1737 the year the hotel industry was born in Mauritius
Did you know that the first hotel in Mauritius opened its doors in 1737, in the capital city of Port Louis? And yes! Still under French occupation, the island was still called Isle de France and was then under the command of the Governor, Mahé de Labourdonnais. The establishment in question was an inn, located on the bank of the Ruisseau du Pouce and owned by André Briançon. The Governor encouraged trade and brought in tailors, goldsmiths, tanners and provided them with credit to start their business. In the centre of a changing Port-Louis, Briançon's inn was therefore a welcome addition to a small town that was seeing more and more people passing through. Although tourism was still unknown at the time, the establishment welcomed officers and soldiers as well as crews on stopover.
A few years later, in 1741, a second inn opened its doors on the Port-Louis/Grande Rivière Nord-Ouest route. Then another, followed by another…little by little the small tropical capital was to become a real port of call for travellers exhausted by the long crossings between Europe and the East Indies. Thus was born the hotel business in Mauritius. The years passed quickly and the country was to experience a major change in its physiognomy. However, it was not until after the war that a few Englishmen stopped in Mauritius and according to official figures, in 1947, more than 200 years after the first inn in Port Louis, there were only four hotels in Mauritius, namely: the Curepipe Hotel and the Golden Hotel in Curepipe, the National Hotel in Port Louis and the Family Hotel in Vacoas. A few years later, the country welcomed 1,800 visitors, prompting the big investors to change their tune. This is how the Rogers company bought, under its new subsidiary Mauritius Hotels, the Château Mallac and turned it into the majestic Park Hotel. The Rogers company increased its investments and built Le Chaland, the first seaside hotel near the Plaisance airport and a second one at Morne Brabant, Le Morne Plage in 1954. The latter was renamed Le Morne Brabant in 1968 and was equipped with the very first golf course in Mauritius. In 1971, Mauritius Hotels opened a third establishment at Trou aux Biches in the north-west.
It was not until the 1970s that luxury hotels emerged in Mauritius. Until then, Mauritius Hotels alone controlled the hotel industry in the country, so Sir Gaëtan Duval, then Minister of Tourism, brought in the South African group Southern Sun, specialising in luxury hotels, which then joined forces with the conglomerate Ireland Blyth Limited (IBL) to create Sun Resorts. Together, this group built a series of world-class hotels on the Mauritian coast, such as the St-Géran in 1975. The sugar "boom" of 1974-1975 gave the Franco-Mauritian properties the chance to diversify their activities from sugar cane to hotels. In the meantime, foreign groups settled in Mauritius like Club Méditerranée which was the first to offer half-board and sports activities. We remain in the 70s. In 1975, the Constance company launched the Belle-Mare Plage hotel, while Médine Sugar Estate took shares in the La Pirogue hotel complex in 1983. Another sugar company to invest in the hotel business was Mon Trésor et Mon Désert, which became a shareholder in Sun Resorts.
For years, the intervention of these groups in the tourism industry has led to the construction of new hotels throughout the country, but mainly on the coast. In 1987, for example, the Union Sugar Estate invested in the La Croix du Sud hotel, which has recently become the Preskil. A leap in time takes us to 1998 when the Constance Group built the Prince Maurice and its 89 luxury suites. Later on, other groups will come to Mauritius like Naïade Resorts, the third hotel group in Mauritius alongside New Mauritius Hotels and Sun Resorts. Naïade Resorts started in 1990 with the Tropical Trou D'eau Douce.
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