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3. June 2021
by Varun Sharma
The island nation of Seychelles can be found in the Indian Ocean around 1,600 kilometres east of Kenya. Enjoying a tropical climate, the Seychelles consists of over 115 islands – many granitic, most uninhabited – centred around Mahé which is home to the nation’s largest city and smallest capital in Africa, Victoria. The Seychelles is one of the three Indian Ocean dream destinations – along with the Maldives and Mauritius – and the luxury hotels it offers are among the finest in the world.
The Seychellois take environmentalism seriously, every property does its part in protecting endangered species and encourages guests to learn about the amazing flora & fauna that the country boasts. The islands offer something for everyone from superb family resorts to intimate properties and from unparalleled scuba diving holidays to golfing breaks.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the best hotels in the Seychelles:
North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, Seychelles - 10/10
Arguably the finest Marriott property on Earth. Originally opened in 2003 with just 11 villas, it has retained its size but its guest facilities have been continually upgraded. This granitic island is 201 hectares in area (500 acres) and its highest point is 180 metres above sea level. The island is swathed in rainforest. Île du Nord is located 27 kilometres north of Mahé– a 15-minute journey by helicopter. North Island is the ultimate family holiday destination – ten of the villas feature 2 bedrooms and “Number 11” is the only couple’s accommodation – i.e., a single bedroom. The ten are a delightful 450 square metres in area with “11” standing at 750 square metres. Each villa is furnished to the highest quality, feature a plunge pool, and most importantly has direct access to the beach. There are four main beaches on the island each as wonderful as the next.
The main “piazza” is home to a library, dive centre, boutique, and lounge/bar/restaurant – which serves delicious haute cuisine and holiday food. The resort boasts a 45-metre infinity swimming pool. There are no cars on the island – just bicycles and electric buggies. A highlight of any visit to the island is to the Environment Centre which educates guests on the island’s conservation and sustainability efforts and focuses on the giant Aldabra tortoises that have made North Island their home.
Frégate Island Private, Seychelles – 10/10
There are few island resort experiences in the world that can top a visit to Frégate Island. This 2 square kilometres slice of heaven is located 55 kilometres east of Mahé, just four degrees south of the Equator. It is accessible by helicopter (preferred) and by ferry. The island has 13 private pool villas, 3 private pool twin villas and the Banyan Hill Estate – a 3-villa retreat. Each villa comes with butler service. 85% of the fresh produce served to guests is grown on the island by hydroponics. There are seven main beaches on Frégate and Anse Victorin – with its soft, white, fine sand – is arguably the best beach in the world.
Frégate offers all the facilities and amenities that every luxury property boasts from a dive centre to swimming pool and spa but the island offers so much more of an ethereal experience. The island’s highest point is 125 metres above sea level on Mont Signal. Guests can trek around and through Frégate enjoying the magnificent forest, flora & fauna. There are around two thousand giant Aldabra tortoises roaming the island who are quite cordial. Frégate is home to the Seychelles blue pigeon and magpie-robin – both endangered species until the owners of the island set up a pioneering rescue and breeding program. Every year around 85 hawksbill turtles shuffle up the beaches to lay their eggs – during the day. The sight of these adult turtles laying eggs is amazing but if you there when the eggs hatch and the hatchlings make their way into the Ocean, it is unforgettable. Frégate is heaven on earth.
Six Senses Zil Payson – Félicité Island - 9/10
Opened in 2016 the delightful Six Senses Zil Payson is located on the private island of Félicité. It is located 55 kilometres northeast of Mahé – 20 minutes by helicopter from the airport or 20 minutes by speedboat from the nearby island of Praslin. The granitic island is 264 hectares in area – featuring white, fine-sand filled beaches, areas of forestation and superb locations for the ultimate Indian Ocean sunrises and sunsets. There are 28 one-bedroom villas – some with beach access and some set in the hills – and villas & residences that range from two bedrooms up to four bedrooms. There is a villa for every occasion! Each boasts an infinity pool and all the luxuries you would expect from one of the finest resorts in the Seychelles including a GEM or Guest Experience Maker – or butler to you and me …
The resort has a Six Senses spa offering world-class treatments. There is also a yoga pavilion, saltwater soaking pool, main resort swimming pool, dive centre, children’s club, and hiking/jogging trails. There are several dining options - all offering organic products - including all-day dining at the Island Café, Ocean Kitchen – a meat free restaurant, Lakanbiz – for rum & cigars and the Koko Poolside Bar. Six Senses Zil Payson offers cooking lessons and a highlight is a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Vallée de Mai on nearby Praslin Island. Zil Pasyon translates as “passion island” and is surely one of the best Indian Ocean honeymoon destinations.
