A trip to Club Med Mauritius! The moment you string Club Med and Mauritius together in a sentence, people assume that you are going on a holiday. Well, the working trip I went on did involve fabulous beaches and some sightseeing, as well as eating and drinking - all the necessary ingredients for a holiday.
Having experienced the Club Med lifestyle before, I knew what to expect at the resort. But I had never experienced it the Mauritian way, so anticipation built up during the seven-hour flight on Air Mauritius from KLIA.
It was dark, and time for dinner, when the Mauritours coach I was in arrived at La Plantation d'Albion Club Med. The property is the first of Club Med's five-trident resorts. (Tridents symbolise Club Med's range of luxury destinations around the world.)
With Club Med's Gracious Organisers (GOs) waving frantically at the entrance to welcome us, the Mauritian experience was just beginning. However, it was close to midnight in Malaysia, and sleep beckoned.
With warm lighting, dark wood finishing and a handsome lounge area, my room looked like a page out of a magazine. With a huge bed made pretty with bright oversized cushions and soft pillows - it was the perfect invitation to get snug between the sheets. The open-concept room allows guests access to the attractive bathroom, separated by sliding doors, where "his" and "hers" wash basins and a standalone bathtub are visible.
Alas, I could not hit the sack yet as dinner was waiting at the intimate Le Phare restaurant, located near the classy L'Alouda poolside bar and the Zen pool. It is a five-minute walk to Le Phare, with very little lighting along the narrow pathway. If guests are not up for the exercise, buggy services are also available.
This local speciality restaurant is an excellent place for couples to wine and dine, so dressing up for dinner is advisable. As it overlooks the sea, expect the sound of waves lapping against the rocks to accompany your meal.
The chefs whipped up some really good dishes, and I helped myself to the lavish spreads. . Meals and drinks are all included in the package so guests can partake to their hearts' content.
Food wasn't the only "attraction" for my companions and I. We were also drawn to the Zen pool - the perfect place to catch the magnificent sunsets.
During the day, I saw that the 21ha property was attractively landscaped, with rows of colourful bougainvilleas in every direction.
Completed in 2007, La Plantation was designed by Marc Hertrich to showcase a marriage of multi-cultural influences, with Mauritian and contemporary accents. With 266 fully-equipped rooms and suites, there is a choice of the palatial residence deluxe room, beautifully decorated superior room or the elegant luxurious suite that comes with a separate lounge, private garden, outdoor rain shower and an oversized bed.
The property is the newer of the two Club Meds in Mauritius. The other Club Med - La Pointe - located in the island's north, is a four-trident venue with gorgeous white sandy beaches.
The main restaurant at La Plantation is La Distillerie, where an extensive buffet of international cuisines is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Another place to chill out and enjoy the sun and scenery is Le Banian, the main bar. This is where you can drink all you want, all day long. The bar is located just past the Club Med boutique that has an impressive view of the sea.
Unlike the Zen pool where children are not allowed, the large swimming pool at Le Banian is popular with families and is the venue for water aerobics and games.
In true Club Med style, there is no need to head elsewhere for recreation as the resort has its own tennis courts, a driving range and an option for archery. La Plantation is also one of the few resorts that offer guests the option of having a go at the flying trapeze. Water sports such as scuba-diving, snorkelling, kayaking and sailing are available, too.
Club Med has the whole family in mind. The Juniors' Club Med organises activities for children aged 11 to 17 years while Mini Club Med is designed for children aged four to 10 to experience the Club Med lifestyle and learn about nature and local culture.
Leaving the pampered lifestyle behind to head back to reality was difficult but that's what a holiday is all about - having a great time, if only for a few days.