More about Banyan Tree Seychelles
lovely but remember to bring fat wallets
Let me first apologise for what is a belated assessment on what was a wonderful time spent at the Banyan Tree Seychelles.
My wife and I spent a wonderful 5 nights in late July 2006. From the moment we arrived, I knew I had made the right decision. This was, however, following a rather extended transfer from Seychelles International Airport.
Entering the Banyan Tree property, we were driven through a winding road surrounded by dense vegetation. Finally, the vegetation cleared to unveil a beautiful white colonial style main house. Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted and provided with cold towels and complimentary drinks and left to admire the view from the main house…a spectacular view!!
We were escorted to our “villa by the rocks” by golf buggy and were very impressed. Our villa housed first class amenities and included a jacuzzi which literally overlooked the Indian Ocean!
Overall, our stay was superb. I have included below, however, some points which may be of some interest…..
1.Be patient with the transfer from Seychelles International Airport.
2.Do pick up some alcohol from duty-free before you arrive as it is rather expensive!
3.Shop around travel agents for a good deal. We “eventually” booked with Thomas Cook and haggled >£600 off their quote.
4.For a five-star resort, I would have expected a more extensive video library and possibly a plasma tv in our villa.
5.Book a treatment at the spa. It is very expensive but they are very good!
6.Dining is expensive and you must wear full length trousers at the evening meal!
7.Do not swim in the tempestuous ocean. You will probably drown!
8.Entertainment outside and in the resort is nil. This place is purely one to relax and romance in.
9.Dubai duty-free is quite expensive!
Very Exclusive ...
Banyan Tree Seychelles is a dream come true. You will be treated with plenty of presents and little attentions throughout your stay by people who remember your name (I have to say that I am NOT someone famous or rich!). I advise you watch the commercial videos of their site, you will clearly get the idea ...
Here everything is very exclusive, romantic and selective, but also very expensive!
I think it is one of the best hotels in MAHE (but Mahe is not the Island to stay for a long period of time). So book at Banyan Tree one or two nights on the way back before taking your morning flight.
I advise the spa treatments: the atmosphere, the place itself surrounded by lush vegetation, mountain rocks, bird singing is an unforgettable experience : when you get out, you feel rejuvenated and zen until the next day. I took a 3 hour treatment : starting with foot bath and massage, then I went to another pavillion for a body scrub, then the therapist turned the hot showers on my body (this was the best part - I still dream of it : hot water raindrops falling all over your body!) , then she closed the pavillion and turned it into a steam room for 15 minutes, another hot shower !!!, finally she performed a 1 hour relaxing Thai body massage from toe to head : PERFECT.
I recommend Saffron restaurant, specialised in Thai cuisine: warm and cozy atmosphere, gorgeous food, very discreet personnel. Don't leave without having the hot SAGOO dish for desert and remember to book in advance.
I advise you take the time to have a drink at sunset at their bar La Varangue. They also serve very nice virgin cocktails. The music is subtile, blending oriental and Thai fusion music.
You must not leave the property before visiting the shop : you will find there a lot of Thai high quality craft works to bring back.
I don't advise the in-villa barbecue because the cook was not specialised in grilling ! Some food was overgrilled other not enough : we had to ask him to grill it again and again !
Note that the sea is quite rough at the hotel location, but the famous infinity pool shaped as a "L" compensates.
Needs some upgrading and attention
The Banyan Tree is a lovely hotel in many respects - but it does need some attention and some refurbishment. We thought many parts of it are starting to look "old" - and given the category of hotel it is in, and the prices they charge - they need to do some work to get the hotel back up there. You could smell the drains around the swimming pool, the sun loungers and bar area are looking tatty etc. Food was good but not fantastic; service was mixed. Lovely in many ways but could be much better - needs some upgrading and some love and attention. We also stayed at Maia - the brand new hotel on Mahe - which was much better...
We stayed at the Banyan Tree on Honeymoon recently. I have stayed at two other Banyan Tree properties in the past and enjoy their ethos, decor and general ambience. Unfortunately there were a number of negatives on our stay at the Seychelles property that I think other people should bear in mind when deciding whether to stay.
