Oh Seychelles, you were just dreamy…
A destination on my bucket-list from the days I would collect travel brochures and come home and pretend to be a travel agent (did anyone else do that?!). Leafing through piles of brochures, The Seychelles always stood out and looked like the most beautiful place on Earth, filled with super luxe properties and very much out of reach for my thirteen year old school girl self. So when we visited this February, from stepping off the plane at the tiny Mahe airport, filled with a backdrop of beautiful granite rocks and so much greenery, I instantly knew those brochures weren’t exaggerating – it was just something else!
We stayed at the idyllic Beachcomber Seychelles Sainte Anne Resort & Spa, set on its own 220-hectare private island, surrounded by one of the largest marine parks in the Indian Ocean. A ten minute drive from the airport took us to the Beachcomber jetty where we boarded a speedboat and my boys had their very own James Bond moment as we sped off to the island, a further ten minute ride. Being so close to the airport was really convenient when you have little ones in tow and early morning flights to deal with!
The accommodation consists of private villas rather than hotel rooms and so was perfect for us as a family of four. It is worth noting that the hotel will close in September for six months for refurbishment, which, in some areas it is probably ready for, however the resort has a certain rustic charm that definitely wasn’t uncomfortable. Some of the villas have private pools which we were lucky enough to have and it was such a treat for the boys having the luxury of a pool in their back garden! Our villa also backed onto one of the three beaches on the island meaning we pretty much spent the week bare foot, perfect for the desert babies who don’t really do shoes unless they really have to.
There are different F&B packages to choose from. We went for the all inclusive which was ideal for feeding the kids regularly, and not so ideal for my waistline which pretty much doubled by taking advantage of the daily buffet! L’Abondance was the main restaurant that overlooks the swimming pool and where we ate mostly. It had a good range of the usual buffet style offerings with themed nights and a children’s area where pasta and chicken nuggets were served up in case all else fails!
Le Mont Fleuri was the fine dining restaurant set upon stilts high above the beach and was typically romantic with candle lit tables. It had a children’s menu too and dishes had a European flair. We visited once but felt this restaurant was best suited to the honeymooners and maybe not our Elliott knocking out the zzz’s on two chairs pushed together (which the lovely staff insisted on making a makeshift bed for him!)
Our favourite dining experience was Le Robinson, located beneath Le Mont Fleuri on the beach. It was utterly charming with rustic driftwood tables and chairs, close to the waters edge where we would watch little crabs scurrying across the sand.
We could have been stranded on a desert island with only candlelight for company, it was so pretty. With uninterrupted views of the ocean, hidden in a quiet cove surrounded by rocks and tall Takamaka trees, it was truly magical and the food…the food! In true Robinson Crusoe style we cooked our own food on a hot stone slab on the centre of our table. It was also here that Elliott tried Lobster for the first time and asked me to call his teacher right away to tell her! Not one to be outdone, Finn hit the buffet the next night with a serving of Goat Curry – I was impressed, even it was just to get one over on his brother 😉
This trip was obviously all about R&R for us and I guess the majority of those who visit The Seychelles. We wiled away our days lounging in hammocks, lots of pool dips, swimming in the crystal clear waters of the ocean and wandering along the pristine beaches #sorrynotsorry.
We also enjoyed the non-motorised water-sports (motorised water-sports are not allowed to protect all of the beautiful Marine life). We canoed and paddle boarded and complimentary snorkels were available for hire too so we could check out the abundance of tropical fish, rays and coral.
From spotting baby sharks on patrol in the shallow crystal clear water on our walk to breakfast every morning, to paddling with tropical ‘Nemo’ fishes and ewwwwing at the Sea Cucumbers nestled in the sand, it really was a nature and animal lovers paradise and was a joy to discover the island day by day.
The resort also houses three resident giant tortoises which were always a source of interest and humour for the boys! One morning we trekked through the botanical trail across the island, going into the depths of hundreds of years old trees, Frangipane, Hibiscus and Palms that all blended seamlessly together. There were huge snails, lizards and the most colourful birds and we were all just completely in awe of the beauty of the island.
The hotel has a full activity programme with different daily schedules. We went out on the glass bottom boat one afternoon and fed huge shoals of ‘adidas’ fish, all black and white stripes and even spotted a family of six dolphins, which was was pretty special and such a lovely surprise.
Tearing ourselves away from our little sanctuary we explored the main island of Mahe one day, which I would definitely recommend doing. We stopped off at one of the world’s smallest capital cities, Victoria where we visited the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market, bursting with life and colour and where the locals buy their fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and spices. It was lots of fun and nice to get a feel of how the Seychellois live.
The next stop was the Botanical Gardens where we checked out the famous ‘Coco de Mer’, a rare species of Palm tree from the Seychelles and it’s nut shaped like a peachy derriere!
We went high up into the mountains visiting stunning enclaves offering the most amazing vistas and a small tea factory where we watched the ladies hand making and filling the tea boxes in the same way as they did when they first opened many years ago. The boys were enthralled by all of the old fashioned machinery and came away with a stash of teabags each!
Lunch was in a lovely seafood spot by the beach, recommended by our local taxi driver (the locals ALWAYS know the best places!). We ended our day at the most picturesque waterfall where we all jumped in to cool off before returning back to the jetty to catch our boat back – it was such a lovely day and we really felt we saw a good chunk of the island and learnt a lot from our fab driver Hubert.
I would definitely recommend booking a private taxi with a price agreed beforehand. Our resort arranged and booked this for us and Hubert was both knowledgeable and friendly and completely tailored the day to the needs of our family. He was also the hotel’s resident singer which the boys thought was super cool
We also took a trip to Moyenne Island, one of the smaller islands that make up the Sainte Anne Marine National Park and a 10 minute speedboat journey from our resort. The island was bought by Brandon Grimshaw, a newspaper editor from Yorkshire, UK in the 1960’s for £8,000. He and his friend Rene Lafortune spent their time making the island habitable and were the only two residents that lived there. They planted 16,000 trees and built 3 miles of beautiful nature pathways by hand, which we had the pleasure of walking around. There are rumours that pirate treasure is hidden on the island, which the boys had great fun trying to find! The island is also home to around 120 giant tortoises and the eldest Desmond is 76 years old! With lots of beautiful photo opportunity spots and nature galore; think bats high in the trees, tiny lizards scurrying by and other rustling creatures by our feet, it was a fantastic experience followed by a well deserved beer in the beach bar afterwards!
The Seychelles really is the stuff that dreams are made of. We had the most magical time and felt true Island living for a week where we could forget all our cares and mama could switch off momentarily, and well, pretend to be a mermaid…
And in case I haven’t got across just how idyllic The Seychelles is, maybe these pics will help too 😉 …
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