Even the name comes with a pearly pink sigh of delight; rolling off the tongue as sweet as split coconuts on deserted beaches, enchanted islands, and French words that rise like music in star laden nights. The Seychelles makes us whimsical and with more than a hundred islands to explore – who can blame us? In the capital of Victoria, the streets are surrounded by virginal rainforest, spiraling mountain peaks, and breathtaking beaches – sixty no less.
Over on Praslin you can play golf until the sun is replaced with the moon, and on La Digue, rare birds watch you ride bicycles curiously from the branch of some exotic tree. The Seychelles is certainly a place of splendor; a spot to sail catamarans from island to island, to swim alongside wise old turtles, and to lose yourself in the true meaning of barefoot bespoke luxury. Here’s where to stay, dine and play when lost in the fairytale archipelago of the East African poster child…
Where to Stay
Picking through the string of islands that make up the Seychelles is no easy feat, some are lost to ghost stories, others are ripe with pirate lore, and more still are no bigger than a pinky fingernail surrounded by the flush of Indian blue ocean. Desert island dreamers will have their fill with the scores of luxury resorts to be found spread across the sea.
The Four Seasons is one of the brightest and best on the main stay island of Mahe and is forever topping the charts when it comes to best luxury hotels in the world. With its splendid views of Petit Anse’s horseshoe bay, and gorgeous secret villas on soaring stilts above the treetops, it’s no wonder honeymooners come and stay and lose themselves in the tiered gardens and sunken tubs.
Hailed as one of the most luxurious private island resorts in the whole of the Seychelles, the Six Senses Zil Pasyon has turned a former coconut plantation on the island of Felicite into something spectacular. Wraparound windows in the villas, endless infinity pools with views out to Cocos Island, well stocked libraries and wine cellars and an absolute commitment to an eco-friendly existence makes this place a winner.
The private island of Fregate echoes with whispers of buried treasure, eerie walking trails, and tons of Aldabra giant tortoises. The resort boasts just 16 private villas, meaning that tortoises outnumber humans on this nature tangled island. Fregate is not one of those pristine places, but this is certainly part of its charm – the night sky fills with bats and you share your sun lounger with a turtle laying eggs. Other guests are scarce, meaning you can give yourself fully to the rainfall showers, private pools, and organic fruits and vegetables adorning the menu.
Where to Dine
French joie de vivre made it across the Indian Ocean and into the heart of the Seychelles, as illustrated in the restaurant Marie Antoinette. The most famous eatery across the islands, the colonial style building has even been awarded national monument status with its pale plantation shutters and . The menu is unabashedly Creolean with bat curry, battered parrotfish and sweet bottles of Chablis.
Italian grace meets creole spice at La Scala, one of the best restaurants within the radius of Mahe, overlooking Bel Ombre. The husband and wife team behind the most fantastic fusion food ever encountered are truly passionate about flavor perfection. The beautiful restaurant rests on granite rocks, an old-world vision of white linen and carved archways. The fish is always freshly caught, the pasta handmade and as soft as angel’s hair, and the wine list as good and robust as you would expect in a true Italian owned joint.
Award winning Thai food in an award-winning setting can be found at the Banyan Tree’s Saffron Restaurant. The Colonial house setting sets the scene for an utterly romantic dinner with dazzling pond views surrounded by rich greenery. Whether you swing by an elegant afternoon tea or if you bag a table for sunset cocktails, crisped fish and fragrant curries, you won’t be disappointed by the hotels signature spot to dine.
Where to Play
Play comes easy in a place like the Seychelles and there is an island to match your every need. The island of Praslin is the place for stepping back to prehistoric times, to seek out black parrots beneath the towering palms in the UNESCO Vallee de Mai is a rare and memorable way to spend an afternoon.
The finest beaches in the world can be found in the Seychelles and none are as awe inspiring as Anse Source D’Argent. Smooth granite boulders scattered across the fine white sands and flanked by translucent green waters invites you to dive right in over and over again. Other beaches worth checking out is the jungle flanked Baie Lazare and pretty Petite Anse.
Port Victoria should feature on every travelers to do list when touching down in the Seychelles. The capital is home to the impressive Botanical Gardens brimming with exotic flora, flying foxes and tremendous giant tortoises. Sir Selwyn Clarke Market sees the locals come out in droves to sell their freshest fruits, and you can even pick up exquisite farmed pearls among the rainbow bright vegetables and freshly laid eggs.