Chateau St Cloud is situated in the quiet and lush centre of La Digue Island.
Chateau St Cloud: Our full report
Chateau St Cloud lies in the quiet, lush centre of La Digue Island, at the foot of its tallest peak: Belle Vue, or Eagle's Nest Mountain. The location may lack beach frontage but it is a mere ten minutes' walk from the coast and is far from lacking in scenic attraction. A hillside road runs from the hotel to the 300m summit, from where panoramic views of the green interior and neighbouring islands make a hike here well worthwhile – especially if timed to watch sunset over Praslin with a drink from the low-key Snack Bellevue.
Back at base, Chateau St Cloud offers a surprisingly informal retreat given its arresting appearance and colonial history. The main building, now housing the 'deluxe' rooms, was once the heart of an extensive vanilla plantation. A striking white-and-grey manor house, it was built for its French owners at the height of the Napoleonic era and named in memory of the small town of St Cloud, just south of Paris.
There are 25 rooms at Chateau St Cloud, divided into three categories: six 'standard' rooms, 15 'superior' rooms and four 'deluxe' rooms. These vary significantly in size, style and location, with some comfortably capable of accommodating a family of two adults and two children. Every room, regardless of level, has air conditioning, a fan, international direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, safe and tea/coffee station. In the 'standard' rooms only showers are available, but some of their 'deluxe' and 'superior' counterparts offer a bath too.
We consider the 'deluxe' rooms, and the 'superior' rooms on the hillside, to be some of the nicest on La Digue, and a particularly welcome retreat in the heat of the day. In comparison, the 'standard' rooms are really rather basic and we don't recommend them.
- Of the 15 'superior' rooms, two are perched high up amid the treetops and granite boulders above the plantation house, four are high in the treetops overlooking the pool, and the rest are in two double-storey buildings next to the pool. The superior rooms higher up offer lovely private terraces and great seclusion, though the pathways to these rooms are a series of fairly steep, uneven concrete steps, so we do not recommend them for anyone with mobility or vertigo issues, or for families with young children. The interiors are spacious, bright and cool, with white walls and light tiled floors offsetting the smart, dark wooden furniture. Each features a large double bed with colourful bedspread, a mosquito net over the bed, a writing desk, satellite television and a rather lovely, good-sized en-suite bathroom with shower. The superior rooms in the double-storey buildings next to the pool are similarly decorated, though they feel a little smaller inside and, because of their location, aren't as private as those on the hillside – but then they're just a stone’s throw from the pool and are a much better option for families with children or anyone with mobility or vertigo issues.
- The four 'deluxe' rooms are Chateau St Cloud 's largest and most contemporary rooms. Located in the main plantation house, or The Chateau, these four open-plan rooms may lack any private outside space, but they make up for this with huge interiors, modern furnishings and smart fixtures and fittings. Though individually decorated, they have all been tastefully and thoughtfully laid out with high-quality furniture and all the necessary kit for a cool, calm island retreat.
All four have a lounge area with a comfortable sofa and dark cane furniture, a romantic sleigh bed, complete with a duvet and lovely linen, in the bedroom, and an absolutely enormous wardrobe. High ceilings lend drama to the drapes in the mosquito netting. The huge en-suite bathroom has a corner bath, lots of mosaic and a shower big enough for a small party!
Light floor tiles, white walls, simple floral pictures and mirrors make the hotel light and airy throughout. There are attractive details everywhere, from intricate stained-glass arches of flowers around the entrance to the eclectic artifacts and seedpods displayed in the lobby. Meals are taken at the shaded
poolside restaurant. With open sides to catch the breeze, timber floors, a wood-panelled ceiling and casual tables, it has a distinctly rustic charm.
Chateau St Cloud makes a good base for activities around La Digue island. Getting around is easy, with most attractions within walking distance. Alternatively, there are bicycles for rent (around SCR100 per day in July 2015), or you can organise traditional ox-cart transfers to La Passe village and La Digue's main beaches. Full-day excursions can also be arranged, with fishing and diving both popular pursuits.
