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 Le Domaine de La Reserve is situated on the north-eastern 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 a big 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 three categories: 'deluxe' rooms, 'superior' rooms and the family suites. They are set out in blocks of four in tropical gardens facing the sea. Most are double-storey although the 'superior' rooms and family suites are on one level. When we last visited the resort, we considered them to be 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 with dark wooden furniture that includes a comfortable king-size double bed, a chaise-longue, a writing desk and bedside tables; offset by floors tiled in pale beige stone and whitewashed walls that add to the rather modern feel, and some 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.
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 four '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, a little more colourful with more of a Creole feel. The walls have exposed stonework and are panelled in wood, which has been whitewashed. These rooms also have a separate lounge area, which can make them a good option for families with a younger child who doesn't mind sleeping on a temporary bed.
The four family suites (64m2) have the same facilities of the 'superior' rooms, but are located closest to the beach, next to the main bar and restaurant area. These rooms have timber flooring and lovely wooden furniture, white washed wooden panels and walls. The white and silver bedspreads add a touch of style, even if the overall feel of these rooms remains fairly traditional! A sitting area with bunk beds for up to two children can be separated from the main bedroom by a sliding screen. The relatively small en-suite bathroom with WC and a shower (no bathtub) leads off the main bedroom. Each also has a covered terrace with deck chairs and a couple of sun loungers. We loved the bright murals – of marine life, and local plants and wildlife – painted on the separating walls of the terraces.
La Reserve has two restaurants: the L'Obrizan Restaurant, located on a jetty over the Anse Petite Cour Reef, which serves a buffet breakfast and buffet or set menu 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 think of as 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!).
Our viewWe 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 on various visits here we've 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.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Although we didn't stop for a meal at La Reserve on our most recent visit in July 2015, the food we've eaten on past visits has been some of the best that we've 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 four times a week, with a set menu on the other three evenings. On one of our stays at La Reserve, 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: Drinks are not included.
Further dining info: Room service is available.
Walking: La Reserve is a good base to explore the palm forests of Vallée de Mai. With towering trees, streams, waterfalls, and the coco de mer palm, Vallée de Mai is a beautiful place to explore on foot and a great place for walking on holiday in Seychelles.See more ideas for Walking in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: La Reserve welcomes children.
Property’s age restrictions: The hotel has no age restrictions on guests.
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 childcare
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. There are also big grassy areas to play on.
Notes: Obvious care must be taken by parents when beside the water, both sea and pool, and on balconies.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: UK -style 3-square-pin sockets are fitted throughout. International adaptors are normally available from reception, though it would be wise to bring your own, if required.
Communications: There is cellphone reception and IDD phones in the rooms. WiFi is available in the main areas.
TV & radio: There are televisions in all the rooms with a selection of satellite channels.
Water supply: Mains
Water supply notes: All rooms have a flushing toilet and shower. The 'deluxe' rooms also have a bathtub.
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.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The hotel is gated and there is 24-hour security.
Fire safety: We are told that each room is equipped with a fire alarm. We could also see fire extinguishers and fire hoses in the reception area.
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 and Amex credit cards, as well as cash payments in Seychellois Rupees, US dollars, Euros and Pounds Sterling.