Shanti Ananda Maurice, Mauritius
Years ago, I spent four months on the island of Mauritius. I fell in love with the place, mesmerised by the waves crashing onto coral reef. Everything about it filled me with energy, even the torrential downpours.
More recently I discovered a similar source of energy, while undergoing a five-day detox at the famous Ananda spa in the Himalayas. So what could possibly make me happier - and more energised, of course - than the long-awaited opening of Ananda's sister hotel, the Shanti Ananda Maurice on Mauritius? It neatly combined the promise of a luxurious resort experience with the Ananda philosophy - shanti is Sanskrit for peace and ananda means bliss. The big question is will it succeed in its aim to become one of the top ten destination spas in the world? And after spending a few days there, my answer would definitely be yes.
Set amid the sugar cane plantations, the complex was built using natural materials, which add to the feeling of harmony. The only bursts of colour come from the array of tropical flowers. A never-ending vision of water begins with the centrepiece swimming pool. Sensibly, too, every bedroom is built so you can gaze out on to blue-green waters of the Indian Ocean from the vast squashy beds.
Many of the therapists have been flown over from the Himalayas. On your first visit to the spa, a doctor assesses your constitutional type or dosha - vata, pitta or kapha - and prescribes relevant treatments and diet. There are programmes for any requirement from anti-ageing to weight loss, and even one for pure romance, which Mauritians promote as key to a happy life.
Ayurvedic treatments are rhythmic rather than deep, using two therapists at a time and, apart from some made with herbs, very oily. As with aromatherapy, the oil is key to the treatment - the Pizichill involves warm sesame oil infused with 160 different herbs being poured over the body for an hour to extract toxins at cellular level. But this isn't just about your physical wellbeing: daily sessions in Vedanta philosophy, meditation and yoga calm your mind. And once you have reached the higher planes, perfection is around the corner: a walk along the endless sands at sunset - and if that doesn't feed the body and the soul, then nothing will.
Ayurveda meets the beach - a physical and spiritual experience on a magical island.
Seven nights at Shanti Ananda Maurice starts from £1,864 per person, based on two sharing a Junior Ocean View Suite on a B&B basis. Visit shantiananda.com for details. BA flies to Mauritius from London Heathrow. Visit ba.com
Read about more spas in World's best spas, A feast for all the senses and Raising the bar.