It’s difficult to get your head around it when that sexy and secluded island image from the glossy travel mag spills out of the page into real life.
But as we ambled along in a gold cart along a winding road to our villa perched on a limestone cliff at the Four Seasons, Mahé, the word “paradise” kept jumping into my mind.
The Seychelles is an idyllic archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean and I was privileged to visit two of the resorts operated by Four Seasons.
At the Four Seasons in the main island Mahé our private deck stretched out from the villa. On one end, was an elevated day bed enclosed in a treehouse and on the other side an infinity pool wrapped around the villa, linking to the outdoor shower.
Four Seasons Mahé, Seychelles. Picture: Jared Ruttenberg
The day’s itinerary would be a tough choice; to laze away the day in our private villa or call a golf cart to take us down to the beach. The choices extend to dining, since the resort has three restaurants. I didn’t want to simply sample the local Creole cuisine, but learn how to cook it, so I enrolled in a cooking class.
In the enchanted setting of an abandoned building nearby, a table was waiting, laden with spices and food – including some fruit and vegetables I’d never seen before.
Chef Darius, a son of the Seychelles, was my teacher for the next three hours and he led me through the preparation and presentation of a three-course Creole meal.
Perched high on the cliff, the resort’s spa is a first-class location for yoga sessions and the other host of wellness treatments that are on offer.
Naturally I couldn’t enjoy this marine paradise without some time exploring beneath the surface of the azure waters.
Wise Oceans is the marine education and conservation arm of the Four Seasons. The staff provide gear and outings, and the company is also active in marine protection and regeneration. Its guided snorkelling trips are recommended.
Global warming has sadly contributed to the decline of coral reefs. “Love grows beautiful things” is a thoughtful initiative where couples, families or interested individuals can “adopt” a piece of coral which is then planted to help regenerate the bay.
After four days of lapping up the luxury on Mahé, we headed to the Four Seasons property on Desroches Island, accessible only by a 30-minute chartered flight.
Four Seasons Desroches Island, Seychelles. Picture: Jared Ruttenberg
Climbing the steps into the plane, the scene transformed from the glossy magazine it had been in Mahé into a movie set where I was (a slightly younger) George Clooney, boarding my private jet to a deserted island …
Within seconds of arriving we realised why you fly here in the first place: glorious isolation and inescapable beauty.
Desroches Island has a circumference of 19km and a total of 402 hectares – so it’s small, but with plenty of paradise to explore. This resort needs no other experiential offer.
Our Sunset Beach Suite was our spacious sanctuary. Whether in our private cabana and splash pool, ocean-view lounges, or hammock strung up in the lush garden, we couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful space to take in the tranquillity,
Since there is no need for cars on the island, every villa is equipped with two bicycles for guests. A gentle bike ride through the palm trees takes you to a restaurant, spa or various beaches.
For a longer ride I’d recommend the 30-minute cycle to the tortoise sanctuary. The island has its own breeding colony of Aldabra tortoises – these giant creatures are worth the visit.
Included in the guest experiences are daily yoga sessions. In the morning simple stretches and mantras to open the body and mind to the day’s possibilities, and sunset meditative journeys encouraging a slow winding down and reflection on the day.
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