Veranda Grand Baie Hotel & Spa Review
Mauritius had been on me and my boyfriend’s radar for some time. It had been a dream of ours for a while since we first heard of Mauritius on The Price Is Right some odd years ago. If you’ve never heard of The Price Is Right, it’s a great American tv show that always has such great prizes. That's right. We based our decision to go across the world based on that fun-loving Drew Carey tv show. But in order to explore Mauritius and its beauty we need to have proper lodging. We decided upon Veranda Grand Baie due to its price and proximity to the ocean. Here is my very uncensored and detailed review of this hotel.
As my boyfriend and I approached the Veranda we were super excited about enjoying our week in Mauritius. As our taxi pulled up to the Veranda entrance we were greeted by a security gate and a guard with a clipboard. We were okayed in past the gate. There's always something special about being ushered in past a gate with a security guard as if you're something special. Isn't there? A short distance from the gate was the main reception office. Beautifully colored flowers and plants aligned both sides of the drive. Definitely an excitement builder. We then arrived to the reception area. We were greeted by luggage handlers and were both escorted to a seated area where we both then received a refreshing towel as well as a cup of delicious tea. There we discussed our reservations and were later taken to the front desk to further wrap things up. All went smoothly until my boyfriend tried to connect to the internet in order to handle some last minute finances that we couldn't secure beforehand due to lack of WiFi coverage during our travel from Johannesburg.
In our struggling attempt to inspect how things were, to our frustration we couldn't connect on to the free WiFi that was supposed to be readily available throughout the reception and common areas. And believe me, we tried the reception area, the common areas….everything but standing on one leg with foil on our heads. Regardless of the status of our credit card situation, it was a slight disappointment to find so early before our stay had even begun, that we couldn’t connect when that’s a main feature promised on their website. When it comes to straightening out financial affairs in another country, it’s not an issue anyone wants to encounter. Unfortunately, the incident overshadowed our first impression of the resort and put a small smudge on our feelings toward Veranda right at the start. But as we did our best to bounce back from the inconvenience, I was ready to get to our room and let the glorious relaxation process begin.
While walking to our room, it was clear to see the grounds were well taken care of. I almost heard a type of island song begin to play in my mind as we followed our luggage handler leading us to our room. And then the record scratched. What I saw was not what I expected to see. It was nice but just not what I expected. The look of the condos just simply looked dated. The colors looked dated as well as the design of each balcony. Now I'm not one to be terribly uppity about where I stay but from looking at it from the outside, my mind couldn't help but piece together how it probably looked from the inside. And I was already beginning to not be impressed. In not wanting to add fuel to my boyfriend's already stained viewpoint of this place, I kept any of my feelings under locked lips. Besides, the inside of our room still had time to turn me around. Right?
Well I won't quite say wrong but I can't say it was my idea of where I wanted to stay for a whole week. It seemed more like a place you'd stay a day or two before getting to your true tropical destination. Nor did it help matters that just the week before, we spent an incredible 4 days playing safari in S. Africa staying in an awesome villa at Phelwana Game Lodge. It was absolutely heavenly to us. We also enjoyed our in-between hotels, the Hilton Sandton and the Sandton Sun. So considering we were going to be at the Veranda for a whole week my thoughts for this place was more upscale than what it was. Unfortunately the interior was the same as with its exterior. From my initial walk into the room I immediately found the room and decor dated. There was also a thickness of humidity in the air. Which made the sheets feel icky but it was an easy fix with the flick of the switch to the air conditioning. I didn't pay it much mind, even though I despise humid sheets, but I gave it a pass given our proximity to the ocean. Maybe the room had been closed up. Gotta give it the benefit of the doubt. Eh? So I did my best.
Let's get down to the rest. The room had the normal pluses as far as amenities go. There were coffees, teas and a (non-free) stocked refrigerator. There was also a safe and closet. The furnishings were decent. There was a king sized bed that leaned a little on the hard side of the comfort meter. But if you like it super firm you'll have no concerns. There was a nice chair posted in the corner and a rattan sitting stool for extra seating hidden underneath a long counter that was useful for placing loose change and any other miscellaneous necessities you chose to place upon it. Bed side tables accessorized both sides of the bed with lamps but were a little scuffed from wear and tear. I also couldn't help but notice the buildup of grime surrounding the on/off switch of my bedside lamp. Hey! I can't help my wandering eye. An eye that also caught the gritty look of the tile that gridded the bathroom shower. Something that also stood out was the chipping paint on the bathroom walls. The bathroom in pretty much its entirety was my least favorite amenity in the room. Being pretty particular about bathrooms anyway, this one was at the top of the list for awkwardly made as well.
