11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Had a lovely stay at the Sofitel. Rooms: Upgraded to a deluxe room. Room was lovely. Decor all new, stylish and very comfortable. Lovely balcony overlooking gardens and beach beyond. Beach: Hotel right on a lovely sandy beach. Swimming area was rather small within the sea, but beach was great for lounging and the pool was great for quick swim inbetween. Had hoped for some more fish in the sea, but if you're looking for underwater snorkelling sights you'll need to go further than the hotel beach. Weather: Feb is not peak season and cyclone Ivan over Madagascar meant that we had on and off drizzle, although I preferred this as it broke up the heat a bit and we still had plenty sun. The west coast of the island is meant to be more sheltered than the other side which was one of the reasons that we chose this area. Food: Enjoyed the buffets, and definitely recommend the Chinese restaurant upstairs (which includes a half-board menu). Particularly enjoyed sitting outside at the Chinese. Not sure whether this is a problem at all Mauritius hotels,but there were quite a few flies and stray birds about the main restaurant and beach bar- also the odd stray cat. These didn't particularly bother me, but you would have thought that something could have been done about these. Service. Somewhat erratic. Generally good. Housekeeping staff were fantastic, as were staff in gym (which by the way was very well equipped and overlooking gorgeous very large ponds and gardens). Restaurant and bar staff varied in service levels. Some nights they were so attentive that we couldnt fill our own glasses or carry our own buffet plates. Other nights we had to wave them down. Guess this was probably influenced by the number of people around or time of dining. Overall, for holiday mode, I was pleased with the levels. Excursions: Favourite was catamaran ride to Ile au cerfs on the east coast. Also enjoyed the botanic garden at pampelmousse. Coloured sands at Chamarel definitely overrated - pretty as part of a trip, but would be disappointing if you're expecting it to be a main attraction! Only complaint: It's minor - but after paying our bills the previous night we checked out early morning to be subjected to a mini-bar inspection and left with the slightly bitter taste of what felt like a small inquisition as to whether we had had an extra bottle of mineral water (which was missing as the mini-bar had not been properly refilled on several days during our stay)!! Overall: Relaxing break, lovely rooms, good bands in the evenings. Good beach, great pancakes at breakfast. Would recommend this one."
- Travel date: 11th March 2008
Loved this hotel!
"My husband & i stayed at Sofitel Imperial in Feb 2008 & I can honestly say this hotel was beyond our expectations. The rooms are great,modern & luxurious. Service is fantastic & the staff went out of their way to make us comfortable. We visited the neighbouring hotels of similar price range ( la pirogue & sugar beach) & we definitely didnt regret choosing Sofitel. Drinks in the hotel, however, are quite expensive, so we took alot of our own. We would most certainly book Sofitel again on our next trip and recommend it to anyone looking for a fabulous time."
- Travel date: 7th March 2008
Get your act together
"My fiance and I have just returned from a 7 night stay at the Sofitel Imperial on the beautiful West Coast of Mauritius. Situated next to the luxurious Taj Exotica, the hotel location, accommodation and beach are superb. Unfortunately that is where it ends. The lack of service and quality/variety of food could not be overlooked. We arrived at the hotel at 21h00, with not a soul in site and carried our luggage up into the hotel reception area - totally deserted! After wandering around trying to find someone to check us in we were eventually shown to our room at 21h30 wherafter we proceeded to the diningroom for dinner. It was made very clear that the kitchen would be closing at 22h30, as we were hurried through our "meal" whilst staff cleaned around us. Having been to mauritius on 3 prior occasions we had always been taken by the friendly hospitality and wonderful variety of food and in particular seafood - not at Sofitel. If you are expecting shellfish as part of your half board rate, forget it. You can dine in one of the a la carte restaurants, but needless to say at a price. We had lunch and drinks at the neighbouring Hilton hotel - what a difference! I know where I will be spending my next Mauritian holiday."
