I recently enjoyed a sublime holiday in one of my favorite destinations in the world, the Seychelles, an astonishingly beautiful island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Qatar Airways A350 QSuites from Frankfurt to Doha (world’s best Business Class)
- Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
- Review: Raffles Seychelles Resort (Praslin island)
- Review: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Mahe island)
- Review: Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
- Review: Constance Ephelia Resort (today)
- Review: British Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Seychelles to London
Today (May 22, 2019): Review of Constance Ephelia Resort (Seychelles).
Set on the northwest coast of Mahé island and overlooking the Port Launay National Marine Park, Constance Ephélia offers a treasure trove of discovery for beachcombers, divers and snorkelers. You can choose from a wide range of elegantly contemporary accommodation, ranging from junior suites to super deluxe hillside villas. The resort is very large and spread out according Seychellois standards, with 313 rooms, five restaurants and five beaches on site. You can pamper yourself with a wide range of treatments at the Spa Village, keep active at the fully equipped gym or challenge yourself to a game of tennis, squash or even beach volleyball.
Constance Ephelia features in my top 10 list of the best resorts in the Seychelles.
Have you ever stayed at Constance Ephelia Resort? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Reviews of other luxury hotels in the Seychelles
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
*** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to the Seychelles with my online Seychelles travel guide ***
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Overlooking the Port Launay National Marine Park, the Constance Ephelia resort occupies an entire peninsula at Port Launay on the magnificent west coast of Mahé, the Seychelles’ main island. The property is built around five lovely beaches (more on that below) with a mangrove forest in the middle. Surrounded by 120 hectares of gorgeous landscapes, tropical hills, granite boulders, and hidden coves, the famous resort lives up to its reputation of a tropical island getaway. Morne Seychelles National Park – home to some rewarding hikes and the island’s highest mountain, the 905 meter (3,000 ft) Morne Seychellois – is a ten minute drive away and the Seychelles International Airport is an easy 40-minute drive from the hotel.
- The resort grounds tumble down to five beautiful beaches. The resort’s northern side features the popular Port Launay beach (North Beach), a long stretch of pure white sand that is surrounded by gorgeous tropical scenery and shallow water. Swimming and especially snorkeling here is excellent, with a wide variety of colorful fish that can be seen in and around the edges of this impressive bay. The south side of the resort features a long and quiet stretch of beach (called Lans Ilet or South Beach) with views of some small offshore islands. There are also three smaller beaches (without facilities) which can only be reached by some hiking: the secluded beach of Lans Trusalo has interesting rock formations which are ideal for photography; facing Ile Thérèse, Lans Angle is a remote beach for those who want to relax in peace and quiet; and Lans Koken is another lovely near private beach close to the resort’s most expensive villas.
- The resort grounds are massive, with the main facilities located in the southern area of the resort, overlooking Lans Ilet. The lobby is basically a long open-sided walkway under a steep wooden roof leading to a reflecting water pond. Besides the lobby, the central hub also comprises the main restaurant and a lively bar (more on that below). These public areas feature a simple architecture, with wooden and rattan furnishings paired with cream-colored tile floors, concrete and wooden pillars, and stone walls. The airy design and fluid architecture create a place with free uninterrupted circulation between the interior and the exterior. The property was designed by Mauritian architect Jean Marc Eynaud, who also designed other Constance resorts (e.g. Constance Le Prince Maurice, Constance Lémuria and Constance Belle Mare Plage); Eynaud specializes in tropical contemporary architecture which works in harmony with its environment.
- The resort’s 313 suites and villas are split between the two sides of the peninsula: the 226 suites are spread along South Beach, whereas the 87 villas are located behind North Beach and on its adjacent hills. During my holiday, I stayed in a junior suite close to South Beach. All junior suites are housed in four horseshoe-shaped clusters of six to seven two-story pavilions, each housing four suites (two on the ground-floor and two on the first floor). Each cluster of pavilions is centered around a shared swimming pool. My suite featured a kingsize bed (with high-quality cotton linen) plus a small sitting area. The open-plan bathroom was equipped with twin basins, a deep bath tub, a toilet, and a separate shower. A sliding patio doors opened out onto a terrace facing towards the garden and the sea beyond. The contemporary room decor felt safari-style like due to a beige, brown and white color scheme and zebra-print throw pillows.
