Seychelles Islands, Coral Strand Hotel, Beau Vallon, Mah

By Fiona McIntosh
Photos courtesy Coral Strand, Fiona McIntosh and Shaen Adey

Right on the wonderful golden crescent of Mahé’s famous Beau Vallon Beach, the Coral Strand Hotel has long been a favourite of divers and other holidaymakers seeking an affordable tropical island escape. And since its only 20 minutes from Seychelles International Airport and ten minutes from Victoria, the island’s quaint capital, the hotel is also popular with business visitors. And although it has recently enjoyed a facelift with the creation of a new business centre, an upgrade of rooms, a sprucing up of the main restaurant, pool bar and kitchens, it still remains excellent value.

ImageThe hotel comprises of 130 air-conditioned and newly refurbished rooms, most of which are sea facing and are grouped around the large swimming pool and gardens. The main dining area, the Island Trader, is right on the beach with a view to die for, yet there is also the external a-la-carte Le Bistro restaurant, while at Mahék, the Indian Gourmet Restaurant, diners can watch the chefs at work in the ‘show cooking’ kitchen.

Non-motorised water sport equipment, including bodyboards, windsurfers, hobie cats and snorkelling gear, are available free of charge and hotel guests can enjoy discounted motorised water sports such as waterskiing and jetski hire. A big attraction is that one of my all time favourite dive centres, the PADI 5 star dive centre Underwater Seychelles, is right next door so I’ve had several visits to the Coral Strand over the years.

ImageI love diving in Seychelles – the water is warm, the visibility is good, the dive sites are only a short boat trip away and the variety of fish and coral always impresses. There are only a few dive operators so you rarely find two dive boats on one site, but most importantly, the standard of guiding and the general professionalism of the dive staff at Underwater Seychelles ensures that they have a loyal following of regulars who return year after year. Over the years I’ve been treated to fabulous sightings on the submerged granite rocks – everything from Imagedramatic drop-offs adorned with Gorgonian fans to pretty coral gardens, turtles to leaf fish, colourful little nudibranchs to Whale sharks. If you’ve always wanted to see the biggest fish in the sea then go between August and October when the coast of Mahé is brimming with the critters – if you don’t see them on the dive you can sign up for a snorkelling trip with The Whale Shark Monitoring Programme, which assesses the occurrence and distribution of Whale sharks by aerial and boat-based surveys. Since the surface swimming habits of the sharks means that encounters on snorkel are easy, paying visitors are allowed to help the scientists with the research. At 100 Euros a pop it’s not cheap, but trust me, it’s worth every cent.


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For more information on Seychelles Underwater Centre & Dive Seychelles, visit
Seyunique are a specialist tour operator to the Seychelles Islands. For more information, visit
For general information on the Seychelles Islands, visit

Author: Fiona McIntosh