We stayed at the Banyan Tree Seychelles for part of our honeymoon between 07 June-14 June. Full disclosure: before the BT, we stayed a few nights at North Island. NI is one of the best resorts in the world and we were warned that everything else may seem disappointing after it. I will do my best not to base the below review on any comparison with NI. If I make any comparisons, it is with other BT properties we've stayed at around the world (ie Ko Samui).
Overall, we found the BT Seychelles disappointing given our experience at other BTs and the reputation of the chain. Our main issues were with the quality and maintenance of the facilities and the slow and inconsistent service.
Whereas the reception and Varangue bar are beautifully built in a charming colonial style, the villas are below par with excessive use of plastic (ie doors and windows). We had booked a Hillside Pool Villa and we got one with a very nice view (even from the bathroom!). However, we quickly realised that because of how the villa is situated, we only had sun until 1pm an had to spend every afternoon at the pool. I found this a huge disadvantage; if you are paying so much for your own villa with pool, you want to spend as much time as possible in privacy. We asked for a different villa and were told that most hillside villas have this exact same issue (we were shown another one but decided it wasn't better than the one we had).
We finally moved to a beach villa for the last 3 days of the stay for a surcharge of £300 per day. The beach villa is much better value: it is giant compared to the hillside villa and has its own jet pool and a bigger private pool. However, we were given villa 101 which has a lot less privacy than any of the others as it's right next to reception. All guests who don't have a beach villa lounge on the beach right next to 101 whereas the more secluded beach villas further away from the main building have a good section of the beach to themselves. Overall, the villas are situated rather close to one another.
In terms of the restaurants, as other commenters have noted, food is very good at the BT, particularly in the Thai restaurant. We did the Raw and Champagne night as well (sushi and champagne) and found that to be very good value for money: fresh, tasty sushi in the beautiful Varangue bar and a delightful live band. We did Chez Lamar as well: this is supposed to be a Creole restaurant which is open only on Wednesdays. Whereas the food was delicious and plentiful, it was definitely not Creole: for example, starters included tomato mozzarella salad and there was a buffet of cheese and ham. The barbecue was very good, however this all comes at a very hefty price not including any drinks. Besides, the advertising for the night said there would be live music and there was none. We also did an in-villa barbecue and that was great, again very good value for money: in fact, we didn't finish most of the meat and sides as it was way too much.
In terms of service, there is a lot to ask. Not only is it slow, it is inconsistent: for example, in the main restaurant, sometimes we were given a napkin, sometimes we had to ask for it; same with the bread which is served while you wait for your dish. Several times, we had to ask again for our wine as we were not served wine when the main course arrived. The staff are friendly and smiling, but service needs some serious work to establish standards of consistency. With breakfast, I found the buffet spread had a lot to be desired, but the a la carte options were good enough.
Staff could do more to anticipate and respond better to guests' needs. For example, for several days in a row the ocean washed up numerous little creatures which looked like jellyfish, but upon further research turned out to be something called "Portuguese men of war". The entire beach was covered with these one day along the sandline that waves reached to. Guests notified the hotel of these in the afternoon, and by that evening staff had clearly done their research as they were aware the animals were called Men of War. However, they took no initiative to warn guests about them or to give any information. Only when we specifically asked if this is normal or if these are typical for the region were we told that this is not typical at all but to stay away from the beach as apparently the animals stung even after being washed up on shore. They were cleaned up by the next morning. My point is that the hotel could have proactively left a note in guests' rooms once they found out about the animals like they left notes for so many other things. Another example: one day we came back to the villa to find strawberries and wine with no note whatsoever. We had to ask reception to find out why we got this gift, and only then they told us it was from a friend of ours and looked up her name.
Finally, and this is of course no fault of the hotel but I wish I'd known it before we chose where to stay: the beach at the BT is beautiful; however, the ocean is very rough and basically impossible to go into, especially at the time of year that we stayed (June). I knew this was at least partially due to the windy season and didn't particularly mind it, until we went one day for lunch at the nearby Four Seasons and the ocean there was flat as a pancake. We very much enjoyed going into the water at the FS. The pool area at the FS also appeared nicer and larger than that at the BT. The BT pool area was undergoing maintenance the entire week: the floor was boarded up with very ugly wooden covering which never appeared to be fixed. Related to poor maintenance, there was also a broken window in the main restaurant which also did not get fixed in the week we were there. Toilets in the main restaurant were in a very poor condition, with one of the flush handles broken in the ladies bathroom as well. These are all small things which, however, taken together definitely tarnish the overall image of the resort.
On the last night of our stay, after we found out the jacuzzi in the beach villa wasn't working (although it was fixed immediately after we called), we decided to speak to the manager, who had greeted us upon arrival, and share our comments. We had seen his responses to other reviews on Trip Advisor and he mentions sometimes that he wishes guests had expressed their opinion before leaving the hotel. He was unable to meet with us but we spoke with another member of staff and he wrote down our comments. This is just to say that we let the hotel know we'd be posting this review and shared all the above with them. The gentleman we spoke to said we'd receive an email response from the hotel, but so far nothing has arrived.
For me, the BT Seychelles is an ok 4-star resort, but nowhere near the 5 stars of the chain worldwide. We were on our honeymoon and tried very hard to be easy going, and thanks to the stay at NI and the overall sunny weather we had a very good time in the Seychelles; however, we will definitely not be coming back to the BT Seychelles nor will we recommend it to friends and family.
Choose a beach villa far away from the reception. For hillside villas, check on how the villa is sit...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.