Our staff discover the sensational Seychelles
Having recently returned from the Seychelles, I yearn to be back. Both Gill and I, the two lucky souls from reservations, were invited to visit a variety of hotels in the Seychelles. As I watched the sunrise, I saw my first island of the Seychelles knowing it to be special.
Our journey started in Mahé, the largest of the 115 island country where we travelled northwest to the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa. This is a tranquil hotel with just 56 villas facing towards the ocean. It's a perfect place to relax and unwind, but also to venture out and explore from. Once we freshened up, we took a short drive to the H Hotel. With its grand chandelier entrance and bustle of staff with people enjoying themselves, I found it to be an exciting hotel. It also provides an ideal base for visiting Beau Vallon beach, one of the islands best known and popular beaches. Apart from its natural beauty, the beach also provides ample opportunity for windsurfing, kite surfing and scuba diving, to name but a few activities on offer. Many a happy hour could be spent here!
We returned back to the airport to take a short 30 minute flight to Denis Private Island. Such a small aircraft and a smooth ride that I vowed to stay awake for the return journey.... I had been told that I was missing out with my conservative snoring. Upon landing we are greeted with an offer of lunch, something we could not refuse knowing most ingredients would be sourced from the island’s farm, including home-grown vegetables and freshly caught fish. I truly loved the food at Denis Island, so much so, that I was silently glad of not being weighed when leaving!
Our next task was to explore! We took the bikes provided for an easy cycle around the island. I truly recommend this for quickly feeling acquainted with the island and its occupants. I felt very lucky to be staying here. Each cottage is beautifully decorated, with open air bathrooms and your own garden courtyard to relax in whilst listening to the sea - blissful! With no mobile reception, no in-room internet access, just beautiful beaches, incredible food, the privacy of your own home and so much natural beauty. I will always remember star gazing whilst listening to the sound of the waves after a great meal; bliss does not fully express how I felt at that moment.
Conservation is key to life on Denis Island, and we were treated to a tour of the island by a knowledgeable conservationist. I was glad to meet Toby the tortoise at his proud age of 118. It was great fun learning about the island, particularly its rare bird species. Gill managed to spot a Hawksbill within a short time, and with our guide’s help, we managed to learn a lot about the islands inhabitants. My only wish when leaving the island was to spend more time here. I tried to contest my departure, but there was much more to see.
After a short flight back to Mahé we were transferred to the Banyan Tree. Arriving here is a treat, an amazing entrance to this charming colonial building fronted by a grand Banyan tree. There is an oasis of calm, all of the 60 villa’s include pools with 28 on the beachfront. It was impossible not to enjoy the feeling of relaxing in your own pool whilst looking out to the sea, such a romantic retreat.
During our stay on Mahé we also visited Constance Ephelia Resort. With a wide variety of activities on offer, I can understand why this resort would be great for families, friends or a romantic treat.
With our interlude at Mahé, we took a short flight to Praslin. There are regular scheduled flights throughout the day between Mahé and Praslin. Upon arrival it was impossible not to notice the relaxed pace and charm of Praslin. We took the opportunity to find out more about the island by taking a mini trek though the Vallee de Mai (Seychelles’ second UNESCO World Heritage site), followed by a much needed visit to the beautiful beach of Anse Lazio.
For keen golfers I recommend our next home for the night, Constance Lemuria, with its 18-hole golf course offering a variable grade of course. It's easy to imagine enjoying a stay here with friends or with family, it's a great place to explore and the children’s club also looks fun. For the romantic, it would be impossible not to fall in love with its natural beauty.
If a more relaxed stay was needed, then L’Archipel Hotel gives you ample chance of this. It is a tranquil place to relax as it offers ocean views from its perfect and very beautiful hillside perch. This really is a great place to unwind from the world, but still feel connected with free WIFI and lots of activities such as snorkelling, paddling, kayaking, boat trips, fishing and great places to take an amble or a cycle ride. Whilst dusk falls, you have the option to relax within the hotel or venture out for the evening.
If you need something very special, then Raffles will always be my first choice. All villas include a private plunge pool so you can cool off whilst enjoying the view. I loved the villas, it would be impossible not to appreciate your stay here, whether you opt for a breathtaking Ocean View Villa, or the privacy of a Garden View Villa. For me, it was the attention to detail throughout my stay which gave me a warm impression that everything possible would be done to help make your stay memorable.
Our next treat was to visit the island of La Digue. Taking the Cat Rose ferry from Praslin I was told the pace of life was more relaxed than Praslin. I honestly did not think it possible, but after our bike ride around the island passing others doing likewise I began to understand. We soon found ourselves at Domaine L’Orangeraie, with its beautiful architecture paying compliments to its surroundings. Each villa is truly unique with a calm but modern twist to its homes on the hillside. I recommend a stay here, perhaps by watching the sun set whilst relaxing by the beach, pool or perhaps the pool bar. I intend to return to La Digue again, perhaps to go snorkelling or to visit its iconic beach, Anse Source d’Argent, which is truly worth a visit!
Travelling by ferry back to Mahé, we began our journey to Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa. We were greeted at reception on Mahé with refreshments before taking the high-speed ferry across to Silhouette Island. We witnessed the most beautiful sunset during our travel to the island. Silhouette is the third largest island within the Seychelles archipelago and Hilton Seychelles Labriz is the only resort on the island. It is beautiful at night, with lit walkways and bridges over the pool. There is such variety for dining, wonderful places to explore, then (as we discovered in the morning) a very beautiful beach. The tropical beauty of the island urges you to explore or unwind in depending on your mood.
Our last full day found us back on Mahé where we were treated to lunch at the Four Seasons Seychelles. This is an exquisite, luxurious and very welcoming hotel. After lunch we were taken to the highest point of the resort providing incredible views of the Indian Ocean with glimpses of the villas sparsely decorating the hillside. I loved everything about this hotel. There are many activities available including snorkelling, surfing, trail walking and many more. I was particularly charmed by the idea of taking part in the conservation project of reattaching ruined coral, allowing it to grow again. It makes you want to return to see how the project is progressing.
Our journey in the Seychelles ended at Carana Beach Hotel. With just 40 chalets, this really is a very charming boutique hotel. Located right by the beach, we took our chance to go for a swim in the ocean whilst others relaxed on their loungers enjoying the sound of the waves and wildlife around them. I highly recommend staying in an Ocean View Pool Chalet with its private plunge pool looking out towards the ocean. I fondly remember spending time on my terrace looking up at the myriad of stars.
On completing my journey, I’m told that by having had breadfruit during my trip, I will return to the Seychelles. I would gladly return to all the islands I visited. My true wish would be to enjoy snorkelling, but I’m told by our driver, Daniel, I’m not allowed as I would scare the fish if I had consumed any sugar on that day. Honestly!