Gardens as far as the eye can see
An astounding natural heritage
Reunion is classified as a Unesco World Heritage of Humanity site for its pitons, cirques and high cliffs. With its National Park, Reunion is an island where the environment is stunning. You’re sure to be enchanted by being in such close proximity to its natural heritage during your stay.
You’ll spend the first day travelling east to the Hotel Diana Déa Lodge**** located at an altitude of 600 metres, right in the heart of a 150 ha hunting estate. Enjoy lunch in comfort at the gastronomic restaurant with its panoramic views, and in the afternoon feel free to visit the Hotel’s well-being space to enjoy its Spa treatments. You might also want to make the most of the grounds and enjoy a walk in the great outdoors.
Second day in the east. How about spending the morning surrounded by leafy green landscapes and visiting the tropical flower fields and fruit orchards of the Plantation Mélissa at Saint-Benoît? Explore and sample the delicious fruits of the season, and enjoy the delights of Creole cuisine at the restaurant Les Letchis or Vieux Domaine, both located at Saint-Benoît.
There’s one place you simply have to visit when you’re in the area, and that’s the Domaine de Coco at Sainte-Anne. This is an agricultural, cultural and tourist space covering an area of more than 11 hectares, where you can learn all about the story of cane sugar. Dine and stay at the Diana Déa Lodge****.
Creole culture as the guest of honour
Return to the north the next day and enjoy a guided visit to the domaine du Grand Hazier, a vanilla plantation located among sugar cane territory beside the ocean. You’ll hear how a young slave by the name of Edmond Albius discovered how to pollinate the vanilla orchid which grows the perfumed pods of the unsurpassable Bourbon vanilla. Enjoy a peaceful lunch at Saint-Denis…and then set off to explore the city’s historic heritage on a guided walk from the Barachois to the old Hôtel de Ville. And then, come 6 o’clock in the evening, why not take in some Creole culture at a Creole workshop in a restaurant? Learn expressions, proverbs and riddles – all rounded off with an aperitif and a Creole song, of course !
Here’s a little tip…why not enjoy your dinner and overnight stay at the Villa des Cannes, an elegant and comfortable guest house that blends a contemporary vibe with a Creole charm of days gone by, as well as having its own tropical garden that’s home to palm trees and coconut trees.
Enjoy a botanical and historical trip to the Vallée Heureuse gardens at Le Brûlé in the Heights of Saint-Denis on your fourth day in Reunion. Following lunch at le Brûlé, make your way to your room at the Lodge Roche Tamarin****. Located on a tropical estate at La Possession - the hotel boasts magnificent ocean views. The lodge is built entirely of wood, and is situated right in the heart of nature and is a real incitement to fully re-charge – why not do a yoga session at the hotel at the end of the afternoon and achieve a sense of oneness? Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
An elegant setting
On the fifth day, make your way to the Maïdo look-out point and its unique panoramic views over the Cirque de Mafate – a momentous and impressive occasion! After this, make a stop at the Maison du Géranium (‘Geranium House’) and learn more about the authentic procedure for distillation cooking for the harvesting of essential oils. We suggest some lovely traditional eateries for lunch, including Chez Doudou, Chez Bazou or Chez Ary et Lucette.
After eating, wander through the Jardin d'Eden (‘Garden of Eden’) - a 2.5 ha tropical and ethno-botanical landscaped garden in the English style right in the heart of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains. Dinner and overnight at your Hotel Lux* île de La Réunion*****, located at the water’s edge, where Creole tradition meets innovating modernity. There are four restaurants here: a gastronomic one, a buffet of Creole, Indian or Asiatic food, a seafood restaurant and finally a quick-serve restaurant in a unique elegant setting right by the water.
A new day dawns, and it’s time to head towards Saint-Pierre and then Les Plaines, the high point being your arrival at the site of the Piton de la Fournaise, (‘Eye of the Furnace’) - the island’s beating heart and one of the most active volcanos in the world. Try out the delicious l'Ambéric restaurant at Tampon for lunch.
