15 Feb The Seychelles – Experiencing The Luxury Found Within This Beautiful Archipelago
The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 picture perfect islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, situated off East Africa. It’s home to a number of exquisite beaches, coral reefs, nature reserves, unique flora, fine cuisine, excellent water activities, vibrant culture as well as rare animals such as giant tortoises, black parrot, sea turtles and the symbolic paradise flycatcher bird.
My Creole adventure began in Paris with a direct flight to Mahe with Air Seychelles which was a very pleasant experience. The cabin crew ensured all my needs were catered for and with a great selection on offer, such as on-board entertainment, Wi-Fi, mobile connectivity, tasty three course meals with a variety of snacks and beverages, my flight seemed to pass by effortlessly.
I had now arrived in the Seychelles and the temperature was a tropical 27 degrees Centigrade which was delightful. I was now looking forward to exploring and discovering the very best of luxury lifestyle the island’s had to offer.
My first stop took me to Praslin which is the second largest island in the Seychelles after Mahe. This small haven is blessed with some of the most unique flora and fauna and is also home to the world famous Vallee de Mai where the Coco-de-mer grows. I was amazed by this incredible double lobed coconut which is perfectly shaped, astonishingly formed just like the female pelvis and the seeds can weigh anything between 15kg to 30kg. There are over 8,500 people living on Praslin and it is evident to see that its gentle and relaxed way of life make it very popular with visitors.
I was staying at the impressive Constance Lemuria Seychelles which is a fabulous 5 star outpost and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World property nestled along the northwest coast of the island of Praslin. This exclusive sanctuary has just undergone a complete renovation of which I was looking forward to delving into further during my stay. The sheer size of this idyllic retreat is vast and covers over 101 hectares of land, all surrounded by rich greenery, vegetation, tropical gardens and three sublime beaches all in close proximity. There are 105 suites which come under the categories of Junior Suites, Senior Suites, Bedroom Villa and Presidential Villa.
I was staying in a gorgeous Junior Suite which is set in the Seychellois gardens and only 15 meters from the shore. A very spacious area boasting 52sq meters of bonafide affluence at its very best, constructed in wood, marble, limestone and pink granite. The soft furnishings were adorned with warm turquoise, sea blue and caramel cream pastel colours which blended perfectly. A calm, inviting and serene accommodation, gracefully decorated and designed in a minimalist but elegant fashion. This well appointed air-conditioned suite consisted of a satellite TV, music/DVD player, mini-mac, Nespresso machine, tea and coffee making facilities, free Wi-Fi and a well stocked mini-bar. The bathroom quarters were bright, airy and roomy too with double vanities, a stand alone bath tub and a separate shower with overhead rain shower fittings. The divine private terrace and balcony facing the Indian Ocean completed the palatial look and feel of this handsome residence.
Getting around this monumental hideaway will definitely work up an appetite as I found out and I was looking forward to learning about the gastronomy options on offer. The hotel has four restaurants and five bars in total of which I sampled three restaurants during my stay.
Legend Restaurant is located in the main building, set on a hillside with great beach views, surrounded by an abundance of vegetation and copious amounts of green landscape.There is a wide selection of excellent buffet style cuisine for breakfast, lunch or dinner on offer.
DIVA is the fine dining restaurant of the hotel, located by its golf course and serves ultra modern, flavoursome, Mediterranean cuisine which is skillfully presented coupled with superb service too. The 86 cover restaurant sparkles at night thanks to its rich, chic layout by French interior designer Marc Hertrich. I really enjoyed the Beef short rib, braised with Guinness beer and fresh greens for my main course which was sumptuous and easy on the palate. For dessert I went for the Yuzu mousse, crisp arlette and preserved lemon compote which was very refreshing.
However, my personal favourite of all the restaurants I visited was The Nest which offered crisp fresh seafood from the Indian Ocean and is located advantageously on the rock peninsula between the two Anse Kerlan beaches. It is aptly named The Nest as birds very often nest under the deck and between the rocks around it. This appealing and well designed 58 cover eatery overlooks the bay, is round in shape, decorated with branches and has a polished wood finish. The deck located “on the rocks” behind the restaurant offers breathtaking views out towards the Indian Ocean and is the most private location of the hotel designed for very exclusive dinners and the perfect place to celebrate those special occasions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the laid back and relaxed ambience of The Nest, the cuisine and service were first class too. During lunch the views to the beach are fantastic, allowing guests to spot the tender flight of the Paradise flycatcher birds during the day whilst dining. For lunch I had the Reef fish and prawns served chilled, herb marinated with a tangy curry dressing and a touch of Chilli which was delicious. For my main course, I was recommended to try the Seafood Penne pasta which is a firm favourite with guests and I could see why this was such a crowd pleaser.
The Nest transforms at night and the soft lighting combined with the soft acoustic music being played live by the guitarist felt very intimate and was certainly well received by all the diners.
My dinner that evening was Creole fused and for starters I tried the Prawn tortellini in a Creole style shellfish broth which was sublime. Sticking with the Creole theme, for my main course I opted for the Kari Koko Sesel which is a traditional Seychelles curry, that can be served with either fish, prawns, octopus or chicken.
I went with the hot, spicy chicken option which was full of fragrance, flavour and lashings of coconut cream. I really enjoyed this savoury dish and I was told it is by far the island’s most favored dish and is the focal point of most family tables across the islands. I was more than full at this stage but I had just enough room for the signature Coconut experience ice cream dessert which if you love coconut, then you’ll love this dreamy frozen treat.
