If you can only visit one colonial building in Mauritius, it should be the striking Eureka mansion, where you can also eat and overnight. The building is a feat of engineering, with 109 doors, a wood-roofed wraparound veranda and pretty, turreted rooftop windows designed for tropical living. It was built in 1836 by one of the richest sugar barons on the island, and his family’s travels are reflected in the fourteen rooms. Highlights include original pieces crafted from cinnamon wood, mahogany and ebony, the Chinese living room (fashionable at the time), a marble standalone bathtub and a Pleyel piano from Europe. There’s also a display of nineteenth-century utensils and Creole cookery demonstrations in the outdoor stone kitchen.
In the 38 acres of grounds, a nature trail leads through mini botanical gardens, with some rare and endemic plants, including black ebony trees. You can also take your swimsuit for the hour-long walk to cool off in a swimming hole and jacuzzi beneath a waterfall in the valley.