The first difficulty you encounter when planning to visit the Seychelles is which island to choose. After a detailed research we opted to divide our stay between Praslin and Mahe. My original choice was La Digue for its spectacular beaches, which we did manage to see on a day tour from Praslin.
These beaches are truly spectacular and the Source d’Argent is an ethereal large,warm fish tank. What a joyful surprise it was to walk out in that white clear water with friendly fish of all sizesÂ swimming alongside you. A truly memorable experience. The problem is that these beaches are truly crowded with tourists that come in for the day. They say there are very few cars but as you disembark from the ferry you find a long line of taxis and buses. Not to mention the garbage strewn everywhere. So man’s imprint has managed to ruin this beauty.
As for Mahe, being the largest island and where most of the population resides, it is quite hectic but yet colorful and picturesque . The sea is not as clear as the other islands and the beaches are quite dirty, but this does not seem to impose on it’s spectacular landscapes or seascapes.
I think my emotions about the beauty of Praslin are partly to be attributed to the faultless stay at the Raffles Hotel.
The complex on the hill
After a sharp bend of the very narrow road the resort suddenly appears in front of you nestled on a hill and surrounded by lush gardens. Upon reaching the reception area you are treated by smiles on all sides with everyone rushing to make you feel comfortable and make your check-in as smooth as possible. The resort is made up of individual villas, various restaurants and bars, a magnificent spa and an incredible pool area.
Each villa is very private and has it’s very own inviting splash pool. You can lie on sun loungers to worship the island sun or relax on a large and comfortable sofa in the shade. Colored and chirpy birds sit in the trees and bushes around the villa waiting to take a dip into your pool. The room is large and we had two queen beds, two days beds and a separate wardrobe area. The bathroom has a separate shower and toilet and a large bathtub enclosed by glass walls which give a wonderful view of the surroundings. The villa is flooded by natural light which changes color as the day progresses.
Service with a smile
From the moment you arrive you are made to feel at home in this beautiful oasis. From the hand towels that change temperature depending on the time of day, to the complimentary water that you receive overtime you pass the reception or on the beach. Call a buggy to get to your destination and if you decide to walk on will surely pass and insist that you hop on.
The management is always on hand, for a chat, suggestions or queries. They organize a weekly manager’s cocktail party where guests can socialize and meet the staff. This interest and passion for their job is definitely appreciated.
The mystical spa
The Spa can be reached by descending a wide staircase enclosed by black walls with cascading waterfalls. This is the entryway to this magical and ethereal location. All the treatment rooms, lounges, boutique and reception area are individual pavilions immersed in the tropical gardens and looking out to see. You can choose to have your treatment in an air conditioned room or listen to the sea and the chirping birds in the open air. An emotional and spellbinding experience.
Flavors of the world
The resort has various restaurants and bars scattered in different area. Wherever you decide to eat the atmosphere is always intimate and you wonder where everybody is. Part from the wide choice or restaurants one can choose to eat on the terrace of their villa, on the beach or in the gardens. Anywhere, anytime.
The buffet breakfast is generous and varied: local fruit, a variety of juices and cold teas, a spread of French pastries, noodles and eggs to order. For a light lunch you can choose the poolside with it’s large lounging area or directly on the beach. Not to be missed is a tropical cocktail in the gardens under the African stars. Dinner can be chosen from a selection of world dishes and the staff is always on hand to satisfy any request, even suggesting fresh ingredients off the menu to prepare a special dish.
Expensive maybe, but all you have to do is look around and realize where you are to make up for that hole in your pocket.
Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana.
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