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A Seychelles Dream
A Seychelles Dream
Posted at: 5:03pm , 20 Dec 2017 By James Eacott

A Seychelles Dream

It is not every day that you get to go the Seychelles, so when Lusso Travel offered a place on an educational trip, Tim grabbed the opportunity with both hands. In this post, Tim documents his experiences on the islands.


A select group, comprising six travel agents and two senior representatives from Lusso, were invited to visit these majestic Indian Ocean islands. We had a small brief on the hotels we would be visiting during the trip before we boarded our flight from Heathrow.

We flew from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi aboard the new Etihad A380, which I must say is marvellous piece of civil aviation engineering: a double stacker aircraft with economy downstairs and business higher up. It's a 7-hour flight and we were lucky to get more than one seat each in economy so we could stretch out and enjoy the flight. We connected in Abu Dhabi to a regional Etihad service to Mahe, the main island of the Seychelles. This flight took 4 hours.

On arrival, we were met and shown to a small light aircraft for a 20-minute flight to the island of Praslin. Watching the crystal blue waters glide by was just stunning. After an overnight flight from London we eventually arrived at our first hotel, the Constance LeMuria. Once settled, we had some time to relax and explore our new surroundings (I couldn't wait to see the 18 hole golf course!).

The resort is family friendly with a good kid's club, however romantic couples can enjoy peace and quiet in certain areas of the beach and indulge in some good R&R. Rooms, as you would expect at this level, are all large with around 8 deluxe suites offering a separate lounge  and the remaining junior suites catering for the majority of guests. There are two beaches, thought it's worth noting that on one side the sea is a rougher than the other but still nevertheless very lovely.

The Constance LeMuria is a tropical resort set in natural surroundings with thriving birdlife.

Positives: Superb golf facilities, beautiful beaches and lovely swimming pools.
Negatives: Possibly too many birds (watch your cereal at breakfast!)


     

After checking out of the LeMuria, we headed for the boat jetty as we had to cross the choppy sea to the island of Felicite to a new property: the 8-month old Six Senses Zil Payson. We arrived at the jetty to cold towels, although I could have done with a hair dryer as my t-shirt was drenched from the journey! This was my fault, though, for sitting at the back of the boat and most guests do stay dry by positioning themselves better than I did. If you're nervous about the water, do note I travelled in the low season when waters are choppier. Despite the drenching, at 32-degrees I soon dried out. We were met with golf carts and headed off for a site inspection, which included visiting the spap with it's incredible infinity pool looking out to sea.

The hotel is relatively small in terms of number of rooms, the resort is split into two parts: one called 'sunset' and one called 'sunrise', for obvious reasons. The villas themselves are absolutely fantastic with every design idea carried out to precision. I had to chuckle at the device on the wall in the toilet offering you various ways of cleaning yourself up! The bathrooms were huge with great views, not to mention the sleeping area which had sliding doors onto your very own infinity plunge pool. I had to pinch myself at the opulence.

The resort has full butler service which they call GEMS (Guest Experience Maker). You can call on these guys 24/7 and they will cater for your every need. This a beautiful hotel and certainly one for a honeymoon or special treat. With one restaurant and bar you have the chance to meet new people or simply stay in your villa and chill out. Dinner was marvellous, as was breakfast the following morning, and I was sorry to leave.

Positives: Incredible villa, service and views
Negatives: None


Back on the island of Praslin, we headed off to the Raffles Hotel. The collection of villas are all set into the hillside overlooking the ocean, just 10 minutes from one of the Top 10 beaches in the world - Anse Lazio – though I have to say I think we saw better than this. Each villa is elegantly furnished, some with a separate lounge and all have private pools. The beach is pristine and the pool is so large you can get a great workout doing lengths, or just float for hours in the sun. The food was a beautifully presented world buffet with local cuisine featuring also. One dish that stood out was the ‘Bat Curry’!

Raffles is great for everyone as they can cater from 2 to 200 guests with it's extensive lounge and outdoor areas. The villas and housekeeping are of a high standard. 

Positives: The food.
Negatives: Might not suit all travellers due to its large size.

     


Following an early start, we made our way in our little bus to the next property: Constance Ephelia. A huge resort set in mangroves and really and not unlike some hotels I have seen in Mauritius. When I walked in I thought straight away of Belle Mare Plage or Heritage Awali. The resort is split up into two parts. One side houses the junior suites for couples, and the with two or three-bedroomed villas designed for families. With lots of restaurants and pools for all the family to choose from and with great kids clubs, bicycle hire, as well as zip lining through the trees, the whole family really is catered for.

Positives: Great range of villas, good kids club and lots of activities. Super for families and couples alike.
Negatives: A large resort catering for up to 800 guests may not suite everyone.


Following our stay at the Constance Ephelia, we were on the road to our next property. The Banyan Tree is the oldest hotel on Mahe, built around 2005. We only saw one villa here, with a great sea view and private pool. It has a great beach but you can only swim in the sea in high season (Oct-Feb) as the sea is too rough and is permanently on red flag in other months. The infinity pool looked amazing with lounging areas available for all. The colour schemes worked well with a traditional feel throughout.

Positives: A good atmosphere.
Negatives: Beach only in use for half of the year.

     


Our next hotel was fairly unique as, although the Hilton Labriz Resort is on its own island called Silhouette, you actually do all the check-in procedure on Mahe and then get to Silhouette via 45-minute ferry ride.

Once on the island, we had a quick tour and I must say the individual villas are beautiful, and the bathrooms huge!. The Asian hosted dinner was good, as was the reserve Chenin Blanc from South Africa. The sea was calm and warm, as expected, but there were plenty of rocks so caution would be required with younger children.

Positives: Great Value for Money for the family and lovely beach villas.
Negatives: The island appears to have a cloud over it most of the time.

     


Once back on the mainland we visited, and lunched, at the Four Seasons. Set a long way from the main road in its own bay, this is one of the best hotels in the Seychelles and gets a lot of repeat business from the UK market. We had a BBQ lunch first which was light and just what we needed, especially as it was washed down with a rather marvellous young sauvignon from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. We then boarded our golf buggy and went for a look around the property which really is lovely and is typical Four Seasons in design, classical yet contemporary.

Positives: Fantastic Service, villas and views.
Negatives: None.

     


Our last hotel of our rather marvellous trip was to visit the famous Maia Luxury Resort. This is a very unique resort with only 30 villas, each with private butler, all beautifully appointed with huge infinity pools and incredible bathrooms. Service is utterly incredible and the spa is mindblowing. We were treated to a much needed back massage to get over our hectic schedule!

This evening we had champagne reception in the wine cellar with the sommelier, followed by a lovely BBQ. The resort is all-inclusive and although expensive on paper, what you get is amazing. Premium wines and spirits are all included with Verve Cliquot on tap. All guests get a massage on arrival in the spa.

My villa was on the beach, one of three that can be booked exclusively for small families (or Sheiks & Russians alike!). This is then called the Royal Villa.

Positives: Huge villa on the beach, great food and drink, all inclusive.
Negatives: Absolutely none

This was the highlight of the trip really, although each hotel was excellent in its own right. I know feel confident in promoting the Seychelles to our clients.

    


Etihad Airlines were very good as usual and we even got a business class upgrade on the way home. I have to say I slept like a baby and arrived into London feeling fresh.

A huge thank you must go to Lusso Travel for making this trip happen and to each General Manager of the properties we visited. If you are looking for a special holiday or honeymoon, please do get in touch as the Seychelles will tick every box.

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