an average 4-star hotel
Regular hotels on La Reunion are simply way too expensive. For this reason alone, I would avoid going there. There is no value for money. The hotels are standard business hotels. The pools are nothing special nor is the beach. I am not complaining, but it is not a 'beach resort' hotel that I would return to, and at EUR300 per night for double-occupancy, it is pricey enough that guests should demand a better standard than is available in St. Denis. Be warned.
A moderately-priced hotel near the beach
The Novotel is located across the street from the beach betwen Saint-Gilles-les-Bains and Hermitage-les-Bains on the Western Coast of Reunion. The hotel's location is excellent if you have a car. It is convenient to the major coast roads and only about a 5-minute drive from the center of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains. A sandy beach is located right across the street, less than 50 meters from the hotel's gate.
We stayed at the Novotel for about 6 nights. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and put up with our mediocre French language skills. Some spoke English, but not all, so a bit of French is very useful. We particularly liked the kids program, which our daughter Anna participated in during two of the days we were there. She couldn't speak French with the other kids, but they still had fun playing volleyball, badminton and soccer, as well as having snacks and doing arts and crafts.
Our room at the Novotel was decently sized, but mediocre in terms of maintenance and furnishings. The door was scraped up and the metal closet doors had some rust. The furnishings were made out of some sort of artificial material that I assume was chosen for its durability. However, the room had what we needed, including a television, heat, air conditioning, and hot and cold water, so it was fine for our needs. We spent very little time in the room, aside from sleeping and changing clothes.
The common areas of the hotel were nice. There are two swimming pools, two indoor/outdoor bar areas with plenty of seats and tables, and two restaurants. Wifi is available in the lobby and bar areas. There is no gift shop, so you have to go about 200 meters down the road to a small shopping mall to buy things such as sunscreen and postcards.
The breakfast buffet was good, with both hot and cold items. Lunch was served at the poolside restaurant/bar, and was also very good. The dinners were served at the main restaurant. The food at dinner was fine, but overpriced. There are a number of local restaurants within 5 minutes' drive that have better food at cheaper prices.
Overall, we were please with our stay at the Novotel. Our only complaints were that the rooms need some refurbishment, there is no internet available in the rooms, and the dinners were too expensive. In our opinion, the friendly staff, the excellent location, and the nice common areas and grounds more than made up for the hotel's shortcomings.