Steve and Irene Joyce are what one might call true fanatics of Mauritius. Since their first visit to the island some 25 years ago, they never seem to tire of coming back, particularly to the Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort where they have now stayed 14 times.
photos : atipik ltd
“We are used to travel a lot and wanted to go somewhere where the weather was good. We had never heard about Mauritius and our travel agent said, ‘It’s a very nice country to visit.’ We came here for a few weeks some 25 years ago and we just got hooked on it,” says Irene Joyce. “The people of Mauritius are so friendly,” adds her husband, Steve. “They are so sincere and lovely. Their main aim in life just seems to please others.”
A very warm and joyful couple from Conisbrough, a town seven miles away from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, they stayed in a few other hotels before discovering Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort a few years back. Since then, they have found it hard to go anywhere else. They were on their fourteenth stay last June and visited the hotel three times last year. “We normally come here twice a year and have already booked for four weeks in November,” says Steve. “When you arrive here, you can feel the warmth, it’s like family. We never get bored.” The Joyces are involved in property rental in their home country and another passion of theirs is horse-racing. “We go back home after the International Jockeys Weekend in December.” While in Mauritius, they make a point of spending time at the Champ de Mars racecourse in Port Louis.
“I personally love it when the horses come around the bend and people start jumping up and down – and they jump really high. A couple of years ago we were given a horse called Hold my Jacket for the day and it won the race. Irene was presented with the cup and we were on television because it was the big race of the day. When we came back to the hotel, they played the drums and there was a cake with Hold my Jacket printed on it. Our bedroom was all decorated with flowers, and we had a bottle of champagne waiting for us,” says Steve. Ironically, they used to own shares in five horses in England and never had a winner!
“The main thing is that we come here to relax and enjoy some lovely Mauritian food, which we don’t get in England. We also spend time swimming or visiting places,” explains Irene. During their latest stay at Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort, they also had the opportunity to attend a Hindu wedding. “One of the waiters, who we’ve known all the years that we’ve been coming here, invited us to his wedding. We had pictures with him and his bride and we danced. It was a complete change to the normal English wedding,” says an enthusiastic Irene. Over time, they have also developed friendships with other hotel guests. “There are always nice people here and, in November, the same group comes at the same time. We call it the November Club; we all meet here and we catch up on what’s happened in the year,” says Steve. And besides being loyal regulars themselves, they also pass the word around. “We recommended a young couple to come here for their honeymoon and they loved it.”