Grand Baie has reinvented itself as the playground of the super-rich. Our writer returns to the beach where her family lived in the 1970s
As the country’s birthplace of tourism, Grand Baie was always regarded as the St Tropez of Mauritius. When Sunset Boulevard was built on the waterfront in the 1990s, there was nothing else like it on the island. In its heyday, the streets buzzed with Mini Mokes (a new trend then), Suzuki four-wheel drives and bicycles, and visitors included everyone from Princess Stephanie of Monaco to then-president Jacques Chirac and Prince William (on a gap year in the late 1990s). But 30 years later, the resort became a bit shabby, as investment failed to keep up with the reputation the area had built for itself.
The island’s main motorway, from the airport, only reached Grand Baie a decade ago. Five years ago, the north acquired its own golf course, Mont Choisy, which although not directly on the sea is counted among the top four courses islandwide. The Mont Choisy Estate, with villas near the beach, brought wealth into the area, which is known for its white sand beaches.