Highly appreciated for its beach and refined restaurant services, the Nautile is very well situated as a base for an exploration of the surroundings; it is an exotic place, isolated from the tourist bustle of Saint-Gilles.
This hotel review is a translation from the French published on our French site, Easyvoyage.com.
The hotel is located on the Hermitage beach, 4 miles south of Saint-Gilles in La Saline-Les Bains and 25 miles from the airport at Saint-Denis. For the transfer, you should plan about 45 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic.
The Nautile enjoys one of the best locations in the region of Saint-Gilles. Located at the southern end of the Hermitage beach, it has no immediate neighbours. Lovers of tranquillity will definitely enjoy it! The rented car included in the tourist package allows you to alternately relax and go on any excursions you may choose. Do not hesitate to visit the corries (Mafate is an hour and a half drive away) as well as the southern part of the island, including the volcano called Piton de la Fournaise (Peak of the Furnace).
The Nautile hotel was built in 1998 and is a charming two-storey Creole house, facing a lagoon. The small reception area has local wood furniture, floors with beautiful blue tiles, with yellow and pastel green walls. Nearby is a comfortable library, air-conditioned and decorated in the same colours. It extends to the swimming pool, which, unfortunately, does not overlook the lagoon. Medium-sized, it is nonetheless large enough to swim lengths. The surroundings are occupied by a paved sun lounge that has just enough space to accommodate a handful of deckchairs and sunshades. Only the first to arrive will be served! The others will have to be content in the park along the beach. An idyllic panorama is guaranteed: the ocean can be seen through the branches of the filao trees, with tones of blue becoming turquoise.
Of the 43 rooms of the Nautile, 10 rooms overlook the sea. The others overlook the swimming pool or the mountain at the back. Bright and airy, they have lively decor which combines yellow, blue and green, a rustic red tiled floor, and a touch of honey for the furniture. A balcony furnished with rattan furniture (1 table, 2 chairs) expands the space in the rooms. Well equipped, the rooms have individual air-conditioning, a bathroom (with a bathtub and a hair dryer, non-separate toilets), an electronic safe (for free), a mini-bar (full) and telephone for direct international dialling. The satellite television picks up three local channels, plus another eleven.
Installed under "guétalis" (hexagonal structures outdoors), the restaurant has no view of the lagoon, but the blue waters of the nearby swimming pool make up for it. The setting is simple: straw chairs, tables covered with colourful tablecloths. You should focus more on your plate, as it truly deserves your full attention. The cuisine is varied, sophisticated and has an exotic touch that makes your mouth water while you are still reading the menu. The fish with vanilla is superb, the same for the curry of lobster and goat with Garam massala spices. You must taste the ostrich pavé and duck filet, both prepared in the tenderest form possible. Served buffet style, the breakfast is a classic selection of continental specialities, such as cereals, pastries, cold cuts, cheese and fresh fruits.
Located at the rear of the Novotel Saint-Gilles, the Nautile uses the same beach as the latter. To get there, just go along the road that separates the two hotels, then cross the park of the Novotel. The beach, namely the Hermitage, is several miles long and runs between Saint-Gilles and La Saline. It offers a pleasant setting for relaxation. Lined with filaos and tamarind trees, a stretch of white sand descends gently into the lagoon: the bathing area is shallow, and many fish and corals dwell there (explore this submarine world with fins, mask and snorkel). When swimming, pay attention to the coral debris that can hurt your feet. If possible, it is better not to wear sandals because they cause damage to the fragile ecosystem of the lagoon. As the beach is public, shunshades and deckchairs are not provided. Don't forget to bring towels and snorkeling equipment in order to take advantage of the setting. On the other side, there are some picnic areas extremely popular with local residents of La Réunion, where they spend weekends with their families.
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