I arrived here after a 3 night stay in The Berjaya at Beau Valoon on Mahe and was feeling fairly optimistic as the Beau Vallon had been much better than what I'd read in the reviews and was expecting the same to be true of this one.
Check in was handled promptly by a friendly receptionist. I'd arrived a few hours earlier than the official check in so my room (jjunior suite on a B&B basis) was not ready. I was told that if I needed an adaptor or hairdyer I could borrow them from reception. She also explained that there were no safes in the room but they were available at reception. She gave me a card to exchange for a beach towel and explained because of water restrictions, it would only be changed every 2 days (which seemed fair enough as they'd had no rain for 2 months and were desperately needing it). She also explained that I could eat in the restaurant beside reception or at the pizzerai at the end of the road and on the beach. (She did not tell me at this stage that I needed to tell them if I wanted to eat dinner though)
Whilst I was waiting for my room to be ready, I took a short stroll along the small Anse Volbert village (on Cote D'Or) and found it much nicer and more relaxed thaan beau Vallon where I'd been staying just before arriving here. There are banks, shops, supermarkets, bike hire, dive centre, tour place and some other retaurants and cafes. hardly any traffic though which was nice. On my way back from the ATM, I was greeted by a member of staff to tell me that my room was ready and my lugggage already there. This sounded promising. there were rows of small bungalows in tropical gardens in front of the main hotel building and surrounding the tennis courst and pool area. he led me down a row in the centre to romm 310. When he first took me in, I could barely make out anything as it was so dark and dingy. (Please note that I have problems with my retinas which means I don't cope well with extreme light and dark and sudden changes). he explained that I had a bathroom off the main living room and another off the bedroom which he indicated was through another door. he asked if reception had told me about the water restrictions and thinking he meant the "beach towel rule" said yes. Unfortunately I was to find out shortly after, this was not what he was referring to at all but the fact that the water supply was turned off for 18-20 hours each day, with it only being available a short time in the morning and again in the evening. This wasn't the berjaya's fault though...The far more upmarket Village du Pecheur about 100 yards away had exactly the same problem. The island had not had enough rain and had to impose these restrictions or risk running dry completely.
After he left,and my eyes adjusted to the gloom, i was dismayed at my living room. It was a reasonable size but had far too much furniture in it (single sofa bed, dining table and chairs, 2 cane armchairs and a cane sofa and coffe table and 2 large wardrobes (one of which had no hangers so could not be used and a unit which contained a fridge). Moving around the room almost always seemed to involve moving a piece of furniture. I already knew that there was no hairdryer or safe but was surprsied to find I also had no TV. The bathroom off the living room had washand basin with no plug, tilet and bidet and a shower cubicle that had stains on the floor and looked like it should have been replaced years ago. the bedroom was better - this was a nice bright reasonably big roo. It had a large window on one side and glass patio doors opening on to the verandah (or at least they would have had I been able to open them). the bed was a king size with white cotoon sheets and duvet and had fresh tropical blooms scattered all over it. Other than that the only furniture was a dressing table and 2 bedside tables with lamps and one had a phone which did not work (cable/box half hanging off the wall). Ensuite had a bath with shower over it, bidet, toilet and washbasin with a small shelf beside it. Other than that he only storage was really the narrow window ledge.
The "resort" is not actually right on the beach but a short walk from it. there is a small stretch of ground you have to cross to reach it and the pizzeria. The beach itself is beautiful and hotel guests can get a lounger from the Pizzeria to use on the beach. there is a nice area just beside the retaurant where there are a group of trees that provide shade. If they run out of loungers, they phone to the pool area to get more sent down. (Pool looked quite nice but not really used much with most guests preferring the beach or out and about for the day)
On my first day I had lunch in the Pizzeria at a beach side table and was pleasantly surprised at how extensive the menu was. Service was slow and I was delivered someone else's order in error. That was sorted out between myself and another guest but with no apology from the waitress. My food when it did arrived was hot, tasty and good value for what I paid.
