The islands of the Seychelles deserve all the ‘heavenly’ clichés, says Arun Kakar, and Four Seasons has used the surroundings skilfully
Spanning an archipelago of 115 islands, the Republic of Seychelles has become associated with hyperbolic phrases such as ‘paradise’ and ‘heaven on earth’. These phrases have become redundant with overuse, but as soon as one arrives on these islands one could be forgiven for venturing into hyperbole when trying to describe them.
Most international flights land on the main island of Mahé, in the capital city of Victoria. Our first destination, Desroches, is 35 minutes away by seaplane. Most of its population of 300 are associated with its only resort, run by Four Seasons.
Desroches is one of the most staggering locations I have encountered. It covers a mere 933 acres, with five pristine beaches covering nine miles of coastline. And what beaches they are: safe, clean, and blissfully isolated. With just 71 properties along the coast, the only soul one might come across is a scurrying crab, or even a turtle.
These awe-inspiring intrinsic qualities of the island are understood perfectly by Four Seasons, which has turned the island into an ultimate luxury destination. The villa I’m staying in has its own pool, private entrance to the beach and all the etceteras that one can expect. Its exposed wood interiors and ‘rustic luxury’ sensibilities across the island make it very easy to feel at home here. You navigate Desroches island by bike (although one can opt for a golf buggy), and while exploring a rainforest path you might have to steer around the odd giant tortoise.
The two indoor/outdoor restaurants serve food at a level that baffles when you consider the remoteness and size of the island. The Lighthouse serves Japanese food with all the panache of an upmarket London eatery under the darkened lights of an outdoor seating paddock. The more chilled-out Claudine is a cool, airy beachside eatery with an impressive Mediterranean-inspired menu.
There’s plenty to do, but within minutes of receiving the keys one finds it’s difficult not to relax and simply let the island take you in its arms. But before long I’m jetted back to Mahé, where another Four Seasons resort awaits. The resort is tucked away on the south-west of the island, its villas and ‘tree houses’ dotted along a mountain front overlooking its private beach.
Buggy is the primary mode of travel here, and it is a livelier affair. There are more restaurants, and they are busier but no less excellent, and its hilltop spa and yoga area are among the highlights.
As well as the many international fine dining options, the island is perhaps most famous for Creole cuisine, which blends together French, Spanish, West African, Amerindian, Haitian and German influence. A creamy octopus curry at a local restaurant was a surprising treat.
It’s not a surprise that many visitors stay in the Seychelles for months on end. It’s a life one could easily become used to.