The pool at L'Archipel has lovely views to the sea and beach beyond
Hotel L'Archipel: Our full report
At the end of the sandy sweep of the Côte d'Or on Praslin's north-east shore, and above the secluded beach of Anse Gouvernement, Hotel l'Archipel is an old-school place reminiscent of the island's colonial past.
Built in 1987 by its Seychellois owner, Louis D'Offay, the hotel's peppermint painted buildings, panoramic views and colourfully-planted gardens certainly lend it a distinctly tropical feel. It has an adult-only air (though children over 3 years are accepted) and a more formal vibe than many of the island's other properties, so it attracts a slightly older, European crowd and smattering of honeymooners.
Spread over the large hillside estate, there are 30 rooms in total: 4 Executive Suites, 3 Senior Suites and 23 Deluxe rooms. The interiors within each category are broadly the same, but the location does vary from beach to hillside, so it's important to specify at the time of booking if you have a strong preference.
The four Executive Suites (150m2) are divided between 2 villas just above the beach, and 2 on the penthouse floor of the 'plantation house' accommodation building higher up the hillside. Regardless of location, these suites are absolutely vast. Characterised by terracotta tiled floors, island-style natural and cream woven furniture, contemporary furniture and spacious balconies, these are the largest and most luxurious of the rooms available at Hotel L'Archipel.
Each of these suites has a lounge, bedroom, en-suite bathroom, separate shower room and a large veranda for room-service dinners or afternoon relaxation. In the master bedroom there is contemporary four-poster bed, dressing table and a DVD player and satellite television if you feel like a movie night. Impressive vases of tropical foliage and flowers and a useful timber luggage rack show nice attention to detail. Each bedroom has a very large en-suite bathroom with a corner bath, separate shower and toilet, as well as a timber dressing room with ample wardrobe space.
The separate lounge is a comfortable, airy room with a sofa which can fairly obviously be turned into a single bed for another guest. There is a plasma TV, stereo and minibar, and access to both the terrace and en-suite shower room. The rooms are naturally air-conditioned but also have ceiling fans.
The three Senior Suites (65m2) are probably the nicest option for couples staying at Hotel L'Archipel. Named after islands in the Seychelles, two of these rooms are in the central 'plantation house' whilst another is set apart on the hillside above the complex. They are very spacious inside and well-proportioned for two people (they executive suites really are huge if there are just two of you). The open-plan bedroom and small lounge area are a pleasant place to chill, watch TV and read during the midday heat.
There is a four-poster bed, unusual timber island furniture, a small writing desk for postcards home and a mix of contemporary poster art and framed Congolese kubu cloth decorating the walls. There are modern wall and bedside lights, a serious safe for valuables, air-conditioning, satellite television and a mini-fridge in these rooms. The ceiling is beautifully paneled in timber, whilst the floors are tiled to keep the temperature cool. There is a linear section at the back of the room which includes a toilet, dressing area with wardrobes and an en-suite shower or bathroom (please let us know at the time of booking if a bath is important to you). At the front of each room is an ocean-facing terrace with a sparkling white deck and some patio furniture for optional room service breakfasts.
The main practical differentiation between the Deluxe rooms and Senior suites is that the suites have a separate dressing room and a lounge area; however in practice the décor is preferable in the latter too.
The 23 Deluxe Rooms (44 m2) are in neat semi-detached, stone and timber cottages dotted around the hillside either side of the main area and swimming pool. Beyond the hibiscus bushes and decked terrace, these rooms are spacious and all have a king size bed, good-size en-suite bathroom (some with a bath; some shower only) and an array of useful mod-cons: air-conditioning, IDD telephone, stocked minibar, tea/coffee station, safe, hairdryer and satellite television. They are a little dark inside and perhaps lacking some comfortable chairs, but the space inside and around each cottage is a real asset. It is important to be aware that some of these rooms can be a reasonable walk, often uphill, from the main building, pool and beach, so less mobile guests may want to think carefully about a stay here.
