Diving and underwater adventures at Halaveli

Here’s the second installment from marine biologist Robin Aiello, with tales of her escapades and adventures underwater at Halaveli.

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Some of my best moments this week…

It has been another wonderful week at Halaveli Resort. I’m getting into the routine of diving most mornings, then maybe a snorkel, and every Monday and Thursday night I give a talk on the weird and wonderful marine creatures found here in the Maldives.

The weather has been absolutely perfect with bright sunny days and a slight breeze. As wonderful as the days are, it is the evenings that I really look forward to because of the sunsets. Since I have been here, every sunset has been different. Seriously, no two sunsets have been the same so far – one evening the sky will be lit a vivid orange, then another night the sky will be glimmering yellow, and yet another night the sky will be glowing a soft pink. Incredible!

I cannot describe the beauty of sitting on the beach at sunset with the shifting colours of the skies as a backdrop to the nightly frenzy of dive-bombing seabirds (terns) as they finish their evening feeding session – just perfect.

Diving conditions this week

Diving at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Diving at Halaveli

The TGI Dive Center has been very busy. This week has been full of great dives, snorkels and cruising excursions. The tides have been perfect, so in the mornings the visibility has been fantastic – we had about 30 metres this morning. And, the currents have also been good.

Current diving

I love current diving for one main reason – the fish life is extraordinary. The waters above the reef become packed full of all sorts of fish. A majority of the fish are the plankton feeders including small neon blue fusiliers, black surgeon fish, red-toothed trigger fish and unicorn fish, which, by the way, love to hover over your head playing in the bubbles.

They seem to get a real ‘kick’ out of the jacuzzi-like blasts of bubbles as we exhale. But there are also the less abundant, but eye-catching predatory fish, such as the giant trevallies (jacks), blue trevallies (jacks), dogtooth tuna, black snappers and, of course, the whitetip and grey reef sharks.

One memorable dive the other day was at a reef where the current was a good ‘medium – plus’ (according to our dive guide). We made our way along the reef to a spectacular look out point, where we hooked in with our reef hooks and looked out into the blue water ahead of us.

Baby whitetip reef sharks

White tip reef shark, Constance Halaveli, Maldives

White tip reef shark, photo copyright Marco Care

There we were – the six divers flying like kites a few feet above the reef. Suddenly, to my left, a motion caught my eye – there was a very young (not more than a few months old) whitetip reef shark hovering right next to me, looking right at me. Just beyond was another one. They were so cute and perfect without a scratch or scar on them – perfect little sharks.

But the funny thing was that they obviously had not quite mastered the skill of swimming in such strong currents. For several minutes at a time they would be hovering just fine, barely moving their tail, but maintaining perfect position beside me. But then, the baby shark would start drifting closer and closer to me, until it was a mere few inches from my face.

Then, suddenly it seemed to realize that it was too close and would try to quickly maneuver away, but it didn’t quite have the skill to do it gracefully. Instead, it would tumble and get tossed by the current and become totally out-of-control -discombobulated – before regaining control, position and composure. It would then take up position next to me again and the whole sequence would start all over again. Hilarious!

Napoleon Wrasse

One of the dive’s highlights appeared without notice, slowly appearing out of the murky distance. The large shadow came closer and it was revealed to be a huge male Napoleon (or Humphead) Wrasse. He was magnificent – about 1.5m long and 1m deep. This dark green giant swam so easily against the current making it seem like there was no current at all. He simply drifted past in front of us and then off again into the distance.

Robin.

Find out more

Read Robin’s first instalment from Halaveli including Creature Feature #1: Redtooth Triggerfish

Read more about check booking availability on our website: Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Coming soon: Creature Feature #2: Starfish of the Maldives

Constance sommeliers trained by leading winemakers Thierry Germain and Stephane Derenoncourt

As part of our exciting Art de Vignes week our sommeliers had the wonderful opportunity of receiving training from Thierry Germain and Stephane Derenoncourt.

Sunset at North Beach

Sunset at North Beach

One of the world’s leading wine consultants and producers, Stephane Derenoncourt of Domaine de l’A was keen to talk about the benefits of Biodynamic wine producing techniques.

Thierry Germain, of the acclaimed domaine de Roches Neuves, is also an advocate of Biodynamic farming and explained to our sommeliers how he used his vineyard’s natural resources without pesticides and synthetic fertilisers to cultivate the highest quality grapes.

Wine menu

In honour of their visit Chef Aviraj collaborated with the sommelier team to create a menu based around the wines of Domaine des Roches Neuves.

