Where to Book Your Stay in the Seychelles for a Local Experience

Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie is set on a secluded hillside on La Digue island
Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie is set on a secluded hillside on La Digue island | Courtesy of Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie / Expedia
Glynis Horning

Leave your troubles at home and make like a local in the Seychelles. Life on these laid-back Indian Ocean islands is about stripping away life’s pressures. Stroll barefoot on Petite Anse beach, swim under the year-round sunshine, then hike the tropical forests with wet hair. Settle into the relaxed rhythms and rituals of island life and sample the simple, fresh fare. Here’s where to stay in the Seychelles – bookable on Culture Trip – to blend in with local life.

1. Eden Island Luxury Apartment

Apartment, Luxury

A two-level villa at the Eden Island Luxury Apartment with a private pool, sun loungers and outdoor dining
Courtesy of Eden Island Luxury Apartment / Booking.com

On this tiny artificial isle off the main island of Mahé, you can stay in a luxurious self-catering villa with a pool in a residential marina near four perfect little beaches. You’re also just a quick, inexpensive taxi ride from the capital, Victoria, where you can taste the vibrant local life at restaurants and bars, or connect with a Seychellois guide.

2. South Point Villas

Villa, Luxury

A wooden deck at the South Point Villas with metal seating, a small pool and sea views
Courtesy of South Point Villas / Expedia

These secluded villas come with private plunge pools set on decks above the tangled forest of Cerf Island and the endless blue sea. Go snorkelling, kayaking or sailing, then hook up with the Cerf Island Conservation Programme, taking the Cerf Island Trail and watching for whale sharks, herons, bats, geckos, crabs and turtles, preferably with a friendly islander as your guide.

3. Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie

Hotel

The outdoor pool area at Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie with water features, sea views and palm trees
Courtesy of Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie / Expedia

Set in Zen-like serenity among granite boulders, on a secluded hillside of La Digue island, the area around this hotel is home to secret beaches and coves. You can rent a bicycle to explore them – but why not catch a ride on an ox-drawn cart instead? In town, hit the little Creole restaurants offering curry, fish, pork and rice dishes, and buy fresh vanilla beans grown right on the island, which make great unusual gifts.

4. Anantara Maia

Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel

An outdoor infinity pool at a villa at Anantara Maia with views of the sea and green hills
Courtesy of Anantara Maia / Expedia

These edgy villas designed by Bill Bensley bring a special aesthetic to island living on a pristine stretch of Mahé coast. When you are ready to drag yourself away from Anse Louis beach, take a day to explore the largest of the Seychelles Islands – though it’s still just 6km by 25km (4m by 15mi). Do it like a local in a blue bus, a cheap and easy transport option that will take you anywhere on the island, giving you a taste of everyday life in the Seychelles.

5. JA Enchanted Island Resort

Luxury, Resort, Spa Hotel

Terrace and pool at JA Enchanted Island Resort Seychelles with the sea beyond
Courtesy of JA Enchanted Island Resort Seychelles / Expedia

There’s no better way to experience island life than on your own private (and yes, enchanted) little island; all you’ll find here is a villa (and nine more) concealed in the greenery above your own private stretch of beach in the middle of Saint Anne Marine Park. But if you hanker to meet Seychellois people, it’s just a 15-minute boat ride to Mahé, where you can hang out in a Creole cafe and sample island delicacies with the locals.

6. Six Senses Zil Pasyon

Hotel

A luxurious villa bathroom at Six Senses Zil Pasyon, with a free-standing tub with sea views and a hanging chair
Courtesy of Six Senses Zil Pasyon / Expedia

Where to stay in the Seychelles? How about Six Senses Zil Pasyon. On this pristine, ecologically protected private island, there is not much to disturb the peace but the sound of seabirds and the sea slapping on the coral reef. But if you do fancy some company, it’s only a short hop to Praslin or La Digue islands by speedboat or, for the more adventurous, by helicopter to Mahé, with cool little restaurants and bars.

7. Story Seychelles

Resort, Luxury

A villa at Story Seychelles with a pool deck with a cabana, a table and chairs, sun loungers and a parasol
Courtesy of Story Seychelles / Expedia

Set on Beau Vallon Bay on the northwest coast of Mahé, this is a hot base for diving and snorkelling because of its crystalline waters and coral reefs. For a taste of local life, join a reef safari, led by the hotel, that meanders along the coast and through Baie Ternay Marine Park, searching for the abundant underwater creatures (sea turtles, more than a thousand species of fish, white-tip shark and more) that call the area home, rounded off with a feast of authentic Creole cuisine.

8. Savoy Resort and Spa

Luxury, Resort, Spa Hotel

A spacious two-bed guest room at Savoy Resort and Spa with wood furnishings and a furnished balcony
Courtesy of Savoy Resort and Spa / Expedia

The Savoy is one of the biggest, most sumptuous resorts on Mahé, with the largest swimming pool in the archipelago and excellent restaurants spilling out to poolside terraces raised above the view. For a more personal slice of island life, catch a bus to the capital, Victoria, and visit the market. The stallholders love to share their knowledge of locally grown fruit and veg, and tips on how to prepare the various freshly caught fish for Seychellois Creole dishes.

9. Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa

Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury

A tropical-style guest room at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, with one bed, a sofa and wooden elements
Courtesy of Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa / Expedia

The Hilton has Silhouette Island all to itself, giving you a clear run at the rainforests, mountains and extraordinarily clear waters. For an unforgettable experience of local wildlife, you only have to walk into the shallows at Anse La Passe, the main beach; the water is so clear you can see fish and other creatures at play. You can also visit the little conservation centre on the jetty and learn about the island’s protected status – if you’re in luck, it sometimes has baby turtles that you can see.

10. Kempinski Seychelles Resort

Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury

A romantic room at Kempinski Seychelles Resort, with a four-poster bed and a sitting area leading to the outdoor patio
Courtesy of Kempinski Seychelles Resort / Expedia

These low-key, stylish villas above the beach on Mahé will provide all the peace and tranquillity you’ve come for, with great diving and hiking into the bargain. You’re also just a taxi or bus ride from Victoria, where you can discover some of the finest artists of the Seychelles at the National Library and Art Gallery, the French Cultural Centre, historical Kenwyn House, Carrefour des Arts and the Michael Adams Paintings Studio.

11. Fairy Tern Chalets

Apartment

A two-storey chalet at Fairy Tern Chalets, surrounded by trees and plants
Courtesy of Fairy Tern Chalets / Booking.com

Play castaway in one of just two self-catering chalets on the tiny island of Cerf in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park 4km (2mi) off Mahé. For an unforgettable local experience, take a day trip to the even tinier Moyenne Island. In the 1960s, it was bought by Brendon Grimshaw, a former UK newspaper editor, who planted trees, built nature paths and bred giant tortoises, turning the island into an idyllic national park in its own right before he died. It’s said to have more species per square foot than anywhere else in the world, the graves of two pirates and (whisper) buried pirate treasure.

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