MONA PRAYAG

I spent 14 days in quarantine at Veranda Pointe-Aux-Biches – a forced holiday I had dreaded with all my might. As my stay progressed however, I started plotting not to leave. My quarantine was beyond what I could have hoped for. Far from feeling like forced isolation, it turned out to be more like a relaxing chakra rebalancing stay, helped by the wonderful staff, the incredible food and a stunning sea view that greeted me every morning, making me wonder how I managed to put up with dreary London for so long.

I spent 14 days looking at the sea, so near yet so far. So tempting yet so inaccessible. My loneliness was punctuated only by the visit of the unsung heroes: the hotel staff. In normal times, these men and women working behind the scenes don’t have a name. In quarantine, you have time to interact with them and their names become relevant. Their calls, availability and reassurances were so comforting. They are called Mr Percy, the hotel manager, Mr Julio at reception, Mr Shanil who brought us our food every day (breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner) and so many more – friendly faces and warm smiles I am not likely to forget anytime soon. They made my stay so much more bearable in true Mauritian hospitality.

The chef must have taken a lot of heat to put together a menu which covered a variety of cuisines across the 14 days (Mauritian, Chinese, French, Thai, Moroccan, Indian, Italian, American, South African) and we never had the same meal twice. It felt like culinary travel without leaving your room but also without lifting a finger as this was brought to your doorstep by Mr Shanil, smiling (visibly despite the mask), revealing the main course, beautifully presented on a tray. It is clear that Chef Prakash put a lot of thought into the menu to make sure we didn’t get bored. For a foodie like me, the excitement of meal times kept me happy throughout the stay.

I got used to these imposed luxuries and the outside world where I had to prepare my own breakfast, lunch and dinner did not seem quite as appealing as before! Yes I was locked up for 14 days but for the first time, I could build a relationship with those unsung heroes who are behind our success as a great and friendly holiday destination. They work hard and they work behind the scenes. Seeing their friendly faces has been important in keeping me sane during a stay otherwise devoid of human interaction. I can only appreciate the efforts they make and the work of the manager and chef behind. They give without counting and they keep on giving. I hope they get a tiny bit back through this little recognition.

For someone who was set on complaining about forced isolation not to find anything to complain about, there can be only one explanation: the performance was flawless!

Unfortunately, my plot to overstay my welcome fell through and my Christmas dinner was not prepared or served by the Veranda staff. Nonetheless, I hope they enjoyed theirs along with the well-deserved break from us all!