I’ve been bowled over by a generosity of spirit and inspired by sincerity. The sort that isn’t that easy to find these days and it called for this unscheduled blog post.
I’m currently in Mauritius on a travel media trip, courtesy of World Leisure Holidays. It all began rather bleakly when my luggage went awol en route from Cape Town to the island. But as with most things in life, there’s something positive to be gained out of every experience, fabulous or not. In this instance, it was the goodness of people. I was completely impressed by the concern expressed about my situation by the management and staff at Sugar Beach and La Pirogue hotels. There wasn’t the typical expected once-off commiseration of ‘so sorry to hear about your missing suitcase-here’s a complimentary toothbrush and T shirt’ kind of comment. No, none of that formal politeness that cares not a dot for your loss of precious items (that included a set of Tiffany earrings for which I had to trade my left kidney, and my Le Labo parfum from Paris). Instead, each of the hotel managers, concierges and front-of-house team I encountered seemed to make it their personal mission to locate that darn elusive bag and there was constant communication between the two reception desks about it. I knew I was being taken care of by my ‘hotel parents’, and was reassured by positive comments from all quarters and given regular updates on the progress of my wandering baggage, pretty much all the time. I began to believe I’d see my goods again and sure enough, within 48 hours, there was the sweet sound of my case being trundled up the path to my luxurious accommodation. Thank you, merci, mèsi to Nicholas, Andrew, Jean Marie, Jerome and all involved in chasing down my case!
The ethos of a ‘genuine spirit’ has been embraced by those representing the Sun Resorts brand, across the board. From housekeeping to gardeners, receptionists, waitrons and top level management at each property, every person with whom I’ve come into contact has delivered exceptional service. These are all big properties, accommodating hundreds of guests at any given time, and it’s amazing to be on the receiving end of the consistent generosity of spirit embodied by a team that consists of both Mauritians and people from around twenty countries, and to witness the attention to detail that is carried through to every department in every one of their establishments. This is my first visit to this beautiful tropical island destination and my hotel experiences have made a lasting impression. (more about my many other fab experiences to follow). It has been so refreshing.
This year, La Pirogue in Flic en Flac celebrates its 40th anniversary. When GM Andrew Slome (OBE) was explaining more to me over a glorious dinner on the beach about this milestone event, he mentioned one of his staff members who’d been with the group since the hotel opened in 1976, Ylette Mamedy-Graas. I was fortunate to meet and speak with her, an inspiring and elegant woman, 61 years young. Ylette started with Sun in 1976, the year it was opened by the legendary South African businessman Sol Kerzner, now 81 years of age. Ylette is Mauritian, and started out with the group as a receptionist and then became a secretary in the accounting department. Over the forty years she has been in the position, she has seen ten bosses come and go. Ylette loves what she does and says that Sun Resorts is her second family. Her co-workers are caring and the hotel has always been like a home-away-from-home. She is passionate about Mauritius and its amazing people and when I asked her where she loves to travel, she said ‘well we have everything here-it’s beautiful- but I do visit my daughter in Belgium when I can (her son is a chef and lives in Mauritius), and I have a love for France as well.’ Her inspiration is God and having faith is the key.
This is my first visit to this beautiful tropical island destination and it will certainly not be my last. It truly is a tropical paradise and Sun Resort hotels have made the kind of impression that makes you want to return. A bientot, Ile Maurice, until we meet again.