La Reserve is one of Praslin's oldest hotels; it's a sophisticated spot with high standards.
La Reserve: Our full report
The four-star La Reserve is situated on the north-western side of Praslin, right on the beach in the beautifully calm bay of Anse Petite Cour. Its owners are Seychellois and, refreshingly, it's not part of any chain. Whilst in a cove which feels very private, it's still a relatively short walk (~1km) across the headland to the buzzier Anse Volbert beach, which has a handful of restaurants.
There are 40 rooms at La Reserve, falling into two categories: the modern 'deluxe' rooms and the more traditionally decorated 'superior' rooms. They are set out in blocks of four in tropical gardens facing the sea. Most are double-storey although the 'superior' rooms are on one level. When we last visited the resort, we considered them to be generally of a very high standard.
The 32 'deluxe' rooms (68m2) are modern and luxurious. Each has its own balcony with lovely views over the bay, and kitted out with cushioned sunbeds, table, chairs and a useful clothes horse. The bedrooms are spacious and cheerfully decorated with green patterned curtains, matching bedspreads, and dark wooden furniture that includes a comfortable king-size four-poster bed, a chaise-longue and bedside tables. Floors tiled in pale beige stone and whitewashed walls add an airy feel, and colourful local artwork brightens the look. Each room has air conditioning and a ceiling fan as well as a tea and coffee station, a minibar and satellite television. They can sleep up to three people (with one person on the chaise-longue).
Semi open-plan bathrooms are decked with modern white suites - twin sinks rest on granite surfaces and a large bathtub is flanked by a wet-room and separate WC – each with one glass wall. There is a huge wooden wardrobe with plenty of hanging and shelf space, an electronic safe and a hairdryer. The full complement of toiletries is provided including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, soap, body lotion and vanity kit.
Although the eight 'superior' rooms (64m2) have most of the facilities of the 'deluxe' rooms, except for the bathtubs, they have only have partial sea views. The décor is different, too, darker and with a more Creole feel. The walls have exposed stonework and are panelled in wood, rather than whitewashed. On the plus side, these rooms have a separate lounge area which can make them a good option for families with younger children who don't mind sleeping on the temporary beds.
La Reserve has two restaurants: the lovely Jetty Restaurant which serves a buffet breakfast and buffet dinner, and the Pool Grill which serves lunch à la carte. The bar here is open for drinks and snacks most of the day, and they serve complimentary tea with sandwiches and cookies by the pool every afternoon.
In front of La Reserve is the narrow sandy beach of Anse La Cour. Although not technically private (none of the beaches in the Seychelles are), it can only be reached through the hotel or from the sea, so hotel residents have it pretty much to themselves. Sunbeds are spread out along the beach and around the absolutely huge pool, which has shallow areas that are great for children, and which we thought was one of the nicest pools on Praslin. The sheltered bay itself is calm for most of the time, and thus very good for swimming. Note that the beach disappears at high tide but there are lots of other lovely beaches a short drive away – though you'll need a car to get to these.
As with all the beaches on Praslin, at certain times of the year the current brings some seaweed onto the beach. At La Réserve the winds that blow between November and April mean the beaches here may be affected, but they have beach cleaners who clear the seaweed each day.
Other facilities offered at La Reserve are a free internet service (although the connection is slow, as in much of The Seychelles), and a boutique stocking basic provisions, souvenirs and beachwear.
La Reserve runs a number of guided excursions, some complimentary. These include sunset cruises, snorkelling trips to St Pierre and Curieuse, and day trips to Vallée de Mai and La Digue. The resort is in the Curieuse Marine Park, which you can explore by borrowing kayaks or snorkelling equipment from the beach kiosk. Although there is not much in the way of coral in the bay, there are quite a few colourful fish by the rocks. (They can be seen easily from the Jetty Restaurant at night, too!).
To conclude, we consider that La Reserve is at the upper end of the four-star scale. It is smart and professionally run and the rooms, especially the 'deluxe' rooms, are of a high standard. La Reserve is in a lovely quiet private setting and we found the staff to be very friendly and efficient, and the food some of the best we eaten on Praslin.
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights or more
Directions: La Reserve is 20 minutes' drive from Praslin Airport.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: The food we ate at La Reserve was some of the best that we experienced on Praslin.
A huge buffet breakfast is served in the Jetty Restaurant. Choose from a selection of fresh fruit, cereals, bacon, eggs, hams, cheeses, pastries and toast – you name it!
Although we didn't eat lunchhere, there was a nice menu that included a selection of grilled fish and meat dishes and salads.
A different style of buffet dinneris served each evening. We were treated to an Asian-style buffet: crispy-fried squid with sweet chilli sauce for starters, then hot and sour soup, then a choice of main courses including prawn-fried rice, duck with hoisin sauce, beef in black-bean sauce and vegetable chop suey. If that wasn't enough there was also a huge array of desserts to choose from – mango mousse, chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, crème caramel and banana and coconut tart.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Not included. Soft drinks cost around £2.
Attitude towards children: La Reserve is a family-friendly hotel.
Property’s age restrictions: None.
Special activities & services: La Reserve can arrange babysitting at extra charge, although note that sometimes this will be done by members of staff not trained in child care – even if they do have practical experience with their own children.
Equipment: Cots and highchairs can be provided.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend this hotel for children. The beach is safe for swimming and the pool has shallow areas where children can paddle, although they must be supervised at all times as there is no lifeguard.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is cellphone reception, plus phones in the rooms, and a free internet service in the main lodge.
TV & radio: There are televisions in all the rooms with a selection of satellite channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The nearest hospital is at Baie St Anne, about 10 minutes' drive away. The hotel keeps a full first-aid kit on site.
Security measures: The hotel is gated and there is 24-hour security.
Fire safety: Each room is equipped with a fire alarm.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Extra charge; the cost varies per item.
Money: There are electronic safe deposit boxes in the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: La Reserve will accept Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diners, as well as travellers' cheques.