Kitouni means, er, 'naked bum' in Creole.
While accommodation in Réunion might not reach the stellar heights of Mauritius and the Seychelles, there is still plenty of choice. The smarter hotels tend to be concentrated around the coast and in the attractive mountain towns of Cilaos and Hell-Bourg. In the midrange bracket, there's a smattering of small family hotels and lots of chambres d'hôtes (B&Bs), the best of which offer good value for money. Budget travellers will find it hard to keep costs down in St-Denis and the coastal towns around St-Gilles-les-Bains, but elsewhere gîtes and the cheaper chambres d'hôtes fit the bill. Generally, for a double room you can expect to pay under €40 for budget accommodation, between €40 to €100 for midrange, and over €100 for top-end accommodation.
It is wise to book well in advance, particularly in high season (the mainland France and local school holidays, particularly July, August and around Christmas), when the best places fill up weeks, if not months, ahead. If you're planning a hiking trip in September or October, it's also imperative to book gîtes de montagnes as early as possible, as these months are the busiest and there's only a limited number of places available.
Each year, the Centrale de Réservation – Île de la Réunion, the former Maison de la Montagne et de la Mer, features updated listings of B&Bs, camp sites, gîtes d'étape and hotels.
Recommendations under Sleeping entries are in ascending order of price.
Kitouni means, er, 'naked bum' in Creole.
This villa has a compact but respectable collection of various-sized rooms – try to snaffle a sea-facing one. The real bonus here is the location – it's les pieds dans l'eau (right by the beach). The pool is a bit of a joke, though.
There's nothing Moorish in this modern building by the turn-off for the beach, except the owner's origins. The six flats are characterless but fully equipped, well proportioned and perfectly serviceable, with the added bonus of a pool.
A cluster of small cottages scattered amid gardens that carpet a knoll. The furnishings are tired but it's functional and serviceable.
There's a fresh feel in this modernish venture on the main road. Spruce rooms, shiny-clean toilets, air-con, an onsite restaurant and a pool are the order of the day here. The catch? It lacks charisma.
It's a shame. This hotel boasts a sensational location, right above the rocky shoreline, but it's in dire need of an overhaul and, as it is, can't be recommended. There are plans to renovate it extensively – check while you're there.
The Géraniums is a tad overrated but nonetheless of a good standard, especially if you nab a room with mountain views; avoid the rooms that overlook the parking lot. It's in Le Vingt-Quatrième on the main road south of Bourg-Murat.
Has two doubles.
The most obvious choice if funds are short, this youth hostel occupies an enticing villa in a tranquil neighbourhood, about 3km from the centre (follow the Ravine des Citrons sign).
Four four-bed dorms. Good views from the terrace.
If you want to feel close to nature, this isolated mountain getaway couldn't be more perfect. Sitting on a sloping terrain and clad in wood, it feels like a hunting chalet.
The panoramic views and the secluded location, right at the start of the forest road, are the biggest perks to staying in this rural hotel with Creole architecture. Otherwise, the atmosphere is a bit staid with functional rooms.
It's au naturel at this hedonistic, gay-friendly place almost next door to Kitouni. Guests are allowed (if not incited) to swim naked in the gleaming pool.
This beautifully manicured haven is run with care by a couple from Alsace – saffron yellows on the facade, cosy reds on the floors, natural stones, a lovely pool – but it's missing something to bring it all together… something like soul.
In this immaculate B&B occupying a massive villa not far from the seafront, the nine rooms exemplify functional simplicity with no knick-knacks to clutter things up, just painted walls as well as back-friendly beds.
This well-run three-star abode is set in a 3-hectare garden beside the roundabout in the middle of town. There's an onsite restaurant.
One of the best things about this inoffensive inn is the road to it, which travels through sugar-cane fields despite being only a couple of kilometres from the coast.
The 600m-long access road is dreadfully steep, but you'll be rewarded with sensational views over the coast.
Another great place to commune with nature, further up the Route Forestière. There are four rooms with virginal-white walls and spick-and-span bathrooms in a Creole-style building in harmony with the environment.
Beds are in five- to 11-bed dorms. Also has three doubles and a small grocery store.
A good find in a bucolic property, behind the equestrian centre Écuries du Volcan. Has two doubles and two quads, all scrubbed attentively. The bungalow can sleep five. Bar breakfast (€5), no meals are provided but there are kitchen facilities.
The two dorms downstairs are OK, but the renovated double room upstairs really cuts the mustard, with its own terrace and views of Piton des Neiges.
This simple gîte de montagne is about 8km above the village of Basse Vallée, along the Route Forestière de Basse Vallée.
This well-run gîte is a secure spot to hang your rucksack, the rates are good and it's handily set on the main drag. It features four salubrious five- to six-bed rooms with well-scrubbed bathrooms. Tatiana is your friendly host.
If you wish to stop overnight to soak up this grandiose scenery, the 65-bed Gîte du Volcan boasts a stunning location, a 15-minute walk from Pas de Bellecombe. Digs are in four- to 12-bed dorms.
Has basic accommodation in five- to 12-person dorms. From the gîte to the viewpoint, it's a 30- to 45-minute walk.
Digs are in four- to six-bed dorms that feel a bit cramped. It's also possible to camp.
Two adjoining seven-bed dorms and a lovely camp site in a property that feels like the world's end. A bit pricey, but the welcome is affable, the setting serene and the food is among the best in Mafate.
Subscribe now and receive a 20% discount on your next guidebook purchase
© 2013 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.