Last minute deals for Christmas and New Year at Constance Ephelia

Senior Suite at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles

Senior Suite at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles

Pack your bags and jet off to Constance Ephelia, Seychelles this Christmas and New Year.

Our last minute deal means you could be lounging by the pool and sipping cocktails on Christmas Eve.

  • Offer applicable to junior and senior suites.
  • Valid from 23 December 2011 to 3 January 2012, minimum of 7 nights stay.
  • Last departure date from hotel is 4 January 2012.

Don’t miss out on this great deal – find out more, including rates and terms & conditions -on the Constance Ephelia website.

Interview: The Guittet family – on holiday with Constance

Guittet family on holiday at Constance Hotels Experience
Guittet family on holiday at Constance Hotels Experience

Aurélien Guittet is a Captain for a European flagcarrier. He is married to Anouk, a lawyer, who is currently a full time mum. They have 2  children – Alexandre, 4 years old and Chloé, 2 years old. They live in Luxembourg, Europe.

Here they share their experience of family holidays with Constance Hotels.

1. Tell us what your family loves most about going on holiday with Constance Hotels Experience.

We discovered Constance 11 years ago. The first resort we went to was Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius. That was such a great time!

The resort itself was like a little paradise. The restaurants were great and on top of it all, the staff make you feel at home, giving very personalised service and a lot of attention. Since that first experience, we only stay at Constance Hotels when we travel to the Indian Ocean.

2. What do your children look forward to the most about the holidays? And you and your wife?

Guittet family out kayaking in Seychelles
Guittet family out kayaking in Seychelles

Our kids are still very young but we agreed early on that we wanted to share our holidays with them.

Our friends and family thought we were crazy to take such small kids so far away from their home. But one of our favourite quotes from Mark Twain says it all:

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’

So every time we have the opportunity, we take our kids along for the holidays. What they look forward to is to spend time with us, discover new things, enjoy sunny weather, and the beach and pools.

For us it’s about the same. But our main goal when we come to Constance is to enjoy wonderful places, have the feeling of living something exclusive and let ourselves be pampered by the very professional staff.

3. How do you and your wife get the opportunity to relax and enjoy the wonderful surroundings, when you’re travelling with two young children?

Children playing at the kids club, Halaveli

Children playing at the kids club, Halaveli

Well, it’s a question of organisation. Most of the time, when we go to the beach or to the pool, we take them along. But when we want to enjoy a special moment like relaxing at the spa, snorkelling or sailing, we take them to the kids club.

4. Tell us about the different resorts you’ve visited. Do you have a favourite, and why?

As said, our first visit to Constance was at Le Prince Maurice. The second visit was at Constance Lemuria. That stay proved to us that Constance was really the kind of resort we wanted for our holidays because of the location in a small paradise, because of the great service, food, and the impression that every guest is treated like an individual person.

So a few holidays later, we went back to Le Prince Maurice and got engaged there one evening, having a cup of champagne close to the pool with a musician playing flute in the background…

We returned to Le Prince Maurice to celebrate our 10 years together and that was our last trip without our kids.

Aurelien, Alexandre and Chloe on the beach

Aurelien, Alexandre and Chloe in the Seychelles

The first resort we visited with the kids was Constance Ephelia. We were a bit sceptical when we booked, as this resort was much bigger than the ones we visited before, and we were wondering how our kids would behave in such a place. But the experience was just fantastic.

Our last visit was to Constance Halaveli Resort in theMaldives. There, we also had a great experience.

Our favourite remains Le Prince Maurice due to the sentimental value it holds for us, and Ephelia is in our opinion the best for kids.

But we must say that in any Constance resort, the architecture and lighting are absolutely beautiful and well designed, making it a very peaceful place.

5. Have you stayed in different types of accommodation? If so, which type has suited you the most as a family?

Children at the water villa, Constance Halaveli

Children at the water villa, Constance Halaveli

All the suites we have had were really big and it is no problem to share it with the kids. The best was the water villa at Halaveli – very spacious, state of the art equipment, very quiet, breathtaking view and again, the impression of being alone.

6. Do your children enjoy the special kids’ activities that are on offer?

Yes they do! As said before, we sometimes leave them there when we want to do activities that are not suitable for them. They like to play with other kids, use the facilities (games, swimming pools) and they get on very well with the friendly and professional staff from the kids club.

7. Is the food at Constance ‘family friendly’?

Guittet family dining at Constance Hotels Experience

Guittet family dining at Constance

For us, being French, food and wine is of great importance during our holidays.

