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Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

We spent a glorious Easter week here in La Digue at the Domaine de L’Orangerie. This is my third time to La Digue and the Seychelles now, but the first time I stayed here.
I found this a difficult review to write as this is a hotel of ups and downs. It feels like its a hotel that wants to play at the top end (and its price is already there) but it’s too inconsistent and falls down in too many areas to do this. In many ways this in-between state is a strong parallel for La Digue island itself. More of that later.

Starting with the pros. We had 2 upstairs rooms with large verandas in the garden villas (Room 120 & 121). The rooms are spacious, modern, light, well appointed and comfortable. The housekeeping was superb too, with spotless rooms cleaned twice a day and lovely well maintained gardens around. The air con and in room for Wi-fi was excellent (it excellent Wi-fi for a small tropical island). This is a very well managed part of the hotel.

The hotel areas, with its spa feel, are cleverly and beautifully appointed with smart use of modern lighting and lots of water to hide noise and calm your senses.

Another massive bonus is that when we stayed there wasn’t a single mosquito in sight. I think we had one bite between five of us. I know it’s by the sea but the hotel would have to work had at this by occasionally spraying and removing standing water.

I liked the bar area, and the barman Gayan was a true gem. Personable, helpful and he mixed a great drink. We really enjoyed pre dinner drinks and cards there, surrounded by the shallow pools.

Where it starts to go wrong is in the shared facilities, swimming pool area and the buffet restaurant.

The competition for resources such as sun beds was a little fierce and there was plenty of “beach towelling” in evidence. The pool was often busy and the hotel operated a faintly irritating policy where you had to swap plastic cards for towels. It felt bureaucratic.

The beach was a let down but, in fairness to the hotel, that’s down to its location. It’s clearly man made and the stone walled lagoon is hot, soupy and dead. Luckily, 2 mins bike ride away over the hill to the north, you have the beautiful Anse Severe.

The buffet breakfast was definitely lacking. The egg station was clearly overburdened and some mornings I just gave. The harried chef running it just needed some help. The bacon was inedible: fatty, greasy, limp and swimming in oil. The coffee wasn’t great either and fruit and vegetables could be dry and curled.

Dinner was better with a mix of amazing dishes (suckling pig, fish in banana leaves) and some really poor. Chewy, tough stews, soupy vegetables etc. The salad bar was samey and had limited fresh ingredients to increase repeatability and save costs no doubt.

The a la carte restaurant was very good though. We had 2 good dinners and lunches there. The service only fell down once when we sent a vinegary half of white back. It was a 2013 Mouton Cadet: it was a big ask to survive the heat and age in half bottle. The waiter was quite surly about this, despite us ordering at least a bottle of wine every night with no complaint before. The wine list was pretty good and generally well priced for a hotel or this standard.

The pool bar was great but often understaffed which was a shame. A theme there.

The last part was the cycle shop. The guy running it was so inconsistent it was hard to believe. One morning he was so rude it almost ruined our day, literally walking off and leaving us with no info for 15 minutes. And then he refused payment! The next few days he was unbelievably helpful. Just having a bad day probably. But that is why good leadership and management is so important in the hotel trade.

My advice to management is to be more present. I didn’t see senior management once and they have clearly cut back on staff costs to hit budgets. They need to walk the floor, talk to guests and listen to and support your staff. They need more resources in some areas and that will make guests happier. The housekeeping side is really well run, catering less so. Just tick box forms at checkout are not enough for s hotel that wants to compete at this level.

My final point relates to La Digue itself. In the 20 years I have been coming here, the island has been touched by progress as you would expect. Like the hotel it’s in an in between state. The island is truly beautiful and nothing can take that away. The beaches, especially Grand Anse, are stunning.

The once stunning reefs of coco and felicite are sadly totally dead now. They are deserts of broken staghorn coral with a few folorn fish and clumps of urchins peppering the sea floor. It breaks my heart to see the ocean like this and knowing my children will never see coral gardens like these again. I know the comments will say it’s recovering but it’s not.

You still ride bikes around La Digue yet the roads are now busy with trundling lorries. The island is still rustic but some of the facilities are groaning under the pressure. The 2 dive shops on the island were fully booked all weekend so none of us (4 qualified) could do a single dive. That was a big let down and the hotel seemed a little unwilling to go the extra mile to help.

My 11 year old daughter summed it up well. “La Digue is beautiful above the water but not so pretty beneath it.” If you want Indian Ocean marine life it seems the Maldives is the only choice now, and even that’s struggling.

Will I be back to La Digue for a fourth visit? Sadly probably not.

