If you read my first blog post this year, you know that Dan and I spent US Thanksgiving in the Seychelles, an island nation off the coast of East Africa! During our trip, we stayed at Hilton’s new LXR property, the Mango House (its featured on some Hilton IG ads). Our stay was great and we could have stayed longer. This article reviews the hotel and its amenities.
THE MANGO HOUSE PROPERTY
The Mango House is a small property nestled along the coast of southwest Mahé that only opened in March 2021. As such, everything is brand new and quite nice, but of course there are so growing pains that will hopefully be worked out as the property ages. In terms of the physical property, the Mango House centers around a main building – i.e. the cover photo – which houses most of the resort’s activities, including the main pool, the spa, the bar, and all three dinner restaurants. Breakfast is also served here. This main building is certainly the heart of the hotel.
Aside from the main building, guests quarters spread out and up from the main building. One small infinity pool, which we did not use, and the main beach are to the left of the main building. The secondary pool, which is the resort’s largest pool and the hotel’s cabana bar are located to the right of the main building about a five minute walk away. The resort’s tiny second beach is also located here. Don’t worry if this seems like a lot of walking – staff-driven golf carts take guests to and from anywhere on the resort with a simple ask or call.
Before entering the “proper” property, checkin to the Mango House for all guests is an open air concierge where the property meets the main road. This is where you show your passport, drop your luggage and wait for your room to be assigned. We arrived verrrry early in the morning, so our room was not ready until 2:00 PM (the designated checkin hour – guess the Covid days of empty hotels are closed). We left our luggage here and then hung out at the main pool until our room was ready around 1:00 PM…
OUR ROOM AT THE MANGO HOUSE
We stayed in a King Deluxe Room at the Mango House. The King Deluxe Room room consisted of a decent sized bedroom with a super comfortable King bed, a small desk, a seating area with a small table in front of the bed that opened up to a large balcony with a sofa, table and chairs overlooking the Mango House’s main beach. Behind the bedroom was a small bar area with a fridge and coffee and tea maker, multiple closets and a very big restroom with the toilet and shower separated by Jack and Jill sinks. The room was super nice and very comfortable for our stay.
THE FOOD AT THE MANGO HOUSE
Ah, the food at the Mango House. Dan and I both found it to be really, really good, especially for a Western resort located off the coast of East Africa. The Mango House houses to four onsite restaurants and one bar, with only one restaurant serving breakfast and three serving lunch and dinner. While breakfast and lunch are easy going, reservations are “strongly recommended” by the staff for dinner. In fact, they would call our room for us to make a reservation. This seemed kind of annoying and unnecessary, but who knows. I trust they had their reasons. One other note, we received complimentary breakfast daily due to our Hilton Diamond Status. We paid cash for all lunch and dinners. The Mango House offers some sort of board/half board programs, but we were never provided information on those… In any case, here is my review on the various restaurants at the Mango House.
Breakfast at Muse Italian Restaurant. Breakfast is severed every morning only at Muse Italian Restaurant, which is located on the main floor of the main building with indoor and out door seating. Despite Muse being an Italian restaurant, the breakfast is a mix of Western, Middle Eastern and local breakfast. There is a very tiny bit of Italian flair on the menu, but that is all of the “Italian-ness” at breakfast.
I imagine if Covid had not happened, Muse would have a buffet breakfast. Rather than a buffet, guests are offered a small menu where one can order as much as one wants (pic below). In addition to the menu, waitstaff came around with small portions of things you would find on a buffet, such as meat and cheese, salad, yogurt, etc. Staff also brings around fruit, bread, and fresh jam to every table. My personal favorite were the pineapple and strawberry jams! Here are some pictures of the passed food and the menu:
The daily breakfast remained the same everyday of our visit. Since we received free breakfast due to our Diamond status, we could order whatever we wanted unless there was a noted charge (which we would be charged). Throughout the week, we tried almost everything on the menu and it was all fantastic. Below are some pictures of our breakfast. My personal favorites were the carbonara Benedict and the coconut french toast. I ordered both multiple days, whoops!