  • Chef Aviraj aperitif selection – served with Samur, Bulles de Roche, 2010
  • Chilled red mullet fillet, green apple and citrus cigar – served with Saumur, L’insolite, 2011
  • Lightly smoked ‘bourgeois’ fish wrapped in Serrano ham, breadfruit scoop, glazed vegetable and red wine sauce – served with Saumur Champigny, La Marginale, 2010
  • Cherry surprise – served with Saumur Champigny, Terres Chaudes, 2011

More about Biodynamic wine growing

The term ‘Biodynamic’ refers to an agricultural movement defined by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. The goal of biodynamic wine growing is to get a vineyard to be as self-sustaining as possible, using waste products from one area to be used as fuel for another area. It’s a system that looks at the vineyard as a living organism itself from the soil to the sun, all working in harmony towards a well-balanced ecosystem that is self-sustaining.

Biodynamic wines and growing practices go beyond organic farming methods and focus on soil sustainability and viability via crop rotation, composting, non-chemical interventions for pest management and astronomical cycles to provide continual vineyard input. This emphasis often means the qualities of biodynamic wine offer more balance, clarity and depth of aromas and flavours.

Find out more about Thierry Germain and Domaine des Roches Neuves  and Stephane Derenoncourt and his philosophy of wine.

 

Highlights from Art de Vignes week in Seychelles

Our Head Sommelier, Jerome Faure, brings you highlights from the beginning of a fabulous week of wine appreciation as the Art de Vignes wine growers’ collective visits the Seychelles.

Wines from Art de Vignes collective, Constance Hotels & Resorts

Wines from Art de Vignes collective

Constance Ephelia

Sunday 3 March

Our sommeliers at Constance Ephelia enjoyed training with Anne and Olivier Decelle, owners of St Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Jean Faure. We tried the 2009 and 2010. It is a special blend with 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 10% malbec. The property is close to St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Cheval Blanc.

The 2010 is for me a really wonderful wine – one of the top from St Emilion.

Anne and Olivier Decelle also own Domaine Mas Amiel, located in Roussillon nearPyrenees. They are making Maury (Fortified Wine) Maury Sec (new appellation in 2011 – only Red ) and some Cotes du Roussillon Villages (White, Red and Rosé).

On Sunday evening we enjoyed a wine tasting with all the wine makers and our guests at Constance Ephelia.

Preparation for Art de Vignes wine dinner, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Preparation for Art de Vignes wine dinner

Wines we tried:

  • Cotes du Roussillon Villages Plaisir Rose – Mas Amiel 2012
  • Saumur Insolite Domaine des Roches Neuves – Thierry Germain 2011
  • Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Viognier Georges Vernay 2011
  • Montagny 1er Cru Jean-Marc Boillot 2010
  • Cotes de Castillon Domaine de l’A – 2005
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Beaucastel 2009

The menu

The menu was proposed with Domaine Mas Amiel and Chateau Jean Faure.

Starter:

Cotes du Roussillon Villages Altair 2010 Mas Amiel with Red Snapper Wheel’s Carpaccio with Green Bean Salad and local Passion Fruit Dressing

Maury – Mas Amiel 1969 with marinated Red Tuna Rose, Grilled Zucchini with Light Curry Apple Compote and Tomato with Xeres Vinegar.

Main Course:

St Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Jean Faure 2010 with Lamb Fillet with CrispyParmaHam, Local Eggplant Chutney, Parmesan Tuile and Pan Forte Sauce.

Dessert:

Maury Charles Dupuy, Mas Amiel 2008 with Surprise Dark Chocolate Sphere with Berries Compote.

Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape

Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape

Monday 4 March:

We held staff training about Rhone Valley Wine with Christine Vernay (Domaine George Vernay) who is owner and wine maker for prestigious appellation from North of Rhone Valley (Cote Rotie – Condrieu) and Thomas Perrin, one of the owners of Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape.

