Le Domaine d'Orangeraie is La Digue's most stylish property…
Le Domaine d'Orangeraie: Our full report
Set to be La Digue's most stylish accommodation, Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie is an Eastern-influenced hotel just north of the tiny La Passe harbour. Set in immaculate tropical gardens, dotted with stone Buddhas and miniature Japanese pagodas, and navigated by a sinuous Zen footpath, both the beautiful villas and self-catering garden rooms offer island chic rarely found in this simple island community.
In September 2008, Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie closed to embark on a major renovation and expansion project. They now have 45 villas, and a new pool and all day dining area.
The central areas are tastefully and stylishly decorated. Alongside the main reception area you'll also find a small library which has WiFi access, and some friendly staff who can help you arrange excursions.
The 10 two-storey, self-catering garden villas offer a Zen-like retreat from the sun. Furnished in dark, heavy timber with rich red fabrics and eclectic objets d'art from the East, yet boasting mod cons from air conditioning to satellite TV, the interiors are both appealing and striking.
Downstairs, each garden villa at Le Domaine has a pleasant, well-equipped kitchen with a wide breakfast bar, leading out to a veranda with a shaded table for al-fresco dining. Upstairs, a romantic, four-poster bed is draped in mosquito netting. There is a good en-suite bathroom (or an outdoor shower outside if you prefer), an upper balcony, and plenty of cool air from both ocean breeze and efficient air conditioning.
Set up in the steep hills above Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie are a collection of villas, reached by golf buggies. Each of the 31 stylish new Villas de Charme, is 70m 2, with a large open terrace at the front overlooking the resort. Neutral browns and creams, chic fittings, and billowing fabrics give the rooms a natural yet elegant feel. The walls are dotted with arty black-and-white photos taken from around the island, and although there is a satellite TV it is discreetly positioned cleverly hidden from sight. Each villa has a low sofa which can be used as an extra bed, high ceilings, a writing desk, and a large and impressive outdoor bathroom with rainshower and bathtub.
Similar in style and design to the Villas de Charme are 3 Villas de Charme Elegance which are larger, at 100m2, and boast the addition of a private whirlpool.
The largest villa, the 'presidential suite', is set high up in the hills – offering stunning views and a very private experience. Its 250m2 incorporate one double and one twin room as well as an extra room (idea for children or a nanny). All rooms are en suite, and the villa has its own private pool and Jacuzzi.
The all day dining area by the pool is where you can enjoy lunch or grab a snack and drink. Currently dinner is held in a dining room near the reception area, however plans to build another two restaurants are underway. In the evenings, the dress code is smart casual.
As with many establishments on the islands, few activities are available directly from Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie, but the staff are happy to facilitate excursions through outside operators.
The lodge will soon extend directly onto the waterfront, and several beaches, including Anse Severe are close by, as is the Veuve Reserve, the wooded home of the paradise flycatcher. Island exploration is easy, and with free bicycle hire you can explore the island in your own time.
Our ViewLe Domaine de l'Orangeraie is a well-designed, quality property, with good management and plenty of beach action within a short cycle ride. With the recent addition of its own restaurant and swimming pool and with further additions such as a fitness centre to come, this is likely to become our favourite place to stay on La Digue.
Ideal length of stay: 3-4 nights
Directions: Access to La Digue is by ferry from Praslin (approx 45 minutes) or Mahe (approx 2 hours). Guests for Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie are met at either the airport or harbour by colourful ox-carts or open-sided buses for the 15-minute transfer.
Staff: Erik Boulanger, the resident manager, is a smart European with a relaxed, easy manner and clear plans to develop the property well. He is keen to establish his tropical fruit garden to supply all of Le Domaine's needs.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: On our last visit the food was very good. Lunch was a la carte and included a selection of salads, fresh fish and Creole dishes served to the table, while both dinner and breakfast are served from a buffet station. At breakfast, a chef prepares eggs to order, while in the evenings you may find a pasta station, or a BBQ being prepared in front of you.
The villas all have fully-equipped kitchens with an attractive timber breakfast bar for lazy breakfasts and preparing picnics before a day at the beach. There is also a communal outdoor BBQ which guests are welcome to use. However, culinary supplies for visitors are limited on La Digue, as in all of the Seychelles, though Gregoire's supermarket in the centre of La Passe has a reasonable selection of drinks, snacks and basic goods (eg. bread, eggs, bacon, some fruit/vegetables). If you or your children have any specialist dietary requirements, come prepared!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Beach holidays: Many of La Digue's beaches are a short ride from the modern, minimalist Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie. These include Anse Source d'Argent, arguably one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and certainly one of the best beach holiday locations we know.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie, but in the new hillside villas the terraces at the front are high and open so may not be suitable for small children. It is important to note that children must be supervised and are the responsibility of their parents at all times.
Property’s age restrictions: No guest age restrictions apply here.
Special activities & services: There are no dedicated kids' clubs or activities at Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie, but good-quality bicycles – including those for children – are available for free, the beach is close by and the new swimming pool is sure to be a hit with all ages.
Equipment: Cots and highchairs are available. Babysitting is not usually available here.
Generally recommended for children: Children under 12 stay free in the garden villas on a B&B basis, which makes these an excellent choice for families looking for a good-quality property at good rates. The accommodation is spacious, the kitchens well equipped and the sea very close, ideal for those with younger tots. The new swimming pool will make afternoon cooling off even easier, and so with all this in mind, we would certainly recommend these villas for families with well-behaved children.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are free internet points in the library and reception, and WiFi access is available.
TV & radio: There is a television in each villa.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: La Digue Logan Hospital is only 10 minutes from Le Domaine and offers 24-hour medical care, including dental and paediatric care. There is an ambulance for emergencies.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers stationed outside each villa.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Accepted payment on location: Visa, Amex, MasterCard, Diners Club.