Constance Lémuria, Praslin – 9/10
Golfers that play together, stay together – so the saying goes. Constance Lémuria opened to great fanfare in 1999 – with a full refurbishment in 2016 – and boasts the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles – along with tennis courts, PADI dive centre, The U by Constance Spa, swimming pools, fitness centre and a whole host of ocean-based sports. The golf course itself is tough for professionals (back tees) but playable for amateurs. The 15th hole is a Par-3 that dives 150 metres from tee to green – it is superb. Constance Lémuria sits on the north-east of Praslin which is just an hour by ferry from Mahé. Praslin is most famous for the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Vallée de Mai – a must visit. The resort is family-friendly and offers 105 suites and villas – all close to a fine-white-sand filled beach. The accommodation varies from one-bedroom up to three-bedrooms – some with private pools and spa cabanas.
The resort sits on Anse Kerlan which borders the ocean – only part of the beach is suitable for bathing due to the currents. Being a sizeable resort – for Seychelles standards – there are a host of dining and drinking options. Legend offers all-day international dining, DIVA is located at the golf course and offers golf-bites during the day and in the evening transforms into a chic modern-cuisine restaurant, Nest serves Creole seafood and Takamaka is easy food by the beach. Of the bars, the DIVA offers a decent selection of whiskies from around the world. The highlight of the resort is when endangered hawksbill and green turtles make their annual pilgrimage to Anse Kerlan to lay eggs and subsequently the hatchlings make their way into the ocean. It is a beautiful sight.
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There are two Four Seasons properties in the Seychelles – both as magnificent as each other.
The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Mahé – on Petite Anse – is located on the largest and most populated island in the Seychelles – Mahé. Being so close to the capital city – Victoria – and indeed international airport – this resort offers superlative service and facilities for guests that prefer not to explore any of the other islands that make up the Seychelles. The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles has 67 rooms, 5 suites and 27 residences. Each room is the height of luxury – typical Four Seasons! Expect plunge pools, views, comfortable beds & sofas, delightful furnishings – all wrapped up with that legendary service that the Four Seasons is internationally renowned for.
The Syel Spa offers 8 treatments rooms and every kind of treatment imaginable. Koi serves Japanese cuisine – with seafood sourced locally, Zez for Asian Izakaya and Kannel for Creole dining. The resort has one main swimming pool for guests, a club for younger guests, dive centre and yoga studio. Located on Mahé, excursions off-property are a must. Because the flora & fauna of the Seychelles is so colourful and distinct, early visitors to the islands deemed it the location of the Biblical Garden of Eden. A visit to Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden is a must – it is truly spectacular. Taking a zip-line adventure through the island’s rainforest is an enjoyable and hair-raising experience. Also, worth a look-in are the rum factories and tea plantations – ensure that you are driven as some of the rums are potent! A trip to the nation’s capital city Victoria is necessary - to sample the local cuisine and indeed meet the resident Seychellois who are genuinely friendly.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island – 9/10
This island experience from Four Seasons starts with a 35-minute direct flight from Mahé landing on its own airstrip. Desroches is located 227 kilometres from Victoria and sits on the ridge of a submerged crater. Unlike most of the islands of the Seychelles, Île Desroches is surrounded by coral – making diving or snorkelling a must. There are 61 rooms, 10 suites and 13 residences available but in truth these are all superb villas that are sit on a white-sand beach. Each is sensational and some come with their own pools – but who needs a pool when you have the ocean! The resort does have a main swimming pool, fitness facility, yoga centre and a club for younger guests. The Circles of Connection Spa has five treatment rooms and all the treatments that one could want or need. Claudine offers guests all-day dining, the Lighthouse – which was indeed originally a working lighthouse – serves delightful dinners with a view and the Deli which prepares coffees, teas, sandwiches, and picnics.
The island is around 4 square kilometres in area and boasts 13 kilometres of sand beaches. The Coral and Aquarium beaches are a must-visit as is the Tortoise Sanctuary which is home to a colony of giant Aldabra tortoises. For keen scuba divers, the famous Desroches Drop is an enthralling experience not to be missed.
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Denis Private Island – 9/10
This island resort offers arguably the most off-grid experience in the Seychelles. Sixty kilometres from Mahé, Denis is the second most north-eastern island in the country – with Bird Island winning that accolade. Denis boasts no mobile telephone signal or internet or even televisions in the rooms – this is a modern take on Robinson Crusoe! The lack of technology is a chance for guests to kick off their shoes and get back the basics of an island-paradise holiday. While guests are offered the luxury experience, Denis has a very serious side to it – that of conservation – especially for birdlife. The resort is 95 kilometres from Mahé – but is only a 30-minute flight away by small aircraft.
Denis offers just 25 beach cottages – one bedroom – but with the facility to sleep up to 3 extra younger guests. Only one has a plunge pool. There is a delightful resort pool but the ocean is still the best bathing location. The Sens spa offers only in-cottage treatments using Seychellois products. Denis has its own farm – growing vegetables and breeding pigs and chicken. With seafood directly from the ocean, all the cuisine served is always fresh and organic. There is only one restaurant and bar. Belle Etoile is a heaven on earth beach/lagoon and is where guests will see turtles swimming every day. The island is 131 hectares in area, much of it lush rainforest - and is home to many endemic bird species including the Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles fody and the Seychelles warbler. For twitchers, the island is magical … but anyone who visits Denis will experience an unforgettable sojourn.
