Explore Spa by Meridien, Mauritius – Spa Review
Explore Spa by Meridien, Mauritius
by Angie Aspinall
While on a recent trip to Mauritius, I have the opportunity to indulge in a few days of spa experiences whilst my husband is scuba diving. I decide to make the most of being a ‘dive widow’ and enjoy some yoga lessons and massages rather than just lounge in the sun reading my Kindle. It’s always good to learn something new on a trip and I am looking forward to learning yoga on this one.
Le Meridien Ile Maurice, in the North West of Mauritius, is an ideal place for couples to stay if one loves to dive and the other loves to ‘spa’. The main hotel is family-friendly, although we enjoy the exclusive ‘adults only’ Nirvana wing. Whilst my husband (who is a professional underwater photographer) is off discovering wrecks and photographing rare Mauritian Clown fish with Jonathan from Easy Dive, I am getting to grips with my ‘Sun Salutation’ and some breathing exercises on the peaceful veranda of the Explore Spa with Dr Shaji.
I have booked some individual yoga lessons but, when it comes to the day of my first lesson, I am a little nervous and start to wonder if I might have been better hiding at the back of a class after all. However, I needn’t worry – I love it!
“I did not know you could feel out of breath from breathing”
The whole point of yoga (apparently) is focusing on the moment: your posture, breathing, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. So there is no time to worry if you’re not doing it as well as someone else. Or if you look a bit hot and bothered as you go through your moves. The individual attention also means you immediately get any corrections you need to the posture to ensure that you are doing it correctly. I found the one-to-one lessons an excellent way to learn techniques to do at home. I swear my posture improves greatly and I felt fantastic just after one session.
As well as learning how to warm up properly and how to do the Sun Salutation, I also learn some breathing techniques. The rapid breathing is really challenging. I did not know you could feel out of breath from breathing. But by the end of it, I feel like I have been on a run. It is an excellent work out and one I have also been able to practise regularly since coming home.
After all that exertion, what better way to reward myself than with a massage at the spa? During our stay at the hotel, I have four different types of massage – three of which I had not seen offered at UK spas. So I am looking forward to some new experiences inside the spa as well as the yoga lessons outside in the sunshine.
“The Ayurvedic massage is all about long, fluid strokes”
A great feature of the spa is the offer of double treatment rooms for couples. We book one for our first spa experience and both have an Ayurvedic massage, which uses Indian herb oil to enhance circulation. I feel secure in the knowledge that I have a full health assessmentprior to my arrival and I notice that my therapist, Nasseem, has taken notice of my individual needs/preferences.
The Ayurvedic massage is all about long, fluid strokes – no knuckles or digging with the thumbs. I really enjoy the gentle rhythm. It is so relaxing that my husband says he almost falls asleep during his treatment. And, the accompanying head massage is so good, I immediately book an Indian head massage (also known as Champissage) for another day.
Unlike the Indian head massages I’ve had elsewhere, the one at Explore Spa starts with a back massage. Bonus! My neck and shoulders are also thoroughly worked on before Nasseem starts working on my head. As well as using pressure points, she also uses a traditional technique of ‘flicking/scratching’ with her fingertips (which I assure you, is far more pleasant than it sounds). The rapid on/off action is incredibly powerful in making me feel re-energised after the massage.
“The heat and gentle pressure is particularly soothing”
My third massage is the most unusual but it is incredible. It is called Kizhi Kizhi, which is also known as Pinda Swedam. It uses boluses (cloth bags with a single handle forming a ‘lollipop’ shape) full of Indian herbs and dipped into warm medicated oil to massage all over the body. Dr Shaji and a female therapist deliver this deep massage which aims to help with long standing injuries (like the whiplash injuries that left me with ongoing back problems). The boluses allow the therapist to add heat and pressure throughout the massage.
After some minor manipulations of the spine, the female therapist massags the back of my left leg with oil and, as she progresses to the right leg, Dr Saji starts to use the boluses on the left leg. The heat and gentle pressure is particularly soothing on the back of my troubled knee and, after all the trekking we’d done earlier in the holiday, it is sorely needed.
“I may be spoilt for all other spa experiences”
After my legs, back and arms have been thoroughly massaged, Dr Saji retires from the room leaving me to have a gentle head massage. This massage follows a particularly strenuous yoga session and, afterwards, I am almost an inch taller and immeasurably happier. My final massage is with Nasseem and I follow her recommendation and have a Balinese massage. This features some of the long strokes of the Ayuvedic massage but it also involves some thumb and palm work and skin rolling. Like the other full body massages at the Explore Spa, this one also finishes with an amazing head massage. My worry now is that I may have been spoilt for all other spa experiences!
I ask Nasseem if I can take her home with me as I’m sure that one of these massages once a week will ensure my health and well-being. But she has a better idea: “Perhaps you can move to Mauritius.” Now, there’s an idea! Thank you to Dr Saji, Naseem and the rest of the team at the Explore Spa by Méridien, where not only can you learn yoga and have world class massages, but you can also enjoy a hydrotherapy centre and a fully equipped gym. Thanks also to Jonathan at Easy Dive for distracting my husband while I enjoy the spa.
For more information about the hotel Le Méridien Ile Maurice, please visit: lemeridien-mauritius.com
Information about the Explore Spa: lemeridien-mauritius.com/en/spa
Information on diving at Le Méridien Ile Maurice: .lemeridien-mauritius.com/en/diving
We flew to Mauritius direct from Heathrow with Air Mauritius: airmauritius.com