We just returned from La Reserve yesterday after having two glorious weeks there. We were looking for a casual, peaceful & relaxing vacation and we certainly found it!
Where to begin.......we arrived late in the afternoon and after a short check-in process, were escorted to our room (#137). It was lovely - very spacious and well-maintained. Great view of the ocean & grounds. We had the afternoon sun on our balcony however it was late in the day when it had the full-on sun so really, you could use it pretty much the entire day if you so chose. The weather was humid/hot so the sun could be a bit much for an hour or so, until it dropped behind the palm tree! Back to the room - excellent a/c, lots of storage space for clothing (ample hangers, which is a plus for me!). A few pull-out drawers as well. Double sink and a nice bathtub (which we never used but it looked like the type you could have a really good soak in!). The shower - wow! Biggest shower stall ever. You could have a party in there! Good towels and bath/shower products provided, including facecloths (had to mention this - we travel often and it has got to the point I pack a cheap one in my toiletry bag as a back-up because most hotels don't provide them). Huge king-sized bed and the bedding was quite nice. (The bed is very hard though, some nights I found it difficult to get comfortable due to the hardness of the mattress.) I think with the exception of one bldg near the restaurant, all the bldgs on the property consist of four units in each. Our bldg was full for most of the time we were there & other than the occasional sound of a door being closed, never heard a peep from other guests.
The property is well-maintained. The beach area and the grounds seem to be groomed daily & it is as neat as a pin. The pool is really nice - not deep but just a nice depth for a paddle around. Although not a property being marketed as a family vacation resort (no programs for kids), the pool is a kid's dream. Parts of it are geared towards wading as it is shallow. It was a great place to sit in the afternoon. Afternoon tea is served at the pool bar at 4 pm and lunch is also available from noon-ish to 2:30 pm.
The restaurant for breakfast & evening meals is nice. It is on a jetty and you get a really nice breeze & a view of the fish nearby, patiently waiting for bread to be thrown to them! The odd baby shark cruises by in the evenings and we did see a very small ray do a swim-by one night. The food is excellent. If you love fish, this is the place to eat! I had fish every night, any more & I'd develop some gills of my own! The buffets have much to choose from, both morning and evening. You would have to be an extremely picky eater if you couldn't find something to your liking. We were told by one of the staff that if there was something in particular we enjoyed, they would be able to make it again for us on any night - how is that for being spoiled?! We didn't take up the offer but it just shows that they will do almost anything to ensure you are happy.
One disappointment - and this has nothing to do with the resort at all - was the snorkelling. To access the reef & the best viewing of underwater sealife, you have to go a fair distance from the shore to get to it. It was difficult to find a good location to get your gear on because of the shallow water & all the sea grass, etc. One day we carried our gear & waded over to an area on the rocks past the beach bar. That was a bit of a pain, as you had to make sure you secured your beach bag/towels etc somewhere that the wind wouldn't blow it elsewhere. The weather was decent while we were there but there were about 3-4 days of pretty strong winds & rough waters....which in turn made the water full of debris & churned-up sand - not ideal for snorkelling. The water is incredibly warm though - bathtub warm!
As mentioned, we were looking for a holiday that was relaxing so we didn't do any sightseeing at all. We did walk to the small town nearby simply to buy some "adult beverages" and snacks. If you walk off the resort and go left out the main entrance, walk along the road until you reach White Tip Divers. Takes about 5 minutes or so. Cut through there onto the grounds of the Paradise Sun Resort. Or walk on the beach, it's amazing and very clean. If you continue on, you will reach Café Des Arts then The Pizzeria - both have good menus for lunch. The best bang for your buck though is Paradise Sun for lunch. You can pay in € or SCR (Seychellian rupee). Probably take Visa as well, we just paid cash. They have a great outdoor restaurant with a beautiful view from any table. Their menu is lovely - and the cheapest we found. We paid around 9€ per pizza, which lasted us for two lunches. (There is a small bar fridge in your room). We ate there one day and I had a Thai chicken salad which was just the best. I think it was 6 or 7€ and more than enough for me. My husband had a club panini and it was a huge serving. There is lunch at La Reserve but the menu does not hold a candle to the Paradise Sun's offerings and La Reserve's prices are much higher (their pizzas, for example, are almost double the price for the same size.)
At La Reserve, they have a business centre with two computers for use. Get a code from the front desk and it gives you 10 hrs of usage. Don't bother with paying for the wireless access because the internet connection is slow & maybe not worth the cost. We only needed the computer access for checking flights and contacting family periodically at home so having it in our room was not a necessity. For those who love to read, there is a "library" near the gift shop - it is a room where they have put some book shelves & have books that other travellers have left there. I found some books there I have wanted to read for some time and also discovered some new authors!
Best for last - the staff! Everyone - and I mean every single one of them - is smiling & friendly. They genuinely seem happy to be there & want to make you enjoy your stay to the fullest. Kelly at the beach bar, Piyal, Rasheed & Sylvan (sorry but I know I have spelled their names wrong!) who work in the restaurant/bar areas really made our stay memorable for all the right reasons.
Tips for the ladies: leave your hairdryer at home, because one is provided. For dinner, the men have to wear long pants (some wore jeans....I thought that was a bit too casual, to be honest) so I figured I would need dresses, etc. Nope. I wore skirts & sleeveless tops & that was perfect. No iron or board in the room, you have to pay to have your items ironed or bring a travel iron, which I normally do. The floors are tiled and cool on the feet so you might want slippers for the bathroom, etc. There is a retractable clothesline in the shower for hanging wet swim suits, handwashing, etc. Also a wooden dryer on the balcony that is useful. I wear a wetsuit for snorkelling as I burn easily & it was perfect for hanging my suit on to drip-dry. Don't pack beach towels - they give you two good sized towels & you can swap them for clean/dry ones at the front desk. Bring water shoes if you are planning to go in the water in front of the resort. It's not overy sandy, more crushed up coral bits than sand. Bring bug spray for the evening. Bring LOTS of sunscreen, you'll need it. I saw some painful-looking sunburns while there!
We opted for the Twin Otter flight with Air Seychelles to/from Mahe. I think that's the way to do it, instead of the boat. The day we left it was windy and the water choppy so the boat ride might not have been pleasant. (Note - when we left to fly to Mahe, it was around 6:15 pm. Lucky for us, we were getting on the plane the same time as the baggage was being loaded - and we saw that my husband's bag was not being put on our flight. When we asked, we were told there was not enough room and they would send it on the 7:30 flight. Our flight to Abu Dhabi was leaving at 8:30 so obviously that would not have worked out! They rearranged things and got it on - had we not questioned it, we'd probably have arrived back in Belgium with no bag!)
All in all, a very restful and enjoyable vacation. Highly recommend La Reserve - just go. You won't be disappointed.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- La Reserve Praslin Island
- Hotel La Reserve
- La Reserve Seychelles
- La Reserve Hotel Seychelles/Praslin Island