Heavenly beaches, tropical greenery, guaranteed sunshine on tap and luscious peaked backdrops are the key ingredients that all 115 paradise islands that collectively form The Seychelles have in common. Scattered like Summer blossom across the Indian Ocean, The Seychelles is a destination well-renowned for being the ultimate in luxury, celebrity escapes and the honeymoon location that dreams are made of. With this VIP clientele, it is easy to understand why The Seychelles has a reputation for being reserved only for the likes of the incredibly rich and famous. Luckily for the rest of us, this is a reputation misplaced as thanks to a collection of luxurious yet affordable boutique hotels, holidaying utopia is indeed more accessible than you think.Summer 2017 could well be reserved for rest and relaxation in the mecca of Indian Ocean chic, enjoying everything the islands offer, from beach dwelling to incredible jungle trails, mind-blowing nature watching, fine-dining and all at an andante tempo. It doesn’t take a millionaire’s wage, it just takes a little hotel homework, and luckily for you, Absolute have already swatted up on your behalf. Introducing the Absolute Guide to affordable luxury holidays in The Seychelles….
Take to the skies with Etihad Airlines who run regular flights from Heathrow to Mahe Airport via Abu Dhabi and you will be delivered to the largest island in The Seychelles, boasting over 60 utopian beaches and coves that frame the island. Situated over 1,000 miles from the east coast of Africa, the beautiful island of Mahe brings its visitors a bouquet of sweeping sandy bays, jungle clad mountains, small towns to explore Creole culture and world-class hotels and restaurants suiting every budget.
Where to stay
The Carana Beach Hotel
Capturing the very essence of the Island spirit of The Seychelles is the Carana Beach Hotel, a boutique hotel that promises ‘an ethos and spirit of its own for every guest to discover.’ Fusing a respectful nod to the vibrancy and energy that is born of its past together with the here and now passion of those that currently work devotedly to create an authentic Seychellois sanctuary, Carana Beach offers an experience to waken their guests senses and to capture their imagination.
With it’s 40 Chalets overlooking one of Mahe’s most dramatically picturesque beaches, Carana Beach has been designed to accentuate the wild nature of this unique location, with the view from every room spilling out onto striking blue seas framed by lush jungle, massive granite pillars and its white-sand beach. Modern twists on traditional island architecture, contemporary ocean-themed decor and a home-grown culture of genuine Seychelles hospitality, backed by decades of success in the Seychelles tourism industry, all feed into a casual yet chic ambiance for guests to dine, unwind and recharge.
The luxurious high-end standards and amenities at The Carana Beach Hotel are paired with affordable rates, making this a slice of paradise not purely reserved for the rich and famous.
The Carana Hilltop Villa, Mahe
If it’s a more secluded and jungle-sequel hill top location you crave, with breath-taking island-wide views, walled grounds and a private swimming pool, head inland to The Carana Hilltop Villa. The villa is framed by lush, multi-coloured tropical flowers in the front garden and by fruit trees facing the outside dining area where guests may enjoy meals in the total serenity of a unique setting.
Offering an authentic Creole home-away-from-home, this charming villa allows its guests to enjoy this tropical haven at their own whim and pace, in keeping with the timeless traditions of Seychellois hospitality. The Carana Hilltop Villa presents the best of both worlds; it is positioned amongst the mountains of North East Mahé Island and is just a mere 5 minutes walk to the adventure of Carana Beach. Add to this delicious cuisine, fine island living and villas lavishly furnished with luxury and you have the perfect blend for the holiday of a lifetime.
Accommodation varies according to budget and ranges from 90 to 125 euros a night for a single room with bed and breakfast or alternatively the whole villa can also be hired to cater for a large family or group.
Charter a Sunsail Yacht
Remote, scarcely populated and brimming full of adventure, the many islands of the Seychelles let intrepid sailors live out their castaway daydreams. Strong winds, warm weather, spectacular wildlife and mesmerising scenery await you as you charter a yacht from the Sunsail base on remote Mahé and penetrate even further into the Seychelles archipelago. Challenge yourself in the tricky sailing conditions of the Indian Ocean and enjoy exhilarating blue water sailing between distant, sparsely populated islands. On a charter holiday you can set your own itinerary – free to take in as many activities you like or simply sail on until sunset.
Both onshore and offshore the Seychelles are home to some rare and beautiful wildlife, and visitors can encounter giant tortoises, sea turtles and huge coconut crabs, or even swim alongside the world’s largest fish species: the magnificent whale shark. Diving and snorkelling in the Seychelles is among the very best on Earth, with the native wildlife largely unafraid of humans. Fish for tuna, sailfish and giant trevally out in the Indian Ocean or windsurf, sail, kayak or paddleboard in bathtub-warm waters.
Sip cocktails by sunset at the beachside H Resort
Located on the sweeping shores of the bay of Beau Vallon, the H Resort is a ‘gateway to a blissful world, inviting you to lie back, relax and treasure each moment of your holidays in Seychelles.’ Enjoy first class dining or just romantic cocktails in one of the many restaurants and bars that make up this exclusive resort and be enchanted by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
Visit Eden Island’s exotic bars, restaurants and shops
Clear waters, lush vegetation, idyllic beaches and magnificent wild and marine life are not the only ingredients that make The Seychelles so appealing to visitors. These paradise islands are also renowned for their gastronomy and world-class restaurants and bars.