- Travel date: 16th February 2008
great value for money
"We stayed in this hotel in November 2007. I read the review just before mine, and note that it is written in Nov 2007, BUT they actually stayed there in Jan, and i think i am correct in saying that the hotel was revamped after this time period? I can honestly say that this hotel offered 5 star accomodation as well as food. I had read the travel advisor before departing and was a little worried about some of the negative reviews, and was thus very relieved that they were not true. Every evening there was a different themed meal, ranging from Italian, to Mallacan, to American. These meals were absolutely wonderful, the selection was vast and so different, and beautifully presented (esp the starters). The breakfasts were the same everyday, which was a little boring, however, again the selection is vast. The staff were all very helpful, and pleasant. The only staff who were not up to scratch were the "boat guys" who were all rather unsmiling. Another thing which the travel agency does not mention is that on arrival at the hotel a deposit of R5000 (rupees) is required, you can have an imprint of your credit card made, but if you haven't got a credit card with you, you may lose part of your spending money. A complimentary bottle of water is given to you each day in your room. Drinks at the hotel are expensive. We brought our own alcohol with us, and kept it in the fridge. You are able to walk to the flic en flac shops, if walking on the road it takes about 15-20mins.The shops sell alcohol as well as your usual commodities. It for some reason, is quicker to walk along the beach. You walk past the Hilton, Sugar Beach, and La Pirogue. All are more expensive and quite frankly have the same facilities as Sofitel. At the Sofitel there is a library where you can borrow books for free, so you dont need to bring books if you dont want to! We went on half board. For this we could use the main restaurant, and also the chinese restaurant. At the chinese restaurant you can only eat the set menu without paying extra. This is sufficient as there are 4 courses. There is a beautiful terrace up at the restaurant, arrive early and bag a seat right on the edge, views are lovely, and it is all open air. The previous person mentioned birds in the restaurant, we were there a week, and at any given time we only saw two or three birds, they were not a nuisance, and we never saw any bird mess lying around. The restaurant is open air (no side walls) so one can't keep the birds out. (they were only sparrows) Would be happy to answer any questions should anyone have any. I would definitely go back to this hotel."
- Travel date: 15th December 2007
Why does everyone think this is a 5 star hotel?
"The Trip Advisor rating for the Sofitel Imperial is 3 Stars - and that is absolutely correct. The entrance to the hotel and the reception area are both very impressive. The exotic gardens are very well maintained. The location is fine. Flic En Flac is near enough for convenience but far enough away not to spoil the ambience. The pool is particularly impressive and the beach is good. All this would lend itself to a 5 star hotel status if this hotel were taken over by another group and the necessary investment made. Unfortunately as it stands, the rest of the facilities are solidly 3 star. We had a pleasant ground-floor sea-view room in a block. It was quite large and clean, although very basic. The bathroom was a good size and everything worked well although it was hardly luxurious. There was a large bed which although very hard was quite comfortable. The room-maid did an excellent job of keeping it in good order. All in all we were perfectly comfortable and would have been quite happy had we paid a 3 star tariff. Sadly we had not! We hired a car for the duration and after seeing what the hotel restaurant had to offer we decided to eat out at the many excellent restaurants in Flic En Flac. However breakfast was included in our room rate.... and this leads to our major complaint about the hotel. The open sided restaurant was absolutely swarming with birds. Now I'm a bird lover, but... ! At a breakfast buffet it is impossible to keep all the food covered up all the time. There were bird-droppings everywhere - on the table cloths, the chairs, the plates. You couldn't eat anything that had been left uncovered for more than a few minutes. This is totally unacceptable, in my view. Management made no effort to deal with the problem in any way, not even the occasional flap of a napkin. For this reason I cannot recommend this hotel - even at 3 stars."
