L’Archipel is a family-owned and run property that has been part of the Praslin landscape for nearly 30 years. It opened with 12 rooms in the late 1980s, with a further 20 rooms added over the years. Extensive renovation to the hotel property took place in 2009 and 2010, and now the rooms are being refurbished – 16 of those had been completed by September 2013.
Where Is It?
The hotel is in the north-east region of the second-largest island in the Seychelles, at the end of the famous Côte d’Or bay. Praslin is a 45-minute ferry ride or 15-minute flight from Mahe. The hotel is approximately 20 minutes from Praslin Island Airport, and the rooms are nestled into the hillside overlooking the secluded Anse Government beach.
We were accommodated in one of the newly-renovated rooms and arguably the one with the best location, in the corner of the property and closest to the beach, with the sand just metres away. A blast of ice-cold air-conditioning provided welcome relief as we entered, and it remained at a comfortable 22 degrees throughout. In front of us, a king-size bed with big fluffy pillows, work and vanity desks, safe, hanging space, stocked mini-bar, coffee table and chairs, along with a small flat screen TV, separate toilet and bathroom (two basins and rain shower). But, with such beauty on your doorstep, outside is where you want to be, unless you want to take advantage of being able to lie in bed and look out onto a stunning beach and bay. The next best thing was the small patio out front with table and chairs – another option from which to take in the view. The hotel’s rooms are all set into the hillside and scattered around the property, a fair distance apart, which is great for privacy.
Restaurants & Bars
The hotel has two restaurants – La Feuille d’Or in the main building and La Gigolette on the beach. The latter serves breakfast, lunch and a la carte seafood for dinner, whilst the hotel bar is between the swimming pool and the restaurant, and there’s also a beach bar. We enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail next to the pool, before dining at La Feuille d’Or. I didn’t like the house Chardonnay, but my braised duck with Dijon mash, carrots and courgettes was excellent, as was the mango sorbet for dessert. For breakfast we tucked into fresh papaya and a continental offering of warm croissants, cheese and delicious salami, together with strong coffee – all while sitting with our feet in the sand.
Meeting & Conferencing Facilities
There’s a small business centre, where you can access the Internet or get documents printed. Once the renovation is complete, Wi-Fi will be available in all the guest rooms, but there will be a charge 25 rupees ($2) an hour.
For starters, take in Anse Government beach, whether it’s lying on a lounger under the palm trees, swimming or snorkeling in the turquoise water. Alternatively, make use of the hotel’s water sport centre and its boat, Lady Caroline, which is on hand for fishing trips and island excursions. If you’re adventurous, get to know Praslin by renting a car or bicycle, and take in sights such as the Vallee de Mai, Praslin’s UNESCO world heritage site. Otherwise, La Digue is the recommended ‘island hop’ – a 20-minute ferry ride away. Alternatively, beaches such as Anse Lazio (acclaimed as one of top five beaches in world) are nearby. If you’re loathe to leave the hotel grounds, there’s an infinity pool looking onto the beach and bay. The hotel no longer has a gym or spa, because they weren’t being used, but you can order a massage and it’s taken care of by an external company brought in by the hotel.
Stunning 5-star island hotel, with the intimacy of a family-run establishment and a beautiful setting.