Muse Italian Restaurant (lunch and dinner service). From the breakfast information, you know that Muse is one of Mango House’s restaurants. And, as I mentioned, it’s the Mango House’s Italian restaurant. Dan and I were immediately skeptical about the Italian-ness of Muse. We are very picky about Italian food and just assumed good Italian food could not be done here. Well, we were totally wrong. Muse did an excellent job of re-creating Italian dishes. We ended up eating here a number of days, and here is a selection of what we ordered. As Dan perfectly put it, “that pizza should not have been as good as it was.”
Again, Muse was our favorite restaurant on site and we found the food good for every meal. Definitely try a pizza if you are here!
Azido Japanese Restaurant (dinner only – the one restaurant where reservations are 100% necessary). Azido is the Mango House’s Japanese restaurant located on the outdoor deck just below Muse. There are two seatings nightly (I believe around 6:30 and 8:30), both with limited seating as the restaurant is small. On the menu is standard Japanese fare, including several sushis and tempura-ed things. The Mango House also includes some fancy steak and seafood. Dan and I dined at Azido twice and both times order sushi, which ended up being great (albeit pricey). Some pictures of our food is below. Two things to note. First, at all dinner restaurants at the Mango House, dinner starts with a complimentary amuse bouche from the chef. This was a nice touch. Second, Azido has its own cocktail menu that is different from those available elsewhere on the property.
In sum, Azido was a tasty Japanese restaurant that we enjoyed. Azido is pricer than the other restaurants, but it also felt a bit more upscale. The chef came out both nights to ensure that we enjoyed our dinner!
Moutya (lunch and dinner). Moutya is the Mango House’s “local” restaurant, specializing in the local Seychellois fare, which, for those unfamiliar, is called “Creole.” Think lots of fresh seafood with spices and pairings not too dissimilar from what one would find in Indian cuisine. Moutya is located entire outdoors under Muse and next to Azido. In case of rain, the resort’s bar closes and Moutya sets up in that space (which I think is a mistake). The night we dined at Moutya, we ate in the bar due to rain. We dined on some sort of tasty seafood cake (the complimentary amuse bouche!), a ceivche done in coconut milk (similar to poisson cru in Tahiti!), fried chickpea bites that reminded me of Indian pakora, and steak frites with the best sauce I’ve had in a while! The portions were large and we definitely over ordered. All in, the food here was good but I think we liked the other two dinner restaurants better.
Soley bar (lunch only). Soley, the only exclusively lunch restaurant on premises, is located near the secondary pool and is open short hours – something like 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Soley bar serves up drinks and shisha and takes orders for lunch food, which is made in the main building and brought over to Soley guests. The lunch menu at the Mango House is the same resort-wide and features the pizzas from Muse, a selection of sandwiches and salads, and some seafood and Indian-inspired dishes. We usually went with the simple fried chicken and fries or pizza. Although we went simple for lunch, it was pretty good and the portions were decent size. We split one dish most days.
I would also note that Moutya also serves lunch with the same menu as Soley (at least when we visited, despite online stating otherwise). Here is a glimpse at the lunch menu if you are curious – this is different than what is on the hotel’s website.
Kokoye Cocktail Bar. Kokoye is the Mango House’s sole evening bar on site, but its a good one. Kokoye has a grand selection of African rums and gins, including some of its own infused gins. The cocktail menu is robust and the drinks are great, even Dan agreed (and he has exacting standards for his cocktails!). Kokoye Bar is also beautiful and a cool place to relax. While there are no TVs in public spaces at the Mango House, the Mango House set up a screen and played the World Cup games a few nights we were there.
Kokoye is fantastic and probably the best cocktail bar that we have visited at one of these resorts. Do not miss it at the Mango House! There is no food on the menu, but the bartender told us that they can order up simple dishes if guests ask.