- Travel date: 20th November 2007
5 Star Holiday
"We stayed 10 days from 26th September and can only say this hotel was fantastic. It looks like the hotel has been completely renovated since the other reviews were posted. We stayed in a standard room which was really spacious and the rooms were very modern and immaculately cleaned every day. High points: - the Mauritian people are so helpful and friendly. They say hello everywhere you go and bend over backwards for you (we celebrated my fiance's birthday while we were here and they arranged a cake and pina colada's on the beach for sunset!) - the spa is top rate. Tip: go at the beginning of your stay and you can use the facilities the whole time. It is very zen, especially at night - the buffets are extensive and very tasty - great beach with sunloungers - dive centre staff are really professional and helpful (however, I've been told the Pirogue down the road is cheaper and better). Great visibility at the dive sites! - waterskiing is great fun! It's free so go for it! (it's not directly outside the hotel so you won't be disturbed by motorised watersports on the beach) Considerations - we went B&B and chose to dine in Flic & Flac a few nights to sample local cuisine (and so not to be tied into buffets every night). You can always still pay for the buffet on the nights you want and it would work out a similar price to going HB anyway - it is spring at this time of the year over there, so not the hottest time. We did have good weather, but sometimes it was rather windy and therefore not warm enough to sunbath full on. Also note that the sea current can be quite strong now. - the pool in all the pictures is empty for a reason: it's freezing! - the beach can get quite full so be there early if you want a parasol - there are a lot of tauts on the beach offering dophin visits etc. But they are still friendly and go away once they see you are settled in and not interested after a few days. If you are looking for somewhere to go to eat in Flic en Flac, it costs around 400rbs a return taxi ride. I'd definnitely recommend Chez Pepe which does local seafood and they are really friendly! all in all, a great stay - definitely 5* hotel. Enjoy!"
- Travel date: 8th October 2007
South Africans should avoid this hotel
"My wife and I were guests at the Sofitel Imperial in Mauritius from the 4th to the 11th of August 2007. We were fortunate enough to be given a villa for the duration of our stay. The room was beautiful. The weather was not the best, so we spent a lot of time in our room. Unfortunately, for the first 2 days we didn't receive proper tv reception and were unable to watch tv. When eventually the reception was sorted out, there were only 3 English channels: 2 news channel and 1 movie channel. The movie channel only showed movies at certain times of the day, and it seemed more than often, someone forgot to put the movie on. It was very frustrating to sit in our room, with no movies to watch especially when coming to Mauritius to relax and experiencing bad weather. To my amazement, my frustration did not end there. The meals at the restaurant were atrocious. Everyday for breakfast, the same thing, no variety. My wife is a vegetarian, and there were only 3 veg servings she could eat: vegetable curry, baked beans & apple crumble. The chefs did not know how to make fried eggs! We eventually had to resort to ordering toasted sandwiches for breakfast, to which the waitress on the 1st day eventually brought us 2 slices of toast with cheese and tomato stuffed in the center. For dinner, even though there was a different themes every night, there was no variety of food and the selection that was provided was tasteless and bland. The green salad consisted of lettuce, carrots, raw beetroot and something that looked like cucumber. Not a grilled prawn to be spotted! Everyone we spoke to at the hotel complained about the food. Even the lunch menu was limited (and expensive). I suggest that if you plan on being successful, look at the market you are catering for. In my estimation, your clientele consisted mainly of South Africans (+/-70%). Also, there were a number of Indians (Hindus) who are vegetarians (as we are) as well as Muslims. We also recommend that you compare your food menu to other hotels in Mauritius as there is a wider variety available elsewhere. The service at the hotel was fantastic, and everyone tried to make us comfortable and accommodate us as much as possible, but it always seemed that the kitchen was the problem. We complained to the head waiters/managers who apologized and expressed that their hands were tied, and that there was nothing they could do. They did try to prepare a separate meal for us one night and when we tried to order a second special meal 2 nights later, they were given instructions that no special meals could be ordered. Overall, we were extremely disappointed with our stay at the Sofitel Imperial hotel. Just a little example of how much: My wife is 17 weeks pregnant. After we came back from Mauritius, she had LOST half a kilo! Says a lot about what she ate at your hotel... Iâve heard so many amazing and wonderful things about Mauritius, its people and especially the amount of food available when visiting the Island from people who went for holidays to other hotels before our holiday, and from people on the plane back from our holiday, and I feel that Iâve been given the short end of the stick, especially considering that Mauritius is not a cheap holiday destination. If you are South African and looking forward to a great meal at breakfast and supper, I suggest you look elsewhere. We met about 6 other SA couples (afrikaaner, portugese & indian) of which ALL of them complained about the food. I will chalk this holiday up to experience and not a total failure as my wife and I spent alot of time together. I must admit that the hotel setting is excellent. Since the weather was not condusive to swimming or water-sports, I cannot comment on the facilities provided for water-sports."
