Off the eastern coast of Africa, in the midst of the Indian Ocean, therein lies a series of islands, which comprise the Seychelles. Situated roughly 1,600 km from the mainland, the Seychelles provide an unfiltered glimpse of life in paradise. Comprised of nearly 115 islands, the landscape alone offers up views that are simply incomparable yet felicitously expected: waves that exude an unimaginably defined spectrum of blues and lush, tropical greenery as far as the eye can see. The archipelago prides itself on its overwhelming number of natural reserves, most of which can be found on many of its uninhabited islands.
Coral reefs are a major drawing point along with the multi-cultural dynamic of the nation. Throughout history, the Seychelles was ruled by both the French and the British, respectively, eventually gaining independence in 1976. The influence of the former is still heavily present—French is one of the three official languages, followed by Creole and English. It served as a transit point for traders sailing between Asia and Africa and thus an enormous wave of diverse cultural influences ensued.
Ahead, a glimpse of one of the larger islands of the Seychelles, Félicité, and why it deserves to be in the running as a can’t-miss destination for a honeymoon—non-honeymooners, feel free to get in on this as well.
Getting There & Around
For those flying in internationally, you will find yourself in Mahe, the largest island in the Seychelles. Home to the majority of the country’s population, it is the arguable hub of the collective islands, as well as a starting point of an island-hopping experience—that said, sticking to one spot is encouraged to maximize your R&R experience. Ferries are a reliable and affordable method of transportation (albeit, they may take longer), while chartered yachts and private helicopters, such as the luxe ZilAir, can provide a speedier alternative for inter-island travel.
Situated on the private island of Félicité, is a new property from Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas: the Six Senses Zil Pasyon. Privacy is at the core of the design, which features 28 one-bedroom and two-bedroom pool villas, dispersed throughout a third of the island—the remaining two-thirds are taken up by a nature reserve—nearly all boasting pristine views of the vast Indian Ocean. The majestic rock formations that dot the coastline are seamlessly interwoven within the architectural details of the resort.
From a design perspective, the approach heavily relies on integrating the laid-back aesthetic of island life with the added comforts of modern luxury. Views are an integral component of the architecture, the vast scenery is easily accessible via the floor-to-ceiling windows that comprise the majority of the villas.
Private infinity pools outfit the outdoor area of each villa while their spacious bathrooms have graced our list of the most amazing hotel baths from across the globe. Space is hardly an issue and the majority of the villas are set far enough to offer complete privacy for guests. The massive deck situated at the exterior of each villa comes equipped with a pool, sun chairs, and a dining area. Every villa also comes stocked with a yoga mat, alluding to the wellness-driven inclination of the resort and Six Senses brand.
Among the extensive slew of amenities is a “GEM” or Guest Experience Maker: a 24-hour butler service that touches on just about every aspect of a stay. Getting around the island comes by way of a buggy system, where upon request a GEM will arrive by golf cart to take guests from point A to point B. The resort’s Experiences Center also has a slew of bikes on hand, should you feel inclined to make the trip yourself. Full disclosure: the island’s aggressive hills will make for quite a workout.
For those seeking R&R, Six Senses’ already iconic spa—built into the overarching granite formations of the island—is accessed by a rope bridge and even boasts a meditation platform and yoga center with sweeping views of the ocean.
Food & Drink
Traditional Seychellois cuisine borrows elements from the eclectic slew of cultures that have traveled through the islands. French, Chinese, African, and Indian flavors are prominent throughout, while the country’s locale undoubtedly positions it as one where seafood reigns in as a staple. Indian spices play a major role in the cuisine, as do tropical fruits not limited to coconuts, bananas, and mangoes.
Game fishing is another drawing point of the Seychelles, a gathering spot for many Americans who make the trip to the territory known for being the best in bonefishing. Ethically considered, it’s all about the catch and release game.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon’s Lakanbiz bar features a resident mixologist who will happily show off his eclectic array of homemade rum, infused with fruits and spices local to the island. Once you’ve made your way through the taste-testing experience, head over to one of the resort’s distinctive eateries, which offer up a delicious take on Seychellois cuisine. And yes, a fine dining option is also available by way of an intimate set up in the resort’s beautifully-designed wine vault, one that makes for a welcome reprieve from the heat.
Sustainability & Marine Life
Preserving the wildlife and fauna of the island is an integral focus of the resort, whose sustainable initiatives are leading the way for a cleaner environment. In efforts to reduce carbon footprints and waste, an on-site bottling service produces drinkable water for the island. Homemade coconut water, is also harvested daily and available at the ready. The villas come outfitted with solar panels, which help produce hot water, while food waste is downsized by its use to create biogas, as a renewable source of energy.
Agrotourism will soon become another point of appeal for the resort. A compost site will make way for a pesticide-free, organic garden, followed by the construction of a chicken farm and herb garden—you’ll often see wild chicken, native to the island, roaming about the grounds—which in turn, will lead to the integration of a fresh wave of culinary classes offered onsite.
Reforestation is in progress, an initiative led by resident ecologist Steve Hill, who is currently in charge of reintroducing all of the native plants back to the island. With this come the birds, white-eye birds and blue pigeons, specifically—Seychelles is home to an overwhelming 250 species of birds—while most of the endemic species have already made the return.
On the coastal side, the resort is heading up two major projects geared towards preserving and maintaining the marine life. The first is to study the migration patterns of turtles, which have earmarked Félicité’s Grand Anse Beach as a home for nesting burrows, and to establish a haven that will encourage them to return.
The second project is focused on the famed coral reefs of the islands, woefully subject to coral bleaching. Hit by a devastating wave of El Nino in the late ‘90s and then again a few years ago, over 90% of the coral reefs were wiped out. Today, the island houses over 3,000 reef fragments, currently in midst of being replanted for the coral reef reforestation.
Day trips to nearby islands are highly encouraged, and with activities ranging from kayaking, snorkeling, bird watching, fishing, and more—seriously, the list goes on and on—there are no shortages of experiences to be had. Golf enthusiasts can venture over to the nearby island of Praslin, which features an 18-hole championship course while the smaller isle of La Digue provides ample space for exploration via bicycles.
Not to fret though, if your idea of a getaway entails a whole lot of sitting around and doing nothing, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do just that.
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