Indian Ocean Lodge is right on the beach on the south-west side of Praslin Island...
Indian Ocean Lodge: Our full report
Indian Ocean Lodge is a small family-friendly hotel offering good-value, no-frills accommodation on the sandy beach at Grande Anse.
Dotted around the gardens, either side of the central building, there are eight, two-storey whitewashed buildings, each housing four identical en-suite rooms. Each boasts a veranda or balcony view across the palm filled garden to the beach, with the sea being quite literally a two minute walk from the front door.
The 32 spacious rooms were completely renovated in 1998, with soft furnishings and mattresses being replaced in December 2007. Light and cheerful interiors have a maritime theme with shell motifs adorning cushions, bedcovers and sofas, and the tiled floors, timber louvred windows and light walls making for a cool, calm midday retreat.
There is a four-poster, king-size bed and a simple L-shaped lounge which can be converted into a sleeping area for children. All of the rooms have en-suite shower rooms and there is a small, shady terrace, complete with green deck chairs for afternoon siestas and general relaxation.
At 45m2 , the rooms can each comfortably accommodate two adults and two children under 11 years, or three adults, and for larger families or travelling friends, rooms can be interconnected with ease. As standard, each has air-conditioning, as well as a ceiling fan, mosquito nets, tea/coffee facilities, a mini-fridge, telephone, television (local channels only), safe, ironing facilities and a hairdryer.
Inside the main building there is a residents' lounge and restaurant. In the latter, the neatly laid tables are used for breakfast and dinner, with lunches usually being served on the breezy patio overlooking Grande Anse beach. Both local specialties and international cuisine are served, with barbeques held every Wednesday and Creole Night featuring on a Saturday. Live entertainment is presented three times week, with guest karaoke optional on a Sunday.
If a cool dip is needed, there is a good size rectangular swimming pool and jacuzzi surrounded by a newly laid timber deck (June 2008) and some palm thatch parasols. From here, tropical cocktails can be enjoyed whilst planning the next day's activities. Locally available watersports include windsurfing, canoeing, snorkelling, fishing and scuba diving, while for something land-based, golf, bicycle rental and helicopter sightseeing can all easily be arranged. A trip to nearby Vallée de Mai is however the island's absolute must-see attraction!
Overall, for an affordable, laid-back hotel, where children and groups are both equally welcome, Indian Ocean Lodge is a good beach-front option on Praslin.
(NB Between July-Sept, and a little in December, the prevailing south-east trade winds deposit seaweed along the shoreline of Grande Anse. An annual natural occurrence, this can make the sandy beach less picturesque and the usually clear waters less pleasant for swimming. However, it is worth remembering that Indian Ocean Lodge operates a free shuttle service (departs daily at 10am) to Côte d'Or Beach (15mins) on the east coast, when the beach is algae free at this time of year.)
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights or more
Directions: If you're arriving by plane (approx 20mins from Mahé), Indian Ocean Lodge is located a mere 2km south-east of Praslin's small airport. The coastal road sweeps alongside the northern reaches of Grande Anse bay affording glimpses of the sea between the guesthouses and homes. 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 Vallée de Mai and Grande Anse. This road will take you over the lush, hilly island interior; giving a taste of the island's famed tropical forest.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: On the seaward side of the main building, the restaurant at Indian Ocean Lodge serves an eclectic mix of international and Creole cuisine. It feels rather formal in with crisp table linen and neatly folded napkins always on display, but like the rest of the hotel, in actuality it is really fairly laid back.
Breakfasts are served buffet style, casual lunches can be enjoyed outside on the patio and dinners are indoors and either themed buffet nights or a la carte. Honeymooners staying at the hotel will often be treated to a seafood gala dinner and some sparkling wine during their stay.
There is a small but well-stocked bar where the barman will happily make up cocktails from fresh juices and imported spirits.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Attitude towards children: Indian Ocean Lodge welcomes children of all ages.
Equipment: A cot is available for babies; please request this at the time of booking.
Generally recommended for children: The flexible accommodation, proximity to the beach, shady gardens and large swimming pool make Indian Ocean Lodge a good family hotel. As always, supervision beside the water is crucial.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is an IDD telephone in each guest room and mobile phone reception is good.
TV & radio: Local television (2 channels) is available in the guest rooms.
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 (no night flights), and medical staff speak French, English and Creole.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located outside the rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: Currency exchange facilities are available at the hotel reception as well as at nearby banks.