Review: Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge, Seychelles International Airport


I don’t normally come to expect too much from business class lounges on tropical islands. There is usually a lack of business travellers and generally, islands aren’t a premium market for high spend travellers. We were pleasantly surprised by the Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge in the Seychelles International Airport. The lounge featured comfortable seating along with a terrific liquor selection.

This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Salon Vallée de Mai, Mahé Seychelles International Airport, Seychelles

We had arrived into the Seychelles International Airport on Air Seychelles Praslin – Mahé; an inter island flight prior to our onward international flight home. I had left us three hours in between flights to self connect on separate tickets to Turkish Airlines Business Class Mahé – Istanbul for our international Aeroplan Ticketed Reward flight. I left three hours worth of time, since I had heard some mild horror stories about luggage not being on the Air Seychelles flights and being left behind.

With all our bags in hand, we arrived to the open air international departures check in area at Seychelles International Airport. The Turkish Airlines counters were at the far right end of the terminal, right next to international arrivals. You can literally look right into the airport from the street as a result of it’s open air configuration.

Arriving to a Deserted Seychelles International Airport
It was a Mostly Empty Experience on Arrival

Despite being a 9 PM departure, it was absolutely deserted at the Seychelles International Airport at three hours before departure when we turned up. We walked straight up to the Turkish Airlines business class line and checked ourselves in.

The agent was unable to go any further than the Turkish Airlines flights so our bags were checked through to Toronto with both a Star Alliance Priority Tag and a green Turkish Airlines International Connection tag. I didn’t bother with the security plastic bag wrap for the flight home. There wasn’t anyone manning the wrap kiosk anyway.

Checking Into Turkish Airlines Business Class

We headed straight through the departures line to exit immigration where we picked up a Coco de Mer Seychelles Exit stamp.

A Pair of Coco de Mere Seychelles Immigration Stamps

We transitioned over to the secure departures side. There wasn’t too much in the departures hall. Unbelievably so, in all strange restaurant franchising placements, there was a Burger King Fast Food Counter in the departures hall. It was supper time and I couldn’t resist so I had a Whopper Combo to go. It was the most expensive Whopper Combo I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming at $14 USD. The Sprite that I had with it even came in a tin.

Finding the Burger King at the end of the Seychelles Departures Hall
The Seychelles International Airport Burger King

Locating the Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge:

We found our way upstairs to the Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge. The lounge was easily located in the small Seychelles International Airport departures lounge.

Spicy Chicken Burger King Sandwiches and a Lounge on the First Floor
Accessing the Salon Vallée de Mai Lounge

Accessing the Lounge:

We were given lounge invitations for the Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge courtesy of Turkish Airlines and were admitted entry thanks to the business class of service on Turkish Airlines.

The Salon Vallée de Mai is also operating in partnership with many international carriers which include Emirates, Qatar, Sri Lankan, Kenya Airways, Ethiopean, Condor, Air Austral and Austrian Airlines. If you happen to be flying out of the Seychelles International Airport, you’re likely to be using this facility as the business class lounge contracted by these above carriers.

A Host of Carriers that Use this Business Lounge

The lounge is also a member of Priority Pass so you may be able to get access with certain premium credit cards that include a Priority Pass Membership as part of it’s annual fees.

Lastly, access may also be available on a walk up instant purchase basis. At the time of our visit, the lounge was offering access to be purchased for $45 USD.

Inside the Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge:

The lounge was much better than I was expecting. I haven’t come to expect too much from African Lounges. While this lounge wasn’t as exiting as world class Air Mauritius Amendée Business Lounge, it was much better than some comparable than some of the island lounges we have visited like the Air Tahiti Nui Salon Manuhiri Business Lounge and Fiji Airways Tabua Lounge which were much more basic and spartan in their offerings.

The colors of the Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge were of dark earth tones. The layout of the lounge was in a “U” shape, with many comfortable lounge seating areas.

Passing by the Partitioned Entry into the Lounge Area

The lounge offered multiple lounge seating areas. There was a peaceful area towards the rear of the lounge, in addition to a seating area next to windows. The windows offered great airside views.

Rear Lounge Seating Area
A Small Media Television Zone with a Comfortable Couch

The lounge never felt full while we were there and had sufficient capacity during our visit.

The Spacious Rear Seating Zone

We ended up seating in the more central area of the lounge. As a result, we had slightly better views as a result of not being tucked away in a back corner. We settled in with some comfortable loungers.

Looking Towards the Lounge Reception and Entrance
Terrific Lounge Views of an Emirates Boeing 777

While we visited the lounge, I was able to look at the rare in flight magazine “Silhouette” of Air Seychelles. It’s not every day you see an Air Seychelles in flight magazine so it was worth a glance while we waited.

Air Seychelles Board Card Stock and their in Flight Magazine

Food and Beverage:

There was a small buffet of food that consisted mostly of snacks. There were cold vegetable quiche slices, mushroom canapés, mini samosas and the usual salads and cut cheeses that looked average at best. We could have eaten here if it was absolutely essential, but I was much happier with the flame grilled goodness of the Burger King burger if I was being truthful.

Light Salads and very light snacks

One area that the lounge excelled in was the liquor selection. I was able to sample some Takamaka rum which is made locally in the Seychelles. The lounge offered both the dark and coconut varieties on a free pour basis.

A Wide Assortment of Spirits including the Takamaka Seychelles Rum
Juices, Wine and Bottled Water
Cold Wine in the Fridge

The lounge also offered the oddest men & women’s bathrooms signs that I’d seen in a while. I think they were supposed to be an Eel and a Coco De Mer Nut but they appeared to be much more oriented towards the human anatomy in a phallic manner than the artist initially likely intended.

The most entertaining washroom sights I’ve seen an Airport

The Bottom Line: The Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge

The lounge itself was a comfortable place. The best feature was the outstanding liquor selection which included the locally made Takamaka Seychelles rum. Overall, the lounge was much nicer than the Air Tahiti Nui Business class lounge or the Fiji Airways temporary lounge that we had last experienced on our island departures. It was very good for an island lounge and pretty good for African standards. It still didn’t beat the awesome Air Mauritius Amendée Lounge in Mauritius which is still my all time favourite African lounge.

If you visited the Salon Vallée de Mai Premium Lounge, did you get an opportunity to try the locally made Takamaka Seychelles Rum ?

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