- Travel date: 19th August 2007
Very Nice Place...But
"The Sofitel is a well maintained 5* hotel and a beautiful beach hotel. Service, and this is definitely not the only known case in Mauritius, is somehow slow - but again, I believe this is very cultural and you need not to mention it more than needed. Our room was a deluxe room with a sea view - it was large, clean, comfortable, had a great bathroom, etc. Buffet meals, breakfast in particular, were very nice, and the Japanese specialty restaurant we tried quite interesting as well. My wife loved the spa, which looked very nice, and I found the underwater music pool in the midst of it a very relaxing place to dip in. Be as it may, I do not know how I would feel about this hotel should I not be French - obviously, this is a French resort, and most of the clients you will come across are French (many are on the island anyway). The thing I however disliked about the hotel was that it stands... by a lagoon - let me explain: in August (and perhaps some other months, but I wouldn't know that), the tide is systematically low - hence, you will never find enough water to swimm in. This forced us into taking a boat almost every day and escaping to a nearby almost deserted island - very pleasant experience and memories per se, but costly ones (about an extra 100/150 euros a day for the trip and lunch on the island). On the way to the island, besides, in the nearby bay, you are most likely to come across a bunch of dolphins fishing in the morning - that's a cool experience as well. Overall, though, I guess I could return - if I did, I might go for another corner of the island, just for the sake of changing."
- Travel date: 13th August 2007
"Stayed at The Sofitel Imperial for 3 days over new year and 3 days was plenty!! The staff were exceptionally unfriendly - everything was too much trouble and service with a smile was an alien concept. After an early morning arrival we had an hour in our room before water was pouring through the ceiling. After 5 calls to housekeeping the water was cleared up but no explanation, no apology and no offer of assistance for cleaning and drying of our now drenched and dirty clothes. Every bill that was handed to us for food and drink had extra money added to it - in the end it was easier to query who exactly receives this money rather than convince them to rectify the mistake. Incorrect food orders were consistenly brought to the table and when queried, waitresses were quick to point out it was the kitchens mistake, not their fault, so in other words 'tough!'. Upon departure, at 5am, we had settled our bill the previous evening, however, we were chased from the lobby to the taxi with shouts of 'you owe us money'.... they had made a minor mistake on the bill and were anxious to correct it, regardless of us missing our flight, they had not been so anxious to correct the bills that cost us extra money!!! A fitting end to 3 days plagued by bad service and unfriendly staff, If it wasnt for the beautiful beach, our time in Mauritius would have been a total loss."