- For more luxury and privacy, you are better off staying in one of the 87 spacious villas which all come with their own private pools (instead of the shared pools of the junior suites). You can choose from 22 two- to three-bedroom family villas, which are set in the well-tendered gardens behind Port Launay beach. In front of these family villas, Ephelia Resort’s 12 beach villas have direct beach access. There are also 10 spa villas, forming part of the spa complex which is set in the gardens and mangroves between North and South Beach. A category in their own, the 8 one- to two-bedroom hillside villas at Constance Ephelia Resort overlook the magnificent bay of Port Launay and are beautifully built on granite rocks without spoiling the scenery. Finally, the lavish presidential villa is the resort’s most prestigious accommodation, featuring its own private gym, spa, pool and outdoor dining kiosk.
- Capable of hosting 700 guests, Constance Ephelia has five restaurants, serving cuisine from all over the world, but each with its own design and culinary concept.
- The main dining venue Corossol is located near the lobby on South Beach and serves breakfast for suite guests and international dinner buffets, from tandoori to pizza & pasta.
- Helios is a casual chic restaurant, also located on South Beach, offering a Mediterranean buffet (with tapas, mezze, and anti-pasta) at lunch and themed dinners on request.
- Adam & Eve restaurant is located close to the suites and serves Asian flavors with a focus on Malay, Singaporean, and Indonesian cuisine.
- Located on North Beach, Cyann is the resort’s signature restaurant, serving casual lunches and elegant dinners focusing on French-Asian fusion cuisine. There’s also a sushi bar.
- Also located on North Beach (but on the other end), Seselwa is an all-day à la carte dining restaurant, designed with white furniture and brightly colored cushions, and with a focus on Creole cuisine. Seselwa also offers breakfast buffet for villa guests.
- Indoor and poolside bars enable guests to enjoy drinks and cocktails while cooling off. Helios, Adam & Eve, Cyann and Seselwa restaurants all feature their own bar area, but there are also two other bars available to guests:
- Kabana is a popular bar on North Beach, right behind the resort’s busy beach club. It offers a wide variety of cocktails and tropical slushies, and is surrounded by chess game tables, fields for bocci ball and beach volley, and the kids play ground.
- Zee bar is located inside the lobby, opposite the Corossol restaurant, and offers a selection of drinks all day long and live music in the evening.
- Set in the midst of the resort’s luxuriant tropical gardens, the ‘U Spa by Constance’ is the largest spa village in the Indian Ocean. It features 18 single and couples’ treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room, a heated pool, a Jacuzzi, a cold plunge pool, a Kneipp foot path and a reflective pool. Offering a mix of the world’s most sophisticated therapies, the spa village uses aromatic natural products inspired by local plants to provide blissful spa experiences. You can choose from a wide variety of massages, facials and body treatments. Kids are also in for a blissful treat with relaxing and amusing spa treatments: from massages to facials and nail decos, their treatment will be nothing but pampering. The spa village also features a fully equipped gym and a yoga pavilion.
- The resort is especially good for families with young children. It provides baby cots, child sized bathrobes, high chairs, strollers, kids menus, and whatever families with children need at no extra charge. There’s a large, comprehensive kids’ club (for ages 4 to 11) with indoor and outdoor play areas, games, a computer station, a trampoline, a kids swimming pool, and even a mini rock-climbing wall. Coordinators will lead trips of island exploration, local crafts, culinary activities and scavenger hunts to name a few that will engage kids with the exciting, exotic holiday location. Babysitting service is also available (payable).
- Constance Ephelia Resort offers a wide array of activities & facilities. Most of these (outdoor) activities are offered at North Beach, with complimentary non-motorised water sports like catamaran, kayaking, pedal boats, and windsurfing. Snorkeling, diving (PADI), paddle boarding, and zip-lining are also offered though these incur pricey fees. The resort also features a squash court and four tennis courts. The Port Launay National Park on which the hotel is located, is a highly reputed protected site with a great deal of flora and fauna. It is also a venue where one can frequently observe the majestic whale shark, the largest fish species in the world.
- If you are a shopaholic, you’ll be glad to read that the resort features five boutique shops: two on North Beach next to the villa reception and three shops on South Beach within the main building. They sell Constance Hotels and Resorts Experience branded items, a few basic day to day items, and a wide range of Seychelles art and handmade craft items.
- The property is managed by Constance Hotels & Resorts, a prestigious collection of resorts peppered in the Indian Ocean (e.g. Mauritius, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Madagascar and Zanzibar). Constance properties represent authentic hotels with a genuine passion for hospitality committed to delight all guests with inspiring flavors, blissful spa treatments, and timeless adventures with an unsurpassed level of service. Constance Ephelia has a sister resort in the Seychelles – Constance Lemuria located along a magnificent beach on Praslin island – so you can easily combine both Constance properties in one itinerary. Opened in late 1999, and completely renovated in 2016, Constance Lemuria embraces a modern approach to design, skillfully blending luxury and comfort in harmony with the carefully preserved natural beauty of the environment.