Outstanding panoramic views
Then visit the Saga du Rhum, where you can gain an insight into the story of the Isautier distillery, the island’s oldest. The museum presents the history through a variety of approaches: historical, cultural, technical and sensory, and you will learn all about the culture of the sugar cane and the manufacture of this precious alcohol. Adults can enjoy a sample at the end of the visit. Spend a pleasant night at the Hotel Palm & Spa***** in a tranquil atmosphere close to the major sites of the south. Then set off to explore the Preserved Natural Space of Piton Montvert for a free and easy walk lasting around one and a half hours, and marvel at the outstanding panoramic views at the summit !
You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast in the peaceful, relaxing setting of the La Cour Montvert Bed & Breakfast with its typical Creole cuisine and its pronounced family ambiance. Make the most of your free afternoon to practise your Creole! For your dinner and overnight stay, you’ll be making your way to the Orky-Mel, a hillside guest house in a Creole house that enjoys panoramic views across the Indian Ocean – a perfect opportunity to admire the stunning sunsets.
On the eighth day, explore the yellow gold that perfumes the curries and other Reunionese dishes: turmeric or safran péi as it is known. Head to the mini-Cirque of la Plaine des Grègues where Mémé Rivière and her family will invite you to learn more about this spice, so important to the island, at their Maison du Curcuma (‘House of Turmeric’). There’s a 45 minute private visit to the garden as well as a little detour to the fragrance grotto where the various spices used by the Reunionese are available. After a free lunch, you are recommended to visit the Jubilé at the village entrance. Return to the Orky-Mel guest house for the evening meal and overnight stay.
Bourbon Pointu coffee, a local celebrity
On the ninth day the Maison du Laurina, located in the Grand Coude area of Saint-Joseph and specialised in coffee plantation will take you on a journey through time. Discover the unique history of the Bourbon Pointu coffee, favoured by the world’s greatest chefs. For lunch, enjoy a picnic under a pavilion surrounded by cafetieres. Take in the exquisite aroma of the Bourbon Pointu coffee and taste it in all its forms.
In the afternoon the Labyrinthe en Champ Thé will take you through the production of thé péï, from the crop to the cup. You can buy tea and other products from the plant, such as essential oils and honey. Hidden in the heart of the village, in a welcoming creole building, the Eucalyptus guesthouse offers a calm and aromatic place to relax before the evening. Local cuisine with products from the farm brings out the delicious taste of the “lontan” fruit and vegetables.
Bourbon Pointu coffee, the central star attraction
On the ninth day, the Maison du Laurina, located at Grand Coude at Saint-Joseph and specialising in coffee cultivation, will take you on a journey through time. You’ll learn about the unique story of Bourbon pointu coffee, made popular by the best-known Chefs in the world. Enjoy a picnic breakfast under a pavilion surrounded by coffee plantations, inhaling the wonderful scent of Bourbon pointu coffee, tasting it in all of its forms.
In the afternoon, explore the culture of thé péï at the Labyrinthe en Champ Thé where you will explore the plant’s culture all the way to the cup. You’ll be able to buy tea and other products from the family farm, including honey and essential oils. Nestled in the heart of the village in a welcoming Creole hut, the Eucalyptus guest house is a quiet, restful stopover for the evening. The local cuisine prepared using farm produce really brings out the fruits and vegetables of ‘lontan’ (‘long ago’).
You’ll be able to continue exploring coffee the next day, this time with a visit to the Domaine du Café Grillé, at Pierrefonds. Enjoy the many coffees available at the La Savane Bar, and savour breakfast by the sea at one of the many terrace areas in Saint-Pierre. Then make your way to Entre-Deux and the Echappée Belle guest house, a lovely, peaceful Creole house. We have two suggestions for dinner: Le Longanis or the Arbre à Palabres in the village. Return to the Echappée Belle for the night.
Visit the Entre-Deux Songes (‘Between Two Dreams’) on your penultimate day of this tour, an authentic Creole garden. Free breakfast.
Then go west and settle into the Hotel Boucan-Canot****. Facing the sea, the Hotel is distinguished by its four considerable assets: a perfect location on the Island’s most popular beach, typically Creole décor, top-flight service and sophisticated gastronomy. Dine and spend your last night at the Hotel.