Architectural design at our Constance resorts

Entrance to Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Entrance to Le Prince Maurice

Constance resorts have earned themselves a reputation for elegance and an attention to personal service that makes you feel you’ve joined a luxury members’ club.

But what these resorts also offer are beautifully proportioned spaces in which you can totally unwind and relax.

In the first of our series, here’s an insight into the work of the architectural and design teams behind Constance Le Prince Maurice.

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Lotus lounge at Le Prince Maurice

Lotus lounge at Le Prince Maurice

Le Prince Maurice is our deluxe 5* resort in Mauritius, and part of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux group.

Mauritian architect Jean Marc Eynaud was the mastermind behind the resort, which opened in 1998 after 9 months of construction and more than 3 years of planning.

Architectural vision

When designing the entrance to the hotel, the architects and concept designers were inspired by Greek temples and the way a succession of halls lead to a god or goddess.

As you approach the main entrance of Le Prince Maurice, steps take you up to a walkway over a small wooden bridge. Ahead, 2 columns narrow the field of vision, before opening up to a wide area where you enjoy panoramic views of the resort.

And if you arrive at night, the visual effects are inverted as the focus flips onto the hotel itself with the architectural play on perspective coming from the lights.

Feng Shui harmony

Dawn at Le Prince Maurice
Dawn at Le Prince Maurice

Feng Shui principles were used when designing the hotel, and the result is a triumph. Anyone who spends time in this energising space is treated to a wonderful sense of equilibrium and well-being. Here are some of the key elements at play.

  • Beds are high above floor level to help the circulation of Qi, or energy.
  • In the first hall of L’Archipel restaurant, internal concrete columns are at the centre of the hall (the wooden ones are external) increasing the concentration of energy in the centre of the space.
  • The Lounge Bar design is dedicated to the lotus flower, the symbol of life and the interplay of the yin and yang.
  • The gardens have been created to give a natural impression with touches that are at first invisible to the eye – hundreds of night jasmine start to flower when the sun sets, filling the air with their heady perfume.

Find out more about our Constance resorts

If you want to know more about these and some of our other resorts, check out these other articles:

 

Spotlight on Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Off the North West coast of Madagascar lies the volcanic Mitsio Archipelago, home to the beautiful island of Tsarabanjina.

Beach at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Beach at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina affords you a different type of luxury. You’ve got everything you could want from a tropical island get-away – white sandy beaches, lush vegetation, coral reefs – but its utter seclusion and tranquility give it the edge. This is a place to down tools and immerse yourself in the laid-back vibe and restful atmosphere.

Lose yourself to the quiet sound of the sea, enjoy a massage on one of the 3 delightful beaches, fish for your supper, watch the sunset from your beach bungalow while enjoying a cold glass of something, or simply lie back in your hammock and take it all in.

Wildlife on Tsarabanjina

Fish off Tsarabanjina

Waters are brimming with sealife

If you’re up for an adventure, there’s loads to do. The island and waters around Tsarabanjina are brimming with wildlife and sea creatures.

Tsarabanjina is home to many rare birds including the famous flycatcher of Madagascar, sea eagles and kingfishers.

A biologist has even come across the tiniest chameleon in the world – it barely exceeds 1 centimetre in length when fully grown.

Activities on offer

Sunset at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Sunset at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Scuba diving is a major draw here. The dive team take both beginners and qualified divers to the awe-inspiring Les Quatre Frères on the North West side of Tsarabanjina. These small islets are renowned as world-class diving sites, as well as being home to many nesting birds.

Other activities – most free of charge –  include snorkelling, water skiing, tennis, volleyball, petanque, guided walks around the island, massage and fishing trips. Catamarans and kayaks are also available for guests to freely use during their stay.

Beach bungalows

Beach bungalow

Gloriously laid back bungalows on the beach

The 25 thatched roof bungalows are set amidst trees and palms, overlooking the sea and beach just 20-30 yards from the shore.

Each comes with a private terrace, main bedroom equipped with fans and bathroom with shower.

Dining at Tsarabanjina

The restaurant is perched in the mezzanine above the bar, and overlooks the wide expanse of sea below. You can also enjoy cocktails and sundowners at the bar, where you can pad about bare foot on the fine sand floor.

