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Mark Twain said, “God first made Mauritius, and from it created Paradise.” On the map, Mauritius is a speck off the coast of Madagascar. In person, it’s like the Big Island of Hawaii, but where everyone speaks Creole. On the way there, my family and I had a layover in Dubai, which gave us three power hours of sightseeing, including the tallest building in the world — the Burj Khalifa — which houses the largest aquarium in the world inside the biggest mall in the world. (How’s that for superlatives?) Once in Mauritius, it was a total escape. The country is a mix of African and Asian cultures, and there were absolutely no other Americans at The Oberoi resort, where we stayed. Our villa overlooked the Indian Ocean and was bordered by gardens and banyan trees. It embodied the sophistication of St. Barth’s mixed with the exoticism of Bali. Think curry pancakes with homemade pineapple jam for breakfast. I’ve never been an expert at relaxing, but this trip changed the way I think about vacations. It was the kind of hotel where you never feel the need to leave. Waterskiing on demand, scuba diving with dolphins and tennis were all on the agenda, as was live Sega music on the beach at night. We took a couple of excursions, one to a safari, where the living animal prints and ostrich feathers served as my only reminder of the fashion I’d left half a world away.
Editor’s Note: Designer Cynthia Rowley recently traveled to Mauritius.