Digital nomads, explorers, storytellers, adventurers… Photojournalist Robert Michael Poole and Vlogger Marcy Yu are living the life dreams are made of. They jet off to faraway places, measuring time with passport stamps and living out of suitcases. Be warned: exploring their wanderlust-inducing Instagram accounts is certain to spark an insatiable case of globe-trotting.
Veranda Pointe aux Biches is our first peek into the world of Veranda Resorts… and we are instantly seduced. Upon checking in, we are invited to, quite literally, leave our flip-flops at the door. A ‘barefoot hotel’ concept that has no qualms about sandy feet trailing in their lobby! We instantly feel liberated. We are greeted Mauritian-style, with a refreshing tropical cocktail at Sandy Lane Bar. It is set in the adult-wing of the resort, with a stunning view of the crystal-clear lagoon.
Our room is decked in navy blue and white with pale wood furnishings, lending it a yacht-like feel. Before even unpacking we scope out the terrace (we know where we’ll be having coffee tomorrow morning…)
The day begins with an adventure. We go off the beaten path to discover the surroundings. The island is made up of a fascinating blend of cultures. The best way to go sightseeing (and to easily stop for any sizzling hot street food along the way) is to ride a bicycle. We pedal behind our local guide through the winding streets of Triolet, a big village. The storefronts are painted in hues of pink, green, purple and red, with funny signage – large bold lettering with a typo or two. These same colours appear on “grand shivala Triolet,” a gorgeous temple we are lucky to visit.
After sampling samosas stuffed with potato and herbs, we head over to Mon Choisy, a famous beach fringed by a calm lagoon that sparkles as the sun rays reflect on the pale green waters. We eat freshly-cut pineapple (cut with the stem so you can eat it like a popsicle). Locals douse red chili sauce and tamarind on theirs. Someone’s suggests dipping it in the sea to get a salty-sweet flavour (another local tip.)
Cycling in the tropical weather means we’re pretty hungry (and sweaty) by the time we reach the hotel. Lunch is exquisite – we eat on the Deck, al fresco. The à la carte menu offers an array of choices (to be perfectly honest, settling on a dish was no easy task.) The afternoon is spent lazing by the pool and reading books on sunbeds on the beach before popping into the beachfront Seven Colours Spa.
After piling our plates high with crêpes, pastries, slices of fresh mango and fried eggs, we take a shuttle to Veranda Paul & Virginie in Grand Gaube, a quaint fishing village on the northeast coast, where we board the hotel’s Deep Into the Blue catamaran. We set sail toward Ilot Bernache, an islet off the northern coast. Along the way, we anchor in a pale blue lagoon, where we slip on masks and fins and dive off the boat. The water is warm and we spot a myriad of fish in some pretty exotic looking colours and patterns (stripes and polka-dots seem to be the trend). We go ashore where a barbecue of freshly-caught fish – a local favorite – is set under the filao trees, in the sand. The setting is magical and we go back for seconds. We take a post-lunch walk around the island before perfecting our tans (the shallows mean you can lie back in the water.)
Knowing we have to pack and leave soon is always a gloomy feeling… A peek onto our terrace however tells us the weather is going to be fabulous so we head off to breakfast before visiting Grand Bay, a nearby seaside village. Vendors are setting up their food carts on the beach, a man chops coconuts using a sort of local machete, women dressed in bright pink and gold sarees stand under the bus stop, traditional wooden pirogues bob up and down alongside sleek sailboats and yachts. The town is slowly waking up.
We visit a bright pink temple that is across the road from the turquoise lagoon. The midday sun makes the surface of the water scintillate. We pop into the bazaar, at the heart of Grand Bay. The atmosphere (vendors’ cries, the chatter of people gossiping and bargaining, the strong scent of incense and spices, the rows of artisanal, woven baskets) causes a sort of sensory overload that we excitedly take in. We purchase several colorful woven baskets then head to the fish market located on the beach. Banians (the persons who buy the fish directly from the fishermen as they unload their catch on the pier) are busy bargaining and selling bright red and silver fish.
We escape the bustle and head to Veranda Grand Baie, another one of the fabulous Veranda hotels where we enjoy a shisha on the deck. In a few hours we will be flying over the tiny speck of green that is Mauritius. As we wait to board, I look up plane tickets to come back.
 This travel diary is a work of fiction, inspired by the photography of Robert Michael Poole and Marcy Yu taken during their stay at Veranda Resorts.