Bar at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Bar at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Seafood doesn’t come much fresher or tastier than at Tsarabanjina. And if you love lobster, this is the place to come. Read our article about dining on lobster on the rocks.

Share your stories of Tsarabanjina

If you’ve been to Tsarabanjina, we’d love to hear about your experience. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, post photos to Facebook or use the comments section below.

 

The spirit of the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival

The European chef and the island cook sharing their passion

The European chef and the island cook sharing their passion

Bruno Le Gac, our corporate chef and a key mastermind behind the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival,  gives an insight into the history behind the remarkable event, now entering its 7th year.

The Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival takes place in March, and is a major event for everyone at Constance Hotels Experience.

It started 6 years ago with an idea – to honour the legacy of the great chef Bernard Loiseau, and propose something that he would be proud of.

The spirit of the festival

When we first had the idea, we didn’t know what or how we would do it… but we knew that we wanted to create something true, sincere, with spirit. Not just a business event, but a festival with soul.

The European chefs coaching the island cooks for the competition

The European chefs coaching the island cooks for the competition

We wanted it to be an event that would showcase our passion for food and the human values that we cherish.

As I always say, several brains work better than one and the result of this great team work has progressively turned into reality.

The concept for a festival in which we could share our passion and knowledge was born.

Mrs Dominique Loiseau immediately gave us all her support and allowed us to name the event after her late husband.

Chef Patrick Bertron, Loiseau’s protége, has been sensational since day one.

Michelin star chefs join cooks from the Indian Ocean

We wanted to put the spotlight on the people that we never see. The way the festival works is that we put together 6 Michelin star rated European chefs with 6 young cooks from our kitchens.

European chef and island cook prepare for competition day

Feel the tension in the kitchen, competition day is near...

During the festival, they train together for 3 days to create 2 dishes of their own making. Then on the day of the competition, the European chefs are not allowed in the kitchen. In the spirit of Loiseau’s legacy, it’s about sharing, it’s about training and it’s about transmission.

We showcase the best of the produce and culinary wonders of Mauritius and the Indian Ocean. One of the basic rules of the competition is to use local produce and spices as much as possible. I believe that after 6 years we have pretty much seen everything that you could possibly make with fresh heart of palmtree!

What we’ve achieved so far

To date, we’ve managed to create a high profile event that exudes warmth and humanity. Those who were present at the first festival immediately felt that something very special had happened during the week. And the spirit keeps on building up every year…

We wanted this to be an elegant event that represents the image of our hotels. Our partners responded with equal enthusiasm – it’s not every day of the week that you get to drink magnums of Amour de DeutzChampagne…

The festival in 2012

I am extremely proud of Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival, and so are all of the great people who have participated, who shared their time, hard work and passion.

The 2012 edition will be even more intense and fascinating… watch this space for more news of next year’s unmissable festival.

Top 5 extreme sports in the Seychelles

 
Watersports in the Seychelles

Watersports in the Seychelles

The Seychelles is renowned for its tropical beauty and that enticing sense of getting-away-from it all. What this archipelago also offers in spades is extreme sports for thrill seekers and novices alike.

Here’s our top 5 pick of the crop.

1. Surfing

 

Excellent surfing conditions are on offer for beginners right through to those with years of experience. On Praslin, you’ll find beach breaks for all levels at Anse Georgette and Anse Kerlan. Experienced surfers should head to La Farine Reef and Villa Reef for reef breaks.

Surfing in the Seychelles

Heading out to catch a wave

On the largest island of Mahe, there are plenty of potential surfing spots. If you’re looking for a point-break, head to Anse Poules Bleues. There are also many reef breaks. Check out Anse Bourgainville, Anse Gaulette, Misfit Bay and North East Point. Beginners should head to Beau Vallon beach and Carana beach for gentle beach breaks.

For a more complete rundown of surf spots in the Seychelles, wave direction, skill level and frequency visit the great website Wannasurf.

2. Windsurfing

Clear and warm waters make the Seychelles idyllic for windsurfing. If you’re looking for stronger winds, head out there from May-September although it’s possible to windsurf all year round.