A small mini-blinded window (minus window panes) was inset into the bathroom wall looking out to the bedroom which felt quite odd to me. “What was it for?” was the automatic question. My boyfriend and I managed to have a laugh with it a few times but it still seemed an odd addition to an area that is mostly for private use. The shower, though in need of a fresh grouting was adequate. It was large enough and hot water was never an issue. Though adequate wasn't what I would have wanted on such a vacation in such a beautiful beachy locale, the shower definitely could have been worse. And as for the toilet... What a narrow space for a toileted area. I'm 5'4 and 128 lbs. and barely felt comfortable moving around in there. Again, it was adequate for the purpose it was intended for. Mhm...adequate. There's that word again. So adequate, a line of ants one late night/early morning decided to conga line themselves from the toilet area wall into the shower and back. Thankfully I carry mosquito repellant with me and that seemed to stop the dance party for the rest of our stay. Still a bit of an ewww factor. The toilet area itself was encased (thankfully) but the rest of the bathroom was ceiling-less, oftentimes making it hard to watch television because of the noise level from the shower or running sink water. Overall, the bathroom was not the sanctuary I was looking for when it comes to the magic throne. It looked dirty in parts which made it in return feel dirty. Which none of this by the way can be seen or felt by the look of the online pics you see that seem so bright, shiny and new.
Oh... and speaking of noise levels. The walls are thin, FYI. And don't get me started on that! Every morning around 6 o'clock, we had the annoying non-pleasure of hearing our half-gagging, half-coughing their lungs out neighbor that shared the wall adjoining our bed. Oh...you can only imagine the rage I felt. So much so that I went to the reception office and asked if we could change rooms. But to my dismay I was told that the resort was pretty much at capacity and there was no room to change to. "If it continues tomorrow we'll see what we can do". Is what I was told. I indeed had plans to do so but my much kind-hearted-than-I boyfriend felt we should give the phlegm choking nuisance a chance. Well that chance lasted about 4 out of the seven days we were there. The only positive ray of sunshine I could squeeze out of those death coughs, was that her coughfests took on the task of acting as our personal wake-up call; getting us up an at 'em for breakfast. Oh. Joy.
That brings us to food. Boy do I know how to segue or what? Apparently there are two meal plans to take for eating at the Veranda. The breakfast plan or the full-board plan. Or you can order without having these plans which I imagine to be more costly but I'm really not sure. If you arrived here on your own through a general search, eating at the Veranda, was yet another letdown piled on top of the rest. However, if you arrived here from the link given on TripAdvisor, you may have gathered from other reviews that quite a lot of disappointments circled around the topics of food. We opted for the breakfast-only plan so I can only speak on the breakfasts. For starters, the bacon did not seem like bacon (at least to my American standards). I'm not sure what part of the pig it was cut from but either it was too fatty or too burnt. Rarely a good in-between and never in the recognizable shape of bacon. But I was in another country so I don’t know. Potatoes were never the same. They were either raw or tasteless and always cold. I believe I received one day of hot potatoes during my stay. Croissants I must admit were the highlight of my days eating at Veranda, which isn't saying much. Perhaps if I was more of an egg eater, I might have had something pleasant to say about them considering they were made to your liking. Juices were decent but thick in my opinion. Again, maybe that’s the norm for the culture.
Oh! And did I forget to mention the birds?! Yes...the birds. Well if you haven't read about those either let me tell you. If you eat breakfast during your stay here just beware of the birds. At first, you're oooed and aaahed by their colors and cuteness as they flutter about. But then all of a sudden feelings change when they start flying inside over your head and food and sitting or landing on your table; flapping who knows what from their feathers. Hanging from the rafters leaving you pondering what surprises they may drop down for you from way up above. Considering I'm somewhat of a germophobe, it just didn't fly with me. Yes, pun intended. So to avoid any further annoyance from those birds what I chose to do was to eat outside. There was less of a chance of a run in with the birds given the openness of the all outdoors. My suggestion to you is to do the same or if you choose to eat indoors, make sure to seat yourself near the farthest walls; away from the large open doors. And either way you choose, make sure you check your seat for any of those surprises that may be left behind. Yeah, that was always a fun game trying to figure out which seats were more close to clean than the rest at the table.
