The resort itself is gorgeous and sprawling and was operating at full capacity upon our arrival. All in all, the service is glitchy as mentioned in other reviews, but the property and overall experience was so great that we felt it far outweighed the mistakes of inexperienced staff.
Check in/Check out
Both check in and check out took some amount of time. We arrived at the South side but found out after being shuttled to two different reception spots that we were upgraded to the North side, and then had to take a buggy to the North side where we met with someone to take us to our room. All the shuttling around took up quite some time. For check out, we settled our bill the night before our departure because we had a very early morning flight. After dinner we walked over to reception to find the two receptionists overwhelmed with guests doing the same. After waiting in line, we found out the dinner we had just finished had not been posted to their system yet, so we had to wait for it to show up. When it finally got updated, our bill that had no mistakes on it (yay!) was processed in the wrong currency (boo!) so we had to watch the poor flustered guy go through all his paperwork twice. It probably took us about forty minutes in total to settle our bill. We didn't really mind so much, but we could see some couples were pissed about the wait.
Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. If you have any complaints about the room itself, you are totally mental. Bedding was high quality & super comfortable. It was easy to completely block out the light from the windows if you wanted to sleep in. The TV system was verrrry sophisticated! On top of regular TV channels, all of the hotel information you needed could be accessed through the TV, there were on-demand movies, and it even had internet (albeit slow internet) and computer capabilites, as each room includes a wireless keyboard. Someone somewhere said it was difficult to use but I personally didn't find it difficult at all. The bathrooms are well designed and beautiful. This is going to sound strange, but we enjoyed our time in the bathroom immensely and hubster was so excited about it that he took a lot pictures of it before we left so he could remember all the details, including the types of tiling they used.
The half board menu includes breakfast and dinner, but not drinks. breakfast ends at 10:30am and dinner begins at 7pm, so no chance of eating a late breakfast and holding out till dinner, cheapskates. From one cheapskate to another, expect to spend about $100USD per day per couple for lunch and drinks with your dinner; chances are the quality of the food will impress you so much that you won't be too sore about the bill. We really didn't have one bad thing to say about anything we ate at any point on the resort. Nothing was cold, nothing was bad, it was all tremendously good, and I have to say that the service at mealtimes was very attentive but not intrusive. Yes, drinks are expensive. a Long Island Iced tea was $16USD. A large bottle of Perrier was $16USD. If you know going in, you can buy duty free alcohol, or like us, you can do that and just end up paying for it anyway at your meals because fudge it - you don't wanna drink in your room the whole time. We booked each a la carte dinner the first evening we arrived, which the hotel recommends you do as they fill up. On our last night we had the lobster dinner at Helios where a couple of guitar players came by and serenaded us under the stars. Like I said! It was magical!!
Fantastic, as I said before. North side has some barren parts that need to mature, but overall it's very pretty. We spent most of our time on the north side in the ocean. the north beach is really one of the most awesome beaches you could find anywhere. It's a beauitful white sand beach in a very calm bay enclosed by rolling low mountains and hills - and to top it off, it has some wonderful underwater life to look at. Anyone who complains there wasn't much to see probably didn't hit the right spots in the water. Go beyond the rocks with the cross atop it, somewhat towards the center and the underwater geography will change from murky water with seaweed to clear water with oodles of coral, schools of fish, turtles, and lots more. One lucky couple even saw dolphins out there! Ask the recreation staff for advice on where to swim and they will be happy to direct you. The resort is built on property that used to be part of a protected park, so locals sometimes show up on the beach on the weekends or at night. I think some people might find it a bit jarring to see this, but my husband and I just kind of felt sorry about the whole situation, that a beautiful beach and water that used to be theirs was now taken over by a big corporation. The beach never feels too crowded, but the loungers do fill up, so be prepared for the towel game. Just a tip, for those with 'sweet blood' you might want to bring mosquito repellant to your dinners.
