Book the Doubletree Seychelles Resort Allamanda here
Hilton is a strong brand in the Seychelles. Besides giving the brand name to the DoubleTree, there is also a Hilton on the north side of the island and another Hilton on Praslin Island, which is just a quick ferry ride away.
I booked the hotel using Cash & Points for 28,000 points + EUR 100 a night. Room rates were about $400, so that's more than a cent per Hilton point. I found that to be good value.
I arrived around 8 o'clock and realized that this hotel is really small – in fact there are only 30 rooms – the smallest DoubleTree in the world! The hotel just opened in January and the locals don't know about DoubleTree yet (it's known locally by the name Allamanda which I did not know!) 🙂 So it took me a while to actually find it.
Check-in was friendly but on 'island time' – everything moves slowly here. My Diamond status or benefits were not mentioned during check-in. I inquired and the supervisor was called and my benefits explained to me, which were:
– free full breakfast
– an upgrade to a Deluxe room
– a 15 minute free massage
– complimentary internet
The room was beautifully decorated with flowers and was spacious and in dark colors. It also was cooled down from the humid heat. I really liked what the hotel has done to rooms during renovation. The rooms overlook the ocean and I could see the waves break from my room. Loved it!
I had trouble logging on to the WiFi and after the staff fixed that, I had a connection, but it was equivalent to 100Kbps – think of the dial-up speed you had 20 years ago. It's a bit faster than that, but these days websites are much bigger and web services more advanced.
A big reason for me to stay in a chain hotel compared to a non-chain hotel is the promise of a standard offering. This includes benefits such a breakfast but also a reliable internet connection. This was the slowest WiFi I have seen in a long time and was easily slower than the connection I had in the $35 budget hotel in the Maldives which is also in a remote island location. I inquired with the management and they responded that the internet has recently been 'upgraded' and is now 'much faster'. I can't think of any slower speed than this – even at night, the speed never improved 🙁 The Seychelles isn't the most wired place, but the island has a couple of places that have fast internet (notably the Air Seychelles Lounge and other hotels) so I do not believe the management's claim.
Now you can say you are in the Seychelles to forget it all – fair enough, let's focus on that for a moment! The hotel is pure bliss – the outdoors and the beach access look fantastic at day and night. That's what paradise is supposed to look like! The trouble was, the beach had low tide pretty much all day and the waters are too shallow to swim, so you can't really go swimming (but you can enter the water for a couple of feet).
The infinity pool is again beautifully designed but it is also very small. It wasn't crowded, but it was smaller than I would have wished.
I had dinner twice at the resort and found that food and breakfast just OK. Most items tasted stale but they were safe to eat. Again, this is a game of expectations, but when you pay a $400 room rate you'd expect luxury at any time, wouldn't you?
These high expectations won't be met here. The staff attitudes also range widely from friendly and caring to indifferent and noisy. Some of the staff members are simply overwhelmed, though most are fluent in English and French.
My check-out took a solid 20 minutes of me handing over the credit card again and again. Of course my card was on file the whole time, but the front desk agent was completely overwhelmed checking me out (it must have been his first time ever doing that).
This is a small boutique hotel with potential to do great. The views are scenic and the location remote enough to not be bothered by anyone.
However, the unacceptable internet speed and the varying quality in staff and food make it a gamble. On a good day, you may like it; on a bad one, you might be so annoyed and leave instantly. I had a good time, but after 36 hours I was happy to leave!
Update: Hilton contacted me after reading the review and has offered to refund 20,000 Hilton Honors points. I have accepted the offer. I feel the management's answer that the WiFi speeds are 'good enough' and that there are no 'better speeds available in the Seychelles' is just lazy since several other places on the island have managed to overcome the obstacles of slow Internet.
Book the Doubletree Seychelles Resort Allamanda here
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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