors coming to Mauritius, or business people meeting with their Mauritian clients. Also, some leisure hotels do cater for business people.