There are more than 100 islands that make up the glittering archipelago of the Seychelles, each rising from the Indian Ocean. Some with pale blocks of granite, others with forest-clotted mountains, all with palm-fringed beaches of powdery sand ringed by translucent turquoise shallows. The hotels on them differ too, offering something for every traveller.
Coco de Mer Hotel and Black Parrot Suites
4.4/5 (239 Reviews)
Courtesy of Coco de Mer Hotel and Black Parrot Suites / Expedia
One for sensualists, this hotel sprawls between small private beaches on Anse Bois de Rose Bay, where the blond sands are fringed with palms producing the suggestively curvaceous coco de mer nut. Turn up the heat by booking an adults-only Black Parrot suite beside a separate pool set in a rocky outcrop with a 270-degree view over the sapphire sea.
For lovers of laidback living, this intimate guesthouse with simple white-walled cabins, each with a veranda, overflows with traditional island warmth and hospitality. It’s set in flower-scented gardens five minutes from an idyllic stretch of beach, and a 15-minute stroll from the pretty port of La Digue, putting visits to neighbouring islands an easy ferry ride away.
For private island luxury, it doesn’t get much finer than this Hilton outpost. What could be better than chilling on a plush dove-grey veranda sofa, sipping cocktails above the translucent waters of Silhouette Island, where the Hilton is the only resort? You’re in your own private paradise of perpetual sunshine, warm water and pampering, with restaurants serving designer barbecue fare on the sands and a spa doling out lavish treatments.
Barely 20 minutes from Seychelles International Airport, this hotel is one of the easiest to reach – and hardest to leave. Many guests are regulars, for it takes the promise of a return to drag yourself from these stylish rooms that echo nature in stone walls and wood. Embrace the views of forest, a pale lagoon and the inky ocean, with options to escape in them – hiking, snorkelling, surfing and diving.
One for nature lovers, of course. This bird-shaped coral island is at the far north of the archipelago, just three degrees south of the equator and a 30-minute flip from Mahe. Warmed by year-round sun, ringed by white beaches and centred on nature conservation, it’s a haven for the rare Seychelles paradise flycatcher, Seychelles warblers, black parrots, blue pigeons and white eyes. Wake to their calls in a king-size canopy-swathed bed.
Four Seasons at Desroches Island
Luxury, Chain Hotel, Resort
Courtesy of Four Seasons at Desroches Island / Expedia
Here you have 14km (9mi) of beach to yourself on a coral island where Four Seasons is the only habitation. Stay in low-key grey and white cabins; some of which come with private plunge pools and terraces. After a day of snorkelling or diving in labyrinthine underwater cave systems, rock in a hammock while admiring a burnt-orange sunset.
If you’re looking for peace, discover zen and the art of island living at this private retreat on La Digue, with natural stone walls, subtle decor (the stick armchairs are amazing), and mindfully prepared meals blending healthy Mediterranean fare with Creole and Asian flavours. Stroll the virgin island coastline of secret beaches and coves, or cruise it on a sleek white catamaran, on which you can meditate, do yoga or get moving after dark on a dancefloor – as the spirit takes you.
For design junkies, these quirky Bill Bensley-designed villas combine the rustic, shaggy thatch of island living with striking design elements such as beaten copper fittings, pink loungers, and luxurious fabrics. They reflect the colours and textures of the soft sands, warm silky sea and emerald-green forest growing all around.
Calling castaway fantasists: you can book this enchanted resort just for you and your loved ones, taking over 10 secluded villas dotted about an idyllic private island off the coast of Mahe. Each villa has a private pool and pathway to the beach; arrange picnic lunches or seafood suppers on the sand.
Your senses will go into overdrive on this unspoilt, ecologically protected island, where the sound of seabirds, smell of salt air and flowers, feel of soft sand and warm water, taste of fresh produce from the organic garden, and a myriad sights stir you each day. Savour them from the pool deck of your private villa in the forest, a celebration of stealth architecture blending high design with nature.
Here a teaming coral reef creates protected turquoise shallows stretching 50m (164ft) from the china-white beach. Go snorkelling with a guide to bone-up on the several species of sea turtle and more than a thousand species of fish. Alternatively, glide out in a kayak and explore solo, before returning to the contemporary comforts and conviviality of a five-star resort.