At Constance Lemuria Seychelles there is so much to explore and discover from its immaculate 18 hole Championships golf course which is the only one of its kind in the Seychelles, watching the sunset at the stunning 15th tee, indulging in a relaxing spa massage treatment at U-Spa, right through to enjoying an exclusive picnic hamper on Anse Georgette Beach.
However, I felt so fortunate to witness with other guests the Constance Lemuria Seychelles Turtle Manager release 120, 3 day old rare baby green turtles on Anse Kerlan Beach.
The endangered hawksbill sea turtle and green turtles return year after year to the quiet, unspoiled beaches on the island of Praslin between October and February. Each female turtle can lay up to a thousand eggs a season, returning to the beach to lay as many as five times and laying up to 200 eggs at a time. This was a truly magical moment to see the baby turtles move down to a new life in the sea.
In short, the Constance Lemuria Seychelles is a world class property designed for comfort, relaxation and rejuvenation. I thoroughly enjoyed all the amenities and facilities on offer and can see why this outstanding hotel which offers top drawer service is enjoyed by families, couples and honeymooners from all over the world.
My next stop was to visit La Digue which is the fourth largest island in the Seychelles and is a 15 minute ferry ride from Praslin. This diminutive island has a population of 2,800 people and is approximately five kilometers by scarcely three kilometers wide. This sleepy wonderland boasts a variety of unblemished beaches, pink granite formations, coconut palms, forest groves and creole colonial architecture.
I found the best way to travel around La Digue was by bicycle, however, you can easily get around the island via their trademark Ox-carts, taxi’s or by foot as everything can be reached and covered within an hour or so. I really enjoyed the slow and tranquil pace of La Digue and I thoroughly recommend a stroll on the Anse Source D’Argent beach, it’s one of the most photographed beaches in the world and it simply took my breath away.
My final stop was to Mahe which is Seychelles’ main island and home to the capital Victoria. There are approximately 90,000 people living on the island and the hustle and bustle of everyday life was evident in contrast to the almost hypnotic lifestyle on La Digue and Praslin.
Whilst in Mahe I had the opportunity to explore its lively and colourful market in Victoria which gave me a real feel for the Seychellois way of life. Whilst I meandered around the streets of Victoria one of the most prominent features on show is The Victoria Clocktower. This famous landmark of Seychelles’ small capital has acted as a focal point for nearly 100 years and is an elegant replica of the clock Big Ben in London.
My next stop was to visit Mission Lodge which affords one of the most astonishing views of Mahe’s west coast. Once the site of a farm and boarding school for liberated slave children back in 1876 and was known then as ‘Venn Town’ and then renamed ‘Capucin’. As I stood peacefully at the highest peak of Mission Lodge with wondrous views of the vast mountain landscape, the enormous azure ocean with majestic tropical birds gliding overhead, I couldn’t help but think I was amongst natural beauty at its best.
After a day of exploring Mahe I was looking forward to dinner at Trader Vic’s, an international branded concept restaurant and bar, based within the five star, blissful surroundings of The H Resort Beau Vallon Beach retreat.
Trader Vic’s is a stylish tropical-themed restaurant with Polynesian cuisine, rum-laced cocktails, Latin sounds, island fused décor and home to the famous Mai Tai cocktail, created back in 1944 and literally means “the best”. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the menu a mixture of diverse tastes of world cuisine, using a Chinese wood fire which was a dramatic centre-piece within the restaurant that allows diners to witness their food being cooked to absolute perfection.
I started with a Puerto Principe which was a creamy Pineapple mocktail that tasted heavenly.
For starters I went for the signature Cosmo Tidbits which was an attractive sharing platter that consisted of small, tasty Crispy prawns, crab Rangoon, Char siu pork and BBQ spare ribs. This followed swiftly by some Beef Cho-Cho which was Rare beef skewers, ginger Sake sauce on a flaming Hibachi.
For my main course I opted to try the fabulous Crispy Duck roll, which consisted of a morerish five spice marinated duck, mu shu pancakes, scallions, cucumber and a tangy homemade plum sauce that went down well.
Next was a sumptuous 14oz “New York” striploin steak with Lyonnaise potatoes and creamy spinach, closely followed by an Indonesian Rack of Lamb which was Sate and onion marinated, Singapore-style curried rice noodles, BBQ pineapple, mango chutney and peanut butter sauce.
At this stage I was absolutely full from the outstanding cuisine on offer at Trader Vic’s and although the incredibly efficient and friendly staff tried to tempt me with their signature Strawberry Rum Baba dessert which was made up of Trader Vic’s dark rum, strawberries and chocolate cake, I had to politely decline.
Traders Vic’s is simply a food paradise with a world class selection of drinks and cocktails on offer. The laid back ambience, excellent service and welcoming staff ensured my experience at Trader Vic’s was truly memorable.
In short, the luxury on offer in the Seychelles is on a remarkable level and it is no wonder why this little slice of paradise set in the Indian Ocean is simply known as the ‘Garden of Eden. The Seychelles offers peace, tranquility, incredible cuisine, flawless beaches and some of the rarest flora and fauna on the planet. This is a destination that truly appeals to the discerning solo traveller, couples, families and honeymooners searching for that unforgettable travel experience.