Which Seychelles island is right for you?
Comprising more than a hundred Indian Ocean islands, the Seychelles is a tropical paradise. Here, you will find picture-perfect beaches, crystal-clear waters, rich marine life, myriad bird species and interesting flora and fauna. With direct flights from Kenya and South Africa, the archipelago is also a heavenly place to flop after your safari.
Once you’re there, it is surprisingly easy to explore, with light aircraft flights and regular, 80-seater ferries going between the more accessible Inner Islands and Mahé. However, some of the smaller and more exclusive isles are only accessible by helicopter, making for an exhilarating arrival as you fly low over the turquoise Indian Ocean, granite boulders and idyllic sandy shores.
I visited the Seychelles to experience these isles for myself. Here are some of our favourites and why they might be the best choice for you:
Best for privacy in paradise
The Holy Grail of the African Indian Ocean, North Island is known for its barefoot, Robinson Crusoe vibe. Don’t be fooled though – this is the ultimate escape for those looking for luxury and amazing service. The team has mastered the art of looking after guests in a professional yet friendly and relaxed way, and your personal butler and ‘experience host’ will be on hand to carry out your every desire.
There are only 11 very spacious villas here, each one with a master bedroom and vast indoor-outdoor bathroom, a shaded living area and a kitchen stocked with goodies. They also have their own plunge pool, huge deck with sunbeds, a garden leading onto the beach and a separate room with a drop-down cinema screen or two further beds if you are travelling with your children.
North Island is usually accessed by helicopter. Privacy is the name of the game here, and some guests hardly even leave their villa, as there is just no need. However, those who would like to socialise can head to the open-air bar and dining area. You can explore by bicycle or buggy. There are three stunningly picturesque beaches to enjoy, with a lovely, rustic (albeit serving lobster canapés with your cocktail) sunset bar and restaurant on the West Beach. The spa is also most definitely worth a visit for its view alone.
Although the price tag is undoubtedly high, it reflects the superlative experience. It is easy to see why our future king decided to honeymoon here.
Denis Private Island
Best for sustainable luxury + wildlife
Denis Private Island ticks all the things we look for in a beach: long enough for a walk without seeing anyone else, calm enough for wallowing, clear enough for snorkelling straight from the shore and boasting a cracking sunset view. If you want to just fall out of your room and into the sea, look no further. Being the only lodge here – and with just 25 rooms – you will feel as if you have the whole island to yourselves.
In addition to all of the expected watersports on offer, a fascinating buggy ride behind the scenes and around the whole island reveals a place that is fully sustainable, farms its own cattle, pigs and chickens, and even creates its own furniture. The lodge also promotes farm-to-table cuisine and has some remarkable conservation projects on the go, including the protection of birds, green and hawksbill turtles and giant Aldabra tortoises. This makes it the perfect escape for those keen to unwind with a clear conscience and enjoy unique wildlife experiences every day.
The giant tortoises near the main area are great fun to visit, and there is plenty of time to chat to them and tickle their necks, which they love! The in-house conservationist can take you to see the babies that are the result of a fantastic conservation project.
Best for spa lovers
Built among granite boulders along white, sandy beaches, Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Félicité Island is relatively new to the scene and certainly doesn’t disappoint. It feels like a James Bond set and is very slick – both in terms of its attentive, friendly staff and its design. Particularly cool is the minimalist style of the three- or four-bedroom private residences, where the glass-walled master suites’ glass-bottomed swimming pools are visible from the sitting room below. This contemporary look is reflected throughout the main area, with hammocks hanging over the ocean by the bar and a help-yourself ice-cream cart.
The oceanfront spa here is superb, boasting five double treatment villas built into the rocks, backed by the jungle and overlooking the Indian Ocean. Each one has a different view but all are equally magical. There is also a stunning saltwater pool, set up high, with a terrace for sunbathing, as well as a yoga and meditation pavilion. Holistic treatments are designed around Félicité’s fauna and flora, such as The Nature Journey or the Island Greens Manicure. It’s possible to arrange a consultation so you can design a personal spa programme.
Best for families
Mahé is the Seychelles’ largest island. Victoria, the country’s capital is here, which has interesting Creole architecture and a vibrant market. Most of our clients pass through on their way to the archipelago’s other isles, but there is something to be said for spending a few days here. Indeed, if you are tight on time or travelling with children, this could be your sole island of choice.
Just 40 minutes from the airport lies Constance Ephelia Mahé, a wonderful escape for families. Among the 360 rooms, there are plenty of two- and three-bedroom villas, each with their own swimming pool and privacy. There is endless entertainment for all ages, such as cycling, windsurfing, kayaking through the mangroves, rock-climbing and going out on the Hobie Cat. The Kids Club (for four- to 11-year-olds) arranges fun expeditions, watersports, arts and crafts, themed days and pizza and ice-cream making classes.
If you would prefer to steer clear of families, we suggest the glorious hillside villas, where only children over the age of 12 years are allowed and head to the hotel’s spa, the nation’s biggest, which has 18 treatment rooms in which you can relax and regenerate.
The Outer Islands
Best for divers
Those looking for incredible underwater topography should go to the Outer Islands. Desroches, home to a Four Seasons, is one of the bigger private islands, so there are plenty of beautiful beaches that you can cycle to or visit by buggy. The hotel also has a great watersports centre that is part of Blue Safaris, which operates in the Alphonse Group. The larger two- to three-bedroom residences, each with their own swimming pool, are perfect for groups.
However, if you’re more interested in seeing as many colours and varieties of marine creatures as possible, we can create an unforgettable island-hopping adventure on which you travel by boat between Mahé, Alphonse and the isolated atolls of Poivre, Astove and Cosmoledo. You will experience some of the Indian Ocean’s most pristine, white-sand beaches, lagoons and sea flats. On diving or snorkelling expeditions, you will observe a multitude of colourful fish, hawksbill and green turtles, manta rays and, if you're lucky, spinner dolphins and blue and melon-headed whales.
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