Mahé is the biggest of the islands in the Seychelles archipelago – yet, at 158sqkm (61sqmi), it’s still tiny. Its capital, Victoria, was once the seat of French and British colonists and a port for Arab, Chinese and Tamil traders. The result is an architectural and cultural mashup of Creole architecture, Catholic institutions like La Domus and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, and hotels steeped in history. It’s also home to the bustling Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, where you’ll find local produce, handicrafts and souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for culture or just want to spend your days on the white sand, Indian Ocean beaches of Petite Anse and Beau Vallon, here are the best places to stay in Seychelles’ Mahé, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Surrounded by lush forest on top of La Misere hill, this self-catering stay is so quiet that the only noise you’ll hear will be the singing of wild birds, Sunday church bells sounding from the small chapel opposite, and the peaceful munching of the giant land tortoises who inhabit the surrounding gardens. With the airport and the capital, Victoria, both less than 20 minutes’ drive away, exploring is made easy. When you don’t feel like leaving your little oasis, make use of the portable barbecue or book an in-house caterer to cook your evening meals. Children under 10 stay for free.
Sustainability nuts will love this resort on a tiny man-made island just off Mahé’s eastern shore. Eden Island leads on ecotourism, with more than 400 stylish homes constructed on reclaimed dead coral reef. The development has drawn foreign investors, giving the Seychelles economy a welcome boost, and a portion of these funds goes to sustainability. The resort’s luxurious villas, with their cheerful red-tiled roofs, are set around a marina near four pristine beaches.
These luxurious villas with private plunge pools sit above the forest on pristine Cerf Island – 4km (2.5mi) off Mahé, at the entrance of Sainte Anne National Marine Park. Cerf has a conservation programme and a trail where you can spot whale sharks, herons, bats, geckos, turtles and crabs. Snorkel in the clear waters or take your villa kayak to the even smaller Île Cachée (Hidden Island) to uncover a slice of uninhabited paradise.
These two self-catering chalets rest on little Cerf Island in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park, a 15-minute boat ride from Mahé. If the island’s silky, secluded beaches aren’t remote enough for you, take a day trip to the even smaller Moyenne Island, declared a national park in its own right, home to green turtles, giant tortoises and the graves of two pirates.
Masterminded by quirky American architect and designer Bill Bensley, this is one of the Seychelles’ best places to stay. Here, he brings the shaggy thatched roofs of traditional island homes into play, along with edgy contemporary touches, such as shock-pink sun loungers on the pool decks of the hilltop spa and drop-dead gorgeous villas, lighting up the lush tropical jungle.
Known for hosting dream barefoot weddings, this 24-villa boutique resort boasts access to powdery sands, tropical gardens and a hilltop with 360-degree views across the impossibly blue sea. However, you don’t have to be a newlywed to fall for Cerf. All guests can kick back, castaway-style, at the hillside spa, snorkel in the marine park’s waters, chill out at the two sea-facing pools and feast on Creole cuisine by candlelight at the very romantic 1756 Restaurant.
Overlooking the beautiful beach of Petite Anse, this Four Seasons Resort is perfect for couples and families – there’s even a babysitting service. For a romantic stay, check into one of the villas with bay views and have an intimate meal on the beach. If you’re travelling with a larger group, the suites and private residences make for a comfortable holiday with plenty of space to spread out. For the ultimate escape, take the opportunity to explore the underwater world.
Lodging in the Seychelles doesn’t get much more laid-back than this small hotel on the intimate, peaceful Cerf Island. Staff welcome you on the jetty as you arrive; breakfast and dinner are buffets of typical island fare, centred on fresh local fruits and subtle spices; and days are spent lolling on white sands or playing in the clear, warm shallows. No schedules. No expectations. No stress.
Lovers of old-world charm will fall for these four large suites, flowing over two floors in a gracious villa on the island of Cerf. The isle is small enough for you to walk or kayak around, starting in the turquoise shallows at your door. Kayaks and snorkelling gear are supplied, along with warm hospitality from the friendly staff.
Francesca Paul contributed additional reporting to this article.
Fancy discovering more stunning hotels in the Seychelles? Check out the best hotels to book in the Seychelles for every traveller. Or for a local experience, check out our guide to places to stay in the Seychelles for a local experience, all bookable with Culture Trip.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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