Le Meridien Fisherman's Cove is right on the beach at Beau Vallon
Le Meridien Fishermans Cove: Our full report
On the southern stretch of Beau Vallon bay in Mahé's famed north-west, Le Méridien Fisherman's Cove was one of the first hotels in the Seychelles, when it opened in 1943. Undergoing a major refurbishment a few years ago, it re-opened in October 2004 with lovely public areas and some extremely stylish accommodation options.
On arrival slick doormen welcome you into the impressively high, thatched reception and you'll glimpse the sea through the open-sided lounge beyond. Classic cream cane furniture on highly polished floors, tinkling water features and a neat selection of fine jewellery and practical beachwear in the boutiques, hint at the calibre of the hotel; and its helpful staff, neat grounds and lovely rooms uphold expectations.
There are 68 rooms in total, falling into six categories of varying luxury, all dotted around the manicured, sea-facing gardens. All named after exotic flowers, the rooms are all well-equipped with stylish furnishings and an array of modern conveniences. A private terrace, direct-dial telephone, mini-bar, air-conditioning, internet access, 24 hour room service, safe and satellite TV are standard throughout the accommodation options here.
Fisherman's Cove standard accommodation is in the very nice Hibiscus Superior Rooms. Located in a two-storey building adjoining the main building, they are the furthest rooms from the sea, but still enjoy ocean views from a private terrace or balcony and pleasant interiors. Spacious in layout, the large mirrors, limestone tiled floor and cool blue, white and timber décor is contemporary and stylish. The open bathroom, with its bath a mere hop from the bed, has an optional fabric room divider for those who prefer privacy, but otherwise allows for a greater sense of space. There is also a separate toilet and shower.
Light and airy, with some terrific design features, the Frangipani Deluxe Rooms are our favourite. Set in a raised, sinuous row overlooking the sea, they have private terraces complete with loungers and white parasols in front of the charming bedrooms. The rooms are decorated in natural stone (including one rough-hewn granite wall), dark timber and burgundy, and offer very high-specification amenities and furnishings.
The split-level Bougainvillea Creole Suites and Orchid Creole Suites are, in our opinion, significantly less stylish than the more contemporary room categories. Although the rooms themselves are spacious and the island-style décor is bright and colourful; they feel slightly dated with pineapple carved banisters, multi-coloured painted furniture and bold floral curtains. These rooms do, however, boast larger plasma televisions and in-room espresso makers. Located both at the beach and in the gardens, these rooms will eventually be converted into the more modern interiors of the other rooms, with some already transformed into the Orchid Contemporary Suites.
Beside the tennis courts, away from the sea, the Allamanda Suites are the largest of the available rooms and modern in style. Square interiors with high pitched ceilings, a small corner lounge area, lovely four-poster bed and an open-plan bathroom (roman blinds can be dropped for privacy from the bedroom) feature. There is a lovely timber-edged bath and a separate shower, but no real view or privacy from the terrace, which is something of a disappointment.
As you would expect in a resort of this size and calibre, there are several activity and entertainment options. For those seeking to relax, the lovely swimming pool complete with natural granite boulders, is a great place to catch some sun and admire the seaviews. For the more active, the beach is literally on the doorstep and snorkelling equipment is provided free of charge. Diving can be arranged through one of the local PADI dive centres in the bay, and fishing/sailing excursions are available through similar outfits. For on site activity there is a floodlit tennis court, complete with coach, and the small, calming Elemis Zen Spa, where three Asian therapists offer beauty and massage treatments (these are available in-room as well). There is a small gym with weights and cardio machines, a steam room and plunge pool here too.
Overall, Le Meridien Fisherman's Cove is certainly one of the smartest places to stay on this striking beach, and it delivers service and contemporary accommodation befitting of its strong international reputation.
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights or more
Directions: Le Méridien Fisherman's Cove is a very easy 30-40 minute drive from Mahé airport, and only 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. Transfers are easily arranged or cars can be hired in advance or for day-trips once at the hotel.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: There are two restaurants, one buffet and one a la carte, as well as two bars at Le Méridien Fisherman's Cove. Guests are free to use any, though those on half board rates will only have pre-paid access to Le Cardinal for dinner.
Situated off the lobby, Le Cardinal (open for breakfast and dinner) is the hotel's main restaurant. Catering for 80 guests it is the largest and most casual, though still smart, of the dining venues. An open-sided, sea view restaurant, it serves continental and cooked breakfasts from 7.30-10.30am and then reopens in the evening to host themed buffet dinners with live music.
For a la carte, fine-dining, Le Bourgeois (open for lunch and dinner) offers waterside dining on the covered timber jetty. Specialising in seafood and Mediterranean cuisine, this is good spot for any special occasions during your stay.
The hotel's main lounge/bar, Le Cocoloba (10am-midnight), is below the reception area – a youthful, funky hangout with lively music displayed on big screens, wide cushioned seats, candles flickering in bowls of coral and a vibrant strawberry-red painted wall. Open to the sea breeze on one side, it's a cool place to relax and enjoy a light snack (served 12.30-6pm), sip freshly made cocktails or enjoy lively after-dinner chatter and tunes. The menu consists of a selection of tartines, salads and snacks such as burgers and club sandwiches. Although tasty, the menu here is on the expensive side - you can expect to pay about 18 Euros for a club sandwich.
There is also a small reading room off the bar which has more the air of a trendy backroom at a nightclub than a library – and the MTV music does penetrate the walls so not a thoroughly peaceful place. Here there are red velvet sofas, dim mood lighting, copper etchings and selection of daily newspapers and novels to browse.
Finally, overlooking Beau Vallon Bay, the Sunset Bar (12pm-11pm) is open for complimentary afternoon tea, sundowners on its broad deck and late-night cocktails.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Beach holidays: Beau Vallon is Mahé's main tourist beach, lying in a deep bay on the north-western coast about 3 miles from Victoria. Even though popular, it is still relatively quiet by European standards and it offers gently shelving sands, good swimming and snorkelling. If you are there in the right season (best August - October) book a trip out to snorkel with the whale sharks with the professionally run Underwater Dive Centre situated nearby.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Le Méridien Fisherman's Cove.
Equipment: Cots and highchairs provided for younger visitors.
Generally recommended for children: Le Méridien Fisherman's Cove is predominantly adult-focused - but its swimming pool, beach access, buffet meals and helpful staff make it a good island option for families capable of entertaining their own children.
Notes: Care must obviously be taken anywhere near the sea and swimming pool. During the northwest monsoon (November to April) there can be particularly powerful waves and currents in the ocean, and children must be accompanied in the water at all times. There are no lifeguards.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is free Wireless High Speed Internet Access in the lobby area and IDD telephones in every room. The hotel reception will send and receive urgent faxes and emails.
TV & radio: Satellite television is standard in all room categories and the main bar shows international music channels.
Health & safety
Malarial area: No
Medical care: Basic medical care and first aid is available at the hotel, and there is a clinic in Beau Vallon. Mahé's main hospital is in the capital, Victoria, approximately 20 minutes drive.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There is 24 hour security at Fisherman's Cove.
Fire safety: Smoke detectors are fitted in all bedrooms and the main public areas. Fire extinguishers are also accessible around the hotel complex and in the central areas.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: There is a currency exchange available at reception for major foreign currencies. Electronic safe deposit boxes are provided in the rooms.