Almost two years since our first visit and the shrubs in the gardens have filled out nicely, so the whole place is occupied by vegetation and beautiful flowers.
The proprietor, Eric, while happy to get a good review, also expresses unease at inflated expectations, so I'll try and view Les Manguiers with dispassionate eyes (at least to start with!).
If you want evening entertainment (apart from Eric's amazing collection of music) don't come here.
If you want 5 star luxury bedrooms this place is not for you. The individual bungalows are very spacious, everything works fine and they are air conditionned, but they are simple and the bathroom is not packed with a whole load of unnecessary freebies (though the necessary basics are there) and there's no TV. I would have liked a bit more light in the bedroom, though frankly you're hardly ever in there. The beds are very comfortable.
If you want to wear expensive shoes, avoid this place. It is built on a hill, and while the common areas are paved, you walk to and from your bungalow on footpaths with occasional small stones, pebbles and some very fine reddish earth (sand?).
If you want to lose weight, do not come here.
So why do I give it five stars?
Firstly, because you are made to feel like a friend rather than a guest. The team has been the same since the start (and has also matured nicely!). Paul, Etienne, Abdulai, Songo and Djibril seem to get on well together, know their business very well and are unfailingly charming to the guests. Eric, the genial Belgian owner, is more like a friend (and speaks excellent English).
Secondly, because the food is really excellent, from a fabulously tender Chateaubriand steak to the delicious oysters from the local lagoon. There is always a good choice for all three courses. The free bar is very well stocked and you can have a drink whenever you want, be it tea, coffee, beer or whatever. Because of the friendliness of this place, clients did not appear to abuse the generosity of the bar.
Thirdly, because the situation is unique: on a rise overlooking a tidal lagoon and the sea on one side, with the bush on the other. Silent starry nights, tranquil relaxing days.
Fourthly: the large swimming pool. You generally have this almost to yourself, except at weekends or school holidays. I never saw the pool overcrowded and often swam alone.
Fifth, because you can stroll down to an empty beach in about 15 minutes, or get driven down to where the lagoon meets the sea and watch fishermen throw their nets as they always have done, without being harrassed by people selling you stuff. The vast majority of the people we encountered on these strolls were very friendly. You can swim in the seawater just inside the lagoon or get a boat across to the next resort down the coast, Somone.
Sixth, because in less than 30 minutes you are at a laid back beach at Popenguine where there is an excellent French restaurant with tables laid out in the shade of some trees that grow on the edge of the beach. You may also swim here. We went twice for wonderful relaxing days and superb food.
Seventh, because of the wildlife: if you walk due east of Les Manguiers early morning you'll see lots of birds, perhaps a jackal or two and, if you're lucky as I was, you'll watch a tribe of monkeys (in excess of 20) going about their business within 100 meters of where you're standing. There is also a small nature reserve at Popenguine.
Eighth, because a week away from traffic noise and pollution is just so necessary, though if you need contact with the outside world, there is a wifi area next to the bar.
As you may gather from the above, I really love this place, for its informality, freedom, friendliness, proximity to nature and isolation from other hotels and from paved roads. I'll definitely be returning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located between Somone and Popenguine, in the village of Guereo, Les Manguiers de Guereo offers a stunning view on Somone's laguna.From the restaurant, the bar or the swimming pool, you can enjoy the view on the laguna and its thousands of birds. ... more less