Seychelles is about secluded splendour on posh private island resorts set in pristine natural beauty. Waters are sapphire and beaches like pearl necklaces wreath emerald forests that soar onto rocky precipices. This is just the setting to take that fair hand and on it land that rock of all rocks, the 20 carat diamond (at least!), and pop the question. Wed in paradise. Stay on to honeymoon. After all, Prince William and his Kate did. Following their Highness’s honeymoon, the Seychelles has become amongst the world’s most-sought honeymoon havens. As if this gorgeously romantic destination requires royal endorsement to promote it. But the royal honeymoon has certainly conferred greater exclusivity upon an already exclusive destination and ensured that everyone wants to honeymoon in the Seychelles. If they can afford to! For the fortuned, here’s our take on Seychelles’ ultra luxe love retreats that take the breath away.
A ravishment of the senses and caressed cocoon, the residents-only resort has residents so chichi they could buy a few Maias with their pocket money. Indeed, The Abu Dhabi royal family recently “purchased” the resort’s first GM and his team to manage their 17 palaces. Given service so exquisitely crafted, the Abu Dhabi royals simply had to purloin the former staff, apparently…
Maia’s about villas equipped with private butlers who even clean your villa, thus dispensing with the intrusive enfilade of sundry staff. My private butler Kamini winds me up verdantly-clad paths to my hilltop villa. Hung like a painting before the terraces is a terrifically turquoise spread of sea. Soak in the view (and Hermès ablutions which villas befittingly stock, given that Maia in Greek mythology is Hermès’s mother). Immerse in water-embedded deck-chairs or the pavilioned outdoors bath around which the pool rests like a sapphire necklace. In these classy environs, even sunsets restrain their flashiness, as soberly silvered seas shimmer beguilingly at sundown. Here, nothing rubs you the wrong way, least Sri’s massages (outstanding) in the award-winning spa set in exotic foliage.
Whilst dining at a beach villa, posed on the most heartbreakingly beautiful beach in Mahé, I hear the GM bemoan the sonorous waves. Perhaps they can subdue Nature to conform to Maia’s delicate requirements. Alas, what even Maia magic can’t effect is ensuring the viennoiserie retains its finesse by the time it accesses your hilltop abode from which you will have to emerge for spectacularly good poolside breakfasts. Maia mercifully banishes buffets. Instead, at breakfast, the buffet comes to your table in boats of viennoiserie that seem to have jet-setted in from France. Maia juices are terrific, Maia muesli is a marvel. The Thai and Arabic cuisine at the fire-breathing Tec Tec restaurant trumps but WineSign in the cellar is a heady private dining experience- if you can suffer the opinionated lady sommelier who suffers no opposition.
Safer to pick herbs from the garden which Pastry Chef Narayan deploys in rich chocolate ganache. He’s the finest pâtissier in all Seychelles. And he isn’t even French, but Indian! Indeed, he reveals he grew up in a Mumbai slum, worked 18-20 hrs as a carpenter and once found himself in a Mumbai 5-star hotel kitchen where the pastry chef remarked his craftsmanship, got him carving ice and vegetable sculptures and suddenly he was implemented in the pastry department. And so went Narayan from carpenter to commie to Executive Pastry Chef of Maia, one of the most private and exclusive address in the Seychelles, if not the world! Chef is a veritable sweetheart, but Maia has once lost its top staff, so do try not to kidnap the Chef Pâtissier too.Desroches Private Island: Here’s to where Prince William and his Kate once retreated to mend a ruptured romance. Had they postponed their quarrel, they might’ve availed of the contemporary new villas. Perchance they’ll return with the brood- that’s if the British monarchy can yet spare 9000 Euros/night for royal extravagances. The BMW moghuls certainly can. For Desroches is where BMW’s owner rocks up to for a break/brake. We hear his travel agent didn’t hear from the finical chap during his sojourn, phew!
Honeymooners intent on a lifelong love affair with Desroches could buy a villa (go on, jazz up the old dowry demands!). Get villa 163, or rent the owner’s personal villa 162, which I spent 4 lavish nights in. This piece of exclusivity has impressive doors that open onto splendid salons that flow uninterrupted into an ample gardened infinity pool flanked by elegant stand-alone bedrooms in quiet hues with suave artwork and the raunchiest mattresses veiled in wispy white curtains. The villa also stocks a butler (insist on Mumbaikar Kundan), kitchen with private chef and 12-seater dinner table- if you’re cross with the loved one, dispatch them to the nether end.
Prefer intimacy? Then book less glamorous but delicious Beach Retreat 201. Delightful garden bathrooms, larger than the bedrooms, scintillatingly lit at night, have electric blue plunge-pools set against outdoors showers that look like melting gold. Prevail upon Kundan for a plunge-pool supper.
Picnics happen in picturesque isolation. Ask the endearing Front Office manager Francisco where and he’ll pack you off with asparagus and avocado sandwiches to have in wind-whipped spectacular locations. But the coolest kulfis (saffron, mango, rose) tempt you back to Indian Pastry Chef Sandeep who reigns at the beachfront restaurant.
Sunset cruises are champagned but try natural bubbly on wildly adventurous excursions with Brian of the Brine who tames the tall seas and teeters you on towering waves. Fishing is his forte, and he’ll fetch exotic creatures. Or rake up a shark (convenient, should you wish to relieve yourself of the “loved one”…) and bring you ashore, with or without the “loved one”) Bond-style. After the exertions at sea, Rachel will resolve your knotted muscles at the spa but after all that sun and sea, best book a facial too.
Carlie effervesces at the restaurant, although she can be hijacked to your villa (you’d better be the sort stating in 163). But Caroline is so exclusive she visits the restaurant alone, resolutely refusing in-villa service. Caroline is, of course, a tortoise.