1) From what we saw the hotel is in need of refurbishment. We stayed in villa 101, a beach front villa. On arrival (and for much of the stay) the doorbell did not function, the dvd player remote was broken, the player did not play discs available to borrow from the hotel lobby, the tv channels did not work everyday and the tv itself is extremely dated, the door to the villa did not lock properly, the airconditioning was too noisy to sleep at night (as there is an auxiliary unit that cannot be controlled in the room). 2) The housekeeping is rather uneven - sometimes quite late, sometimes did not appear at all. 3) The pool and jaccuzzi were not cleaned unless specifically requested. 4) The airport/island transfers by hotel car were expensive (USD50-60 for a 20-30 minute journey). 5) Meals in the hotel were 'okay' though not particularly varied over more than a 3-4 day stay. 6) The front staff did not show much anticipation or initiative though were happy to help when specifically asked to do so - this was very much the norm around the property. 7) The price of staying at the resort is prohibitive (1500+ Euros per night) given the issues above.
1) The setting is beautiful - fairly remote and private situated around a pretty bay with a nice beach and clear (though strong) sea. They have obviously paid a lot of attention to not disrupting the environment. 2) The spa is of the high standard that is expected - plenty of treatments and well trained staff. 3) The resort staff do try hard and always try to smile and make you feel welcome.
The resort has charm, good design and atmosphere and a good setting. There are various problems with the accommodation - some of them quite rudimentary - that you just don't expect to encounter at this price level. Consider other options carefully until the Banyan Tree addresses these issues.
Stayed for 5 nights in early June as part of our honeymoon after having spent 3 nights at LeMuria on Praslin (see separate review).
The previous reviewers have saved me a lot of work as they have almost written my review for me! Like them, we thought that depsite the fantastic location, excellent spa and the little extras that make the Banyan Tree experience (eg. little gifts left for you each night), the hotel was starting to look tired and cleaning of the villas was sometimes a bit lacking.
We had no problems with the choice or cost of food over 5 nights, Saffron is EXCELLENT and we ate there twice and we also had in an villa BBQ one night. There is a new restaurant which was due to open on the day we left but I would agree that much more than 5/6 days and you'd want to start exploring further afield for more eating options. Prices were comparable, if not cheaper than LeMuria although not cheap by any standards except Seychelles 5 * hotel standards!
Stayed in a "Pool Villa by the Rocks" #301 which we were generally impressed with. The view was fantastic and the pool and jacuzzi were not overlooked at all. However the slight premium you pay for these over the standard Hillside Villas are for the Jacuzzi which in our case was tatty, worn, broken and as previously stated, along with the pool was not cleaned out at all during our 5 night stay. Considering the amount of "wildlife" in the hills (don't come here if you don't like ghekos and lizards in your room!) and the strong winds coupled with overhanging trees our jacuzzi and pool was always full of bugs and leaves. We therefore spent most of our days by the fantastic pool (has to be one of the best views in the world!) as the beach was also renedered unusable due the strong winds and crashing waves this time of year (very atmospheric and invigorating for a walk though!)
The whole hotel was looking a bit "worn" but not so much as to be a big issue at the moment. It could be in a year or so but after speaking to the manager during the weekly cocktail reception I got the impression that a renovation programme was being looked at now that the construction of the new beachside villas is complete. May be worth checking this with the hotel before you book? The "tatty" appearance could be summed up by the pool toilets.....they were located under the pool deck and were absolutley disgusting! Pealing paint, lack of mirrors and dirty sanitaryware meant that like most others, we ended up using the toilets in the main hotel which wasn't a big deal but is not what you expect of a resort of such standing.
We found ALL the staff very freindly and helpful.....most have been recruited from outside the Seychelles and it shows. After speaking to our chef for the in villa BBQ it seems Banyan Tree really look after their staff offering internal promotions within the resort and within the chain itself. This seems to lead to a more contented workforce which luckily makes up for some of the shortcomings of the hotels appearance.
We did have one problem with the staff....we were told on check in that as a honeymoon couple we got 25% off Spa treatments but upon checkout we were told that only applied to certain treatments and that the one my wife had taken was not included! Depsite my protestations, the receptionist was unfaltering and would not beleive what we had definatley been told! The fact it was 5am and we had a flight to catch meant that I paid the full amount and will complain later!