AMENITIES AT THE MANGO HOUSE
The beaches at the Mango House. The Mango House has two beaches on site – one small one off of the main house (just in front of our room) and one tiny beach near Soley bar. Despite being small, they did not seem crowded nor that popular. We saw red flags go up a few times indicating that the water was not safe to swim, but apparently that is common for the Seychelles. The red flags were promptly taken down when conditions returned to normal. Two notes. First, bring water shoes; the beaches are rocky. Second, all beaches in the Seychelles are public so its not uncommon for guests to good off site for a lager beach (particularly if you have car).
Pools. The Mango House has three pools. The main pool is an infinity pool located outside the main building. This pool is a decent size and always seemed empty, even though the hotel was full during our stay. What I call the “secondary” pool was located in front of Soley bar. This pool is also an infinity pool surrounded by loungers. The third pool is a small infinity pool located next to lodgings past the main building. We never visited this pool during our stay (so no pictures!).
Shisha. Dan loves shisha and he was very excited that the Mango House has sisha at Soley bar. Shisha is offered daily outdoors at Soley bar from about 12:00 – 5:00 PM – as long as the shisha guy is there (he was there everyday of our stay starting around noon)! There were a few flavors available and Dan seemed happy with it. The shisha was a nice touch and more hotels should offer this!
Cocktail Class. The Mango House offered us a complimentary cocktail making class or a 30 minute foot massage due to our Diamond status. We picked the cocktail class – and it was fantastic! We spent an hour with the Mango House’s main bartender at Kokoye learning to make two cocktails, including one with the below pictured dancing bubble! We also learned a lot about African gin and rum and were served a little snack plate. It was a great experience! Unfortunately, I didn’t see this offered anywhere aside from a “welcome email” that may have been inadvertently sent to Dan… If you are visiting, I would ask, and for the Mango House, you should offer this to all guests for a fee.
Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Boarding. As with many resorts, the Mango House offers complimentary access to “non motor water sports”, such as kayaks and stand up paddle boarding. We took out the glass bottom kayak and paddled around for a bit. There are motor water sports for hire, but we didn’t see anyone doing this during our visit.
Snorkeling. The Mango House also offers complimentary snorkeling gear and a class once a day around 2:00 PM for all guests. The instructor went around the pools and told guests about the snorkeling class. We missed it, but it looked interesting. Otherwise, guests can borrow snorkeling gear from the secondary pool area. There is a little stand set up to help with non-motorized water sports (and probably booing motorized water sports!).
Spa. The Mango House has a spa on site offering standard spa services, from facials to massages to manis and pedis. I spent one rainy afternoon having a 90 minute massage with banana oil that was amazing. Services must be booked directly with the spa and are not included in the room rate, although I found the prices to be comparable to other resort spas. If you really want a service, I suggest booking as soon as you arrive, if not in advance, to ensure you get what you want. In addition to the spa, twice during our stay staff left a little “spa kit” in our shower with the ingredients to make our own shower scrub. This was very fun, and I think this is left in all of the rooms! I would also note that the spa is home to the only “shop” on premises that I saw. The spa sells spa products and jewelry from a local artist. I obviously had to buy some earrings!
SOME ISSUES WITH THE MANGO HOUSE
Of course, our stay wasn’t perfect and there were a few issues that I will mention here for those planning a trip.
- The Mango House is secluded. There are no restaurants or bars within walking distance and taxis are 1) difficult to get and 2) expensive. The staff pushes guests to stay on site, which was a bit of a put off. You will have more options if you rent a car. The secludedness of the hotel was a complaint that we heard from A LOT of guests.
- There is very little night life at Mango House. The bar, Kokoye, is open, but not too late. We were frequently the only people there.
- While the food is good, repeating three restaurants over the course of a week can get a little tiresome.
- The staff was super nice, but the resort lacked a manager figure that I find necessary for an upscale resort. We frequently said that the hotel needed one manager to handle “issues.”
