No one can remember if Balaclava gets its name from a corruption of a place name in the local patois or the famous battle in the Crimea, Ukraine; but the area is located where the Citron River flows to the Indian Ocean, at the southern beach tip of the resort of Pointe aux Piments. Resorts of surpassing luxury include Le Oberoi, Le Meridien Ile Maurice, Maritim Hotel Mauritius, Grand Mauritian, La Plantation Resort Mauritian, InterContinental Mauritius and Angsana Mauritius. For the most part, Balaclava event venues are to be found in these same resorts.
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 Balaclava, is talking about building a second runway.
There are no convention venues in Balaclava, but this is a relatively small island, so resort guests are no more than nine miles south 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.
There are some excellent hotels here, although you may hear of them being referred to as being in Pointe aux Piments. The 265-room Le Meridien Ile Maurice has six meeting rooms, the largest ballroom on Mauritius and 25,000 square feet of gardens for events, and the 73-room The Oberoi Mauritius, has two meeting rooms and gorgeous outdoor function space. Other amazing choices are the 271-room La Plantation Resort Mauritian, which has five meeting rooms, the largest able to host 800 persons; the 220-room InterContinental Mauritius, which has five meeting rooms for up to 600 persons; and the 193-room Hotel La Grand Mauritian, which has four meeting rooms and a ballroom able to host 1,000 persons.
There are no unique function venues in Balaclava, although the resorts have many and varied ones, and you might not want to leave. Casting a wider net, try the Mauritius Gymkhana Club in Vacoas, a private club with an 18-hole golf course, a restaurant and a conference room; Rhumerie de Chamarel rum distillery, a very attractive site that offers tastings, tours, the possibility of setting up private events and the 80-seat l'Alchimiste restaurant; the gorgeously situated and gorgeous Eureka Creole House built in 1830 has a restaurant, a terrace and a neat, large lawn; and Nelson Mandela Center for African Culture, which opened in 2011 in a building reminiscent of the mud mosques and buildings of Mali and Niger, has lecture halls and rooms for events and banquets. Those who want to get on the ocean can arrange yacht and catamaran adventures from Balaclava with charter company Mauritius Attractions.
The Restaurant La Maree in Balaclava is on the beach and is known for its lobster, while Oryza at the almost perfect, Asian-influenced, 52-suite Angsana Balaclava resort has such dishes as octopus curry. Brezza at the aforementioned Hotel La Grand Mauritian serves up Italian fare and a setting by the pool that it might prove impossible to leave. One restaurant tucked into the cool of the Black River Mountains is La Chamarel, which has 125 seats, while a restaurant that is farther away, on the other coast, but well worth the effort to reach is Rasoi by Vineet at the 163-room, stunning One&Only Le Saint Geran, the cuisine overseen by Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatia.