The Hotel L’Archipel is located in the North-East region of Praslin, tucked away in the tropical hillside garden.
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 hotel 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 lend it a distinctly tropical feel. With a more formal vibe than many of the island's other properties, it attracts a slightly older, European crowd and a smattering of honeymooners.
Spread over the large hillside estate, L’Archipel has 32 rooms and suites: 5 Superior rooms, 18 Deluxe rooms, 7 Senior suites and 2 Family suites. The interiors within each category are broadly similar, but the locations vary from beach to hillside, and some are in the ‘plantation house’ accommodation building, on the hillside just above the hotel’s main area. If you have a strong preference, it's important to specify this at the time of booking.
- The 18 Deluxe rooms and 5 Superior rooms (60 m2) are in neat semi-detached, stone-and-timber cottages dotted around the hillside on either side of the main area and swimming pool. Beyond the hibiscus bushes and a decked terrace, you’ll find plenty of space inside and around each cottage, which is a real asset. The rooms are all a little dark, and perhaps lacking some comfortable chairs, but all have a king-size bed, a 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. Where they differ is in style rather than size or facilities: the Deluxe rooms have been refurbished and redecorated to give a more contemporary feel, whereas the décor of the Superior rooms feels very outdated.
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. That said, the rooms further up the hillside are often the most coveted for their stunning views and secluded feel.
- The seven Senior suites (65m2) are arguably the nicest option for couples staying at Hotel L'Archipel. Named after islands in the Seychelles, four of these suites are in the central 'plantation house' whilst others are set apart slightly further down the hillside. They are very spacious inside and well-proportioned for two people. The open-plan bedroom and small lounge area are a pleasant place to relax, watch TV and read during the midday heat.
Standard to all are a large double bed, sleek wood furniture, including a writing desk for postcards home, and a mix of contemporary art and prints on the walls. You’ll also find modern wall and bedside lights, air conditioning, satellite television, a safe and a mini-fridge. The suites in the plantation house have ceilings beautifully panelled in timber, while some of the newer suites have more standard white ceilings with recessed lighting. All the Senior suites, however, have tiled floors to help keep the rooms cool. At the back of the room, there’s an en-suite bathroom with toilet, as well as a walk-in shower and bathtub, while at the front is an ocean-facing terrace with patio furniture where you can opt to enjoy your breakfast.
- The two Family suites (120m2) are on the penthouse floor of the 'plantation house' building,. These suites are vast, characterised by terracotta-tiled floors, wooden furniture and spacious balconies. They are certainly the largest of the rooms available at Hotel L'Archipel.
Each of the suites has a master bedroom, with a contemporary four-poster bed, dressing table and satellite television. Towels masterfully shaped into quirky animal figures are a lovely touch. Off the master bedroom is 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. There is a separate lounge with a plasma TV, stereo and minibar, and access to the large veranda. Off the lounge, in what is actually the entrance hall, is a second 'bedroom' with two single beds. There is also a further dressing area, toilet and shower room. The rooms are naturally air-conditioned but also have ceiling fans.
At the centre of the property is the grand-looking main building, with its large arched windows and multi-level terraces. On the upper level is the poolside bar, offering aperitifs and after-dinner drinks at candlelit tables under the stars. Immediately adjacent is an inviting hillside infinity pool with views down to the lovely sandy beach below. Overlooking the bay from high arched windows on this upper level is the formal La Feuille d'Or restaurant. Downstairs, the less formal La Gigolette restaurant serves casual breakfast buffets, à la carte light lunches on the beach, and buffet dinners. On our most recent visit in July 2015, the hotel was in the process of building a beach bar, with a view to completion that season.
On our last visit, we found that the service overall was somewhat variable: at times very good indeed and at others, slow and perfunctory rather than bad. And as in many Seychellois hotels, extras were expensive.
In the evening, there may be live entertainment, usually twice a week. During our most recent stay this included an engaging and lively local moutya band performing – and encouraging guests to join in – traditional Seychellois dances and music. We thoroughly enjoyed it and certainly worked up an appetite to enjoy the delicious Creole cuisine. On a previous visit, an engaging guitarist wandered the tables, playing an eclectic muli-lingual mix of Creole and European classics.
