How the memory of Michaela still haunts heartbreak hotel...
Guests at the resort -- those who aren't preoccupied with the warm waters of the private lagoon or their flower-petal-strewn rooms -- may idly wonder why the numbers on a secluded corridor skip from 1024 to 1026.
Most of the mainly continental European honeymooners and wealthy retirees staying there this week were blissfully unaware of the significance of the vanished room in the hotel now known as the Lux* Grand Gaube.
But although the room number has been erased and the hotel has undergone a rebranding -- adopting the corporate slogan "lighter, brighter" -- the murder of beautiful young newly wed Michaela McAreavey still haunts the resort.
The lifeless body of Michaela, daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, was discovered by her husband John in the bathtub of room 1025 in January last year.
Police believe she was strangled after disturbing hotel staff who broke into the room to steal money from her purse.
Two men went on trial earlier this week for her murder in the island's capital Port Louis and Michaela's husband is attending the court proceedings.
Despite efforts by the hotel owners to move on, the shadow cast by her tragic death still looms large -- and the management and staff of the dream honeymoon destination are painfully aware of it.
The Irish Independent arrived at the hotel a few days before the trial started to see how the atmosphere had changed in the 15 months since Michaela's death.
We were approached unprompted, almost immediately, by the suave manager Brice Lunot, who had apparently asked the receptionist to notify him of our arrival.
He wanted to make clear that while staff at the hotel are still devastated by the shocking events of January 10, 2011, the rebranding of the hotel had nothing to do with the young school teacher's death that day.
It was in fact a long-planned corporate move decided on two years ago but implemented last December, he explained.
And he said that the room where Michaela died, now numbered 1026, with a new CCTV camera point at the door, remains unused except when the resort is full to capacity.
Mr Lunot, a soft-spoken Frenchman, was among the first on the scene in those first terrible moments after John found his new bride's body.
"I do realise that the presence of John here in Mauritius must be very hard for him and for his family and that's the only thing I can say.
"I think of them every day.
"I was with John during that moment and I know what his pain was."
Although the murder, still weighs heavy on the hotel staff, most of the guests remain oblivious to the ongoing trial.
There is no discussion of the court hearing among guests sipping cocktails by the pool or enjoying the lavish buffets provided by the hotel.
Outside the complex, its 430 workers live in the small ramshackle towns and villages dotted around the northern end of Mauritius.
Some live in very modest, if not impoverished, conditions that must seem a world away from the luxury suites of the resort and the lives of the rich western tourists they serve.
The hotel says it has made large strides to ensure guests do not fall victim to crime.
Just two months after Michaela's murder, another room was broken into by a member of staff, but Mr Lunot insists there have been no other adverse incidents since.
"There was a theft in a room," admitted Mr Lunot.
"He (the employee) tried to take some money. It was immediately reported. We managed to convince the guest to complain to the police."
The employee involved no longer works at the hotel. "We apply a zero tolerance policy. It means that each case of dishonesty is systematically reported to the police," said Mr Lunot.
He said that with no such incidents since, this policy has worked.
"Today, what is most commented on by the guests is not the beach, it's not the living area, it is the staff," he said.
"They have been hurt but they have overcome that and they've really gone the extra mile. I am very proud of them."
Despite the negative publicity surrounding Michaela's death, he says the hotel has had "a few" Irish guests over the last year. The Irish Independent didn't encounter any during our brief stay.
And Mr Lunot admitted: "Statistically the number of Irish guests on the island is way down. But that's mostly because of the economic situation."
The trial of those accused of Michaela's murder -- room attendant Avinash Treebhoowoon and floor supervisor Sandip Moneea -- is set to continue next week.
The conduct of the police investigation will be crucial to the outcome of the trial -- amid allegations admissions were coerced from suspects.
Both of the accused have pleaded not guilty and Treebhoowoon claims a confession he made came after a beating.
Although they would have encountered each other at the trial which opened on Tuesday, Mr Lunot has not heard from John McAreavey since he returned to Mauritius.
Local reports suggested that John and his family had been invited back to the hotel during their stay on Mauritius. Mr Lunot said that those stories did not come from him or anyone in his company.
However he said: "They would be welcomed if they expressed a wish to come."