We paid the extortionary fees for diving - I think it was about $240USD for a Discovery Dive and $60USD for the snorkelling. They basically just take you to the next bay and drop you off there for an hour. I had a great time snorkelling though, as one of the staff, Alex, took my by the hand and showed me all kinds of beautiful stuff, diving down to pick up anything that could be touched to show me...it was really fantastic - and my hubby says the dive staff was extremely professional, and was excited to be able to see sharks on his first dive ever. The activity schedule posted on the TV is fun and we didn't have trouble getting into the stuff we wanted to do by just showing up, but they recommend that you call and book in advance just in case the spaces fill up. We accompanied Dominic on the intermediate mountain bike ride, which really was intermediate. I can tell you that because I was a beginner (how do these gears work? why is my bike making that sound? My bike is broken. It's not? Are you sure?) and had to do a lot of sweaty walking up the hills, but it was good fun, especially with an encouraging guide and other relaxed bikers. We also managed to fit in some yoga, which I could not keep a straight face for, but it was great, and again very relaxed. All the recreation staff seemed tuned into the pace and made our experiences fun and memorable - they will make you feel like a hero.
On the whole we didn't have complaints, but it's true they do come in for turn down service at very different times. We did have one incident where I was trying to track down clean beach towels so we could visit the pool at the spa because we had been caught in the rain earlier in the day. I asked reception if the spa would have towels for us but they skirted the question and instead told me they would have housekeeping send beach towels. Twenty minutes later, no towels, and I rung again. I left for a bit and came back, and still no towels. Finally I walked to reception and asked them, listen, can you just tell me where it is on the resort where they have beach towels and I can go get them myself? I followed the reception lady out to the beach where she said there should be staff with towels but she seemed confused that they weren't there. Then by chance a cart came by with stacks and stacks of beach towels on it. By that time I wanted four of them so I would never have to ask for another beach towel again. They refused to give me four towels and gave me only two, and with that I stormed off clutching the precious beach towels, while my husband spotted housekeeping arriving at our door with...you guessed it...four beach towels. Ha ha...it turns out they had heard the wrong room number and kept going to the wrong room to exchange towels. Then, when we arrived at the spa, we found out towels were readily available there. And later when we were walking inland towards Cayenne restaurant, we passed two beach towel stations that were positioned out of view of the beach close to the reception area. Live and learn. On the upside, management sent us a nice bottle of Champagne to compensate for the whole fiasco, which sincerely did make up for the time I spent screaming into my hands.
Just. Wait. For. The. Buggy. If you don't wait and decide to do the walk from the north side to the south or vice versa, you will watch buggy after buggy full of people (i.e. no room to stop and pick you up) pass you on the way to your destination while you get all sweaty and aggravated.
What business center?? Internet is slow everywhere on the resort and beware that it's all Apple-based. They didn't have any adapters for the three-prong north american computer plug.
For those that did not book through a package, we spent 500 rupees on our trip from the jetty to the resort, and liked the cab driver so much that we got his number and spent 600 rupees with him to take us from the resort to the airport. We flew out to Praslin on Air Seychelles on our first day in the Seychelles, and it was a very pleasant, easy experience. We took the Cat Cocos boat back from Praslin to Mahe and it was the opposite. Make sure you get on the upper deck if you use the boat, the main (bottom) deck gets extremely stuffy and can be rocky. Be prepared to fight for your luggage at the dock.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Spacious contemporary accommodations surrounded by lush landscape and scintillating lagoons, a beautiful spa village to revive your senses; choose from one of our 42 Tropical Garden View Rooms, 184 Junior Suites, 40 Senior Suites, 17 Family Villas, 16 Beach Villas, 8 Hillside Villas, 5 Spa Villas or our unique Presidential Villa. Choose an accommodation that suits your needs, whether it’s one of the magnificent Junior Suite or the unique Presidential Villa. Feast on delicious dishes and cocktails while marvelling at the deep blue of the Indian Ocean with a private dinner on the beach or in one of our restaurants. For a truly pampering moment, choose from a canopy of treatments from U Spa by Constance while your kids are having their share of adventures and fun at the Constance Kids Club.Situated on two of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Mahe, overlooking the marine national park of Port Launay, Constance Ephelia enjoys a unique location set within 120 hectares of land with luxuriant and rare vegetation. All suites and villas are spaciously designed and stylishly decorated with breathtaking views on either the luxuriant garden or partial view of the Indian ocean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Constance Ephelia Hotel Mahe Island
- Constance Ephelia Seychelles/Mahe Island