Tucked into a cove on the wild and beautiful west coast of Mahe lies the Avani Seychelles hotel. At just xyz rooms the Avani is not some vast resort where you are yet another guest, but a small, friendly and welcoming hotel where the staff will quickly know you by name. It is also attractively priced, and in our view one of the best mid-range options on Mahé given the very poor reviews of some Seychelles' cheaper hotels
Beach and location
Barbarons itself is a dramatic beach, with large waves rolling in one after the other, yet the resort faces a small breakwater made of local granite boulders that creates a safe environment to bathe and snorkel without interrupting the view. This allows guests to enjoy the majesty of a truly wild beach - where if you are lucky you might even see turtles hatch from their eggs - without sacrificing a swim in the sea.
There are a number of activities within easy reach of the hotel, including the Biodiversity Centre showcasing the wide range of flowers and trees that flourish on the Seychelles, a nearby horse riding centre and it is a short drive to the climbing and ziplineing offered at Port Glaud or the Tea Plantations. The hotel is also situated on the edge of mangrove wetlands, and offers guided walks through the nature reserve with a good chance to see local wildlife.
Rooms and facilities
Avani have recently taken over management of the Barbarons hotel and totally refurbished the rooms and facilities, offering a modern, fresh interior despite the age of the buildings. There are 4 suites, and multiple connecting rooms for families, but in other respects the main way one room type differs from another is down to location and view: while some rooms look onto the well kept gardens and pool, others afford a view of the ocean or easy access to the beach.
Each room comes with a large double bed, a sofa and a balcony or terrace and can sleep two adults and a child. There are coffee and tea making facilities, a bath and shower and international cable channels on a flat screen tv.
Pool and recreation
The pool at the Avani is a decent size, offering not just a place relax but the potential to exercise too, a rarity in many resorts. Unlike the vast majority of pools we've tried in the Seychelles the deep end offers genuinely deep water should you be a keen diver - though most of the pool is shallow enough to stand.
As well as the swimming pool there is a kids club for young children offering activites, toys and games, as well as a babysitting service. It's also possible to borrow snorkels from reception.
Bars and restaurants
The Avani offers two restaurants: Tamarind, a pan-asian restaurant offering Thai, Vietnamese and Malay favourites as well as a selection of light bites, and ….., which offers breakfast and a nightly themed buffet with great views of the ocean.
We found Tamarind to be very reasonably priced for a restaurant in a Seychelles resort, particularly as the hotel encourages sharing of dishes in an Asian 'family' style, and the Thai chef offers authentic and delicious dishes.
There is a poolside bar offering a great selection of cocktails, wines and spirits, as well as a rooftop shisha lounge where you can enjoy a sundowner with a great view of the sea and across the treetops to the setting sun.
Spa and Gym
The Avani also holds a small spa enclosed in its own garden with two single treatment rooms and a room especially for couples to enjoy a massage together. There's a small plunge pool as well as a sauna and steam room, which can be used free of charge by all guests.
There is also a fully equipped, 24 hour gym which can be accessed by guests at any time of day using their keycard.
Overall we think the Avani is an excellent mid range option for those who want to stay at a resort rather than a guesthouse, yet balk at the prices of the five star properties. While it is perhaps an extra £20-30 (40-50 Eur) dearer than the other hotels in its price range we found the service and food to be excellent, and the staff extremely friendly and welcoming - in contrast to the reputation of some of the other resorts in the £100-150 range.