Shanti Maurice Spa, clear water


Shanti Maurice Spa, Watsu treatment
Shanti Maurice Spa, bathroom
Shanti Maurice Spa, frangipani
Home | The Team | Travel Columns | BLOG | Sitemap | Contact |
Luxury Traveler Spacer


Shanti Maurice Spa, main pool
Shanti Maurice

Book yourself into this tropical island retreat and discover why the ancient practices of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta offer holistic healing and balancing for the soul, leaving one with an island holiday experience and a zest for life that continues long after you arrive home.

Text Nikki Werner
Photography Courtesy of Shanti Maurice Spa and Nikki Werner
Just The Planet applauds Shanti MauriceShanti Maurice, set on a wedge of exclusive coastline in Mauritius, has recently reopened as a nira resort with a nira spa following the success of the ayurvedic approach of the original Shanti Ananda Maurice. It offers 25 treatment rooms and 61 junior suites and villas.

Volcanic rock as black as coal is set against the turquoise sea and once enveloped by the softest kurta (Indian pyjamas), one feels quite at home wafting around in this tropical paradise.

Shanti Maurice is where one goes to become whole again. Previously little sister to the award-winning destination spa Shanti Ananda Himalaya and having hosted the likes of Kylie, what I like most about Shanti Maurice is the realistic approach of Ayurveda. It offers all the benefits of a retreat, cushioned by the comforts and pleasures of an island holiday. There also isn't a policy of denying, but rather a gentle reminder that 'anything in excess should be avoided'.

The four cornerstone personas who encourage and guide guests to renewal are Dr Mane (the Ayurvedic physician), Sumit Kumar (the Ayurvedic chef), Rakesh Thapliyal from Rishikesh (the yoga teacher) and Swapnil Gupte (the Vedanta teacher from the Vedanta Institute in Pune).

Shanti Maurice Spa, chirodara treatment
The Treatments

Dr Pramod Mane is a walking ad campaign for Ayurveda. Wearing a wholesome wool sweater the colour of oatmeal, his glossy black hair in a neat cut, he radiates good health, and a calm but clear sense of self and he smiles whenever he makes a point, as if my dawning enlightenment is a joy.

As he escorts me to his office he has already begun observing my build, my posture, my skin and the thickness of my eyebrows (chef Sam later told me my sparse brows were one of the clues betraying my Vata-Pitta status), before proceeding with the official questionnaire that will establish my dosha.

'Ayurvedic teachings tell us that each human being has their own unique combination of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) formed at the precise moment of conception,' explains Dr Mane, 'and this combination determines our physical, mental and spiritual behaviour and our body composition.' According to Ayurveda we need to balance our dosha through complementary diet, yoga and Ayurvedic treatments in order to maintain good health. 'Ayurveda helps you understand what you are,' says Dr Mane, smiling.

We discussed my particular combination and I received my take-home print-out of Vata-Pitta do's and don'ts. Then I went in for the Abhyanga massage administered by two youthful Keralan therapists with oils selected to suit my dosha. It's more of a gentle stroking movement than a get-in-there-with-your-elbow style. And far removed from the primping and pummelling of peach-coloured beauty salons, the treatment has a natural and earthy appeal and a sense of ritual.

It is initiated with a prayer chanted by the therapists and a pinch of rasnadi churnam pressed into your scalp – this is a powder which is 'hot' in properties to prevent a headache or cold when you leave the comfort of the treatment room and head into the air outside. The massage table is also made from the wood of a Jackfruit tree, to aid the balancing of the doshas whereas a mattress is believed to stifle this process.

The session is concluded by washing off the massage oils with Ayurvedic gram flour pastes - these are dosha dependent and will only remove the excess oil on your skin, leaving enough for optimum functioning. Soap doesn't fall in with Ayurvedic principles, that aim for the optimum equilibrium in the skin, as it's believed to strip away too many of the skin's natural oils. The predominant feeling afterwards was that of feeling nurtured and I would have happily put on a set of white cotton PJs and spent an afternoon in contemplation.

Dr Mane's recommended reading if you'd like to find out more about Ayurveda: Ayurveda – The Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari.


The 50,000ft spa is set in the gardens and offers an extensive menu of body and beauty treatments integrating the traditional Indian systems of Ayurveda, Yoga and Watsu, along with International spa treatments (a complete range of ESPA body and beauty treatments are available). Tea pavilions for relaxation, two beautifully situated yoga pavilions, a salt-water pool for Watsu treatments and a heated outdoor pool with a Jacuzzi are just a few of the facilities available.

