Senior Sales Consultant, Alexis, enjoyed a week's trip to the Seychelles, courtesy of If Only, to enable her to discover more about these beautiful islands and to help our clients make an informed decision on their choice of Seychelles holiday. Here is an account of her week away in her own words!
"Wow just wow!!! You just have to go! I have never said wow so many times in one trip! From stunning beaches to lovely hotels and very friendly people, the Seychelles has it all! One big tip…do not visit just one island, you need to visit two maybe even three.
Eight of us met at Gatwick Airport before flying out on the Emirates Airbus 380. These planes are huge! The ground floor is all Economy and the upper deck is Business and First Class. The cabin is very airy, the in-flight entertainment is fantastic with hundreds of films and programs to watch and wifi is available throughout! After a quick stop in Dubai we headed onwards to the Seychelles.
Arriving into Mahé airport in the Seychelles was an experience in itself, it is very small and right beside the sea! We were taken by minibus to our first hotel The Constance Ephelia. The journey took about 40 minutes, up and over a mountain.
It is a very large resort set within 120 hectares, with two beaches; there is a Mangrove Forest that divides the north and south beaches. Sadly I didn't get to take the guided canoe trip though the mangrove.
The hotel has the largest spa in the Indian Ocean and is spectacular - 18 treatment rooms, heated pool, jacuzzi and much more! We stayed in the Junior Suites which were very nice and in the south of the resort. Each cluster of Junior Suites have their own pool and bar area. The spectacular Hillside Villas are away from the main resort, however you do get your own buggy to get around! The views from these villas were spectacular. Perfect for a honeymoon couple. For families there were 3 bed villas with private pools. That evening we enjoyed dinner at the Seselwa restaurant where we had a fantastic Creole evening, with a buffet and Creole dancing!
Today we flew to Denis Island on a small, 15 seater light aircraft. This was such an experience! The flight took just 30 minutes and you land on a small grass airfield. The staff are waiting for you on arrival and then whisk you off on golf buggies to the main lobby area. This island is very much barefoot luxury! No keys, no phones and no worries. I stayed in a Deluxe Beach Cottage; the bathrooms are all open air, the main part being under cover, but still exposed to the fresh air - amazing!
The food here was fantastic! We enjoyed a buffet lunch of fresh fish caught that day and sushi - some of the best I have ever tasted.
In the morning we enjoyed a tour of the island, the resort is fairly self-sufficient, even making a lot of the furniture that are in the bedrooms on the island! There is a large conservation project on the island called ‘The Green Island’s Foundation’; few years ago they shut down the island and took away all the vermin and then re-introduced all the bird life. Hawksbill and green turtles lay their eggs in the protected shoreline of Denis and are monitored and tagged. On the island you will also meet the oldest tortoise living in the Seychelles, his name is Toby and he is 118 years old!
We returned to Mahé and checked in for our flight to Praslin. This service is run like a shuttle service between the two islands. On arrival into Praslin we fell in love with the place! Again, a small airport but with a colonial feel to it and the beach just across the road! We were taken to the Constance Lemuria Resort. The resort had only opened two days prior to our arrival, after a thorough refurbishment. This is the only hotel in the Seychelles with an 18 hole golf course. I do not play golf but I could see that this golf course is truly spectacular! There is a real treat on the 15th hole...it's the hole with a view!
That evening we were hosted for dinner at ‘The Nest’, our table was in the private dining area. We had a set menu of pan fried scallops, fillet of beef and a dessert of mango and basil sorbet. The meal was delicious and the Sommelier chose some great wines for us to have with the meal.
Today we took a ferry over to La Digue, the journey took 15 minutes. We were met and taken to Anse Source d’Argent, reputed to be the most photographed beach in the world and it did not disappoint with its soft white sand, clear turquoise water and huge granite boulders!
After taking the ferry back to Praslin, we headed to Coco de Mer Hotel for lunch, this was a very nice, small 4* hotel. Here they have the Black Parrot Suites which are a little walk from the main hotel but are adult only, with stunning views across the beaches. We then headed to Raffles Hotel - a massive hotel set on a beautiful beach. There are 86 villas all with their own pools!
The rooms we had were amazing, with their own plunge pools on the terrace and a huge outdoor sitting area, and all with great views of the ocean! In the bathrooms there was a bath which has the same view as the plunge pool overlooking the ocean and also an outdoor shower.
The spa area was simply stunning, you can choose from an indoor or outdoor spa. They showed us both and I would definitely go for an outdoor one as you can hear the sea gently lapping against the shore!
Today we departed the hotel for the Vallée de Mai, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this hauntingly beautiful, primeval forest is home to some 6000 coco de mer trees, considered to be among the botanical wonders of the world. The Vallée boasts palm species as well as many other indigenous trees and is also the last habitat of the endangered Black Parrot.
After heading back to Mahé Island we were taken to the Jardin Du Roi (Spice Garden). This is a spice garden set high up in the hills overlooking the eastern beaches. Here we were shown around all the fruit trees and shown the spices growing. We were then treated to a lovely plantation lunch which is available every Sunday.
We then headed to the Avani Hotel where we stayed overnight. This is a 4* hotel located on huge a horseshoe shaped bay. This hotel had a large swimming pool in the centre, a Thai restaurant, buffet restaurant and a spa.
After a quick stop to see the 4* Kempinski Seychelles Resort we went on to the Four Seasons. If you have the budget, this hotel is fantastic! There is a friendly family feel to the hotel. All villas have their own plunge pool, however there is a really nice pool area, with a kids club and dive centre. The beach it is on has a huge horseshoe shaped bay.
At the hotel they have the Wise Oceans Marine Educators who are ready to chat about the marine life of Petite Anse Bay or, for those with a more adventurous streak, to take you on a wonderful guided snorkel to see what lies beneath the enigmatic surface. The Marine Educators also deliver regular open talks on marine life, and conduct research into the health of the reef to support marine conservation efforts by the Seychelles Government.
We then moved on to the Banyan Tree Hotel. This is a colonial style hotel with white wooden buildings, very different from the other hotels we had seen. The hotel is set on another beautiful beach, the best one in my opinion!
Sadly, it was then time to leave this beautiful country. We were taken back to the airport for our four hour flight to Dubai, and another seven hours on to Gatwick. Thankfully, the time difference is just four hours, so no jet lag for me!