You certainly won’t have any trouble discovering an impressive selection of restaurants in Eden Island all serving exquisite seafood and local delicacies. Be sure to visit The Boardwalk Bar that overlooks the stunning Eden Island Marina and offers an adventurous menu of cocktails and light meals for you to enjoy with friends whilst taking in the relaxing views.
At the central hub of Eden Island sits Eden Plaza, an impressive retail centre opened in 2012. The plaza is host to an eclectic mix of clothing outlets, general stores, restaurants, bars and a supermarket, all spread out over a two storey open air shopping mall.
Take The Takamaka Rum Factory Tour
Rum comes easy in The Seychelles, thanks to the local Takamaka Rum Factory and it’s churning out of exquisite authentic Creole rum. As well as enjoying the taste of their craftsmanship, why not learn how it’s all done? The popular factory tour guides you through the story behind the island’s main distillery and the rum-making process. The tour runs for between 30 and 45 minutes and concludes with a tasting and an opportunity to purchase bottles of rum. There is also a forest walk and a very well-regarded bar-restaurant on site.
Be inspired by the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple
The Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple is the only Hindu temple in the Seychelles and since being built in 1992, has left its visitors mesmerised by its beauty and calm time and time again. The temple was named after Lord Vinayagar, the Hindu God of Safety and Prosperity and sits proudly on the island of Mahe.
Wander through the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, Victoria
Based in the Mahe capital of Victoria, the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market is a daily treasure trove of souvenirs such as local spices and herbs, as well as an assortment of pareos (sarongs), shirts, crafts, fresh fruit, seafood and vegetables. This is a bustling and colourful covered market and is especially lively on a Saturday or first thing in the morning when the local fishermen bring in their exotic assortment of seafood.
Take a 45 minute boat trip or 10 minute flight from Mahe Island and you will arrive at the magnificent and remote Praslin Island.
Where to stay
Hidden away amongst the islands lush greenery is the Ocean Lodge, a tranquil and authentic Creole hotel renowned for its faultless customer service and surprisingly reasonable rates. The unique positioning between the green scenery inland and the turquoise vistas of the ocean makes Ocean Lodge a secluded slice of paradise from every angle.
Designed to relax and embrace it’s guests the Lodge and its 32 rooms offers all the creature comforts of home with added opulent luxurious touches. Guests are spoilt for choice at the hotel’s Blue Marlin Bar & Restaurant, which presents the very finest and freshest of local seafood, all prepared with flare and flavour to satisfy the most discerning of foodies.
For those who want to explore all that Praslin Island offers, a free shuttle bus is provided by the hotel to transport guests through the majesty of the island, arriving at the exquisite beach of Anse Volbert.
Take a ride with MC Tours
For those to whom adventure beckons, the locally based MC Tours not only offers a reservation service 24/7 for your transfers, but also sightseeing and many leisure and limousine services designed to help you take in the whole of Praslin Island. Day tours available include the ‘Visit Praslin in One Day’ Tour which transports explorers around the island in the comfort of their own chauffeured car or limousine. Highlights include Anse Lazio beach and Vallee de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of only two places in the world where the rare coco de mer palm grows in its natural state
For those seeking utopia, take a day trip to Anse Source D’Argent, the most famous beach in the Seychelles, set within the grounds of L’Union Estate. Heralded as ‘the most photographed beach in the world, Anse Volbert is that image you see in your head when you think of a paradise beach. It is that screen saver you stare longingly at in the office. Crystal clear turquoise waters and endless white sand are sure to take your breath away, as will the plethora of marine life that will swim round your feet as you paddle around the reef.
Ideal for sun worshippers and snorkelers alike, this is an extremely popular beach for obvious reasons and so as a result, it can get very busy. The early bird gets the worm and in this case the sunbathing spot as most day trippers tend to arrive just before midday.
To visit Anse Source D’Argent, a. Dry reasonable entrance fee of 100 SCR (roughly £5) is payable to the L’Union Estate. This also entitles you to explore the park and museum, where you can see the old coconut mills and giant turtles.
Take an Octopus Diver Trip
Located on one of Praslin’s most beautiful beaches, Anse Volbert, Octopus Diver is a dive centre, once voted as one of the world’s top 100 scuba diving centres, offering daily dive excursions, a full range of PADI dive courses, night diving and snorkelling trips.
Dominated by granite boulders of all shapes and sizes, Praslin’s underwater landscape plays host to a rich variety of marine life. As the second largest of the Inner Islands, diving in Praslin affords you access to around 17 dive sites with depths varying between 8-20 metres. This allows them to offer a full range of services from complete beginners to the more experienced diver. During the day the clear tropical waters around Praslin are rich with multi-coloured reef fish darting above sponge-clad rocks, while reef sharks, sting rays and turtles glide silently by. At night the same rocks come alive with an assortment of exotic creatures, creeping and crawling their way through the darkness.
For more information of The Seychelles, make sure you grab a copy of our insiders guide directory ‘Absolute Seychelles’ launching in April 2017.