- Constance Ephelia is one of the most affordable 5-star hotels in the Seychelles. One week here costs often the same as one night at the nearby Four Seasons, Maia, and Banyan Tree hotels. To give you an idea, I paid 450 euros per night, including breakfast and dinner (and the resort regularly launches even cheaper promotions).
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The pristine surroundings, child-friendly facilities, and magnificent beaches make Constance Ephelia a solid family resort in the Seychelles. Yet, it’s far from perfect, and you definitely need to know the following before considering a stay here.
- The resort’s design, decor and furniture is rather simple and feels a bit cheap in certain areas, which keeps this property from being on par with its far more luxurious neighbors on Mahe island. While Constance Ephelia is a five star resort, it’s not as luxurious and sophisticated compared to the other five star resorts on Mahe island, such as the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Maia Luxury Resort & Spa or the Banyan Tree Seychelles, though the latter hotels are also considerably pricier. If you are looking for a truly luxurious stay and are used to very high standards, I advise you to stay elsewhere.
- With more than 300 suites and villas, Constance Ephelia is a massive resort, capable of catering to 700 guests at full occupancy. Although the resort grounds are expansive with many facilities, the property can still feel very busy (too busy), especially in the restaurants, where there’s often a wait for the breakfast buffet or where you need to make a reservation at least two days in advance in order to secure a table at dinner.
- The resort is divided in a northern and southern section with gardens and mangroves in the center. You can walk around as much as you want, but due to the sheer size of the property, that’s impractical. To overcome this problem, buggy service is provided, but it’s not the type of personalized buggy service that you would expect at a resort of this level: the golf cars – which are designed for 8 passengers – only stop at designated places, so the buggy service feels more like a shuttle. In addition, waiting time often exceeds 15 minutes, which can be frustrating.
- Bicycles are provided free of charge for villa guests only, which is an odd policy. If you are staying in a suite, you will have to pay a fee to rent bicycles from the fitness center and you can only use them within the hotel premises.
- As all the beaches in the Seychelles are public by law, it can get crowded and loud on the resort’s beaches. This is especially true for North Beach during the weekends, when many locals visit the beach and dozens of boats anchor in the bay in front of the beach. In addition, this beach tends to be overrun by the guests of the resort, and finding a lounge chair at the overcrowded beach club can be a real challenge at times of high occupancy.
- South Beach feels more private and quiet compared to North Beach. However, this area is less sheltered and the beach gets much more wind than North Beach. In addition, the beach almost completely disappears at high tide, while at low tide, the water is far away from the beach and very shallow, making swimming impossible. IMHO, both North and South Beach cannot compete with the beauty of the beaches that you find at Mahe’s other five star resorts (e.g. Four Seasons, Banyan Tree, and Maiai Luxury Resort & Spa).
- Massive resorts often suffer from mediocre service, and unfortunately, that’s the case as well with Constance Ephelia, which does not get anywhere near the expected level of service of a five star resort. Service is friendly but adequate at best and definitely well below par with other beach resorts I have visited in the world. For example, there was often no staff around when I wanted to order something when relaxing on the beach, and service at the restaurants is slow and inefficient. IMHO, the resort is just too big to offer personalized and outstanding service.
- Food at the resort is great, but not excellent nor very sophisticated (something you would expect at this price level). Although there are a la carte choices at selected eateries, the bulk of the food is offered under the form of lavish but uninspiring buffets. Four of the five restaurants are included in the half/full board packages. Fine dining restaurant Cyann is not included in the half board option; however there is an allowance against the a la carte menu choices or a supplement for the set menu (although the supplement is not worth it). All restaurants have additional charges for all beverages consumed at dinner.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 7/10
- Pool: 7/10
- Rooms: 7/10
- Food: 6/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 6/10
- Value for money: 7/10
- Overall experience: mediocre: 7,5/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles (and/or receive many free perks).
- Room tip: some of the room categories are a bit basic; if you want luxury and privacy you need to book one of the villas (and not a suite).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
REVIEWS OF OTHER LUXURY HOTELS IN THE SEYCHELLES
- Hotel review: Six Senses Zil Pasyon Seychelles
- Review: PHENOMENAL North Island Seychelles
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
- Review: Raffles Seychelles Hotel
- Review of Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Seychelles)
- Review of Banyan Tree Seychelles Resort
- Review of Constance Ephelia Resort (Seychelles)
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 a 30-minute drive from Seychelles International Airport (SEZ). Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to the Seychelles.