Anantara Maia Seychelles, Villas – 9/10
Located on Mahé – close to the capital city Victoria – Maia is a 30-villa property situated on the west coast of the island between Anse Boileau and Anse Louis. It is a 30-minute car journey from the airport to the resort. Designed by the legend Bill Bensley, this resort offers both beach and in-rainforest ocean view villas. Each comes with its own plunge/swimming pool, sundeck, and Villa Host – there to ensure your stay is as smooth as the Seychelles is beautiful. Each villa sleeps four – and being a very family-friendly resort, Anantara Maia Seychelles has become a favourite for luxury travellers to the island as it offers a fabulous Beyond All inclusive rate.
“Anywhere, anytime” is the resort’s moniker when it comes to the food offerings. It is wonderful to be served meals at anytime of the day in the villas but Tec-Tec is also available for the restaurant experience. Here you are offered five cuisines from five chefs – and that features Creole, Indian, Mediterranean, Asian and international dishes. The Sunset Bar is home to the resident mixologists who can create a mean Manhattan or just a serve a flute of fine Champagne from the Wine Cellar. Here, guests can enjoy one of the 250 plus wines while gorging on a special Tasting Menu. The Anantara Spa is home to the hotel’s relaxation and rejuvenation centre. There is also a fitness area, water sports, snorkelling, diving, hiking and island excursions on offer. Worth visiting are the Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market in Victoria, the island’s amazing beaches and the beautifully decorated temples and churches.
Raffles Seychelles – Praslin – 9/10
When it opened in 2011, Raffles Seychelles was very much a work in progress as the landscaping made the 40-acre site look barren, but after a decade of growth, it now not only looks amazing but resort has blossomed into of the finest in the Indian Ocean. Praslin Island is most famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site - Vallée de Mai – complete with the Coco de Mer nut, 400-year-old trees and the rarest bird on the planet, the black parrot. On landing on Mahé, guests can make their way to Praslin and indeed Raffles by helicopter (directly), via small aircraft (15-minute flight and 25-minute drive) or by ferry (an hour plus a 20-minute drive).
The resort has 86, one or two bedroom villas from garden view pool villas to beachfront villas. They start at an enormous 125 square metres and just get bigger! Raffles Seychelles sits on Anse Takamaka but is close to Anse Lazio – one of the most beautiful on the island. From the resort you can see Curieuse Island which is uninhabited by people and where nature has been allowed to flourish. The resort offers guests a 13-suite spa, two outdoor swimming pools of 45 metres in length and the Sugar Palm Club for younger visitors. The concierge desk or indeed the villa-butler can arrange golf at the nearby Constance Lémuria resort. Losean offers daily buffet and Indian Ocean-inspired cuisine in the evenings, Curieuse serves Asian dishes and the Sushi Room creates amazing and authentic Japanese fare. The resort provides faultless Raffles service and is a fabulous choice for couples and those with families alike.
Le Nautique Luxury Waterfront Hotel – La Digue – 8/10
This delightful guesthouse on the island of La Digue has just seven bedrooms but has earned the reputation as offering one of the finest guest experiences in the Seychelles. La Digue is the fourth-largest of the granitic islands in the Seychelles and the third most populated. The island is accessed from by helicopter or ferry from Mahé (90 minutes) or Praslin – which is just 15 minutes away. The island is named after a French exploration ship that visited it in 1768. La Passe is the main conurbation and Le Nautique is just a few minutes from there, sitting majestically on Anse La Reunion Beach. The hotel is a family affair – now owned by Natasha St Ange who can trace back her roots on the island to the 1900s. Le Nautique Luxury Waterfront Hotel offers clean, well-designed, and comfortable rooms that overlook the ocean.
It prides itself on its personal service and the cuisine it serves is the finest on the island. Le Nautique Waterfront Restaurant delivers local and international cuisine all day. Guests can expect Seychellois cuisine which reflect the Oriental, French, and Indian influences on the nation. The hotel is particularly famous for the cocktails that are concocted for its guests. The hotel does have a swimming pool that overlooks the ocean and it also can arrange excursions for guests both nautical and on the island itself. Locals and indeed guests get around La Digue by bicycle or if you are brave, ox-cart! There are very, very few cars! A few minutes from the hotel is L’Union - a heritage spice plantation – that is also home to one of the most photographed and spectacular beaches in the world, the legendary Source d’Argent. La Digue is home to several endangered species including the Paradise Flycatcher – but the island has launched a successful campaign to increase the numbers of these beautiful birds. The island is also home to giant Aldabra tortoises, Seychelles coconut crabs, sheath-tailed bats, and many geckos. La Digue is a delightful Seychelles island and the Le Nautique Luxury Waterfront Hotel is only place to stay on it.
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