The beach at L’Archipel is lovely, and although it’s public, like all beaches in Seychelles, it feels quite private and secluded. There are sunloungers for the sun-worshippers, while the more energetic can arrange aquatic activities at the hotel's watersports centre: paddleboarding, canoeing, fishing, diving, snorkelling and island boat trips to the superb beach at Anse Lazio or perhaps rocky Saint-Pierre islet for some gentle but rewarding snorkelling. Although there is no spa at Archipel, in-room massages can be arranged with a day’s notice.
Our viewHotel L'Archipel has an enviably lovely location and plenty of space, and aside from the Superior rooms, the accommodation has been beautifully thought out. If you are looking for a fairly classic island experience, with a touch of understated elegance, Hotel L'Archipel is a very good option on Praslin.
Ideal length of stay: From three nights to a week
Directions: If you're arriving by plane (approx 20 minutes from Mahé), Hotel L'Archipel is a pleasant 30-minute 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 Côte d'Or; it’s a ten-minute drive and you will see the Hotel L'Archipel entrance sign on your right. You can arrange a hire car for collection at the port or airport, or the hotel will organise a meet-and-greet transfer.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: There are two restaurants at Hotel L'Archipel: La Gigolette for casual breakfast buffets, à la carte lunches on the beach, and buffet dinners, and La Feuille d'Or for formal dinners.
A limited bar menu is available for poolside 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.
On our most recent visit, we enjoyed a fabulous Creole buffet at La Feuille d’Or, and a table d’hôte dinner in the less formal atmosphere of La Gigolette.
Though the atmosphere actually felt quite relaxed on the Creole evening, La Feuille d’Or is otherwise distinctly formal, with guests generally making an effort to dress smartly.
On the table d’hôte evenings at La Gigolette, there are choices for each course, usually including a fish or meat option and a vegetarian choice. We found the quality was very good and portions well-sized.
During our stay, we saw a family with older children in the dining room, though the relatively hushed tone in the formal La Feuille d’Or could make many families with younger children feel slightly uneasy.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Wine and spirits are available to accompany all meals, but drinks are not included.
Further dining info: Room service is available from 7.30am to 10.00pm. A tray charge of SCR140 for room service applies across all room categories.
Honeymoons: Set at the end of a long beach, Hotel l'Archipel is a sophisticated hotel, with a strong French influence. You can expect good food and a relatively formal atmosphere, with guests usually dressing smartly for meals. It's a lovely choice for an elegant Seychelles honeymoon.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Seychelles
Beach holidays: The established Hotel L'Archipel on the small cove of Anse Gouvernement, has a smart, French feel and an almost-private beach, making it a superb venue for a beach holiday on the Seychelles. It’s also very close to the more lively Anse Volbert Beach, with its beachfront restaurants and activity centres.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: Hotel L'Archipel accepts children over three years of age
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be over three years old.
Special activities & services: There are no children's activities or dedicated facilities.
Equipment: No special equipment, such as cots and highchairs, is provided for younger guests.
Generally recommended for children: We would not normally recommend this hotel to visitors with younger children. Relatively formal by Praslin standards, it has a rather adults-only feel, with an emphasis on quiet relaxation and fairly reserved, 'proper' behaviour over dinner.
Notes: Should families with younger children choose to stay at Archipel, they should note that children need to be supervised at all times. There are numerous steep drops and stairs, and the pool is not fenced.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: UK -style 3-square-pin sockets are fitted throughout. International adaptors are normally available from reception.
Communications: There is an IDD telephone in each room and cellphone reception is good. Free WiFi is available in La Feuille d'Or restaurant area only. WiFi is available in the rooms, but for a charge; in July 2015 this was SCR200 (about £10) per device per day, or SCR500 (about £25) per device per week.
TV & radio: Satellite channels on plasma televisions are available in all guest rooms, though these are limited to some news, sport and movie channels. We found reception on many channels quite patchy.
Water supply: Mains
Water supply notes: All rooms have a flushing toilet and shower. Some also have a bathtub.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There is a first-aid kit kept on the property and the hotel has a doctor on call if needed. For more serious incidents, Praslin Hospital in Baie Ste Anne offers health care services 24 hours a day. There is an ambulance available, and a helicopter for emergency transfers to Victoria Hospital on Mahé (daylight flights only), where hospital staff speak French, English and Creole.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The hotel has a security guard at the main gate, and the grounds are patrolled at night.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located outside the rooms and there are smoke alarms fitted.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: There is a safe in each room. The hotel can exchange money on request
Accepted payment on location: Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Amex) are all accepted. Payments may also be made in cash with euro, pounds sterling, US dollars and Seychellois rupees.