At Constance, this is just fabulous. Eating at the restaurant is a real pleasure when you can taste high quality products prepared with passion, with the perfect matched wine.

In every Constance hotel we have been, there was always a great choice of restaurants. At the beginning with the kids, we were afraid that they would find the time at the table long and disturb the other guests, but they behaved really well, and the staff are so friendly that it really makes you feel at home.

I was so pleased to discover the wine menu at Halaveli, and to visit their great wine cellar with the chief sommelier. Amazing wine list, especially when you remember that you’re on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean!

We also love to order breakfast for delivery in our room. Being a family and having breakfast on your terrace with your kids, watching the endless ocean and observing the fish hunting is priceless.

8. Would you share some highlights from your family holidays with Constance?

Our kids are very lucky. By travelling with us, they have already seen different cultures, different people, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

Guittet family with giant land tortoise

Guittet family with giant land tortoise

They have fed sharks and rays, played with giant turtles, learned to swim in the nicest places and the nicest pools. They came with us deep sea fishing, tried kayaking and had a go in a paddle boat. What else can you dream of to develop their curiosity?

And when they get tired, put them on the bed – the in-room video on demand system has many cartoons that they will enjoy…

9. Do you have any tips for travelling with young children that you’d like to share with other Constance fans?

For the flights, night flights are great as the kids can sleep during travel.

The only ‘enemy’ will be the sun, never let them out without sun protection…

Top 5 Seychelles islands for bird lovers

Well known as a haven for honeymooners, the stunning islands of the Seychelles archipelago are also a magnet for ornithologists the world over.

Constance Lemuria Resort, Seychelles

Constance Lemuria

The 155 granite and coral islands are home to 12 endemic bird species, and the largest sea bird colonies in the world.

For all bird enthusiasts out there, here’s our top 5 run down of must-see Seychelles’ islands.

1. Praslin Island

The rare endemic Seychelles Black Parrot is the national bird. Visitors to the exotic Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island, are likely to see the Black Parrot as well as the Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Swiflet and Fruit Pigeon.

2. Mahé

Seychelles Kestrel

Seychelles Kestrel

Mahé is the largest of the islands, and there are a number of beautiful walks you can take into the tropical hills to spot the Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles White-eye and Seychelles Scops-owl.

3. 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 you 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.

4. Cousin Island

Seychelles Magpie Robin

Seychelles Magpie Robin

Cousin Island, just 2km from Praslin Island, is home to a bird and marine sanctuary that has won several awards for conservation and ecotourism.

The endangered Seychelles Magpie Robin was successfully reintroduced on the island. You’ll also find other endemic birds including the Seychelles Sunbird, Seychelles Fody and Seychelles Blue Pigeon.

There’s also a massive seabird colony here with 7 different species nesting at different times of year. Expect to see Fairy Terns, Bridled Terns, Lesser Noddies, Audubon’s Shearwater and the Wedge-tailed Shearwater.

5. Aride Island

Close to Cousin Island, Aride is the only place in the archipelago where you’ll find Red-tailed Tropicbirds. The world’s only hilltop colony of Sooty Terns are also found here, living alongside White-tailed Tropicbirds, Roseate Terns, Seychelles Sunbird and the Seychelles Fody.

When to visit

Sooty terns

Sooty terns

The main breeding season for birds in the Seychelles is April, while Sooty Terns nest from May-September.

October is migration time, where numbers peak across the islands. Visitors at this time of year can expect some stunning sights across the sky.

Where to stay

Combine all this with a wonderfully relaxing holiday at one of our luxury 5* resorts in the Seychelles.

And for more wildlife inspiration, don’t miss these articles:

Choosing wine from the menu

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a total newbie to the world of wine, our Head Sommelier at Constance, Jérome Faure, is here to share his expert knowledge with you.

Jerome Faure
Jerome Faure

This week, Jérome takes a look at the difference between conventional and organic wines.

Conventional versus organic wine

A conventional wine is a wine produced from grapes grown using farming methods which include the use of chemical products.

Organic wine is made from grapes certified by a recognised body such as Ecocert, as organically farmed – AB (Agriculture Biologique) in the French system.

How wine is given organic certification

AB certification requires, above all, respect for a set of guidelines aimed at banning the use of all chemical products, such as pesticides, fungicides and fertilizer. At present there are no guidelines for how the wine itself is treated.

Gaining AB certification involves wine growers subjecting themselves to lengthy administrative procedures, which is why some growers are not interested in obtaining it. But at the same time, these growers may use few or no chemical products in their vineyards. So it’s possible to come across a wine without an AB label that is nonetheless made from organically grown grapes…

Choices, choices… which wine is best?

