Although we have returned home tired and disappointed following our holiday, we have attempted a balanced review, as the island itself absolutely lived up to and exceeded our expectations.
Beach suite: Small for this price bracket – just enough room to walk around the bed, 2 seater settee & a wicker chair. Large console table that serves as dressing table (no drawers). Hanging space (with just 4 hangers each on arrival – housekeeping brought us more on 2nd request), shelving + small safe (not large enough to take full-size laptop). Separate toilet & basin to one side, bathroom with 2 basins to the other side. Outside bath & shower. Dressing gowns & bamboo flipflop slippers, hairdryer in room. Plenty of hot water whenever needed. Effective aircon & a (noisy) dehumidifier. Stocked minibar/fridge (included in AI) with kettle/cafitiere. Red wine was an acceptable Chilean merlot.
Outside: covered verandah with table & chairs, day bed. Garden and sunbeds overlooking beach – need to pull them to the edge to see the sand/waves breaking!
The rooms are west facing which is fab for sunset! The toilet, front door & bathroom are east facing & inexplicably for any hotel, but particularly in this class - have NO BLINDS!!! Guaranteed sunrise awakening every day. Added to this, the tin roof spends half the night noisily contracting as it cools down, than creaking and cracking as it expands following sunrise. Most nights I was additionally awoken by crashing coconuts/branches falling – thought the roof was falling down the first time this happened!! Very, very poor design & not something that is easily changeable…
When, at the start of our 2nd week, we realised that other rooms DID have blinds, we asked our guest relations manager to be moved – instead she sellotaped tin foil to the glazed front door and had Maintenance tack a nasty piece of blackout curtain to the wicker screen between the bedroom and bathroom, that also let sun through from first light. THE most ugliness I have ever seen in any hotel room, anywhere in the world (see photos). This absolutely beggars belief, given that the hotel was almost empty – I would not expect this from a grotty English 3* B&B, and is entirely unacceptable in this class of hotel. My heart sank every time I entered the room from this point onwards – beyond disappointed. See below for further comments about the standard of service.
I dropped my jewellery roll at one point, so we took the cushions off the sofa to check for missing earrings etc – it clearly hadn’t been cleaned for some time, but I found a found a nice black sparkly hair clip (from a previous occupant)!!! The floor underneath the sofa was also absolutely filthy. See below for comments about the hotel's cleanliness elsewhere.
Very much geared up around large family/friend groups for fishing/diving. As a couple who don’t dive or fish, we were quite happy sun/shade-bathing, snorkelling and exploring the island on our bicycles. But very much the odd ones out!
Beaches: Picture postcard/Hollywood set perfect, pristine, unspoiled. The beach disappeared under seaweed for a few days following a couple of very high tides, but returned towards the end of our stay. Had each beach to ourselves most days, depending where we went.
Snorkelling: Saw lots of angelfish, butterfly fish, sergeant major fish, goatfish, parrot fish, a huge moray eel, an eagle ray – and a passing Hawksbill turtle, about a metre away!!! The coral's quite bleached, sadly, and the snorkelling generally doesn’t compare with the Maldives or Red Sea tho’.
The hotel was quite empty during our 1st week & it lacked any atmosphere. We were the only couple in the bar for sundowners before dinner one night, and the last to leave at 10pm another evening… Only when a few more people arrived during out 2nd week was there e.g. music in the bar. Earth Hour was truly memorable – sooo atmospheric with all the staff joining guests to light candles. The astonishing stars were even more amazing than usual!
Mosquitoes, gnats and ants all seemed fairly immune to 50% deet, and unusually, we both got bitten, so the only option really is to cover up, especially in the evening for dinner on the beach. The doors and windows to the room are ill-fitting, so creatures have free access to the room – we even got bitten under the mosquito net in bed! The bites disappeared in a couple of days.
The wildlife on the beach were the main source of entertainment – sparring land crabs digging their holes, slow hermits in the evening, the birds on the beach at lunchtime hopeful of some bread (although guests are asked not to feed them).
Guided nature walk: the absolute high point of our holiday was a morning with resident conservationists Pep and Ella exploring the wildlife on a personal tour. Got to feed a 100 year old wild tortoise, see another in a waterhole, saw turtle nesting sites, learnt about indigenous trees. And sponsored a juvenile tortoise for a year (altho’ absolutely no pressure was applied to do this)!! They have great plans for the future and I wish them absolutely every success – the island is already a better place for their presence upon it and I hope it continues to flourish under their direction.
Spa: Superb – the ‘Muscle Melt’ with JoAnna is one of the best massages I have had anywhere!!
Dress code: Casual – covered beachwear, shorts/vests flip-flops or bare feet for breakfast/lunch; for dinner: anything from shorts & T-shirts to long sleeved shirts & linen trousers, maxi/mini dresses; again, footwear optional.
