The almost perfect family getaway
We don’t usually like big resorts, but at Constance Ephelia, a family-friendly resort on the main island Mahé in the Seychelles, we experienced otherwise. We had the pleasure of staying in 2 Constance properties in the Maldives before, so kind of had an idea of what to expect. Even though the properties in the Maldives, which we really liked, are night and day different than the ones in Seychelles, we still had a great time! Definitely not all aspects of our stay were perfect, and we feel there’s quite a lot of room for improvement, but it’s a resort with huge potential, that under the right management can become a top address in Mahé.
We were picked up by Constance Ephelia at another hotel at 9am in the morning. Don’t expect any luxury hotel cars in the Seychelles, as during our two weeks here, we only saw one European car. We did get a comfortable car with great A/C, bottled water, cold towels and a very knowledgable driver who made the 30 minute drive very interesting. Upon arrival, we were seated down in the lobby, got a delicious peach iced tea as a welcome drink and filled-in some papers before being told our room wasn’t ready yet. We could have a seat at the bar, where we could grab a continental breakfast and wait. Which is exactly what we did.
Different than the usual villas with private pool
To be honest, we’ve been a little bit spoiled with the hotels we’ve been to the last couple of months. Most places we stayed at only had villas with private pools and butler service, so it kind of felt refreshing to be back in a junior suite with terrace. While the hotel also has a couple villas with private pools (their hillside villas are quite amazing!), most of their rooms are junior or executive suites with just a terrace. We quickly realised that not having a private pool or a giant villa makes spending time in your room a lot less enjoyable. This also means that went out of our room much more and spent more time in the common areas of the hotel, which was nice!
Don’t think our junior suites was so small or uncomfortable that we had to escape it! In reality it was a very decently sized suite with a nice seating area, a covered terrace with garden views and a huge bathroom with a double sink, a large bathtub and a standalone shower. The only thing we weren’t particularly fond of was the comfort of the bed and the fact you couldn’t clean your sandy feet with water or a brush outside your suite before entering. But all in all it was perfectly adequate for a couple and probably twice the size of most junior suites in city hotels.
The location of our suite was also very convenient. It was less than 100 meters away from the beach and from one of the main pools, so a refreshing dive in salt or freshwater was never far away.
Which side to pick?
The resort is divided in two parts: the south side and the north side, divided by a large mangrove where you can find the spa. Both sides have a couple of restaurants and a beach and there are constantly buggies driving from one side to the other which you can just hop on or off. The south side is the side with the reception, the main restaurant and the shops and you’ll mostly find junior suites on this side. The beach is large and not crowded at all on this side, mainly because the water isn’t very blue and there is no water sports centre here. The North side hosts the multi-bedroom suites and villas and has a beach with very blue water. Most of the time the beach there is very crowded, both with hotel guests as well as day-trippers (all beaches in Seychelles are open to public, so you’ll often find non-hotel guests coming to hotel beaches). You’ll also find the water sports centre here where you can rent a kayak or a paddle board or go on a daytrip to nearby islands. It’s also the side where the sun sets, so we’d always come here 15 minutes before the sunset to watch the sky turn orange.
Even though we’re suckers for blue ass water, we’re even bigger suckers for secluded beaches, and that’s why we spent most of our days on the south side. The water wasn’t as blue as on the other side, but at times you really had the whole beach to yourself.
Better than average resort food
Probably the reason why genuinely don’t like bigger resorts is the mediocre lukewarm food that comes with it. Constance is a little different however, as they put a large emphasis on the food and beverage aspect. While we hate the fact that every single restaurant is built around a pool, which makes it impossible not to look at people in swimsuits during lunch, the quality and taste of the food was always really good. We can highly recommend lunch at Helios, the Mediterranean restaurant, when they don’t run out of mezze and dinner at Adam&Eve, which is their Asian Fusion restaurant where we had one of the best meals of our whole Seychelles trip. A big part of that was thanks to the amazing South African sommelier who was such a great guy and recommended us a killer bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!
On another evening we went to the Creole night, which was in the Seselwa restaurant on the North side. It was buffet-style, with some good options, also for vegetarians. Once again the recommended wine by the sommelier hit the spot. We were also surprised with musicians and dancers during our dinner and before we knew it, at least 20 guests (including us) were swinging on the dance floor! A great way to finish our stay at Constance Ephelia. The resort also has a fine-dining resort, called Cyann, which is not included in the half & full board packages and we didn’t try, but apparently serves some very nice dishes.
Talking about the half & full board packages, most of the items on the menu are included, except for a couple extras like lobster and other fancy things. The only thing we felt was kind of cheap (or maybe we’re just being cheap), is that they are charging for still water in the restaurants at about 6$ per bottle. Especially because for that price you get a plastic bottle of water from a local brand, while everywhere else in the resort (such as your room) you get unlimited complimentary glass bottles of water.
The perfect place to relax
The resort also has a large spa with a few treatment rooms and saunas, steam rooms and a couple pools. It’s the perfect place to get away from the sometimes crowded other pools, as hotel guests can use the wellness area every morning, even if they don’t have a treatment planned.
We had a 60 minute couple massage planned one morning, which was perfectly in line with the other spa experience we had at a Constance resort: disappointing. Laura and I were put in separate treatment rooms, so you couldn’t actually call it a couple treatment anymore. The treatment rooms were very basic and the massage itself just wasn’t very good: it completely lacked finesse.
While some things could be improved, such as the spa treatments and the fact they still serve plastic bottles of water in restaurants (which you have to pay for!), we feel this hotel is a great base to discover the Seychelles from, especially when traveling with kids! The hard product is good, the food is very good to great, there are multiple pools and we loved the fact that you have two large beaches to choose from. The service in general was also very good. Everyone really tried to make our stay as perfect as possible!
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