I'm going to run this through kinda chronologically from arrival through the stay and then wind up with some summary comments. A bit long but I want it to include some info I would have been keen on hearing prior to the trip myself.
We booked a package inclusive of flights, transfers, hotels, etc for this stop through our local Air Seychelles representative. Excellent price with everything (except drinks) included. The international Air Seychelles flight was three hours late departing Johannesburg. The flight was the most unpleasant long haul I have been on in recent memory and Air Seychelles will be getting a detailed complaint letter on our return home. However that is for another review, It merely sets the tone on our arrival on Praslin at Paradise Sun. Very tired, anxious about the next ten days and so far, not the best of times. As first timers to this destination, this did not bode well.
Arrival at Paradise Sun shows exactly where this management team get it right in a big way.
Soon as your transfer vehicle arrives, there are genuinely warm smiling staff on hand to handle your luggage (and we had a lot), chilled complimentary drinks, teas & coffees, cakes & snacks as well as ice cool wet cotton face towels to wipe the grime away from a long international flight.
Standard check in is of course 1400hrs but it's almost guaranteed that you will have a room by 1200hrs if not earlier.
While you wait though, besides taking in the breathtaking beach view poolside, they very cleverly have their spa team on hand giving free back & neck massages to relax you. Of course, I'm sure this helps them sell more spa treatments as once you experience how good the girls are, you'll be signing up for the full package. I think they're trained by some fab lady from London who also oversees the exclusive (read: damn expensive) Maia resort on Mahe.
Another big plus is the on hands management team. You're having chit chat with the manager soon as you're relaxed as he takes note of your needs, point of origin and wish list for stay at the hotel.
If you're on an early arriving flight, your agency will tell you to have check in early, you can book the room for the previous night. Believe me - not necessary. Save the buck and have a drink by the pool. No one wants their guests sitting with their luggage waiting to check in for hours. They'll sort you out chop chop.
We're taken through to our rooms after being given a nice clear explanation of the hotel, its facilities and operation.The rooms are all ocean facing and I like the added privacy of the upstairs rooms. The standard rooms have nice big beds, double cupboard space, mini bar fridge, tea/coffee station, plenty of plugs for charging, etc. They use the UK square pin plug system. They all have private balconies with comfortable lounging chairs, air con, fan, shower, etc. They are clean with the biggest complimentary cosmetics I have ever seen in a hotel. Flat screen tv's with a selection fo DStv channels (lots of news, lots of SuperSport, MM1 & MM2, Mnet Africa, Mnet Series, etc) and a large lock up safe round off the list of amenities. Look the room is very comfy (no complaints) but its also no great shakes. There are no private plunge pools or double his & her bathrooms (or even his & her sinks). This is a superior 4 star hotel people - not Richard Branson's private island. Besides you're on vacation, you should be on a sparkling beach not holed up in your room.
Hotel facilities include stunning gardens (you realise you are actually in a tropical paradise when the flowers look like creatures from Avatar, the green is so lush you feel like your swimming through it and the cool shade is always wet) with lots of palm trees, a well stocked activity centre (here you can get FREE - flippers, masks and snorkelling pipes; canoes; pedalo boats; book yourself into the comp activity the hotel hosts; etc), a brilliant dive centre (White Tip Divers), a decent two layer swimming pool, free internet cafe type facility, birds, lizards, the list goes on.
Once you're in and settled, it's good to get your bearings before booking any pay activities. There are two or three activity operators with desks at the hotel (Creole, Masons, etc) offering island excursions, day trips, tours, etc. These are super professional, no hassle trips normally expertly guided with meals included. These also cost accordingly. For example, a trip to Curisene island (to see giant land tortoises & a stunningly beautiful beach) costs around SR1900.00 per person including a BBQ lunch, guide, park fees, boat transfer, etc. That's roughly around 120 euros per person.
Using a registered water taxi, we paid 20 euros per person return for the boat transfer and then 12 euros per person for island access to the government. A total of 32 euros for the entire day. The only difference was we had no guide and provided our own food and drinks. You'll be told to avoid these guys as sometimes they don't collect you from the island, etc. Rubbish! You only pay half of your trip and the other half when you're collected. They want the balance payment so of course they're going to pick you up! Another thing that's great about the cheaper taxi boats is that you dictate your times. We left super early in the morning for the island and spent the entire day there - instructing pick up to the driver at 16.30. Brilliant. I recommend the Itallian lady who operates just beyond the WhiteTip dive centre at this resort. She's got price lists she hands out and is super reliable. Check her out before booking the big tour operators - you could save a ton of cash.
We also did a dive course with White Tip Divers (the dive facility at Paradise Sun) and they were exceptional. Safety first and they really tailored their approach based on the confidence of the person. Even if you think diving is not your thing, try the Discover course. It's super quick and not stressful and a bargain price too. I suggest doing this early on in your stay so that if you discover this is awesome, you've got time (and days) to book additional dives around other sites!!!!! :)
Other practical tips for the more budget traveller - getting around Praslin by local bus. The hotel has no shuttle service so you either use a tour company, road taxi or you get the bus. The buses are very reliable with one about every half hour or less in each direction. There is a bus stop literally right outside the hotel and its only SR5.00 per trip wherever you're going!!! That's like three bus trips for one euro!!! Cheap as peanuts. We got on the bus and just rode it to the end of the route to get a nice feel for the island and then got off where ever looked interesting on the return journey.
To summarise, the management team at this hotel is top TOP notch. No jokes. Look in any industry you get what you pay for. This is a good +4* establishment. Rooms are not massive (though not small by any standards), the pool is clean and standard, food is fresh not fancy but the staff behind it are beyond 5*. The personal attention and care, from the manager Phillipe on arrival, the restaurant overseer Vivienne at your first meal, Lionel - everywhere you look!!!!! They were just amazing. The facilities are good, food is fresh and there is a wide selection, beach is stunning and you're just a short hop from the other islands. What more do u need??!! I'm already looking at dates in July 2012 and I haven't even left the resort yet. Recommended without reservation. Great job Paradise Sun!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our hotel is a Seychelles gem, embraced in the warmth of the Indian Ocean. The pristine white coral sands of the Cote d’Or Beach at our front door will tempt you to bare your feet. The aquamarine waters that stretch towards an endless horizon will float your troubles away. Our lush lawns and tropical gardens will delight your eye with their beauty. Here there is more than sand, sea and sunshine. There is also the warmth of the Seychelles smile – making it a paradise you will never want to leave. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Paradise Sun Hotel Anse Volbert
- Paradise Sun Praslin Island
- Hotel Paradise Sun
- Paradise Sun Seychelles/Praslin Island