Breakfast buffet – super choice of cereal, fresh whole & prepared fruit, breads, cold cuts & cheeses, yogurts, pastries. Hot selection varied daily – overcooked bacon most days, chicken sausages, sometimes grilled tomatoes or garlic mushrooms. Egg chef & pancake/waffle station. Speciality chef every morning, preparing anything from potato waffles, quiches, to detox smoothies, Seychellois tasters – loved the octopus curry bagel!!
Issue – daily fight with persistent flies landing on food/cutlery. Didn’t at any point in 2 weeks see the tables being wiped with disinfectant/cloth, despite presence of flies and birds on all the tables.
Lunch/dinner: Quality is superb, at the expense of quantity (I'm 8 1/2 stone and don't overeat)… I had to ‘top up’ with peanuts before going to bed one night, as I didn’t want chocolate dessert. And some odd combinations (absolutely delicious battered fish -4 small pieces – with a small bowl of fries, small bowl of creamy mash – maybe a heaped tablespoon full? - in a gorgeous red wine & onion gravy) but no veg !!! Another night I asked for an extra portion of steamed veg as the main again didn’t come with any at all - I got about 2 or 3 pieces of carrot & 1 asparagus spear, beautifully cooked, but all drenched in oil or butter.
The guest relations managers mean well but ours was largely ineffective; failing entirely to resolve the issue with our room to our satisfaction. We saw her every day during the second week, stressing that I still wasn’t happy/sleeping, but no alternative accommodation/solution was offered.
During our 1st week, the restaurant manager and chefs came and check with everybody every night.
Food/drink service varied from highly efficient, to distinctly African; several times during lunch and dinner both our water glasses and wine glasses were empty for most of our meals as we order top-ups that didn’t arrive! During the manager’s cocktail party a barman and a waitress quite openly argued in front of us about who was going to go and fetch another bottle of sparkling wine – I wouldn’t expect that in a down market pub!!! On our last night the bar manager came across at 11pm to where we were sitting with another couple, and asked us if there was anything else we wanted before he closed. We asked him to leave the wine bottle for us – it had about 1 small glass left in it. He refused, saying he’d get his legs slapped. Completely staggering in a 5* AI hotel. We ordered a whole bottle, and he reluctantly agreed to leave us the old bottle (which was all we actually wanted). Should NOT have to have such a discussion over an entirely reasonable request.
We had to ring for minibar refill 3 times in a fortnight.
We were disturbed FOUR times by Housekeeping when we had ‘Do Not Disturb’ on the door handle – having ignored the last intrusion, we were then telephoned to be asked if we wanted turndown. This has happened to us only once elsewhere in the world, and we got dinner for free when we complained. Our guest relations manager just said she’d ask Housekeeping not to interrupt us again – entirely unacceptable and missing the point completely – the Housekeeping staff should be adequately trained to fully understand what ‘Do Not Disturb’ means.
We were twice telephoned when we were on our way down to meals, ½ an hour before the sitting closed!!! If, at any point, we had arrived late & expected food (as we saw others doing), perhaps this would have been understandable – we weren’t; nor would we. This felt like harassment – to add insult to injury, the service was painfully slow following one such phone call… an hour and a half for two courses.
The wifi service was available in the bar and reception areas – understandably slow!!! Issue – the floor mat/rug in Reception is absolutely filthy (see photo) and doesn’t appear to have been vacuumed for a very long time. We saw a vacuum cleaner being used in the bar, so the hotel does have one!
The humidity/heat wasn’t too bad in late March/early April, compared with other long haul destinations that we’ve visited at the same time of year.
The final insult: as we were starting our dessert at lunch on our last day, our guest relations manager came across and asked if anyone had told us that our flight time had changed? No. It had been moved forward half an hour and we needed to go to the airstrip NOW. So we didn’t finish our final meal, barely had time to say good bye to our friends; didn’t have time to say goodbye to the staff, and were absolutely furious!
We are a professional couple (I am a doctor and my husband is a senior design manager) who are well travelled (see my profile) and have been fortunate enough to stay in many 5* (and a 6*) hotels around the world. This holiday was a belated 15th wedding anniversary + my birthday, celebration; although the photos look amazing, we will remember it for all the wrong reasons. Quite simply, Desroches is by far the worst hotel for sleep quality AND consistently unacceptable customer service that we have ever stayed in, and we would not return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- PARADISE PERFECTION ON A HIDDEN SEYCHELLES ISLAND The advent of civilisation can often disturb the allure and simplicity of paradise. To delight in ultimate luxury there usually has to be sacrifice. But what if we want it all . . . To experience an untouched natural sanctuary on an island in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean, without leaving behind the sophistication that modern life has to offer . . . Desroches Island is a luxurious Seychelles Resort in the Amirante Archipelago, considered to be of the most pristine and untouched islands still around today. The naturally inspired and tastefully modern Beach Retreats and Exclusive Villas provide the epitome in luxury and opulent indulgence. Blessed with one of the world's healthiest climates, and miles of unblemished beaches, Desroches Island is a refuge for romance, adventure and pampered relaxation. ... more less
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