Wines we tried:

  • Vin de Pays Pied de Samson Viognier – Vernay 2011
  • Cotes du Rhone StAgathe – Vernay  2010
  • St Joseph Vernay 2010
  • Cote Rotie Blonde du Seigneur  Vernay 2010
  • Luberon Vieille Ferme 2011
  • Cotes du Rhone – Coudoulet White 2011
  • Cotes du Rhone – Coudoulet Red 2010
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel White 2011
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Beaucastel  White 2011
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel Red  2010
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel Hommage a J. Perrin 2009
Dessert at Art de Vignes dinner, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Dessert at Art de Vignes dinner

Evening at our new Chinese Restaurant at Ephelia :

Chef Ling and his team with the collaboration of our sommelier team created a menu with Thomas Perrin wines from the Chateau de Beaucastel in theRhoneValley

Aperitif

Cotes du Lubéron, La Vieille Ferme, 2011 with Chef Ling canapés selection

Main course:

Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau de Beaucastel, Vieilles Vignes, 2009 with Seafood siew mai with caviar

Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau de Beaucastel, Vieilles Vignes, 2009 with Crispy chicken in sweet and sour sauce

Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau de Beaucastel, 2005 with Wok fried black pepper New Zealand beef with bamboo shoots

Dessert

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Perrin, 2010 with Pancake stuffed with coconut mousse, exotic fruit minestrone, lychee sherbet

Find out more about Art de Vignes in Seychelles

 

Secluded hotels and resorts with passion

At Constance we put passion at the heart of everything we do to create a luxury holiday experience with a soul of discovery.

Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Everything that goes into making your holiday so special is created by teams of dedicated staff who have one thing in common – a shared passion for what they do.

From the dedicated architects who first discovered our idyllic locations to our chefs striving to find the best ingredients, everyone at Constance is driven by this desire to bring guests the very finest experiences from around the world.

Idyllic Indian Ocean beaches

Our team at Constance began by travelling this beautiful region and selecting what we consider to be the most stunning, unspoilt beach locations to house our hotels.

We work hard with leading architects to ensure that our presence in these idyllic locations blends perfectly with the beautiful surroundings, creating as little impact on the environment as possible. We were rewarded for our efforts in 2011 with a Landscape Gold Award for our work creating Ephélia.

And we have just repeated this carefully imagined process for the relaunch of the stunning and secluded Tsarabanjina in Madagascar.

Architect at Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Architect at Constance Ephelia

Ecological passion

Our passion goes beyond the grounds of our hotels, as we work to ensure the surrounding environment is protected for future generations.

Keen marine biologists at Halaveli are working on a reefscaping programme to repair coral that was damaged in the area by the tsunami of 2004.

While at Lémuria in the Seychelles, we have our very own turtle expert who overseas and protects the annual return of Hawksbill and Green Turtles to lay their eggs. Read more about turtles at Lemuria.

Fine wine and food from around the world

Tirelessly seeking out the very best wines from around the world our sommeliers, including Jerome Fauré, Head Sommelier, and Cedric Jacob at Halaveli, travel to vineyards and wine fairs across the New World and Old as part of their search.

So proud are our sommeliers of their precious finds that in each resort they are more than happy to invite you to wine tastings to discover these wines for yourself.  Read about the new state of the art wine cellar at Le Prince Maurice.

Sommeliers at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Discovering new wines

At Constance we take food very seriously and our chefs’ obsession with sourcing the best ingredients, and then using local flavours and spices to create something new and exciting, can be tasted in every dish we serve.

We celebrate this culinary passion every year in Mauritius with the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival when we invite Michelin-star chefs to compete on teams with our local chefs – sharing ideas, inspiring and teaching.

Experts with passion

At Constance we are committed to sourcing the very best experiences for our guests and sometimes this means inviting top specialists in their field to join us and share their passion.

At Le Prince Maurice we are proud to have French fitness guru Isabelle Lamant inspiring guests with her holistic approach to fitness.

And celebrity podiatrist Brice Nicham has introduced his revolutionary approach to footcare at the hotel’s spa.

Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Constance Moofushi

Sound tempting?

Find out more about each of our 7 resorts in the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and Madagascar, on our Constance Hotels & Resorts website

Keep up to date with latest competitions, events and inspiration from Constance and join our community on Facebook.

 

Ephélia and Lémuria celebrate the art of French winemaking

We have invited some of the most inspirational French winemakers from the Art de Vignes association to visit the Seychelles to share their passion and produce with our guests.

Adam & Eve Restaurant, Constance Ephelia

Adam & Eve Restaurant, Constance Ephelia

Run in connection with a series of dining events, guests will be able to sample wines from:

  • Domaine Mas Amiel
  • Chateau Beaucastel
  • Domaine Des Roches Neuves
  • Domaine De La Pommardiere

The guest winemakers will work in conjunction with the sommeliers and chefs at the restaurants of Ephélia from 3 – 6 March.

At Lémuria guests can enjoy the opportunity to meet and talk with the winemakers before enjoying a wine dinner and golf competition running from the 8 – 9 March.

Find out more

Visit our website to find out more about Constance Ephelia and Constance Lemuria.

Discover more about these winemakers and the fine wines they produce:

Festive fun for all

Enjoy a luxury Christmas in the Indian Ocean and let us lavish you with fine wine, food and treats aplenty.

Beach at Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Beach at Lemuria

At each of our resorts, we’re planning all manner of festive cheer. Here’s a glimpse of what’s on offer this December.

Constance Lémuria
This Christmas we’re celebrating the ‘legend of Lémuria’, inviting guests to explore the story which first inspired our hotel. For those who want to combine Indian Ocean relaxation with some of the traditions of Christmas there will be carol singing on Christmas Eve before the grand arrival of Santa Claus by helicopter on Christmas Day.

New Year’s Eve will be a treat for the senses with a gala dinner for all guests followed by a live performance by US soul singer May Palmer and fireworks on the beach at midnight.

Other highlights at Lémuria will include:

  • Legend pink champagne and frangipani welcome
  • A magic of the sea buffet
  • Takamaka barefoot happy hour exotic cocktails
  • Ocean waves treatment at the Spa de Constance
  • Tree and flower planting for kids at our Turtle Club

Constance Ephélia

Cyann restaurant, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Cyann restaurant, Ephelia

Indulge your taste buds at Ephélia with a wide variety of festive culinary treats including Michelin-starred Indian cuisine from visiting Chef Vineet Bhatia. For Christmas dinner choose from a special Christmas menu at Cyann or a try a traditional Italian Christmas at Helios.

Open throughout the festive season, our kids’ Gecko club will run a range of festive activities designed specifically for each age group from toddlers to teenagers. If you’re looking for family adventure why not discover the island together by mountain bike, take one of our treks or kayak through the mangroves.

And once you’ve had your fill of Christmas fun lie, back and relax with some of our detox treatments and de-stressing massages at the Shiseido Spa at Spa de Constance.

Other festive treats include:

  • Champagne cocktails at Zee Bar on New Year’s Eve.
  • Wine tasting and special wine dinners.
  • Learn about the local culture through classes in dance, music, cooking and even cocktails.
  • Rise and shine yoga on the beach.
  • Daily tortoise feeding.

Constance Halaveli

Luxury service from staff at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Luxury service at Halaveli

Join us for a Christmas eve party on the beach before dinner under the stars and dance to the sounds of our resident DJ.

Sit back and enjoy champagne cocktails before choosing whether to enjoy Christmas dinner under the stars at Meeru Beach or to join the festive fun at Jahaz.

Other treats for Christmas and New Year include:

  • Night beach cinema for when you want to lie back and relax.
  • Culinary treats – executive chef, Glen Cooper, has created themed menus including a delectable lobster feast, and wine tasting with head sommelier, Cedric Jacob.
  • Champagne cocktail New Year’s Eve party and dancing on the beach til dawn to a live Maldivian band.
  • Special festive spa treatments from Valmont, Ila and Spa de Constance.
  • Daily events at our Kids Club from mini-Olympics to pirate treasure hunts and meeting Santa.

Constance Moofushi

Champagne bar on the beach at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Champagne bar on the beach at Moofushi

On Christmas Eve the whole family can join us for a festive treasure hunt and kids’ party before the adult fun begins with a beach cocktail party.

Choose how you want to enjoy your Christmas dinner from the relaxed ‘back to childhood’ buffet at Manta or a more traditional Christmas Eve menu at the elegant Alizée. Then head to the beach for barefoot dancing and music, hosted by resident DJ Sanjeewa.

Other festive highlights include:

  • A movie for all the family on the beach
  • A Petanque tournament
  • New Year’s Eve cocktail party on the beach
  • A choice of New Year’s Eve gala buffet at Manta Restaurant or a special New Year’s Eve Menu at Alizée
  • A New Year’s Eve party on the beach including a champagne raffle with a star prize of a week’s stay at Constance Moofushi
Mauritius
Spa for children at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Spa for children at Le Prince Maurice

We also have a host of festive events taking place at our 2 luxury resorts in Mauritius,  Belle Mare Plage and Le Prince Maurice.

See out the old year and bring the new one in with a bang at Belle Mare Plage. From a personal visit from Santa Claus on Christmas day to a Tropical New Year’s Eve party on the beach there is something for everyone no matter what your age.

Highlights for the festive season include:

  • Kids Christmas card making and tree decoration
  • Christmas buffet at La Citronnelle
  • Champagne, oysters and urchins evening at La Spiaggia
  • Kid’s New Year’s Eve disco
  • New Year’s Eve beach party with fireworks at midnight.

Read more about the Island romance of Mauritius.