Review by: Robert and Estelle Mayhew

Overall Impressions

It was an excellent vacation, with plenty to do for this family of four. And though not everyone in the family loved birdwatching, though was always something fun and interesting to do. The one day recovery, so to speak, at Eden Bleu, was nice, and the combination of the unique, but primitive, Bird Island, followed by the resort L'Archipel, was a great idea.

Countries Visited

Seychelles

We loved the different islands we visited. There was an excellent combination of natural beauty, relaxation, and activities (birdwatching, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle-boarding, hiking, etc.). The people were friendly, the climate was excellent, and we loved the food.

Accommodation Visited

Eden Bleu Hotel

We stayed here only one night, but it was beautiful. A shuttle service was available to Beau Vallon beach, which we took advantage of. (Our flight arrived very early in the morning, and we had breakfast at the hotel--a meal not included in our package--and it was *very* expensive.)

Bird Island Lodge

6/5! This was absolutely wonderful, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The animals were fantastic--the birds were wonderful, and a group of four tortoises spent most of their time around our cabins--the snorkeling was terrific, the beaches were beautiful and almost always empty. The food was excellence. (12 hours of darkness, with very little light and no screens on the windows, was a bit of a challenge.)

Hotel L'Archipel

The villas and the location were superb. The food was excellent. The beach, though small, was lovely and fairly free of people (besides us). The snorkeling was good, and we loved the rays, birds, and fruit bats. And we liked the Mason excursions that were available from here, and the two we took were excellent. (We liked our Mason representative, Christine, and loved our tour guide [twice], Myra.) There were however a few problems: There were some minor issues on the first day (no hot water or beach towels or coffee or Wifi password in one of the villas), which it took the staff too long to take care of. In the case of the hot water, it took 3 days to set that right (and even so, it was never all that hot). On one day, the AC failed in both villas; and though it came back on in one, it was never fully functional in the other. We had problems with sand flies, which it would have helped to have been warned against, and there was little by way of effective deterrent at the resort. (We had mosquito repellant, which didn't work.) Worst of all, our Mason representative left a message at the desk, to meet us the morning after we arrived. We did not receive it however till the middle of the day after. As a result, we ended up going on one excursion less than we would have otherwise, and that was disappointing.

Staff Review

Stuart Hall was terrific. Pleasant and efficient. I e-mailed him about a possible Seychelles vacation, giving as an example a family of four itinerary described on your website, but indicating that I needed to cut the cost by around $4000. He wrote back to me just a few days later, with an alternative itinerary, which was perfect (pretty much what we ended up with). There was a bit of back and forth, with some minor revisions, to get the dates and flights right; but everything went smoothly. And I was never in the position of wondering when he'd be getting back to us. We hope to organize another Mahlatini trip in 2-3 years (to Botswana), and we hope we can work with Stuart then as well.