After spending a few hours on the beach, I wandered back to my oppresive bugalow with some beer and a box of rose wine from the local supermarket, to have a drink on my verandah before getting ready for dinner. Whilst i was sitting there, 2 of the housekeeping staff came over to speak to me and let me know that they'd heard the water would be coming on at 6.30pm for about an hour. This was the first I knew it was off! By this point I was feeling pretty gloomy as I was meant to be staying there 6 nights and had already paid the full $1250 up front (they don't give you any choice in that). Water did come on but later than we;'d been told and I was able to take a quick shower before heading out for dinner.
That evening I went back to the pizzeria (reception knew I was B&B and had told me I could use either of the restaurants. I'd presumed I'd just be billed for what I'd have). The waitress took a while to come over and was a bit surly. She asked if I was half board and when I said no, she gave me the same extensive menu as I'd had a lunch but told me that I could only order a sandwich, roast chicken or a pasta dish. No pizzas and none of the many other options. This seemed weird to me. Praslin seemed much quieter in the evening than Beau vallon, so I thought that may be it. She never told me that there was a Table 4 cousre Set menu for the half board guest and those on B&B could have it if they let reception know in advance, which I found out later.
The next mrinig I decided to contact the hotel I was staying in Mahe for my final night (Constance Ephelia) to see if they had any availability prior to my planned night as I was prepared to cut my praslin trip short and didn't even care at this stage whether reception would refund me anything or not. Unfortunately, they were fully booked, so I was stuck for another 5 nights in this sub standard hotel. I decided to amke the best of it as Praslin itself is lovely and it is handy for visiting other islands.
the next night I went to the restaurant at the published time for the buffet and although the tables were laid, noone was there. There had been a menu pinned to the board as I came in, so I presumed that they were just running late. After waiting 5 minutes or so, a member of staff came along and said dinner was only at the pizzeria that evening. I said that I didn't want that but the 4 course menu that was being advertised. he assured me I could get that there. So off i went to the Pizzeria again. Again I got the same drill from the waitress that since I was not half board, I could only order pasta or a sandwich. At this point i admit to getting a bit stroppy with her and said that I'd been told the 4 course dinner was being served here. She said it was but that I could not have it. I then siad, surely I can have it and just pay the extra for it. She eventaully and relauctantly agreed and told me that I should have told reception first. Actually the table d'hotel menu was quite nice and very good value. I did have it another night and this time I had pre-booked it with reception but still got "interrogated" about this point! Didn't see what the big deal was, as you didn't pay when you booked at reception but just signed the bill after your meal as normal and it got charged to your room!
Breaklfast is a buffet style but very poor. Fruit, cups, glasses you name it, runs out and they take forever to replace them. Choice very limited. Tea and Coffee sit ready made in jugs to help yourself. I drink pepermint tea but there was no hot water available, so I'd have to wait until I returned to my room to get my morning cuppa. The omelettes were the best option but I could not help noticing that the girl making them used the same spoon to take things out of the 6 possible ingredients which included ham, cheese and vegetables. Couldn't help thinking that if I were vegetarian I would not have been too happy about my mushrooms being scooped up with a spoon that had just been in the ham!
At breakfast time a number of local tour companies have tables set up in the reception area so that you can book tours in Praslin or to other islands. I booked a DIY option through Masons to La Digue which included hotel pick up, ferry, entrance fee to Union estate for 900 rupees which I thought was good value as it would have cost me that just for the return taxi trip to the pier.
Overall I ended up enjoying my stay in praslin. having no TV eventually became a good thing as I adjusted away from my normal hectic life style and became a bit of a beach girl!
Would I stay in Praslin again - yes absolutely.
Would I stay at Anse Volbert again? - yes absolutely
Would I stay at the Berjaya again? Definitely not. Think I'd stay along the road at the Village du pecheur.
The hotel was maybe nice once but it is in much need of refurbishment. Reception and house keeping staff are nice and efficient - restaurant staff (both of them) dreadful. I know that this is a "cheap hotel" by Praslin standards but at $250 per night (i Booked under buy 5 get 1 free deal), you expect more than what I got. It is more like a 1 star than 3 star place.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.