More likely to be signposted as Grand Baie, Grand Bay is another of Mauritius' fine resort and seaside destinations of cobalt-blue or emerald-green seas, cerulean skies, waving palm trees and silver-speckled cream sand beaches. Just north of Pointe aux Piments at the northernmost tip of the island, the biggest difference between it and other Mauritian destinations is that Grand Bay event venues are known for their nightlife.
Named for the first prime minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU) has no direct flights from North America but has several direct ones from Europe: The airport, which is approximately 45 miles southeast of Grand Bay, is talking about building a second runway.
There are no convention venues in Grand Bay per se, but this is a relatively small island, so resort guests are no more than 15 miles north of the Swami Vivekananda International Conference Center in Port Louis, which has a 35,000-square-foot convention hall and a 20,000-square-foot lobby for all events, among other spaces.
Hotel venues in Grand Bay able to look after groups include the 237-room La Mauricia, which has two meeting rooms for up to 125 persons; its sibling, the 84-room Royal Palm Mauritius has restaurant, common, bar and beach space (even a speedboat for hire), but no dedicated meeting space. The 102-room Coin de Mire Attitude is a gorgeous, tidy, attractive place with a great spa and some cool spots for gatherings (even though technically it is a three-star property) in the northernmost reaches of this district, in Cap Malheureux; the 94-room Veranda Grand Baie, which reopened at the end of 2010 after a complete overhaul, has a conference room for 45 persons; and Le Samara, which has a spa and the Ayesha's Conference Center with space for 90 persons.
As with other destinations, there are few event venues in Grand Bay that are outside of the resorts in the immediate area; but as the country is relatively small, do not feel awkward about organizing transport farther afield. Close to Grand Bay is Les Ecuries du Domaine, a riding school, which can arrange guided horse rides and catering set-up, while a small, non-meetings hotel that is wonderful to host events (if, especially if you book all 29 guest rooms) is the family-run, Colonial Indochine-style Hotel Les Orchidees. Not so far away are Blue Safari Submarines, which can take groups approximately 100 feet below the waves to investigate marine life; L'Aventure du Sucre, in the village of Pamplemousses, which has lots of history, an old sugar mill amid beautiful countryside, a meeting room for up to 100 persons and Le Fangourin restaurant, and, in Mauritian capital Port Louis, the Cauden Waterfront Complex, which has shopping, entertainment and Le Patio, an outdoor courtyard that can be roped off.
Two excellent restaurants connected with hotels not mentioned above are Le Navigator at Le Cannonier, a sibling of the aforementioned La Mauricia and Royal Palm, which also has 284 guest rooms and a conference room for 100 persons; and the the very orange, 18-room, boutique Hotel Flowers of Paradise, which has no meeting space but specializes in seafood and curries cooked over an outside fire. A restaurant independent of Grand Bay hotels is the mostly open-air Sea Lovers Restaurant, which faces the sea and enjoys a very laid-back vibe, while two good choices farther afield are Le Saint Aubin Restaurant in a beautiful, 1819 Colonial-style house with 150 seats and Restaurant La Maree in Balaclava, which is on the beach and known for its lobster.