IF there is a heaven on earth, I am quite sure I have found it. Arriving at the Four Season Resort, Seychelles, I am blown away at the sheer beauty of this tropical haven – all 170 acres of it – set on the southwest coast of the island of Mahe.
This magical resort comprises 67 villas and suites as well as 27 residences overlooking the famous horse-shoe shaped Petite Anse beach, with its crystal-clear resplendent sea and powder-white sand, surrounded by granite misshapen boulders and an infinite amount of lush, tropical foliage in the foreground. Quite simply – it’s breath-taking.
The sumptuous accommodation consists of very well-proportioned tree-house villas and suites, each perfectly secluded for privacy, perched high on stilts among a jungle setting of coconut, mango, jackfruit and cinnamon trees. The over-sized bathroom offers panoramic views across the sprawling resort, with its huge floor to ceiling glass windows.
Furnishings are tasteful, opulent and authentic with the splendid villas boasting an individual turquoise-watered infinity pool, an open air shower, an outdoor eating area, a gargantuan shaded day-bed, and an observation deck from which to enjoy, not only the breath-taking view, but also the exotic wildlife on display – including the brightly coloured crepuscular fruit bats, busily helping mother nature to disperse the seeds of the plants and trees.
A professionally operated buggy service ensures efficient transport between the villa, the resort’s vast facilities and the beach. Service at the Four Seasons is superlative in every regard, from the ever-helpful and charming manager, Marcel Oostenbrink, to every one of the 450 immaculately attired staff on hand to ensure the smooth running of the resort’s operations.
The impressive main pool includes plentiful sun umbrellas and loungers in a matching turquoise colour, with the pool bar area frequented by young families during the hottest hours, providing perfect shade for their children. A short pathway leads to the beach, which can be enjoyed under the protection of large trees and parasols lining the seafront.
Dining experiences include Zez, the resort’s main restaurant, with its magnificent vista across the beach. Its menu consists of modern European dishes and heavily featuring fish and fresh pasta, as well as an extensive wine list. Kannel, the beachside restaurant, specialises in authentic Creole-influenced dishes, offering themed dining experiences with performances by bands and dancers.
A notable feature of the resort is its spectacular hill-top spa which has five beautifully appointed pavilions. The most popular treatment is the Hilltop Fusion Massage, using the Seychellois brand Yi-King (the Chinese word for pathway). It uses essential oil blends specifically designed to rebalance hormone production and to stimulate organs according to each individual’s specific elements, which are traditionally recognised by Chinese medicine in accordance to birth dates.
The most unusual facility at the Four Seasons has to be its giant tortoise enclosure, where these huge indigenous animals roam around peacefully. The resort has also partnered on a local coral restoration project with WiseOceans, the marine conservation organisation. Guided snorkel excursions by Georgie, an experienced British marine biologist, demonstrate the great work being done restoring the local coral, all observed while enjoying snorkelling amongst copious amounts of brightly coloured parrotfish. Another uniquely exhilarating experience is the sunrise hike to the summit of the steepest peak overlooking the resort, from where a sublime meditation session with the hotel’s resident yoga instructor, Vishal, can be arranged.
For those that would like to explore the island of Mahe, a half-day trip is recommended to experience its many vantage spots, including Mission Lodge, which Queen Elizabeth ll visited back in 1961. And to get a sense of the real Seychellois way of life, it’s worth visiting the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market in the capital, Victoria, where indigenous herbs and spices can be bought, including cinnamon. For lunch, you can head over the bridge to Eden Island, the prestigious marina development, to find the trendy Bravo Restaurant overlooking the yacht-filled harbour.
Passing Seychelles International Airport en route back to the resort reminds me that I only have one night remaining at the Four Seasons and I can’t wait to return to the sanctuary of my private villa to watch the awesome sunset over the Indian Ocean for the last time.
by Amanda Bernstein
Petite Anse, Baie Lazare, PO Box 1397, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
Tel: +(248) 439 3000