Destinations

Luxury holidays: Seychelles – 1 Mar 2007

As if the Seychelles wasn’t already the epitome of luxury, two new resorts are hoping to take it to another level.


Both Labriz Silhouette and Maia face stiff competition – the effortlessly cool North Island comes with a reputation that can command a price tag of more than £1,000 per night, while Lemuria Resort on Praslin has its service so fine-tuned that it knows exactly how to please wealthy holidaymakers.


Here’s how they measure up…



Labriz Silhouette



Essential facts: Labriz Silhouette



  • Labriz Silhouette is part of Universal Resorts.

  • It features nine beach pavilions, eight garden pavilions and beach and garden villas.

  • An Aquum Spa is on site.

  • Restaurants include Kaz (modern Seychellois), Portobello (Italian), Sakura (Japanese), Cafe Dauban (international and Creole) and Lo Brizan cocktail bar.

  • Elite Vacations offers five nights at Labriz Silhouette from £1,349 per person twin-share, on a bed-and-breakfast basis in a garden villa, with Air Seychelles flights and transfers in May and June.

  • For more details, see Labriz-seychelles.com



Luxury in the Indian Ocean isn’t just about cool hand towels and fresh flowers on your bed at turndown, it’s about the freedom to explore lush tropical islands and marvel at some jaw-dropping rock formations.


Labriz Silhouette cleverly makes the most of its setting in a marine national park and embraces the island’s raw beauty. Visitors can even go on a guided naturalist walk.


The resort sits between the foot of the moody mountainous interior – Mount Dauban, at 740 metres, is the highest peak – and the ocean. While clouds stubbornly cling to the mountain tops, the sun comes out down below for snorkelling along the resort’s thin strip of beach.


It’s a choppy 45-minute boat transfer to the resort, which is so new its foliage hasn’t fully grown and there’s still some building work going on at the harbour – a slightly off-putting first impression.


Stepping off the boat, guests are collected in a buggy and driven through a local village en route to the villa complex, which gives a nice taster of local life on the island.

Over a narrow wooden bridge, buggies take guests into the resort to their individual accommodation. Initially, there are three rows of villas stretching back from the shore.

The beach villas are set slightly back from the long but narrow stretch of sand. The next row is made up of the garden villas, which are in the least desirable location – surrounded by other villas in front and behind, with a path for the buggies in front of them – however as the vegetation grows, the villas may become more secluded.

There are both beach and garden pavilions – the latter back on to the rainforest-covered mountain and have stunning back gardens complete with pools, which easily compensates for the small beach.


Communal areas are large and open plan, with stylish statement light fittings. The restaurants aren’t all open every night, but food is excellent, and the bar area has a nice buzzy atmosphere for guests in a sociable mood. The resort is quite spread out and if guests don’t want to walk, they can call reception and wait for a buggy to pick them up.


The spa is in a truly dramatically setting. Built among the huge boulders jutting out of the rainforest, it has a real wow factor. Treatment rooms and chill-out areas have beautiful views.


One downside is that if you don’t want to walk, you have to wait for a buggy to come and collect you – there aren’t any bikes to ride around the grounds.


This resort still has a way to go and will become much more ‘bedded in’ as the spring draws on and plants grow, helping it match the lushness of it surroundings.




Maia


This resort is made up of 30 villas rising up a hill, on a peninsula jutting out from the Seychelles capital island of Mahe.



Essential facts: Maia



  • Maia is part of the Southern Sun hotel group.

  • It comprises 30 villas, each 250 sq metres with private butlers.

  • Visitors can indulge in a La Prairie Switzerland Spa.

  • A gourmet restaurant and sunset pool bar are on site.

  • Carrier offers seven nights at Maia from £4,765 per person on a bed-and-breakfast basis, including flights and transfers. Price valid May and June.

  • For more information visit the website Maia.com.sc



Entering the resorts, guests wait under a thatched gazebo with wicker club chairs for a buggy to take them to their villa to check in. The grounds are full of lush tropical plants and water features, but the outside of the villas are a stark concrete green.


As this is a villa-based resort, clients mostly eat breakfast in their individual villa and each has its own butler. Inside, guests are treated to all the attention to detail you would expect from a property that rates itself six star, including iPod stations, plasma TV and DVD, infinity pools, and an outside bath – the décor and buildings don’t disappoint on the luxury front. Each villa area is 250 square metres in total.


At night the resort looks beautiful, adorned with fire-torch lights. Outside the villas there are other nice touches such as towels on the sunloungers. The restaurant is small and there’s no reception area – your butler will sort out everything. Throughout the resort, building materials, fixtures and fittings are of the highest quality.


A spa offers La Prairie treatments, with three types of treatment based on yoga, massage and baths. A boutique opens on request.


The focus here is on privacy and peace, and the aim is to create total tranquillity. The creation of this atmosphere is helped by the lush gardens and sound of trickling water as well as villas designed for seclusion.

The space devoted to communal areas is small and without a reception area there’s no obvious centre. In the short time I was there I found it hard to tap into any atmosphere – the communal areas were deserted.

The experience is for people who want real privacy and don’t mind spending their time within the same four walls – no matter how beautiful the view or decorations are. However, the fact that the resort is on Mahe makes creating a desert island experience harder than it would be on a resort island such as Dennis Island.


The resort describes its staff as ‘instinctive’ and having ‘unwavering attention to detail’. When I visited there was a problem finding a key to see inside a villa and in the end I only got a quick glimpse inside, but seeing this was the whole point of my visit.

I didn’t experience the ‘can do’ attitude one might expect from a hotel that says it’s among the best in the Seychelles and has one of the highest price tags too.





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