We returned to La Reserve this September having honeymooned there in 1993 and visited again in 2003. The first two visits were brilliant and when we organised this trip we made sure we could go to La Reserve again – a Big Mistake. We first went to Denis Island and then Bird and enjoyed both immensely.
On arrival at La Reserve we were pleased that our request for one of the ‘old’ colonial rooms to the right side of the bar area had been granted. However we were unaware of the ‘rebuild’ work after the tsumani. As such we were virtually alongside the newly extended bar and were obliged to have our curtains permanently drawn; even the bathroom windows were not glazed. In addition the individual ‘hut’ accommodation for guests had been replaced with blocks of 4 ‘maisonettes’ and the whole layout was so different and ‘International’.
The room was very clean, nicely appointed with a large ensuite bathroom. The only mistake was that the overhead fan was not over the bed so air con was necessary but was to one side of bed freezing that side. There were flower heads all over the bed, furnishings, coffee table, even the bidet – 33 in all. We soon found that all new arrivals were similarly treated which explained why there were very few flowers anywhere on the resort – just green bushes. Leave the complex and there were hibiscus flowers everywhere, of every hue – the tropical gardens we were expecting – lie by the pool and there were only 2 or 3 in sight anywhere. In the restaurant area there were even flower heads alongside the porridge?!
When we got to the room paperwork informed us there were two meal sittings for dinner 1930hrs or 2030hrs. We decided to go to the later one. We went over to the bar at 2010hrs for a drink before dinner and saw that the jetty restaurant was very full and that there was just one other couple waiting in the bar area. By 2045hrs no-one had left the restaurant and the only available space was at its entrance – the main thoroughfare for the waitresses. We asked when the second sitting was starting only to be told there wasn’t one….We asked to speak to the restaurant manager and he said there wasn’t two sittings and to use the table in the ‘busy area’. We refused and luckily at this point a couple left a table at the end of the jetty and we were shown to this. We ordered our meal but service was slow and it was 2130hrs before our main course arrived – beef which had been cooked too quickly and was very stringy. By 2145hrs we were one of only three tables still occupied; us plus one table of four and the couple who had waited in the bar with us. We had finished our main course and there we sat – totally ignored whilst the waitresses laid up the other tables for breakfast. One waitress actually shook a tablecloth over the end of the jetty just behind us. We had to call a waitress away from laying up to serve us the sweet course and to order coffee. The sweet arrived, the coffee did not. By now it was gone 2215hrs and we’d had enough. We walked out. The bar area was almost empty – it usually was we found so we decided to go to our room. We were then chased after with our coffee and the chit to sign for our drinks. We were thoroughly unimpressed by this total lack of customer care – not one of the waitresses ever smiled – indeed we were told by other English that there was a competition amongst them to try and get one to smile….
The food provided was on the whole good but there was a problem with it sometimes arriving tepid, the buffets were better then the table d’hotel, and certainly meant you had your dinner quicker and more of it.
We knew because of the shark attack that snorkelling in the bay was banned but the 30m x 40m area netted off at one end of the beach was a waste of time and we never saw it used.
We renewed contact with the giant tortoises in their pen – 18years in there to our knowledge of course. They all appeared to have eye infections and one could barely walk. Having come from Bird Island where they roam free and are so healthy this was really upsetting. The book on care of Giant Tortoises in the resort Boutique said each should have 10m x 15m of space each with constant access to grass. There were 11 in the pen, no grass and there daily feed usually comprised of the fruit peelings from breakfast. None looked remotely as happy with life as they should be. We intend reporting this situation to those who can rectify it – we spent hours taking grass to them – the only time they showed real enthusiasm for life.
We went to bed that night with the decision we would prefer to go home asap. Having imparted this request to our tour rep the following morning we were approached by Chantelle, the Marketing Manager who had been appraised of our complaints. We talked everything through with her and were later contacted by Mr Pomeroy to meet him in the bar that evening for a drink. Again we went through the farce of the evening meal and the staff attitude – the fact that we all get 15% service added to our bill means staff have no need to put themselves out to be pleasant – trying to get a Good Morning out of some of them was a waste of time. Two members of staff, Colvin – the King of the Omelettes, and the Chinese lad in the bar, were the exception – they made us feel very welcome, always smiled and reminded us of the staff attitude on our previous visits.
Mr Pomeroy offered a complete refund of the costs of our stay at the hotel – which was immediately refused by us as being an excessive offer but we did feel that a generous gesture of goodwill was more than called for and an improvement in staff attitude, primarily in the restaurant.
It didn’t happen, we didn’t go home early for various reasons but the staff attitude remained the same except it was obvious we had been pointed out as Complainers because we were from then on addressed by name at every opportunity – it caused great hilarity amongst the other English. On our last night the waitress even had the cheek to enquire whether the meal was the last one as we were going home the next day weren’t we? The gesture of goodwill was £75 off our bill – not much when you allow for the daily charges for a 4* and the drinks bill, coffee bills etc. We certainly won’t be returning and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. One British couple who we met on Denis Island had had us rave about La Reserve and they went there before us. They were not impressed either – they went home early, with our apologies for duff information ringing in their ears!
We wanted to fill in the ‘Feedback Questionnaire’ to ensure our comments were noted and were told it would be left in our room when the maid turned the bed down. We laughed – the bed had never been turned down on any night , indeed the decorative pillows were not put back on the bed when it was made up and it was pot luck how many towels you had after the maids visit or how many pillows were on the bed. The Questionnaire proved to be A5 size with 1-5 options of Good to Bad and 2” of space to add further comments. Needless to say we added additional comments to it. A Visitors Book says a hotel is happy for guests to see previous comments – Denis Island has Visitors Books going back for years all available in the lounge area. It also has a lovely ambience in the bar area, very caring staff and the right attitude – La Reserve should learn from there.
We’ve learnt the hard way not to return to somewhere you thought was so good – it changes – La Reserve could now be any International Hotel in any country in the world. Having not checked Trip Advisor before my visit I’ve learnt a good lesson – many of the earlier comments applied to our visit too and it is really classic that Mr Pomeroy writes a comment on 20th September saying staff attitude would be addressed and we had only spoken to him on 19th September with the same grievance. He even commented on the birds – not feeding them bread is in the Guest Information book – and then he sets up a bird table with bread next to the tortoises only a few yards from the restaurant.
We were pleased to leave to go home, only sad that the tortoises were still stuck there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover warm hospitality and Luxury at Le Domaine de La Reserve, a hotel on the north east of Praslin in a National Marine park. Our intimate beachfront hotel is a rare gem surrounded by unobstructed and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.Located on a private estate with its very own private beach in the secluded bay of Anse Petite Cour, Le Domaine de la Reserve is reputed to be a leading hotel of the Seychelles. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com, TripOnline SA, Travelocity, Despegar.com and Odigeo so you can book your La Reserve Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- La Reserve Praslin Island
- Hotel La Reserve
- La Reserve Seychelles
- La Reserve Hotel Seychelles/Praslin Island