For those seeking simply to chill within Chateau St Cloud's small complex, the swimming pool and bar are open all day, and there is a large pen of giant tortoises for the curious. A small 'boutique' sells some standard essentials, like suncream and postcards, though these are curiously displayed alongside a selection of polyester Communion dresses and – sadly – some large conch shells (we actively discourage the sale and purchase of shells). The reasonably large gardens also offer scope for simple racket games and children's play.
Our viewIf you are happy to accept the ten-minute trip to the sea, and opt for one of the hotel's larger rooms, then Chateau St Cloud can be a really good choice on La Digue – though don't go looking for high standards of luxury or perfect service. The swimming pool is a real asset, especially when the temperature or humidity is high, and the hotel's relaxed atmosphere is equally appealing to families and couples.
Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights
Directions: La Digue Island is reached by ferry. Transfers on arrival can be arranged by ox-cart or private taxi. For those choosing to walk or cycle from La Passe Jetty, take the tar road heading inland off the main coastal route at La Passe harbour. Follow this road inland, slightly uphill, until it veers to the right. After a further five-ten minutes, the large Chateau St Cloud entrance sign and flag will appear and the hotel will be visible on the left-hand side of the road.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: The St Cloud estate has belonged to the St Ange family for many generations.
Staff: The managing director is Miriam St Ange - July 2015.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Guests can stay at Chateau St Cloud on either a bed-and-breakfast or half-board basis, though non-residents are also welcome to the restaurant at any time. Meals are of a consistent quality but nothing particularly special.
Breakfast is a tropical buffet with seasonal fruits and juices available alongside toast and eggs to order.
In the evening, traditional Creole cuisine is a speciality. A couple of times a week Chateau St Cloud hosts a local buffet dinner with live entertainment, and lays on free island transfers for guests from other hotels.
The rest of the week, dinner is a four-course set menu (soup, starter, main course, dessert) with an emphasis on seafood and local flavours, though a selection of international dishes is also available. During our last visit in July 2015, the beef casserole and pears poached in wine were fairly uninspiring, but the Creole buffet was fun with a great variety of delicious local dishes to try – including fish curry, octopus curry (a local favourite) and grilled fish.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Further dining info: No
Attitude towards children: Chateau St Cloud accepts children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions on guests.
Special activities & services: There are no dedicated children's facilities or activities at Chateau St Cloud, though a swimming pool and giant tortoise enclosure are popular with guests young and old. There is also a decent amount of space in the garden for games.
Equipment: A cot is available for babies. This should be requested at the time of booking.
Generally recommended for children: In general we would recommend Chateau St Cloud for families. The 'deluxe' rooms in the plantation house are the most secure and spacious.The ‘superior’ rooms on the hillside are not suitable due to their steep access and open balconies.
Notes: Great care must be taken with the pool, road access and uneven ground on the hillside.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: UK -style 3-square-pin sockets are fitted throughout. Travellers should bring international adaptors, if required.
Communications: There are IDD telephones in every guest room. There was no internet or WiFi access when we visited in July 2015, though we were told that there are plans to offer this in the future. The nearest spot for WiFi seems to be at the Fish Trap Restaurant nearby, though it's very slow!
TV & radio: There are televisions in the bedrooms.
Water supply: Mains
Water supply notes: All the rooms have a flushing toilet and shower, though some also have a bathtub.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: La Digue Logan Hospital is approximately 5–10 minutes from Chateau St Cloud. It offers basic services 24 hours a day, including dental care and a child health facility. There is an ambulance available for emergencies.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers and fire hoses dotted around in the gardens and outside some of the rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: There is a safe in each room. The hotel does not offer currency exchange facilities.
Accepted payment on location: Payments are accepted in Seychellois Rupees, Euro or US dollars cash; or by Visa and MasterCard credit cards.