Red wine in glass
How to choose wine

You’ll find good wines among both conventional and organic types.

To oppose organic to conventional wine is simply to oppose certified to non-certified ones. As we’ve already said, many winegrowers are organic but uncertified, and others, even if not organic are very sparing in their use of chemicals.

Some go even further by working in accordance with biodynamics (the natural rhythms of cosmic forces), whether they’re certified or not.

If you’re dining in a restaurant, the best way to decide is to rely on the selections of a good sommelier.

The Constance Group takes great care in its choice of wines, and at Constance Ephelia in the Seychelles the wine list indicates which wines are certified organic or biodynamic.

Tell us what you think

Do you prefer organic over conventinal wine? Tell us what you think. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or use the comments section below.

Recipe: how to make coconut milk

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Today Chef Rufus Elizabeth of Seselwa restaurant at Constance Ephélia Resort explains how to make coconut milk the traditional way.

Coconuts are poetically called ‘suspended water’. They’re used in many different culinary preparations in the Seychelles – the most famous one is probably the kari koko, or curry with coconut milk.

1. To make fresh coconut milk, you need to use a dry coconut. First remove the husk by splitting it on a sharp rock. If you buy it in a supermarket, it will come without the husk.

Splitting coconut husk on a sharp rock

Split the coconut husk on a sharp rock

2. Then, break open the nut. This can be a dangerous operation if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Seychellois do it with a machete… but please don’t try this at home!

Instead, I’d recommend using a pastry roller or a metal pipe. The trick is to place the nut in your hand the right way. It will easily break open if you hit it right in the middle, against the sense of the fibers.

3. Hold the nut tightly in the palm of your left hand, hide your fingers, and hit it with the pastry roll. If it doesn’t break the first time, try again.

4. Place a glass or bowl under to collect the coconut water.

5. Once the nut is open:

  • Sieve the coconut water and use it to prepare a delicious drink. It’s perfect pure and ice cold. Seychellois have it for breakfast to give them strength for the day.
  • You can also mix it with white rum and prepare a delicious punch.

6. Remove the pulp from the shell: one easy way is to use an oyster knife. Protect your fingers as the blade can easily rip against the inside of the shell.

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Try to keep at least one side of the coconut shell intact. Seychellois use it a measuring unit and call it the kafoul.

7. Rinse the pieces of pulp. You can choose to keep the brown skin around it or remove it with a knife. Grate the pulp. Seychellois use a traditional grater (a piece of sharp metal on a wooden plank). At home, a blender is probably your best bet.

8. Place the grated pulp in a bowl. Add a bit of fresh water and let it soak for 5 minutes.

9. Place the preparation in a clean cloth. Wrap the cloth around the pulp and press with your hands on top of a bowl. The coconut milk will be extracted slowly.

Sieve milk through the husk

Sieve milk through the husk

To do this, Seychellois use a piece of natural coconut husk. They call it tamis coco.

10. Keep the coconut milk in the fridge until you need it. Keep the dry grated pulp to prepare pastries such as a delicious coconut tart, or a coconut jam.

11. If you want a thicker milk, or coconut cream, allow the milk to rest for 2 to 3 hours. The liquid will progressively split and the coconut cream will stay at the top. Use a ladle to gently collect it from the top.

It may be easier to open a can of coconut milk but what a pleasure to make your own!

 

Sushi in the Seychelles

The sushi bar at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles has been incredibly successful since it first opened.

Chef Federico Casupanan, Sushi chef at Constance Ephelia Resort

Chef Federico Casupanan, sushi chef at Constance Ephelia Resort

Chef Federico Casupanan, a young and talented Filipino sushi chef trained by Japanese masters, didn’t want to do things the way you’d expect.

Along with Chef Denis Jean-Jacques, the brilliant chef of Cyann restaurant in the luxurious North Beachside of the resort, he created a Seychellois version of what he believes tropical sushi should be.

This selection has become a best-seller at Ephelia. 

The sushi varies according to the fresh produce we receive, and the ideas of the chef.

Here are a few examples of what’s on the menu:

Tropical Seychellois sushi

Tropical Seychellois sushi

  • White capitaine fish sushi with coconut milk and lemongrass, a dash of sweet curry sauce.
  • Yellowfin tuna nigiri with a spicy mango relish.
  • Poached prawn with vindaye spice mix.
  • Chef Federico’s crazy rolls with Creole crab salad, local avocado and homemade tangy tomato ketchup.
  • The beautiful Seychellois bourgeois fish, as a nigiri with rougail reduction and grated green papaya.

Fresh, tasty and very colourful.