Stayed: April 2018, travelled with family
3  Thank Jamesatye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

We are a family of five who stayed at Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie for a week in April. The hotel is modern and nicely designed with a pretty infinity pool, nice pool bar, buffet and a la carte restaurants. Our rooms were wonderful (120 and 121): very large, modern, quiet, pristine and with elegant decorative touches and lovely lighting. Both rooms had a big deck overlooking the gardens and stream too. There was also plenty of complimentary water in the room every day. All in all, we felt the hotel’s main area was a little drab and concrete and needed more greenery to soften the landscape. There are too few sun beds around the pool and the beach is small and not very attractive. Although we like to think of ourselves as an environmentally friendly family, the fact we had to hand in a card to receive a towel by the pool every day was petty and irritating and bear in mind you’re fined $10 per card if you don’t hand them in when you check out. Food in the A La Carte restaurant is very nice (the lobster is gorgeous) but the buffet in Santosha is a little patchy. But this is true of many hotels at this level. Beware the egg station in the morning. While the chap is very nice there, poached and boiled eggs do come very hard unless you gently guide/remind him otherwise. I think, generally, service could be a little better throughout the hotel. While the staff are friendly enough, none really engage or go the extra mile. We were desperate to SCUBA dive while on the island and phoned around the dive centres on the island all of which were fully booked. When we politely asked whether the hotel could help at all, we were told “not really” and simply handed the phone. The Guest Relations desk was also unmanned the whole week we were there. The best way to see Le Digue is by bike and while the roads are much busier than when we were last here, we had some truly memorable days out. The bikes are a bit ‘rustic’ but functional enough and again, the man at the affiliated bike shop not particularly engaged. Bear in mind our bikes were pinched by another family when we parked them outside the shop one morning so you may want to move yours slightly further down the road. All in all we had a very nice week at Le Domaine. It is a good hotel but could be SO MUCH BETTER with a few minor improvements in customer service.

Stayed: April 2018, travelled with family
1  Thank Lovingholidaysuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018 via mobile

Location:
La Digue lives from its nature - however all corals are dead and the water is therefore quite boring (but still with a lot of „rest-corals“ where kids can get hurt).
The best about La Digue is making photos. They will look so great that everybody envies you. But after 4-5 days you will have no idea anymore of what to do (that includes boat trips to snorkeling areas).
The island has a „one-road“ concept with all the life happening there. Speeds can be very different which can lead to interesting situations (like having to cross the road to go for dinner and being almost killed by a very fast biker without light). Somehow funny. This was also the first time that somebody was taking us for an excursion - and the person came by bike and we had to follow walking. Monty Python could not have done it in a better way.

Hotel:
Wonderful hillside-villas. Beautiful Spa location! Comfortable villas. Road needs to be crossed to reach the main facilities of the hotel.
Food was excellent. Not a huge variety and sometimes not a quick replenishment - but great taste and a family ambience.
The restaurant personnel made that difference through their friendliness and proactivity (especially Vinay).

Room/Villa:
Very suitable and nice atmosphere. The neighbors are very near - also the next hotel (or no hotel ? and rather a construction site while we were there).

Summary:
Above standard hotel which we would visit again when sea / coral life is re-installed again.
(It hurts to see that the excursion boats throw their anchors into the corals and then dozens of untrained people „crash“ through the sea-life. They should start to protect, ask for high fees and require trained personnel).

Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
Thank Rolf S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2018

I again spent my holiday on my most favorite place. Island La Digue and Le Domaine de L´Orangeraie are quaranty of best holiday in tropical paradise. I´m traveling all around the world, visiting best hotels and restaurants, but I never write review. Generally I´m very satisfied, but only La Digue and Le Domaine I can name as my second home. This paradise island with the most beautiful beaches, fresh tropical rainforest, wild nature and especially crystal azure warm ocean makes me always feel so happy. As well all hotel staff were as always very kind, pleasant and professional. All our stay was amazing. We really enjoyed. Food, wine, cocktails.Villa was clean. We received all what we wished. And. I never look at tininesses. Im realy happy that I have opportunity to spend my holiday at this place. One more time I want to thank all the staff

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Januschka15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2018 via mobile

We went to get cocktails by the pool on a hot, sunny day. The Barman booted us out of the pool unceremoniously, saying we had the option of paying an exorbitant fee for pool use, or that we had 10 minutes to finish our cocktails before we had to leave. The cocktails themselves were hideously overpriced. Not impressed

Stayed: March 2018
2  Thank michelle19902017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric B, General Manager at Le Domaine de L'Orangeraie Resort and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2018

Dear michelle19902017 ,

Thank you for taking the time to write us a review ,we understand your frustration about our Swimming pool access clearly displayed at the entrance of the resort .
Usually our external guests ask about the use before jumping in the pool , which avoids such misunderstanding ..

However , we will be delighted to welcome you at Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie for your next stay on ;La Digue .

Kind Regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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