Windsurf boards are free to hire at both our beautiful resorts Constance Lémuria and Constance Ephélia.

3. Scuba diving

Scuba diving Seychelles

Amazing underwater world of the Seychelles

The Seychelles is one of the greatest places for diving in the world. Featuring an impressive 6 national marine parks, there’s an abundance of spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Our experts at Constance Ephélia have recommended their top 3 diving sites – Trois Bank, National Marine Park at Cap Ternay and Dredger Wreck.

Find out more about the top 3 diving sites in the Seychelles, and watch an video of diving in the Seychelles.

4. Mountain biking

There are a number of paths as well as rough terrain tracks for mountain biking in the Seychelles. While the islands are edged with powdery white sand beaches, the 42 granite islands in the inner area of the archipelago are hilly and rocky. Here, the hills can rise to just under 3000 feet, making for some thrilling mountain biking conditions.

5. Climbing

At Constance Ephélia, we’ve opened a climbing wall for guests of all climbing abilities from 6 years to 60+. The wall offers a beautiful climbing experience with both artificial and natural routes.

Instructors are at hand to teach you the basics or help improve your techniques, depending on your skill level.

Find out more about the climbing wall at Constance Ephélia.

Top 5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

Beach at Constance Lemuria

Beach at Constance Lemuria

One of the most alluring features of the Seychelles as a holiday destination is its geographical isolation.

Perched in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa, this archipelago of 155 islands has managed to maintain its ecological credibility - protecting the rich endemic flora and fauna that its famous for.

Here’s a run-down of our top 5 must-see natural wonders of the Seychelles.

1. The atoll of Aldabra

Giant land tortoise

Giant land tortoise

The Aldabra atoll is situated in the most remote part of the Seychelles. Made up of 4 main islands, it’s here that you’ll find the largest raised coral atoll in the world – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With a pristine coral reef and over 100,000 giant land tortoises, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in ecology. Other wildlife on the islands include frigate birds, giant crabs and the white throated rail, the only flightless bird left in the Indian Ocean.

Find out more from the UNESCO website.

2. Sainte Anne Marine National Park

An easily accessible boat-ride away from Victoria Harbour, this marine park is made up of 6 islands. Being close to Victoria, Ste Anne is well within the tourist trail but still worth a visit.

The marine park offers superb snorkelling conditions in clear waters. Here, you’ll see many of the 900 species of fish found in the Seychelles.

Hawskbill Turtles are another big draw for visitors to these islands.

3. Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island

Coco de Mer

Coco de Mer

Lying in the heart of Praslin Island, Seychelles, is Vallée de Mai  –  a national park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the highly revered Coco de Mer seed.

Vallée de Mai is the only place in the world where you’ll find Coco de Mer. Visitors can wander through the national park, beneath giant palm trees. And keep your eyes open for the rare Seychelles Black Parrot. Read our article about the Coco de Mer.

4. Bird Island

Bird Island is situated some 60 miles north of Mahé.  It’s a tiny flat coralline island where over 400,000 pairs of sooty terns breed every year between May – November.

There are viewing platforms where keen ornithologists can enjoy the sight of the terns incubating their eggs and caring for newborn chicks. Other birds found on the island include curlew sandpipers, fairy terns and turnstones.

5. Beaches, beaches, beaches

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

Across the Seychelles, you’ll find stunning beaches complete with huge granite boulders, soft white sand and breathtaking views across the calm turquoise waters.

These islands look like paradise on earth, and you’ll feel you’ve been whisked far away from the mêlée and humdrum of daily life.

Find out more about our 2 resorts in the Seychelles:

 

Villa inspiration with Constance Hotels

At Constance Hotels, there’s an enticing choice of villas and suites to choose from.

Water villa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Water villa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

We offer overwater villas, junior and senior suites set amidst tropical vegetation or perched on the edge of hilltops, family villas directly on the beach, and sumptuous presidential villas.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide exactly what type of accommodation you want, so here’s a quick run down of the luxurious rooms we offer.

Also, take a look at Constance on Facebook. There are lots of inspiring photos and videos posted by Constance fans.