- Travel date: 11th January 2007
Facilities are showing their age, hospitality sub-standard
"The Hotel sits on a tidy beach and the surrounding park is neatly taken care of. A number of sports activities are free of charge - this is standard in all Mauritius 5* hotels - and the staff greet you whenever you walk by. Our room was spacious and always cleaned well. The gym was pleasent and well equipped, and the attendant was a friendly hulk of a man. - Sounds good? It is, but unfortunately, this is as much good as I can tell about this hotel. 15 years after its opening, the Sofitel shows that maintenance has been seriously neglected: Water was running down from our ceiling, we had power outages for several hours every other day, and the tap water was often not running either - rather unpleasant when you want to wash off the salt from the sea. When they attempted to fix something, it never lasted long. Did I mention the mold that was growing in and around the swimming pool? I do realize Mauritius belongs to the African continent and infrastracture cannot be generally expected to be on the same level as in the 1st world. However, when you look at the rates they charge, you would expect the hotel to make up for the shorcomings of the local utilities, e.g. by installing a generator, a fresh water tank or the like. Not only did the hotel fail to provide even the most basic services such as water and electricity on a constant level, staff also made it quite clear that they could not care less, let alone offer a gesture of compensation such as a free meal or a free drink. Upon our request, the guest relations manager Robin laughed at us and told us he could see no problem as everything would always be back in order sooner or later. In other words, he could not see the need for any action whatsoever. The hotel service frustrated us on many occasion. For instance, one had two ask two or three times for coffee at breakfast and wait for 15 minutes, or, say you called housekeeping for towels, you had to allow up to one hour for delivery. Generally speaking, I would say hotel staff was friendly, but bone-idle. A few words on the food: the breakfast buffet was of typical 4* standard, which is not a bad thing. When you stay in a 5* hotel, you expect more, though. And again, it was the attitude that drove us round the bend: if they ran out of croissants at 8:30 in the morning, then that was it, and staff certainly did not show any regret, let alone take any action. After our experience with breakfast, we never cared to dine in. For those who stay in the Flic-en-Flac area, your best bet by far is the Domaine Anna RESTAURANT just outside the village. We can also recommend the nearby The Sands hotel for dining. There is a thing they call spa at the Sofitel. When the hotel was built 15 years ago, this might have gone through as a spa. But these days, it takes more to a spa than an indoor pool surrounded by treatment cabins, all in a rather dull atmosphere. For those who like a real SPA, try the Hilton hotel next door. Beware of the hawkers on the hotel beach! They will do their best to rip you off by charging in advance for excursions that never take place, or by selling trips that are heavily overpriced. The problem is: on your arrival day, you do not realize that $100 is too much for a one-day boat trip, because you might expect a comparable price level in your home country. However, when you learn that the average monthly wage in Mauritius is also $100, you know something is wrong. Something that you might not expect to work well in this country is actually surprisingly efficient: the police. If you have a problem with one of the local racketeers, just walk up to the police station, and half a dozen officers will stop dozing, get hold of the person in charge and make sure you get your money back. So far so good, but as long as the gangsters are never taken into custody, they have no reason to stop their mean business. This has certainly been the worst hotel experience we can think of and I cannot recommend this hotel to anyone. Some episodes were so unreal they were almost funny, such as the guard who was fast asleep when we came back in the evening, and had to be woken up to let us in."
- Travel date: 1st November 2006
I went with my brother - he won a compet...
"I went with my brother - he won a competition. Good points - very friendly, helpful staff. Everywhere spotlessly clean and well maintained. Attention to detail like folded ends of toilet paper, sand ashtrays - never any cigarette butts in as always cleaned (and stamped with hotel logo!). Pool toilets have individual scented toweling hand towels and basket to throw them in always empty as it's continually attended to. Lovely large pool. Lovely surroundings, right beside beach. Various water sports. Small gym. Aquaerobics (spelling!). Good quality food - a bit too much Indian/Chinese - was sick of at the end of the week and I like Indian/Chinese. Food demonstrations in afternoon. Bad points - if you went for a honeymoon you would probably not be bored!!!!!! Not a lot to do in evening. No disco - a small awful band but not many people interested. Most guests stayed in their rooms!!!! Beach really annoying. Constantly pestered by people trying to sell things. They weren't allowed on the hotel premises but if you walked near the edge they would still pester you. Didn't feel too safe out of the hotel grounds. Very poor people. Breakfast in open air. Nice but surrounded by small birds. Would come and invade the table next to you if it's guests had left - not the place for people afraid of birds. Lot of French guests - very unfriendly (apart from one lovely farmer and his fiancÃ©) Wouldn't go back despite good quality hotel. (By the way I went in 2003 so I don't know if this still counts, I'm sure it hasn't changed."
- Travel date: 9th March 2006
Sofitel Mauritius L'Imperial Resort & Spa is also called
- Sofitel Imperial Hotel
- accor imperial hotel
- sofitel flic en flac