Today (February 11, 2015): Hotel review: Raffles Praslin, Seychelles.
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: Anse Takamaka, Praslin Island, Seychelles
- Hotel website: Raffles Praslin
- Tip: enjoy exclusive VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
Cradled in the heart of the island of Praslin, aptly referred to as the mythological ‘Garden of Eden’, are 86 contemporary and luxurious villas, some of the most spacious in the Seychelles. Each villa and villa suite at the Raffles Praslin features a private outdoor pavilion, plunge pool and balcony to soak in breathtaking views of the opal-hued ocean, white sandy beach and lush green hills.
In this review (more info and photos below my slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Pre-arrival communication with the resort is excellent (and superior to its high-end luxury competitors in the islands). All my emails were answered within 24 hours.
- Pre-arrival assistance is also excellent. I missed my flight connection in the Middle East and arrived one day late. The resort did all they could to help me reschedule my stay, and they never charged me for the one night I lost because of the flight connection troubles.
- Getting to the Praslin Island resort from the Seychelles International airport on Mahe Island is in fact a sightseeing trip and adventure on itself (although some may find the extra travel efforts to get to the resort annoying). You can travel to Praslin airport in true aviator style with a 15-minute turbo propeller plane ride or you can take a leisurely pace across the turquoise blue ocean in a catamaran ferry. I used the ferry and had a gap of 4 hours between my arrival at the international airport and my ferry departure, but the Raffles Praslin has a private lounge a short taxi drive away from the airport, where I could relax while waiting for the ferry. The resort itself is located on the east side of Praslin, a 15 minute drive from the jetty (20 euros by taxi or 45 euros by resort car) or a 45 minute drive from Praslin airport.
- The massive resort is built on a hill with a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean. It has its own stretch of private beach and owns the biggest pool in the Indian Ocean. Everything is very clean and well taken care of, and the resort as a whole feels very luxurious.
- The 86 contemporary villas and villa suites (1-2 bedroom) represent some of the largest accommodation in the archipelago, ranging from 125 to 275 square metres (1345 – 2960 square feet). Thoughtfully spread across gentle sloping hills, these suites combine privacy with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and the island’s lush and untamed greenery. Each villa features an outdoor pavilion with sundeck beds, dining table, an open air balcony and (small) private plunge pool, and an easel set up with sketching paper to draw out the inner artist with the beauty of the island serving as inspiration.
- There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the resort.
- The staff is very efficient, discrete and friendly. It was my birthday while staying at the resort, and everybody seemed to know this. I received a chocolate cake (very nice gesture).
- Food at the resort was expensive (as expected and on pair with other luxury hotels in the Seychelles) but truly great. I enjoyed every single meal throughout the expansive portfolio of restaurants and lounges present within the resort: you can dine in the Curieuse Restaurant for enticing pan-Asian specialties or enjoy contemporary Mediterranean cuisine at Losean Restaurant. You can experience a Seychellois take on the beloved Singapore Sling with the frothy Praslin Sling at the Pool Restaurant & Bar, while ending the evening at the only shisha lounge in the archipelago – the Takamaka Terrace, for cocktails and stargazing.
- The resort is the best and most luxurious hotel on Praslin Island. Everyone should at least stay a fews days on Praslin Island when visiting the Seychelles, as Praslin serves as the most convenient base for all major activities in and around the archipelago. You can explore un-spoilt nature in the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or visit the home of the giant tortoise on the island of Curieuse. Raffles Praslin is also minutes away from spectacular Anse Lazio beach, and it’s only a short 15 minute boat ride to La Digue which has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Anse Source d’Argent.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Raffles Praslin, Seychelles is a brilliant resort. Nevertheless, it is not my preferred Seychelles resort as it is not 100% perfect and there are some things you need to know:
- The vegetation is not mature (yet) and it will take a few rainy seasons before the vegetation will be tropical and lush. Overall, I was surprised by the fact that Praslin island is far less lush as compared to Mahe island . The Four Seasons and Banyan Tree Resorts on Mahe Island are located in a dense tropical jungle, while I did not see any coastal jungle-like vegetation on Praslin island. The good news is that this also means that Praslin is much drier and sunnier as compared to Mahe (the latter island has higher mountains which capture the clouds).
- The beach of the hotel is very nice, but compared to other Seychelles beaches not a memorable one. In comparison, the Four Seasons and Banyan Tree on Mahe both own an amazing strectch of prestine white palm-fringed sand. Nevertheless, a short 5 minute drive away by car (or 15 minute drive away by bicycle, which is provided by the hotel at no extra charge) you will find Anse Lazio, one of the best beaches of the world (although I liked the beaches of Mahe far more, but that is a matter of personal taste).
- The hotel is located on the east coast, so it does not offer sunset views. In addition, the sun will disappear behind the hills about 1 to 2 hours before sunset. But, the good news is that nearby Anse Lazio offers great sunset views, in case you want to catch the last rays of sunshine.
- Not all rooms offer privacy, because the vegetation is not mature yet and because the villas are built quite close one to another. In comparison, Banyan Tree & Four Seasons on Mahe island offer totally private villas. The decks of many villas look out on the lobby or the service area.
- The main road is running like a loop around the resort, and remarkably, many of the higher located villas are built quiet close to that road (although none of them looks out on the road as they all have splendid ocean views). This may cause some traffic noise from time to time. From my villa 183, I could not see the road (it was tucked away in the vegetation below our villa), but the noise of passing cars was clearly present throughout the day and although it did not disturb me, it may be troublesome to others.
- At check out, the reception staff made a small error of a few hundred euros on my bill, but they immediately corrected it and apologized as soon as I pointed this out to them. Nevertheless, one should always check the hotel bill carefully, and from a Raffles hotel one does not expect faults to be made at check-out.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 9/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8.2/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Raffles Praslin Seychelles (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: I recommend to book a stay at Banyan Tree Phuket via a Virtuoso travel agent, which has the benefit of complimentary VIP perks (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast breakfast, $100 USD resort credit, early check in and late check out).
- Request a villa with privacy (one that is not looking out on the lobby or service area). My villa (nr 183) offered complete privacy, so ideal for honeymooners an those in need of privacy.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Seychelles is often sold as a year round destination and it is. However there is more chance of bad weather, that is to say rain, from November to March. The transitional months of October and April are excellent for a visit as the oceans are very calm and the weather balmy. During the dry seasons (May to September), it can be windy (causing seaweed on the south or south-easterly side of the islands) with rough seas.
HOW TO GET THERE
The resort is located on Praslin Island, a 15-minute flight or 1 hour ferry trip away from Mahe Island. The latter island is the home of Seychelles International Airport (SEZ), which is served by many airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites):
- From/via Asia : Air Seychelles (via Hong Kong), Mihin Lanka (via Colombo)
- From/via Middle East: Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad Airways (via Abu Dhabi), Air Seychelles (via Abu Dhabi).
- From/via Europe: Condor (via Frankfurt), Air Seychelles (via Paris), Transaero Airlines (via Moscow).
- From/via Africa: Kenya Airways (via Nairobi), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Air Austral (via La Reunion), Air Seychelles (via Johannesburg and Mauritius).