Latest news from the construction site!
I will start from the principal thing - the construction is still going on in this hotel!
In autumn 2009 the hotel internet site said that EVERYTHING would be finished by January 2010, including restaurant and pool.
December 2009 they said on the site that all villas are ready and the restaurant and pool will be finished by May.
And, in the letter we received upon our check-out from the hotel it's said that all constructions will be finally over by the end of 2010.
The construction is really annoying and irritating, on the beach and also inside the property - some Villas de Charme Elegance are still not ready. They start 7:30 a.m. Hammers and drills - you will have it all. Considering that they serve breakfast on your terrace (restaurant is not ready), you will have a nice accompaniment to your morning meal. It's even hard to make an order for the breakfast with the reception - when you call them, they can't hear you well, because on their side there is even worse noise coming from pool/beach area.
It should be noted that being very cautious people we contacted the hotel and our travel agent regarding the construction in advance and we were reassured that (i) by January 2010 the construction works will be finalized and (ii) even if some of the works are not finalized by January, we won't be disturbed anyway, because they will only be around so-called pool area, which is far from the villa we booked.
Even when we arrived to the hotel and noticed that the construction works have not been finished (and are all around the hotel area) the Guest Relations Manager, Simone, mentioned that our villas are far from the construction area and we will not be disturbed. Believe us or not, when two days later we called the same lady and complained about the terrible noise all around (and we are not exaggerate here!!!), we were told that our travel agent should have mentioned to us the fact that there will be construction noise in the hotel, and all our references to prior written and oral communication (including 2 days prior communication with Simone herself) was left unnoticed. We were proposed to change the hotel, if we have any complaints, one day before our departure.
Another nice feature on this hotel is that it's situated next to the cemetery. From the first room we were given (by the way, it was Villa de Charme Elegance that according to the description should have fascinating Ocean view) you had a very peaceful view of stone crosses.
Now, about everything in order.
We booked Villa de Charme Elegance - the best and the most expensive type of accommodation. All villas should be finished by November 2009 (according the hotel internet site) and possess an ocean view (it's main distinctive feature from Villa de Charme).
Upon check-in, Simone, Guest Relation Manager, said that not all villas of this type have ocean view, and we would get a villa without view. To brighten up our waiting of the room, she gave us a hotel brochure. I was looking through it, when I noticed the description of rooms. It was CLEARLY said there that Villas de Charme Elegance have a magnificent view over the Indian Ocean. I took the brochure and came up to Simone. She was frustrated, and started to call… guess whom? Hotel Marketing Manager (who supposedly was involved in composing of the Hotel brochure). After 10 min. of conversation she said that, beside the view, there is another very important distinctive feature between Villa de Charme and Villa de Charme ELEGANCE - Jacuzzi! Plus, anyway, no room with a view is available. OK, we decided to have a look at a room designated for us.
The design of the hotel's new rooms (Villa de Charme and Villa de Charme Elegance) is really stunning. The designer deserves the best praise. It's really made with soul. For great romantic stay. Though, there are small irritating things, when you begin to LIVE in this villa, not just ADMIRE it:
- There are jalousies (blinds) on windows, but they are not enough to protect you from the bright morning sun. And curtains are transparent white.
- The system of light control in very inconvenient. There is no common switch of light in the room, and there are a lot of small lamps of different type in the room. Very beautiful, but irritating, when you need to switch off every of them separately, one by one.
- No air-conditioning in the toilet, and, though there is a small window there, it's really stuffy taking into account the outside temperature.
- You cannot switch of the fan! There is no switch for it in the room!
- Mosquito net has fallen from the ceiling together with the ring it was hanging on the first night (thanks God there was none on the bed at that moment). (We liked Simone's reaction to this - "What did you do there that it fall? Ha-ha!")
So, we entered our room. The first thing I normally do - I open the doors to the terrace to see the view. So, guess, what I saw? Cemetery! I don't have anything against having cemetery nearby - it's very peaceful and makes you feel that sooner or later everything will come to it's end, to feel the touch of eternity etc.
That's fine, but not when I go to beach vacation and hope to see the ocean from my terrace.
So, we said that we won't stay in this room and that we want to be in the room we paid for - Villa de Charme Elegance with Ocean View. After waiting it appeared that some of simple Villas de Charme have ocean view, but such Villa would be available only the next day, and in the meanwhile we were proposed another Villa de Charme, at least without cemetery view with a promise to be moved to the Villa de Charme with a View the next day. We accepted it.
A very important detail - the fist day, coming back to our room at night, we entered by mistake the other room (there are no signs on the hotel paths, and it’s dark). We didn't realized immediately that it’s not our room – only when we saw somebody else's flippers on the table, because - you won't believe it! - we opened it with the key from OUR room!
This story has it’s sequel. When we were moving to a new room the next day, we asked for a new key a guy who helped us with our luggage. And - he just took our old key and said that we can use it! And we really opened our NEW room with the OLD key! We reported to Simone about the accident, her reaction was strange and her explanations not clear. We didn't experiment with keys in this hotel anymore, but be aware.
So, you wake up in the morning because of construction’s sounds. We slept with all windows and doors closed, but there's no way to escape it. Then you take a shower, order your breakfast, eat your breakfast. And all this is accompanied with this terrible annoying noise. I can't tell you about breaks and when they finish, as we left the hotel immediately after the breakfast and come back only after sunset (about 6 p.m.)
We visited once a dinner in their "temporary" restaurant. It was a buffet. Service is frustrating; some important items (like extra virgin olive oil) are missing in their kitchen. Bottle of white wine arrived warm to our table, etc...
In other words, unless you are comfortable with the noise as described above, before making any reservation with this hotel get them confirm in writing that ALL construction works are over and there is nothing minor left.
We REALLY, REALLY loved the villa design -- it is unbeatable and everyone should experience it! BUT I wouldn't have gone there, if I only knew that I would have to live, literally, in the middle of the construction site.
The general observation about La Digue – the island is beautiful and quiet, and it’s great to explore it with a bicycle. There is though only one beach really suitable for swimming – Grand Anse, and only in this season (November – March). Petit Anse is not that pleasant in terms of swimming, and forget about Anse Coco – does not worth the time you’ll spend to reach it.
In terms of restaurants – there is one, right near the jetty, managed by an Italian woman. We had a good dinner there, can recommend. Make your order directly with her, ask for the fish.
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