Shanti Maurice Spa, tea sala at the Spa Shanti Maurice Spa, yoga
Shanti Maurice Spa, jacuzzi beds
Shanti Maurice Spa, fresh fish
The Meal

'Ayurvedic tequila!' says my beaming host as he sets down a tiny, rosy cocktail to kick off my post-treatment lunch. Apparently the vitamins and antioxidants in this shot of just-pressed apple and watermelon juice make it just as intoxicating. 'Its purpose is to lift the spirits,' he explains, 'it also speeds digestion and cleans the tongue of dormant tastes.'

Over lunch, chef Sam explains the importance of balance not only in life but on a plate, 'We will never be full or satisfied if our taste buds aren't satisfied,' he says, 'often the astringent taste is missing from a meal and then we overindulge in sweet or salty tastes to compensate for it.'

Our main course demonstrates this with six little china bowls each offering a different taste. In the mix is a green purée studded with small cubes of tofu, an amber mango chutney and a soupy dal with curry leaves. Each represents one of the six essential tastes: sweet (for building and tissues), sour (to aid digestion), salty (for metabolism), bitter and pungent (to bind the body), and astringent (to clean the blood). On the side are a bright salad and some wholewheat flatbreads (I avoid the salad as I've just read that raw veg and Vata-Pittas aren't friends). Eating this meal feels unnervingly even-keel, there is no rush of sugar, flush of alcohol or deflated heaviness of meat.

And there is even dessert - an intensely flavoured pink strawberry sorbet that would stand up in a world-class mainstream restaurant. 'Once you start enjoying your food you will become healthy and lose weight,' says Sam.

It's Sam's job to ensure that at every meal each guest is served a dish compatible with their dosha. He has also just launched a fine-dining Ayurvedic restaurant in the resort and on Sundays you can catch his cooking demos where he shows how to incorporate Ayurvedic philosophy into home cooking. 'It's not rocket science!' says Sam emphatically as he offers some pointers, but quite literally a case of variety is the spice of life.

Sam's advice for Ayurvedic cooking every day:
  • Don't overcook your food - blanching is good
  • Rotate the salt you use, try to use two or three different types of salt, for example, black salt and rock salt
  • Use four or five different types of sugar, like honey and demerara sugar
  • Use lots of relishes and chutneys to balance your food
  • Alternate six or seven cereals like corn, rice and buckwheat
  • Don't just use olive oil, but also incorporate mustard oil, pine nut oil and others

The Philosophy

Although I missed meeting the yoga teacher, I met Swapnil the Vedanta teacher instead. Swapnil gives one-on-one counselling as well as group lectures. When he tells me some of his lecture titles I am surprised at how downright practical they sound: 'how to select a guru' and 'how to take the middle path and combine my normal life with my spiritual life'. Swapnil lists these in between uttering sage wisdoms. 'Thinking is an art or a skill,' he says in a voice so neutral it sounds like it has never experienced the whims of emotion, 'you need to practice it everyday to excel at it'.

From our brief conversation, I understand Vedanta to focus on self-realisation, how to live intelligently and fully, and here I think back to Dr Mane. It is about the true nature of what you are, not what you're aiming or wanting to be. But it still requires one to question the world and apply analysis. 'Because the mind without rationality,' says Swapnil in parting, 'is like a car without a steering wheel'.

The sense of balance I felt after a day at Shanti Maurice lasted well into the early evening. My skin felt wonderfully soft and in sync, neither too dry nor too oily and even my usual craving for a boost of dark chocolate in the late afternoon also seemed to be averted. No wonder they suggest a seven-day rebalancing programme. My life changing journey had only just begun ...


Style Island style.

Setting Tropical island paradise on its own private beach and set in 36 acres of tropical gardens.

Why you'll love it Shanti Maurice has recently been renovated to provide eight more treatment rooms (to accommodate every guest’s personalized Ayurvedic treatment programme), six more private villas (the most popular room choice) and an extended outdoor yoga pavilion. The resort is now also completely in line with feng shui philosophy.

Good to know Because it takes time to rebalance, guests are advised to book wellness packages of at least seven nights. Personal trainers can also offer tailored fitness programmes and expert advice. We suggest you leave your laptop at home but broadband and Wi-fi is available.

Room for improvement It would be good to be able to purchase the Ayurvedic gram pastes to use on a daily basis and I was assured they are looking into it.

Address Riviere des Galets, Chemin Grenier, Mauritius

Tel +230 603 7200
Fax +230 603 7250

How to get there Shanti Maurice is on the south coast near St Felix, which is approximately 35 kms or a 40-minute drive south east of Plaisance Airport. Helicopter and limousine transfers are available.

Quick enquiry

Shanti Maurice Spa, dreaming Shanti Maurice Spa, reflections
Shanti Maurice Spa, lilly Shanti Maurice Spa, meditation