The hotel states that they are very much aware that only if your overall experience was joyful and memorable, you will return to the smallest Hilton as well as recommend it to your friends and families. Sadly, we found the Hilton Seychelles not up to par, which is disappointing. When you are staying in a 5* hotel and paying a 5* price, you also expect the level of room cleanliness, service and facilities to match. The location of the hotel is excellent, the garden is well kept and everything is stunningly beautiful, as you would expect from a 5* hotel in the Seychelles. All villas are equal in size, and you have a total of 90m² private space to enjoy.
We arrived in our rental car, and the friendly, helpful guard at the gate directed us to the parking lot located on the upper area of the property, then took our suitcases down to the HHonors reception. In advance we had requested an early check-in, which was honored. We were met by Kalina, and were given cold towels and choice of ice tea or water for refreshing and cooling down while she did the check-in. Kalina did a very good job, and made us feel very welcome. She then took us to our villa 216 where we would stay for the next days, and went over and beyond what we expected in terms of explaning all the hotel and villa facilites. She also mentioned that the large mango tree standing right outside our villa attracted a large number of fruit bats and birds and they could be very noisy. Kalina repeatedly asked what we planned on doing during our stay, to which we replied that we were just going to relax as much as possible and enjoy our stay before flying back to Europe. We thought nothing more of it at the time, but in hindsight we now know why she asked.
IN THE VILLA:
As we were left to our own, we soon discovered that the villa was not very clean at all, and it gave us a feeling of getting a villa that had just been vacated. Hairs from previous guests were still on the bathroom floor, there were threads of blue beach towel on the floor underneath the table, and it was dusty in every corner and underneath the bed, all of which is hard not to see on dark hardwood floors. This sparked a closer look at the rest of the villa, which revealed that the hairdryer, shaver socket and make-up mirror light did not work, and the make-up mirror was not properly fixed to the wall (missing a screw). One of the sinks were almost clogged, and a chrome fixture that was supposed to be mounted on the short end of the bathtub/shower divider was on the floor. In addition, the coffee cup dish had stains of old coffee underneath.
The terrace looked very inviting at first, but the beach bed mattresses and one pillow were downright filthy, either with old sweat or spilled drinks. There were loads of bird/bat droppings, leaves, pieces of mango, and a partly eaten mango on the terrace floor, which you certainly wouldn't want to walk on barefeet. We did not use the beach beds. Even though beach towels were laid out, it didn't feel very inviting to relax there.
LETTING THEM KNOW:
Everyone can make a mistake, and we always give a hotel at least two chances to put things right. So we decided to take a drive around the island in our rental car, and informed Nelle in the reception area that we were not happy with the standard of cleaning, and that we would like to change to another villa the next night if the bats and birds proved to be too noisy for us. He let us know that the hotel was not fully booked, and took note of our requests. We had a good time exploring Victoria, and came back three hours later to find that nothing had been done.
We decided to give the hotel another chance to fix things, and went down to the lower bar deck, where complimentary afternoon and snack was served. Somehow the waitress made us feel unwelcome. She didn't bring the tea, only the snack. We sat there for about twenty minutes, but the tea never materialized and we left for the pool area where we met Nelle again. We reminded him of our request to have the villa cleaned properly, and he said that he had given notice and expected it to be taken care of shortly. He also informed us that there was no way they could put us in another villa in case we were bothered by the bird/bat noise, as they were now fully booked, only four hours after he let us know they were not.
The pool itself was wonderful, although a little too warm to really cool down in, so we decided to go to the beach area down by the bar deck instead. As you will discover, the beaches around the hotel are small. The beach below the bar deck looks nothing like the picture they show in the Hilton Worldwide Resorts catalogue - either the sand is completely washed away, or they've added a bunch of rocks to the beach. Most of the beach beds seemed to be occupied, but they weren't. Staff didn't remove beach towels when other guests obviously left the area. The sand around a couple of the beach beds was filled with cigarette butts and paper litter. Maybe the hotel should provide ashtrays and litter boxes? The hotel also provides snorkelling equipment, but you really should bring your own equipment, both for safety and comfort reasons, as the hotel's equipment is somewhat old and worn. Anyway, we relaxed, swam in the wonderful sea water, and spent about three hours there before returning to our villa to freshen up before dinner.
Back at the villa, we discovered that they still hadn't managed to clean it, despite us not having been in the villa for the past seven hours, and repeatedly having requested it. By this time, it was dusk and the large mango tree right outside our terrace immediately became a hotspot for dozens of fruit bats and hundreds of birds, resulting in a cacophony. It lasted for about two hours until darkness, when they fell silent. We went to bed later in the evening, and had a good night's sleep - until 4am, when we were woken by the same bat/bird sounds. It was impossible to fall asleep again, and it's rather impossible to relax when you can't even get a full night's sleep - even in a great Hilton bed. We were fully aware that we were in a tropical habitat, and that some sounds must be expected. We didn't mind the ants in the bathroom, and the birds and the bats are just doing what they naturally do, but the hotel should recognize that most (if not all) guests come to the Hilton Seychelles to relax. Having a large mango tree as an attractive hotspot for birds and bats right outside several of the hillside villas is maybe not such a good idea when trying to sell total relaxation and a good night's sleep. We went out on the terrace at 6am, and heard several other guests outside on their terrace, that had obviously been woken up by and expressed, we guess, what seemed to be irritation in their own language. (we do have a video with all the noise from the birds/bats)
Turndown service was ok, nothing out of the ordinary. We mentioned to the maid that the hairdryer needed to be replaced, and she said she would let the technical staff know.
Nothing to mention, the usual Hilton breakfast with anything you could possible want. We dropped dining at the hotel restaurants, but had some food delivered to our villa instead. Good quality food, well presented and fast delivery.
The Hilton Seychelles is largely a good hotel, and it's location is excellent - how wrong can it really be in the Seychelles? However, the hotel lacks the final perfection in some important key areas, such as cleanliness and attentiveness/responsiveness of some staff members to requests that are made. We agree somewhat with some of the previous reviewers who feel that the hotel is run partly for the purpose of training junior management and reception staff for Hilton. However, We got the impression that some younger staff members (not managerial staff) did their very best, and thus deserve kudos. The gardens are well kept, and the area is very nice, there is no question about that, but if the hotel had the same attention to detail inside the villas, most of what has been written here would not have to be mentioned.
The fact that it was impossible for us to get a full night's sleep during our stay (a paradox that they have a sign on the walkways that says "Shhh, Silent Please You are now entering the "NO NOISE ZONE"), and that issues brought to the hotel's attention were not resolved are our largest disappointments. Therefore we will probably not return to Hilton Seychelles unless they sort out some of the things mentioned here - and we really hope they do, because it is a beautiful place, and we would love to stay there when it's perfect. If you are looking to stay at this hotel, you should probably check out some of the other 5* hotels/resorts in the Seychelles, as they may offer a better overall experience than the Hilton Seychelles. If you are hellbent on staying at this hotel, be sure to book a waterfront villa, or one of the high hillside villas away from the main building (potential disturbance by A/C compressors) and mango trees.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Untouched paradise along the Indian Ocean Your Creole getaway awaits at this hidden treasure - also an inspiration to James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Surrounded by white-sand beaches, tropical gardens and crystal waters, the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa is a true escape. Our villas are perched on stilts, providing gorgeous views and plenty of privacy. An infinity pool, oceanfront dining, a luxurious spa, glass-bottom boat tours - it's just the beginning of your retreat in Beau Vallon Bay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Hotel Glacis
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort And Spa
- Hilton Glacis
- Glacis Hilton
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa Mahe Island