The Indian Ocean: Mauritius

Lunch, spa and a fabulous guide

Hot Table: Eurêka Moment
When resort food wears thin, there's Maison Eurêka, a beautiful plantation-house restaurant in the shadow of Mauritius' Moka mountains. Make a reservation for lunch on the wood veranda (private dinners are available upon request). The food is unpretentious Mauritian, cooked by local women in the original kitchen: honest curries and subtle vegetable dishes, such as dry beef with coconut chutney and smoked marlin with orange-and-vegetable salad. Lunch, $40; 230-433-8477;

Spa Report: Just For the Day
Even if you're not staying at the Belle Mare Plage Resort in Mauritius, book a day (or half-day) at the new spa, Pavilion Shiseido. Alkistis Loukides, the manager and a therapist, has hands that exude heat before she's even touched you. She also has a world-class curriculum vitae: We first spotted her at La Réserve in Geneva. Treatments, $30-$180; 230-402-2600;

Islander to Know: Mauritius From the Inside
For the ultimate English-speaking guide-cum-handler-cum-fixer on Mauritius (given its size you'll need one), call the venerable Ibrahim Bashir. He's experienced, very dapper, and an absolute expert on the island's history, politics, and the complex stew of religions. He's also a fantastic storyteller—he'll give you the scoop on steamy local gossip—and knows the beaches and restaurants others don't take you to. Rates, $110-$210 a day for car and driver; 230-212-3712;