Why would you have your next conference at a local conference venue if you can have it in paradise? Imagine arriving in an exotic location, smelling sweet tropical air and being welcomed by energetic sega dancers and a band playing the local music, while sipping a cocktail served in a hollowed out pineapple. I was fortunate enough to experience this, and a lot more while attending the annual Travel Counsellors Conference which was held in Mauritius, at Beachcomber’s Shandrani Resort & Spa (5 Star) from 17 to 20 May 2012. From the moment we stepped on the Air Mauritius aircraft in Johannesburg, it felt like I was going to paradise. Air Mauritius provided excellent service by friendly and attentive staff and the beautiful interior of the aircraft set the tone for an island adventure! Arriving in Mauritius, we were feeling extremely honoured as our welcoming party of sega dancers, singers and the band got us in the mood for an island break-away while the refreshing cocktails were going down well. Shandrani Resort & Spa is located on the South-East Coast of the island, and is only a short 10 minute drive away from the airport – thus being so popular amongst corporate travellers and conference delegates. As you arrive at the entrance gate of the hotel, one feels like you are entering another world. The property boasts lovely tropical gardens and is surrounded by 3 beaches; it is truly a beautiful setting. It is located in Blue Bay, which is a marine reserve; therefore it is the ideal spot for scuba diving, snorkelling and off course working on your tan – as you have 3 beaches to choose from! This 5 Star property boasts a total of 327 rooms and suites, 5 restaurants and 2 bars – so the choices are endless. There are 2 pool areas, a huge variety of activities and water sports as well as a sport and nature programme and a great kiddies club – making it a great family hotel. La Source is the most beautiful spa, where one enjoys true bliss. We stayed in superior rooms, which were very spacious and well-appointed with very comfortable beds. All the rooms have beautiful sea views and huge balconies or terraces where one can relax and unwind. The food was amazing – from the scrumptious international breakfast buffet to the lunches and dinners. If you don’t feel like the traditional” bacon & eggs” fry up, why don’t you try some flapjacks with one of many syrups or sauces available or what about pancakes? All tastes are catered for at this hotel, from the very health conscious person to the ones enjoying the finer things in life – like a huge dessert buffet with too many options to choose from – even at lunch time. We were treated with a lovely 4 course dinner on the night of our awards ceremony, which was paired with lovely wines. The staff went out of their way to make us feel special while the setting was enhanced with candles floating in the swimming pool to truly make this evening unforgettable. On another night we were feeling adventurous while being dressed as pirates and having a Mauritius barbecue dinner under the stars, right on the beach. Your company can enjoy a wonderful conference with all the latest technology available to meet all your conferencing requirements, and with the added bonus, during tea breaks or lunch times, you can step back in paradise and watch the beautiful lagoon and tropical surroundings, thus ensuring the delegates are refreshed to continue the meetings. Mauritius is truly a tropical island that offers so much for so many different holiday-makers, whether you plan to celebrate your wedding island-style or to relax on your honeymoon. Off course it is a great family vacation and as I have experienced a wonderful setting for a conference to remember. If you require any further information on Mauritius please don’t hesitate to contact me.