From what I gathered among the chatter of a few of the other guests, we were very fortunate to have opted for the breakfast only plan. Whew! Dodged another bullet with LETDOWN deeply engraved on it. Other guests that my boyfriend and I ran into, were disgusted that they had selected the full-board plan. In fact, they felt so burned by the betrayal of their full-board decision both couples we met went off-road and ate out at the local restaurants that were sprinkled along the main road near there. Very wise decisions on their parts and for your future parts as well if the matters of the Veranda' s menu or cooking style doesn't change for the better. But just to add a li'l somethin', somethin', we did have the burger and fries for lunch on a lazy whim and they were absolutely delish! We even had it again another day. So with that knowledge, I'm not exactly sure what else on their menu is delish or if it's just their lunch menu that is good.
*Side Note: My boyfriend and I made our way to the stores located nearby the Veranda. We stocked up on wine, water, juices and snacks (if you don’t fancy the hotel’s pulpy juices during breakfast) for our room. It was well worth it. There were two of them.
Store2000- 10 minute walk. Take a walk to the front gated entrance of the resort, keep walking and you will see a casino on left corner of the street. Cross the street at this corner and go left. Keep left past Luigis and gas station and you will see Store 2000 on your right. Small but they have just about everything you'd need. (We chose to shop here again to give our money to the more local store.)
Super U- 15-20 minute walk. A bit of a walk but if you take the beach route at the back of Veranda to the main road make a right. Keep going until you reach near the boutique-like shopping area. You will see a sign across the street showing the direction of Super U. Cross the street and continue straight in the direction of the sign. You will pass a B52 on your right. Continue until you see a McDonald’s. Make a left and you will see the large Super U. They have literally everything. It’s huge with shops and restaurants all bunched together.
Free paddle boarding
Free pedal boating
Other activities are available but may be at an additional cost.
If it weren't for the staff and the people of Mauritius, Veranda would have been much worse than its negatives. Anushka was one of the lovely ladies at the front desk that checked us in as well as helped with any questions that we had. Mala our maid was so helpful and accommodating. Engineering our towels into swans while incorporating my own blanket. Such a joy to see everyday. From Pascal who catered guests in the reception to the boathouse guys such as Cliffsy providing us with our activities, we couldnt have asked for a friendlier and more accommodating staff. And also a special shout out to the DJs that took time to get guests out on the dance floor during the nightly dancing. Even the non-standard were a pleasure to talk to such as John and "Jimi Hendrix" who both sold their wares on the beach.
Walking distance to everything. From the beach of the hotel, to the left is the main road and town and to the right are other beach areas to admire the beauty of. (We also found that if you climb the rocks around from the farthest beach with the lounge chairs, there’s a somewhat small secluded beach that you could setup on before anyone else discovers it. Shhh…)
Very near to shopping
Very near to restaurants and food carts
Right off the beautiful beach (It truly takes any disappointments you have away.)
Rooms needs a makeover and deep cleaning
Internet is very spotty. You also will find it hard to get it in the pool or beach areas.
Food needs a drastic improvement
Pool areas were often loud with children (not a problem if that doesn’t bother you).
Smoking was permitted. (If it wasn’t, I couldn’t tell)
Was only given an hour to use an iron and I had to immediately return it. Later in afternoon they even had maid ask me about it. Geez!
Restaurants We Enjoyed
The Grill that is connected to The Banana Club- Live music!
A Chinese Restaurant I didn’t get the name of. (You’ll know it when you see it from the photo.)
Botteghita Italian restaurant- It’s the first restaurant you see right in front of you when you reach the main road when walking from the hotel.
Sunset Café and Trattoria – on the beach side behind the shops
Happy Rajah Indian Restaurant (Located near the Super U. Very delicious food.)
How likely are you to stay at the Veranda Grand Baie
Overall, the Veranda Grand Baie is a satisfactory hotel and decent place to stay. If you’re not too picky about the details of where you stay, it’s definitely a contender. However, if you’re like me and looking for a semi-upscale to super posh lodging, this isn’t it. If it weren’t for the welcoming and friendly staff, free, fun activities and the overwhelming beauty of Mauritius to make up for its lackluster charm, I’m not sure what I’d say about the Veranda. It spoke for itself when I felt better being out in town and a little saddened when I had to return back to our room. I wish I could even say the price of it makes it worth the stay but other hotels in the area had comparable pricing as well. And though I can’t speak for how they look inside, it would be definitely worth it to check out other places and their reviews if you’re able to. Again, I’m not saying you’ll hate your stay with the Veranda but I wouldn’t give it the 3 plus stars that it claims to have. And to end on a more positive note, hotel aside, my boyfriend and I had a great vacation visiting Mauritius and getting to know it.
P.S. I promise to you that I can give a positive review. I’m not always a bag full of disappointment. Just check out my review for Phelwana Game Lodge by clicking here or if you’re curious about our itinerary of going from Johannesburg, to Hoespruit (for Kruger Park) to Mauritius, check out this link.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.