At these high-end beach hotels, any stay becomes a special occasion
It would be hard to imagine a more romantic destination than the Seychelles. Water doesn’t get any bluer. Sand doesn’t get any whiter. And nowhere else on Earth will you find ancient granite monoliths rising from garden-like settings of palms and flowering trees. Often lauded as the most scenic islands on the planet, the Seychelles are also a sanctuary for rare and exotic plants and animals. And then there are the beaches, which always make the “top-ten” and “best of” lists. This truly is the once-in-a-lifetime destination, ideal for honeymooner, second honeymooners or any couple looking to celebrate and share a special event. Such experiences are worth a splurge on a truly world-class resort. There are a number of premier and utterly romantic properties to choose from, and here are the three we consider the best of all.
Banyan Tree Seychelles
On the island of Mahe, Intendance Bay is known as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches in the Seychelles. And considering the competition, that’s saying something. With emerald green slopes rising above powder fine white sands, and imposing granite formations to accent the surf washed shoreline, it’s understandable why actor Peter Sellers and Beatles member George Harrison once chose this location for private retreats. In the years since, their bay front properties have been transformed into the Banyan Tree Seychelles resort, with 60 Creole-style villas spread across a landscape of palms and takamaka trees, offering both privacy and spectacular water views. The resort’s central buildings are styled to resemble a colonial plantation, with a spectacular beach view pool, award winning spa and the chef-acclaimed Au Jardin d’Epices restaurant, which pairs Creole-fusion culinary innovation with glamorous views of the ocean.
There is 24-hour cart service to connect villas to the resort’s central amenities and the beach, but once guests settle in to their private oasis of calm, they may not want to leave. Each villa is tucked into the jungle but also positioned for water views. Private terraces and pavilions include outdoor living and dining areas, and personal infinity edge plunge pools. Interiors are finished in a contemporary colonial style, feature floor-to– ceiling windows that add sense of spacious drama, and include couple centric features such as an indoor sunken bathtub and a king-sized bed. For the ultimate stay, guests can choose one of the resort’s five Intendance pool villas, which are located high on a rocky outcrop at the northern end of the beach.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
On the west coast of Mahe Island, the expansive grounds of the Four Seasons Seychelles spread across more than 170 hillside acres, and overlook the calm waters of a private cove. Here, the island’s iconic granite formations are scattered across a landscape of cinnamon trees and frangipani. To take full advantage of the setting, the resort created a collection of unique villas that combine the fantasy of tree house living with unforgettable vistas of a tropical island paradise. These villas deliver plenty of private personal space for couples, with terraces that include outdoor showers and a large plunge pool. Creole-inspired interiors are studies in elegant simplicity, with plush white bedding providing a counterpoint to the warm tones of natural wood. Even more spectacular are the resort’s two and three-bedroom suites and residence villas, which blend large outdoor areas with opulent furnishings.
In addition to powder fine white sand, the beach at the Four Seasons is blessed with calm waters ideal for swimmers and snorkelers. The resort offers a variety of water sports, and unlike some other high-end properties in the Seychelles, the Four Seasons is a family-friendly resort, with dedicated youth programs. With or without the youngsters, couples can indulge in pampering treatments at the hilltop spa, which commands the best views on the property. Sunset views of Petite Anse beach and the Indian Ocean can also be enjoyed at the Zez Lounge. Memorable dinners for two await at the adjacent restaurant, or at the oceanside dining room of Kannel, which serves premier seafood, Creole and Asian cuisines. The Four Season earns top marks for service that is both personal and unobtrusive. Guests often comment that though the property is expansive, the amenities and staff create an atmosphere with the feel of an intimate boutique resort.
Le Château De Feuilles
Small, secluded, spectacular and utterly romantic. With just nine rooms, and a fully attentive yet low-key service ethos, this boutique retreat has the feel of a good friend’s vacation home. And that friend has immaculate taste and a flair for the dramatic, as the Château De Feuilles perches high on the granite peak of Point Cabris, delivering panoramic views the Bay of St. Anne below. The garden-like grounds brim with oleanders, frangipani trees and bougainvillea, all sculpted to accentuate the unique forms of the island’s iconic rock formations. Villas continue the nature first theme, with exposed stonewalls, driftwood accents and furnishings, and palm-thatched rooms. The true wow factor is the view, and each room takes maximum advantage of the elevated surroundings with floor plans that blend indoor and outdoor spaces with a seamless flow.
Le Château De Feuilles is located on Praslin Island, near the Vallée de Mai. This UNESCO Heritage site is home to the rare coco de mer palm. The island is reached by short commuter flights from the international airport on Mahe, or by helicopter directly from the hotel. The relaxed and discreet setting makes the hotel a favorite with celebrities, but all guests are treated like stars. Complimentary car service gives on-call access to the beach, and the front desk can arrange activities such as diving, fishing, golf and day trips to Grande Soeur, which is a private island available only to hotel guests. The hotel’s Balinese spa sits at the peak of a hill, and includes an outdoor soak tub with 360-degree views of the island. As would be expected from a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux brand, the chefs at Le Château De Feuilles take dining to an art form. Fruits, vegetables and eggs come from onsite organic gardens, and local meats and seafood are incorporated into an innovative international cuisine that pays homage to local flavors. Dinners are particularly memorable, as four- and five-course meals are served by candlelight in an open-air setting that takes in sea and sky. It would be hard to imagine a more romantic setting anywhere.