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La Reserve Hotel Praslin
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Anse Petite Cour, Praslin Island, Praslin Island
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Paradise on Praslin
Shirley, New York
June 8, 2011
Best of IgoUgo
My wife and I visited La Reserve in March 2009 for our 10th anniversary. While I had envisioned the Seychelles in general as a tropical paradise, and had done my research on this particular hotel, I was still unprepared for just how wonderful it is ...
My wife and I visited La Reserve in March 2009 for our 10th anniversary. While I had envisioned the Seychelles in general as a tropical paradise, and had done my research on this particular hotel, I was still unprepared for just how wonderful it is when experienced firsthand.
Our flight didn't get us in until about midnight, but the staff at the reception told us just to go to our rooms and not worry about checking in until the morning. Arriving at our room, they had thoughtfully set aside some food from dinner, which set the tone for the type of service we received during our entire 5 night stay. The following day the entire staff seemed to know we had arrived late, and when at one point my wife felt sick (beware how long you let your dairy and mayo products sit in the heat) nearly everyone we came across asked about how she was feeling. They were also very helpful as far as exchanging money (a real hassle in the Seychelles) and navigating the fickle public bus system around the island.
We were given a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe room which was airy and spacious with a huge bathroom that had a seperate shower, WC, and large tub. There was plenty of closet space, a safe, and to my wife's delight, a hairdryer. The bed and pillows were very comfortable and looked out on our porch that had an ocean view. Several times I just sat out there as the sun went down and soaked in the entire scene.
The resort is located on a beach called Anse Petit Cuor, and while not large it was rather placid, though later in the day the tide covers most of the sand. Guests are allowed free use of snorkeling equipment and kayaks which we used to explore the granite outcroppings at the edge of the cove. The water, while clear and beautiful, is quite shallow, so you'll have to walk out pretty far to swim. I'd recommend some water shoes if you intend to due that, as the coral and sea grass isn't the easiest on the feet.
One of the most memorable experiences of a stay at La Reserve is the pier restaurant that juts out over the turquoise water. Here is where they serve the included breakfast and dinner, as well as some of the best atmosphere available--especially during dinner. Alternating between buffet style and waiter service, guests are seated along the covered pier, looking out at the silhouette of nearby Curieuse Island and the many fish that gather in the lighted water underneath. The food was very good though not overly remarkable. Better than average to be sure, and any lack is quickly erased by the setting. For those wishing to have lunch onsite, there is a restaurant located in the large pool area. Like many places in the Seychelles, the prices for food and drinks were absurdly inflated, but the convenience was almost worth it.
The pool area is supposedly the largest in the Seychelles and lounging around and playing in the water was a real pleasure. For those with children there is a shallow area, and young or old the heat makes jumping in a constant temptation. There is also a swim-up bar for those who don't feel like getting out of the water for a drink.
The reception area is large and open with a separate boutique and business center with complimentary high-speed internet. A nice feature is located outside between the reception area and the rooms, where they house a half-dozen giant tortoises indigenous to the islands. I was constantly drawn to see what they were doing any time I passed.
One of La Reserve's best points is that there are several included excursions during the week, allowing guests to enjoy the smaller nearby islands. I wasn't able to take advantage of this during my stay due to my wife's sickness and my own itinerary, but Francis, the man in charge, was very amicable and the other guests seemed very pleased with the resort's offerings.
For anyone visiting Praslin I highly recommend a trip to Vallee de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the entrance price is a bit steep for what you get, this is one of the only places to see the famed Coco de Mer palms and their rather anatomically correct male and female trees and nuts. If you ever wanted to play ant in a terrarium this is the place. A visit to Anse Lazio -only a short bus ride away, and Anse Source D'Argent on nearby La Digue are also must-sees in my opinion.
In my many travels I've generally tended toward more budget-friendly accomodations. But if you're going to splurge, the Seychelles is the place to do it, and on Praslin there's no place else I think I'd want to be than at La Reserve.
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