At the centre of the property, the grand looking main building, with its large arched windows and multi-level terraces, houses the bar, restaurant and massage room. Immediately adjacent to this is the inviting hillside infinity pool with views down to the sandy beach below.
There are a number of additional aquatic activities which can be arranged from the hotel's watersports centre: windsurfing, fishing, diving, snorkelling and island boat trips to the superb beach at Anse Lazio or perhaps rocky Saint-Pierre islet for some gentle fish-filled snorkelling. There is also a small massage and beauty treatment room for when the sun gets too much, internet access is possible and a small selection of board games available.
The hotel does have a lovely location and plenty of space, and its newer rooms are very nicely done. If you are looking for somewhere to deliver a fairly classic island experience, Hotel L'Archipel is good option on Praslin.
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights to a week
Directions: If you're arriving by plane (approx 20mins from Mahé), Hotel L'Archipel is a pleasant 30min drive from the airport across the island, through the Vallée de Mai National Park. Alternatively, if you arrive by ferry in Baie St Anne from either Mahé or La Digue, you can follow the clearly marked signs from the jetty towards Cote D'Or. From this road, you will see the Hotel L'Archipel entrance sign on your right; the drive will take about 10 minutes. Car hire can be arranged to meet you either the port of airport, or the hotel will arrange a meet-and-greet transfer.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: There are two restaurants at Hotel L'Archipel: for formal dinners, La Feuille d'Or in the main building overlooks the bay through high, arched windows; and Bon Mange for casual breakfast buffets and à la carte lunches on the beach.
A limited bar menu is available for pool-side snacks (expensive and uninspiring toasted sandwiches and ice creams) and drinks during the day, and the beach bar serves tropical cocktails to sun-worshipping guests. At night, the pool-side bar offers aperitifs and after-dinner drinks at candle-lit tables under the stars.
There is live evening entertainment provided twice a week in the main restaurant, and during our last stay this included an engaging guitarist who wandered the tables playing an eclectic multi-lingual mix of Creole and European classics.
The evening atmosphere was distinctly formal with guests generally making an effort to dress smartly. The menu was set with choices for each course usually including a fish or meat option and a vegetarian choice. The quality was reasonably good and portions well-sized. Wine and spirits are available to accompany all meals. During our stay, we saw no children in the dining room and a relatively hushed tone would likely make many families feel slightly uneasy.
On our last visit, we found that the service was somewhat variable - slow and perfunctory rather than bad – and as in many Seychellois hotels, extras were expensive.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Beach holidays: The small cove of Anse Gouvernement, on which Hotel L'Archipel stands, offers not only a lovely sandy, palm-shaded spot in itself, but its orientation affords a fabulous view back along the golden curve of Praslin's Côte d'Or. Here you have the benefit of an almost private hotel beach coupled with the nearby possibilities of the more lively Anse Volbert with its beachfront restaurants and dive and activity centres.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: Hotel L'Archipel accepts children over 3 years of age; though in truth the slightly reserved, formal atmosphere is geared to couples and older clientele.
Equipment: No special equipment, such as cots and highchairs, is provided for younger guests.
Generally recommended for children: As a rule, we would not recommend this hotel to visitors with younger children. The hotel is relatively formal by Praslin standards with an emphasis on quiet relaxation and fairly reserved, 'proper' behaviour over dinner. Older couples and honeymooners are much more typical guests.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is an IDD telephone in each guest room and mobile phone reception is good. In the Executive Suites, an outlet for fax & internet connection is available.
TV & radio: Satellite channels on plasma televisions are available in all guest rooms. There is also a DVD player in the Executive Suite.
Health & safety
Malarial area: No
Medical care: There is a first aid kit kept on the property and for more serious incidents, Praslin Hospital in Baie St. Anne offers health care services 24 hours a day. There is an ambulance available, helicopter for emergency transfers to Victoria Hospital on Mahé (daylight flights only), and medical staff here speak French, English and Creole.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located outside villas and there are smoke alarms fitted.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge