Top wines to try at Constance Halaveli

With his passion for wine, our head sommelier at Constance Halaveli, Florian David, shares his 3 top tips for what to drink in the warm sunshine of the Maldives.

Sampling fine wines on the beach with Florian

Sampling fine wines on the beach with Florian

Florian says:

1. Match the rosy glow of the sun sinking into the Indian Ocean and put a touch of sparkle into your sunset aperitif with a delicate glass of Champagne Deutz Brut Rosé.

2. Refresh your palate after a long luxurious day in the sun with the surprising Sequillo White 2011 from Eben Sadie in Swartland, the most dynamic region of South Africa. This is a wine full of flavours but always sharp.

3. Match the warm, spicy flavours of Maldivian cuisine with the elegant fruitiness of an amazing Condrieu “Terrasses de l’Empire” 2008 du domaine Georges Vernay from the Rhone Valley in France.

Tour the wine cellar at Halaveli

And don’t forget, our wine cellar is full of treasures for you to discover. Our sommelier team is always on hand to introduce you to wonderful new wines and help you to find the perfect food to pair them with.

Hope to see you here soon,

Florian David.

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5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

The Seychelles, an archipelago of granite and coral islands, reefs and atolls, is blessed with a sublime tropical climate, and a rich and unique biodiversity.

The Seychelles

The Seychelles

With two UNESCO World Heritage sites, six marine national parks and countless areas of outstanding natural beauty it could be argued that the entire archipelago is a natural wonder.

Here is our list of 5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

1. Atoll of Aldabra

Top of any list of natural wonders of the Seychelles must come this collection of stunning coral islands set around a shallow lagoon and surrounded by a rich, vibrant reef. One of the largest atolls in the world, its location in a remote area of the Seychelles has meant that it has remained largely untouched, a fact now protected by its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a rich, largely endemic, biodiversity and the highest population of giant tortoises in the world.

2. Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

The second UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Seychelles is the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin. Once believed to be the original Garden of Eden, this primeval palm forest is the home to many rare, endemic palms including the famous coco de mer. Wildlife includes the endemic black parrot, Seychelles kestrel, sunbird, Seychelles house snake, green and bronze geckos and six species of caecilian.

Port Launay National Marine Park

Port Launay National Marine Park

3. Grand Anse, La Digue

There are so many beautiful beaches in the Seychelles that it is difficult to pick any one out above the others. Grand Anse, on La Digue (a short boat ride from Praslin) does, however, epitomise what visitors are looking for when they come to a Seychellois beach. With its perfect white, powder sand, softly shaded granite boulders and clear, shallow waters it looks as if an artist has created a vision of a perfect beach and brought it to life. La Digue itself has many beautiful and rare species including the paradise flycatcher or ‘veuve’, swiftlets and sea turtles.

4. Port Launay National Marine Park

This stunning reef and natural seascape is the only marine park in the Seychelles accessible by both land and sea. Including 8 stunning beaches on the island of Mahé, the park offers fabulous snorkelling opportunities as well as the chance to spot whale sharks as they pass through the waters attracted by the rich plankton which accumulates here. Constance Ephelia overlooks the marine park.

5. Aride Island Nature Reserve

Home to one million breeding seabirds across 10 species, including the endemic magpie robins, fodies, brush warblers and blue pigeon, Aride Island is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Protected from human influence since 1973, Aride is the largest nature reserve of the granitic Seychelles islands and the only natural home of Wright’s Gardenia. It also has a rich population of reptiles and nesting turtles.

Where to stay in the Seychelles

5 wedding flowers of the Indian Ocean

An Indian Ocean wedding is brought alive by the scents and colours the vibrant tropical flowers used in the bridal bouquet.

Tropical wedding flowers: Frangipani

Tropical wedding flowers: Frangipani

Here is our guide to 5 of the most popular tropical wedding flowers.

1. Frangipani

Popular across the Indian Ocean, nothing sums up the warm sunlit days and balmy nights of a tropical location like the sweet scent and beautiful waxy bloom of a frangipani. Traditionally thought of in white or yellow they come in a range of vibrant tropical colours adding a splash to any bouquet.

2. Tropical orchids

The national flower of the Seychelles, the beauty and rarity of the orchid has made it a special choice in many tropical wedding bouquets. There are many different genus of orchids of different colours and sizes, the dendrobium and phalaenopsis are particularly popular in bouquets in Mauritius.

3. Crimson bougainvillea

This vibrantly coloured tropical flower is closely associated with the Maldives and is a traditional flower used to celebrate weddings and wedding bouquets.

4. Madagascar Jasmine

This beautiful, small white flower with its delicate fragrance has long been used as a wedding flower in Madagascar. Recently its popularity has spread to use in wedding bouquets around the world.

5. Pink rose

Don’t be afraid to go down the traditional route just because you’re in the tropics, the pink rose is the national flower of the Maldives and looks gorgeous combined with more tropical blooms such as orchids or frangipani.

At Constance we offer guests their own wedding planner who will work with you, to make sure your wedding day lives up to your dreams.

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7 things to do in Mauritius

When you think of Mauritius you imagine soft white sand beaches and clear turquoise seas. The Indian Ocean island has these in abundance along with a host of other delights that make this the ideal destination for those looking to combine a luxury beach holiday with a taste of adventure.

Things to do in Mauritius - Helicopter ride over the island

Things to do in Mauritius – Helicopter ride over the island

Here’s our pick of exhilarating days out in Mauritius.

1. Casela Nature and Leisure Park

There is so much to do in this beautiful natural park that your hardest challenge will be fitting it all into one day. The park’s 14 hectares are home to everything from lions and monkeys to giant tortoises. How you choose to explore is up to you with options including guided treks, jeep safaris, Segway, quad bike or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the longest zipline circuit in the Indian Ocean.

2. Take a helicopter trip around the island (available from Constance Belle Mare Plage)

Take an aerial tour of this stunning island by helicopter and get a panoramic view of Mauritius. Explore the stunning coast with it’s picture-perfect lagoons and surrounding islands then go inland to see the undulating sugar cane fields, mountains and forests of the island’s interior.

3. Domaine de L’Étoile

This beautiful former sugar plantation offers visitors the chance to discover Mauritius’ stunning interior with a landscape of rich verdant forests, spectacular views out towards the ocean and open valleys. Again there is a choice of transport on which to explore including quad bikes and 4×4 buggies, horseback, trekking and mountain biking. There’s even an opportunity to live out your Hunger Games fantasy with a 10 hectare circuit for archers featuring 10 artificial 3D animal targets.

4. Explore the capital Port Louis 

Whether you want to visit the capital’s bustling food market with fresh exotic produce brought in daily from around the island, or see a dodo skeleton at the city’s Natural History Museum there’s plenty to see and do in Port Louis. If you want to shop, eat or just sit back and people watch then visit the Caudan Waterfront.

Big game fishing at Constance

Big game fishing at Constance

5. Take a catamaran cruise (available at Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage)

Feel the ocean spray on your face and the wind in your sails on an exhilarating catamaran cruise to local beaches and deserted islands. Zip across the water to empty beaches where you can swim in crystal waters and enjoy lunch on the sand.

6. Eureka ‘La Maison Créole’

Set in a nature reserve at the very heart of the island this colonial house converted into a museum offers a tranquil day of walking in beautiful gardens spotting rare flora and fauna before taking a dip in its refreshing waterfall-fed swimming hole.

7. Big game fishing (available from Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage)

Spend the day on the open water pitting your wits against the great game fish of the Indian Ocean including the blue marlin, sailfish, barracuda, wahoo and yellowfin tuna.

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Top views in Mahé, Seychelles

Home to the nation’s capital, Mahé is a stunning lush mountainous island surrounded by perfect white beaches at the heart of the Seychelles archipelago.

Morne Seychellois

Morne Seychellois National Park

Take the time to drink in the island’s beauty at one of our top spots for views in Mahé.

1. The Tea Factory, Sans Souci

Take the drive up winding roads through dense forest to discover the stunning mountaintop view from this, still-operational, Tea Factory. Nip into the factory and discover how tea is made and buy some local tea before venturing outside to enjoy panoramic views across the western slopes of Mahé to the ocean beyond.

2. Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden, Anse Royale

Set on the mountaintop with stunning views down to the beautiful Anse Royale below, this renovated plantation still grows and sells local spices. Enjoy the views and local Creole dishes at the plantation’s small outdoor restaurant.

3. Mission Lodge, Sans Souci

Located just below the summit of Sans Souci, this ex-boarding school for freed slaves on Mahé’s west coast has some of the best views on the island. Drink in views across the ocean to Eden island, Cerf and St Anne’s Marine Park.

4. Morne Seychellois National Park

Take a 45 minute walk through the Jurassic forests of Morne Seychellois National Park and you’ll reach the summit of Morne Blanc with views across the island’s lush interior and out to the ocean beyond.

5. La Louise, Eden Island

With its luxury accommodation, eateries, marinas and shopping arcades Eden Island is a great place to visit in its own right. But cross the bridge from Mahé on to Eden and you get a rare view back at Mahé which takes in Victoria and the entire east coast. On the far side of the island are views across the ocean to Ile au Cerf, St Anne Marine National Park and a scattering of smaller islands.

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When to go: a seasonal guide to the Indian Ocean

Whether you dream of winter sunshine or warm summer sun make sure you choose the perfect Indian Ocean destination for the time of year you want to travel.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Sailing at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

The Indian Ocean is a year-round holiday destination with consistently warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, and each has its own unique seasonal variations worth bearing in mind.

Consider what you want to do on your paradise holiday – sunbathe, scuba dive, snorkel, surf, windsurf, big game fishing – then all you have to do is pick the island and season that’s right for you.

Mauritius

Lap up the sun in Mauritius from October to April when the island is at its hottest and the days at their longest. This may be the wettest season but rainfall is usually short and sharp, clearing to reveal blue skies and warm seas. This is also the best season for diving and sports fishing as the warm water attracts an abundance of marine life, especially large game fish.

The Mauritius winter which runs from May to September is cooler and drier with temperatures ranging from 20ºC–26ºC perfect for those who prefer gentle sunshine without too much heat. The tranquil weather conditions make this the perfect time of year for activities on and off the water from hiking to water skiing.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Stroll along the beach at Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

Seychelles

Wet season or dry the Seychelles has plenty of sunshine on offer all year round.

The archipelago is governed by two opposing trade winds each bringing their own unique weather patterns.

If you dream of warm, dry days with no wind then visit during the calm periods when one trade gives way to another, April/May and October/November. At these times the waters are calm and clear making it the optimum time for swimming, snorkelling and diving with visibility reaching up to 30 metres.

December to March is the Seychelles’ summer, which falls under the influence of the gentle north-westerly trade winds. This is the warmest season but also the wettest, although sunshine is still frequent. By February the rainfall begins to reduce.

From May to September the brisker south-easterly trade wind takes over during the Seychelles winter bringing cooler, windier conditions, although temperatures even at this time of year range from 24ºC–28ºC. This is the perfect season for fun on the ocean with sailing, windsurfing or surfing – the Seychelles Sailing Cup takes place in January.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Relax at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Maldives

Enjoy year-round warmth in the Maldives with average temperatures consistently between 27ºC and 30ºC.

The Maldives’ climate is divided into two monsoon seasons but don’t be fooled by the name, they don’t necessarily bring rain. In fact, the north-eastern monsoon from December to March is the Maldives’ dry season with low rainfall and lots of sun. The ideal time for sun worshippers to visit, this is also when the beautiful manta rays pass through the waters of the Ari Atoll, a stunning treat for divers and snorkelers.

The wetter south-western monsoon from May to November brings with it slightly windier conditions making it the perfect time for sailing, windsurfing and surfing. It is also a great time for divers to see whale sharks and grey reef sharks and for fishing some of the larger game fish.

April, which falls in the transition between the monsoons, is predominantly dry with hot temperatures and warm clear waters making it the optimum month for a wide range of water sports including diving and snorkelling.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Diving at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Madagascar

There is so much to do and see in Madagascar all year round that there really is no good or bad time to visit, just different things to see and do.

For those wanting to explore the island’s beautiful interior and extraordinary wildlife the cool, dry winter months from May to September are the ideal time to visit as the roads are good and the conditions are perfect for hiking.

If you’re looking for warm, dry conditions for a relaxing beach holiday then September to December is when the island begins to heat up after the cool, dry winter months but before the increased heat of the rainy season kicks in. Another great month for sunbathers is April as the cyclones of January – March recede but the summer warmth continues.

September to December is also the time on Madagascar when much of the wildlife becomes more active after the winter months. This is the breeding season for many birds as well as many species of lemur.

For divers and snorkelers the months of October to December and April and May are the best with the highest visibility. Those hoping to catch sight of a humpback or sperm whale, however, should visit during July and August.

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