In summary, a charming hotel and ethos set in a fantastic, unspoilt location though this does mean you're quite a way from other "civilisation". Good service on the whole let down only by the lack of maintanance and sometimes "tired" appearance.
Wonderful place... but the Maldives it ain't!
We stayed for what seemed a very short week. Having loved the Maldives, we wanted to try another Indian Ocean location along the same theme; hence the only other options are Mauritius or the Seychelles. We chose the latter. In summary the Seychelles are a lovely location, but they don't have the Robinson Crusoe touch we expected. They are much larger set of Atolls than those of the Maldives and are made of granite not coral so their ‘look’ is somewhat unique. That said, if you are going to the Seychelles, you can’t really go wrong with the Banyan Tree resort.
It is situated on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Seychelles (the best on Mahe Island) and is an innovative blend of beachfront colonial luxury fused with an almost unique jungle experience as the resort winds it’s way up back inland around a granite outcrop.
The rooms are sensational with beautiful fittings, infinity design plunge pools and a private open air terrace. The majority are built on the outcrop that overlooks the resort / beach however, some are located next to the beach. On this point, when we arrived we were put in a room that was entrenched in foliage to the extent that the view to the beach had been overgrown. We mentioned this to the management and the next day we were moved to a new room with a fantastic view. They even packed our clothes and moved all our belongings without us saying a thing. All of the rooms are connected by little paths up and down which golf buggies ferry hotel residents. It’s no trouble walking, but late in the evening, it’s a welcome facility to be driven home.
There are a couple of restaurants, both of which were good, but not fantastic. That said, we did have one wonderful meal in the Thai restaurant. The Spa is fantastic and so is lounging around next to the main pool.
Here are a couple of points to look for though. Beware of the currents and waves on the beach. They are quite strong and we nearly had an unfortunate incident when a small kid was washed out to sea. Everything turned out ok, but it was a close call. You have to be careful. The hotel also seemed to be planning to expand when we were there. They were draining the swamps behind the complex and starting to build at the other end of the beach. This will be a real pity as the hotel feels small and homely at the moment.
Finally, make sure you make your way to La Digue for the day. The beach there was voted the best in the world with large brown / grey granite boulders merging with white sand. It is spectacular and a must see. Also if possible, try to go game fishing and scuba diving – both are excellent. The hotel will sort out everything for you.
To conclude, this place is a wonderful location and a wonderful hotel, but it doesn’t quite have the ambience of the Maldives.
"Great place in many ways"
Mahe is a beautiful island. The people are friendly and there is not much here that feels unsafe or threatening, except for the driving. If you want an exotic location, that many people have never even heard of, that has large expensive hotels and cheap villas, then this may be your paradise. The beaches are gorgeous and empty. The water is many different shades of blue. The snorkelling and diving are incredible. Read my tips on what I believe you need to know about coming here.
Bel Ombre, Mahe, Seychelles
food prices in mahe, seychelles
Hi, me and my boyfriend are travelling to Mahe,Seychelles in September 09 and can't find any food prices anywhere. Could someone give us an idea of the food and drink prices and excursion costs? If not could you reccomend any good sites.
Katy and Jezz
Re: food prices in mahe, seychelles
This link helped us.
Food prices are quite high. I would say lunch or dinner below 20$ a person in a restaurant is not really possible. Unless you eat on the street.
Re: food prices in mahe, seychelles
In general everything is expensive in Seychelles. I went there 2 times about 6 years ago and prices were out of control. Although I heard that at least supermarket prices got a little bit better. If you are planning to have dinner in one of the nice Hotels be prepared to pay aproximatley 80 euros per person.
Alcohol is very expensive.
I stayed in Guesthouses and booked halfboard (breakfast and dinner) and was really happy, because the food was excelent and I didnt have to worry were to go. Also be prepared that there is nearly no nightlife, except if you are staying in Beau Vallon, which I wouldnt recomend, because the beach is not very nice. One place I can recomendt in Mahe is Chez Batista (Anse Takamaka), a little hotel with a very nice restaurant on the beach. You have an amazing view on the ocean and the prices were still reasonable.http://www.chez-batista.com/eng/index.asp?s=restaurant
Have a great trip.