It’s Mauritius’ blend of docile beach castaway appeal and its wild, green heart of jungle covered peaks, thrumming with exotic plants and wildlife, that makes it such a scenic (and exceedingly exotic) proposition for a destination wedding. Volcanoes surge to meet the clouds, their hills sloping down past waterfalls, lush botanical gardens and then abruptly, palms lining miles of white powder beach. Getting hitched alongside the ethereal shades of the glassy Indian Ocean with a sublime emerald peak backdrop makes for an otherworldly experience, one that will imprint itself indelibly in the shared memories of the couple and any guests lucky enough to share in their joy and the surrounding tropical splendour.
With almost half a century’s experience welcoming wide-eyed guests to Mauritius, Sunlife is well-versed in hosting far-flung weddings to remember. Having opened its first resort, la Pirogue in 1976, Sunlife enjoys a legendary presence on the island, combined with a forward thinking outlook on how people like to soak in the various treasures Mauritius has to offer. With four luxury resorts, including the splendidly Old World-style Sugar Beach, smooth contemporary and gloriously laid back Long Beach, adults-only Ambre and the thatched forebearer, La Pirogue, couples are bound to find the one that can best bring their vision to life. Featuring wildly romantic beach ceremonies, Michelin-star dinners under the stars for guests and even traditional receptions showcasing local Mauritian culture, here are our favourite wedding venues in Mauritius.
Spanning a long, ivory stretch of sand on Mauritius’ west coast, Sugar Beach speaks of Old World antics: gin and tonics as the sun sets the Indian Ocean horizon ablaze in crimson strokes; poolside cards under the shade of a parasol; a spot of tennis. The hotel’s interiors may riff on this golden age heritage (note the mahogany wood panelled bar, chequered floors and sweeping french doors spilling onto the beach), but a recent refurbishment has thrust it into the 21st century, to restrained, blonde-wooded effect. Rooms are a fresh spin on island life – with traditional fans carved in smoother shapes and beds free of the expected mahogany headboards. Wooden screens cleverly fold back to reveal seductive bathrooms after a day in the sun, while balconies (many of them spilling onto the beach) twist romantically towards the hotel’s legendary sunsets.
A handful of restaurants also offer wedding guest a privileged perch as they enjoy classic Mauritian fare or more international plates, or in more casual style, with their toes in the sand along the beach, where smart beach lounge-furniture is placed metres from the calm water. High-octane weddings can tap into Sunlife’s new Come Alive Collection which features special experiences such as ‘Putting on the Ritz’ which harks back to a glamorous epoch with head-to-toe makeovers and fashion rental services. The couple may even wish to learn a Sega Zoomba – a Mauritian fusion of Sega and Zumba – for their first dance.
The modern face of Mauritius, Long Beach speaks to couples with a penchant for clean contemporary lines and fresh, airy notions of far-flung island escapes. Spilling onto a photogenic, milky-sand beach and surrounded by acres of lush, tropical gardens, the hotel enjoys one of the most privileged spots on the island. Eco-conscious couples will relish the hotel’s soft touch on its extraordinary surroundings, as well as Sunlife’s resolve to scale back any environmental impact wherever possible – there is even an Energy Gym cleverly leveraging the power generated by guests’ own workouts.
Along with these eco-credentials, Long Beach really knows how to throw a party, with its own hopping Bombora nightclub, and a Mediterranean-style piazza for al fresco wedding receptions, with on stage entertainment come nightfall. Bridal parties can start the day with a morning private yoga class along the beach, or even a dip in the Cinq Mondes spa’s Turkish baths. Following a chic, beach ceremony and reception with a choice of five different cuisines, couples can jet off in style in their own seaplane. Guests can retreat to fresh, white-washed cocoons facing onto the beach, leaning into the dizzying array of activities over the following days: tennis, cycling, golf, windsurfing, kayaking, or simply sipping the Sunlife’s new medicinal Santé cocktails poolside.
Occupying a palm-fringed beach between the villages of Belle Mare and Palmar, Ambre takes downtime seriously. A showstopping infinity pool seemingly spilling into the Indian Ocean beyond it, and thatched pergolas along the beach offer a seriously photogenic backdrop. The entire hotel has been choreographed around far-flung, grown-up hedonism, with days spent on the nearby Île aux Cerfs golf course, on the in-water daybeds, enjoying a treatment in the spa with exotic oils, or a beach yoga session.
The heart-tugging views across the ocean, framed by palms and tropical plants, serve up an exquisite backdrop for wedding ceremonies and receptions. These can be tailored to couples’ whims, whether its a ceremony with the sea lapping their ankles, or a full-throttle reception with local Mauritian food and traditional entertainment (including live DJ performances) rolling out along the beach and under an extraordinary ceiling of stars. After-parties can be organised in the hotel’s nightclub, or in the H&H Lounge with a karaoke set-up. Along with the slick-as-an-otter service that couples can put their full faith into, the hotel has its own in-house photographer, should flying a photographer out be more effort than it’s worth.
As the Mauritian original, La Pirogue not only has an impressive track record of hosting well heeled guests, including celebrities and royalty, it’s also well-versed in weddings, which it jovially hosts throughout the year. A top-to-toe refurbishment has preserved its beloved traditional character – a look many couples long for when envisioning an exotic, far-flung wedding. Enjoying its status as the first hotel to open up in Mauritius, La Pirogue’s thatched roofs emulate the shapes of the traditional pirogue fishing boats, in a style that feels deeply reverential to the surrounding landscape and its ancient rhythms. Ensconced in a coconut grove on a vast curve of sand on Mauritius’ pretty west coast, Le Morne surges in the distance and suites, pool and communal areas are woven into the jungle.
Traditional earthy rooms decorated with wicker and woven rugs are animated with splashes of colour, from Mauritian bed throws and velvet cushions. A relentless cacophony of birdsong, the gentle wash of the Indian Ocean and rustle of the abundant palms sets a relaxing bass note. It’s this element that couples are drawn to for weddings, along with the stylish interiors and superlative seafood. Wedding guests can expect a roster of just-caught and smoked marlin, grilled garlicky lobster and crab, along with Mauritian street food and Creole style dishes. Entertainment even has deep roots on the island, with a live band playing for La Pirogue guests for many years, and seasoned in upping the ante for wedding parties – with guests dancing along the beach as the moon casts its silver track along the still water.
Book your Mauritius wedding now: yoursunlife.com
Prices at Long Beach start from £275 per night.
Caribtours can offer a seven-night stay at Long Beach on a half board basis from £1,829 per person including return flights from London. For more information or to book visit Long Beach, Mauritius | Caribtours