- We did not receive anything special for our Hilton Diamond status, which we both have (and the hotel knew because we each booked a few nights). I know this is never guaranteed, but the non-acknowledgment was a bit off-putting. Dan, but not me (again, we both made a reservation), did receive a Diamond welcome email a few days before our stay, but it was addressed to another guest. There was no response when we wrote back. Luckily, we received the email and were able to take advantage of the one benefit offered to Diamond members.
- That Diamond benefit was a free cocktail class, which you know was fantastic. However, we had to ask about it and no one reminded us of this free gift. Again, I think an onsite manager would have remedied this.
- On that same note, there was a program for half or full board at the Mango House that guests could book after reserving a room (no option to reserve board with the room booking when we booked). We received an email about this two days before our stay, but no prices or explanation. No one asked us about it further. We found this a little odd… Many other guests seemed to be doing this type of package, which makes sense since most guests eat all meals at the hotel. Perhaps we were left off since we already receive free breakfast (Hilton Diamond Status)?
- Per the staff, the Mango House uses a “free” style without much planned for guests – in other words, guests can do whatever they want whenever they want. This is all fine and great, but there is not much planned for guests and staff does not really involve themselves at all around the pool, etc. For example, people would frequently place towels on the main pool chairs very early in the morning, not to return until very late in the day. We thought it was ridiculous that staff did nothing with this, especially since there are only a few chairs around the main pool. Other guests complained about the same thing.
- Staff enters guest rooms rather often – for example, cleaning, turndown service, to drop off things such as the shower scrub, etc. This was great, except on multiple occasions, we returned to our room being unlocked and once the door open. We determined that this had to do with the humidity and the door not shutting property. But in any case, lock up your valuables or make clear that you don’t want any staff to enter.
- The main bartender at Kokoye was great but occasionally a younger female bartender replaced him. We ordered a margarita and apparently they were out of the tequila used in the margarita. Instead of telling us, she replaced it with a more expensive tequila brand and charged us $5 extra dollars for it (and the drinks at Kokoye were not cheap!). We complained and she didn’t remove the charge! This is not the biggest deal but it definitely left a bad taste in our mouth. Stuff like this is again where the Mango House could use that manager. We told the closest thing to a manager we could find and they still did not remove the charge…
Notwithstanding the negatives, we had a great time and here are some things that we loved about the Mango House if you are planning a trip:
- The food was fantastic in my opinion. A few people complained about portion size being too small, but we found the portions to be more than enough and frequently could not finish our meals.
- The bed and room were very comfortable. A+ on that category.
- The cocktails were insane. We are often unhappy with the quality of cocktails at resorts, and these were fantastic. 100% (aside from the tequila issue, which I blame on that one bartender. The male bartender, who also did our cocktail class, was AMAZING).
- On that note, Mango House has a great bar when its open – an incredible selection of gin and rim from all over Africa. Definitely worth a visit to Kokoye!
- We loved our time at the Mango House and could have certainly stayed longer. Despite the Mango House being a small resort, it never felt crowded and we didn’t get bored!
- The staff left a few nice treats in our room throughout our stay, including the spa kit twice, champagne and strawberries to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, and a framed picture of the USA World Cup team on the night the US played!
STEAL OUR TRIP
Mango House: Anse Aux Poules Bleues Baie Lazare Victoria Mahé, Seychelles. We stayed here for six nights. The Mango House is an LXR Hilton property.
ON A BUDGET
You can stay at the Mango House on Hilton points – that’s what we did! In addition, for a budget friendly visit, buy some alcohol and snacks in Victoria (or any other town) to save money if you drink and snack. Also, if you plan on leaving the resort, a car rental is probably not a bad idea. And on that note, if you are planning to explore Mahé, I would stay at the resort only a couple days to enjoy the resort and then stay elsewhere at a lower cost to do your Seychelles exploring.