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iGO Travel’s Brendan Pottier, International Consultant gives us his feedback after visiting 2 LUX* properties in Reunion 15-19 March 2015:

It was an early start for me from Durban, as the Air Austral flight to Reunion departs Johannesburg at 11h30. Flight departed on time and the service on Air Austral was great. Note: make sure to advise dietary requirements to the airline. The lunch was a perfectly cook beef fillet, but this was the only choice. If no special meal requested passenger would not eat on the flight.
The flight from Joburg to Reunion is 4 hours long and you fly into St Denis Airport (airport code RUN).

On arrival we were transferred to Le Recif Hotel. This hotel graded as 3*, but in my opinion it’s more like 3.5 to 4*. A special dinner was laid out for us by hotel management. They catered for my no fish or seafood issue, and I have a wonderful duck main course. Rooms are very comfortable with their own private terrace. Fittings good and the hotel is well maintained.

The next day (Monday) we were fetched from the hotel and taken to visit the volcano. Quite a long drive (2 hours) as the roads to get up the mountain are small so progress is slow. But it is well worth it. The area around the volcano really looks like being on the moon. Very surprising for a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. On the way back, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. While the ocean views from the restaurant were amazing, the food was less than amazing. But, of course everyone enjoyed the local rum!

That evening we checked in at 5* LUX Ile de la Reunion. Once again treated to a special dinner. The food and restaurants at this hotel are amazing. Not being a breakfast person, I was surprised at how much I actually ate at breakfast! Rooms are also very comfortable with their own terrace (a plus for smokers). But for a 5* some fittings were looking a little tired, and I think the hotel may be in need of a slight refurbishment.

Hotel has a lovely beach and the water (for me) was cold! I didn’t welcome the plastic umbrellas on the beach though, there were the nice wooden ones too, but at a 5* I felt they should all be the nice wooden ones!

As with the flights back from Mauritius, it is a very early start on the last day. But the few days spent in this “Paris of the Indian ocean” were AMAZING. If you’re after beach relaxation, French food and culture, beautiful mountains and waterfalls, little villages, hiking, mountain biking and other activities, great hotels, this is the place for you.

Did you know you no longer require a visa for Reunion?

Group Selfie Starters at ile de la reunion Room  at Ile de la Reunion Enjoying a swim at Ile de la Reunion Outside restaurant Fountain in village View point on the way to Heilbourg  Public Beach Local restaurant Me on top of the mountain Exterior Le Recif In our room Restaurant at Le Recif Air Austral And ready for take-off