overall, the experience was very good! I was very pleased with the level of service provided by Mahlathini, before the trip (we did not have to do anything), as well as during the trip (my luggage was lost in Zambia and was actually transported to one of the bush camps a couple of days later - impressive logistics!. the safari week was absolutely great all transfers worked flawlessly and the properties we stayed in were amazing! However, 2 points of critique: a)the travel itinerary is not sufficiently detailed (no specifics on transportation, e.g. Zambia - Botswana border crossing included a boat ride and switching cars, which was not mentioned anywhere and can be a bit scary in many places in Africa). Further, the fact that there is no cell reception at all and no electricity after 10pm in the lodges should be mentioned as well. b)the second week in Mauritius was not as great as the first week, due to the choice of property we stayed in. Maradiva is a lovely resort with very friendly staff, but it is definitely not international 5 star standard (which we would have liked for our honeymoon and we would have been willing to pay more for a higher standard). Here we were a bit disappointed, as we sort of relied on Mahaltinis recommendation. We had a great time nonetheless.
We liked Nxabega a lot and the amount of animals we saw there was impressive. The staff was very helpful and extremely friendly. As mentioned before it would be good though to let guests know some factors in advance, cell reception, electricity. the food is amazing and the travel "goodie bags" provided on departure day are a very nice touch.
The Xaranna camp is one of the most beautiful places we have stayed - and we have traveled quite a bit. the bungalows are absolutely luxurious and decorated very tastefully. Compared to Nxabega, xaranna seemed more suitable for honeymooners, as there is more privacy and more flexibility in terms of staff/ facilities, e.g. phones in the rooms - that way you can call the front desk and ask for a pick up after dark. At Nxabega that is not possible, we had the last Bungalow which was a bit difficult logistics wise. The food at Xaranna was amazing as well.However, animal sightings were very limited - but that might have been due to rain fall.
overall the hotel is average - however for an airport hotel it was excellent. We really dreaded staying there, but once we arrived a bottle of champagne was waiting for us (thanks nikki:-) and we really had a very nice evening and actually really good dinner.
The Maradiva is a very nice resort, but it is not 5 star standard. starting out with the positive: the villa interior (we stayed in a luxury suite villa) is top notch (especially the bathrooms), the same goes for the outdoor space of the villa, except for the fact that almost everyone wandering around the lawns can see into your courtyard and pool area (this reduces privacy extremely!). The landscaping of the resort is equally nice and it is very well maintained. In terms of critique:
a) food: the food is less than average, Coast2Coast restaurant really is not good at all taste wise; the other 2 restaurant Indian and Japanese are slightly better, although I had food poisioning after eating in the Japanese restaurant (but these things can happen), but very unflexible and the location is not very nice.
b) staff: although the staff was very, very nice it was clear that effective management of staff is lacking throughout the resort. For instance, on average we had different staff in our villa around 6 times per day (to clean, to bring hand towels that were not available when the original cleaning was done (every day!), to clean the pool, to check the minibar, to bring afternoon treats, turn-down service - all the while knocking and then barging in the villa) all of these services were performed by different people at different times, although many of those could be done by the same person or at least all at once (e.g. cleaning, pool cleaning, towels, minibar) severely disrupting our day. The same chaos exists in the restaurant, especially Coast2Coast, e.g. at breakfast 4-5 different people wait on 2 guests ? all of them asking the same questions. This is just very annoying for the guest and could easily be changed, by coordinating the staff better.
All in all, we had a good time at Maradiva and on Mauritius, but we would have preferred a more upscale resort ? especially with view on the food (which had been soooo good during the first week of our travels).
very good level of service and we were very satisfied except for the 2 things mentioned above. We were absolutely delighted with the rooms we had at all of the properties we stayed at and the little surprises along the way, made our trip very special.
We would book again with Mahlatini.
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