Fine, white-sanded beaches and the multi-faceted play of colors within the sea: the view from the hotels in the Seychelles is breathtaking. The picturesque landscape gives a holiday feeling and the turquoise-blue waters between the islands are home to an undreamt-of oasis for colorful fish and spectacular coral gardens. This East African archipelago in the Indian Ocean consists of 115 islands, all with something special to offer—first and foremost, unspoiled natural beauty as you’ve never seen it.
If you’re looking to strike the perfect balance between luxurious seclusion and the opportunity to explore a new culture and land, the Seychelles’ largest island is a good place for you. Mahé, home to the capital, Victoria, as well as almost all of the population of the country, provides plenty of opportunity for traditional dining, shopping, and active excursions. Morne Seychellois National Park is crisscrossed by a circuit of hiking trails, and encompasses 20 percent of the island’s area. The park is best explored on foot, so as to give yourself time to explore the varied terrain, from thick forests to the Seychelles’ highest peak, Morne Seychellois. The hotels on Mahé, tucked between the forests, mountains, and sea boast award-winning in-house cuisine and chance for romantic packages, as well as family-oriented overnights. The actively-inclined will be in paradise at a luxurious hotel on the island’s coast. With included bike rental, cruise around the expansive resorts and down the immaculate coast and surrounding hills. Make use of the gym and tennis courts and then settle in at a multi award-winning spa for treatments that pride themselves on the freshness of their ingredients, and offering a totally immersive experience. If you need an escape from your escape, take advantage of your location with a quick foray into Victoria or a day-trip to the other wonderful beaches, restaurants, and shopping districts nearby.
Praslin is what you think about when you think about a tropical vacation: the world’s best beaches, a laidback energy, and really nothing else to do but lie around in the sun, eating, drinking, and swimming. Although it is the second-largest island in the archipelago, it’s vastly less populated than Mahé and that becomes obvious as you spread out on largely-unpopulated beaches. Anse Lazio Beach calls Praslin home and is worth a visit for its undisputed natural beauty, rated one of the most beautiful beaches on earth. Off these white-sanded beaches swim colorful fish and cute sting rays. The hotels on Praslin are picturesque and totally luxurious, some with butler service and deluxe villas, and all with a focus on curating the perfect tropical-holiday experience. All hotels come equipped with exclusive spa facilities, are situated within verdant gardens and right on the beach, and are primed for resetting in the company of the one(s) you love. Heading inland, nature-lovers should make a visit to Vallée De Mai a priority; this nature reserve, comprised of a natural rainforest, was once thought to be the Garden of Eden. La Digue, the third-most-populated island boasts an aura of deceleration, home to only about 2,000 inhabitants. With the only real development on the west coast, the whole eastern half of the island remains open for exploration, via cycling or hiking. The island is lined with paths of varying difficulty, though none of them terribly long as the island is only about 10 square kilometers. With opportunity also for surfing, kayaking, and rock climbing, La Digue is primed for active trips through vanilla plantations, over more “best beaches in the world”, and under looming palm trees.
Silhouette is considered the mostly wildly-beautiful island of the Seychelles, a magnificent hideaway for visitors from all over the world, among them celebrities such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Known for its rich biodiversity and dramatic peaks, the insane natural beauty and local flora and fauna of the island has called for the protection of over 90 percent of the land as the Silhouette National Park. Just a 40-minute boat ride or quick helicopter trip from Mahé and you’re in total paradise at a hotel on Silhouette. Hike to the rocky Anse Mondon or head to the island’s dive center, to be made privy to Seychelles’ underwater world. Diving is safe and remarkable even at night, thanks to the water’s particularly warm temperature and clear composition. On land, keep your eyes peeled for 125-year-old tortoises and an array of other rare wildlife. The beaches are immaculate and often close-to-empty. If this feeling of being the only one is interesting to you, go even further with an ultimate escape on a private island. These resorts, occupying any of the smaller islands scattered around the four mentioned, are primed for honeymoons. In a villa directly on the beach, nestled into a tropical garden, settle into ultimate, secluded bliss. Enjoy traditional creole fare at the restaurant, look out into the sea from your private terrace, or opt for something special from the hotel—perhaps candlelit champagne on the beach.
Getting there: Given the Seychelles’ secluded location, the islands naturally take some time and extra cash to get to. There are airports on Mahé, for international flights, and Praslin, for domestic flights. Expect to travel around a half-day before arriving in Victoria. From there, jump on a 15-minute flight to Praslin or board the ferry which travels between the two islands. There are connecting ferries offered between Praslin and La Digue. Travel to Silhouette and private island resorts requires a special transfer, most of the time through the hotel.