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Travel: Out of the Seychelles’ 100 islands, which would you choose?

© PAAerial view of Praslin, Seychelles.
Aerial view of Praslin, Seychelles.

Across the island of Mahe, several strange gashes scar the coastline – wounds from unsuccessful treasure hunts.

Left by pirates who cruised through these waters, legends of lost loot are so engrained in the national psyche that even the government demands a 50% cut of any finds by law.

Whether there’s any truth to the far-fetched fairy-tales is debatable, yet the Seychelles sparkles with riches – from diving with sharks in the outer islands, to hiking the slopes of soaring, jungle-wrapped peaks.

And as travellers plan ahead for dream holidays, it’s not surprising the 115-island state is topping booking lists.

Each island has a different appeal and character, some thriving with communities and others occupied by only one resort.

© PA
The beach at Beau Vallon.

All walks of life stroll along the beach at Beau Vallon on main island Mahe, making it one of the best places to sample local living in the Seychelles.

Perfectly placed to soak up the action, STORY Hotel is only metres from the rolling waves.

Choose a villa with plunge pool and beach access to sink directly into the sand or opt for a garden room overlooking a tropical lagoon.

A gym and serene spa are tucked into the gardens and there’s a choice of seven restaurants – ranging from buffet to private, petal-strewn fine dining.

Off site, there’s a chance to hike through Morne National Park.

© PA
Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Felicite.

Given human habitation in the Seychelles only dates back a few hundred years, it’s easy to trace the roots of early settlers.

Owned by descendants of the French d’Offay family, L’Archipel beachfront resort on Praslin is a successful marriage of present and past; classic Creole architecture has been polished with a Riviera sheen.

Set on a gently sloping hillside of landscaped gardens overlooking one of the island’s most secluded beaches, there are 32 rooms and larger suites. A shore-side restaurant serves an excellent menu, served with French finesse.

A one-hour ferry ride or 15-minute flight from Mahe, Praslin is more laidback than her sister island.

Visit the Unesco-listed Vallee de Mai, home to a forest of coco de mer trees, prized for their weighty 20kg nuts.

Everywhere in the Seychelles is magical but some places sparkle with an extra-special quality.

At Six Senses Zil Pasyon, the only resort occupying the private island of Felicite, accessible by a 20-minute private boat transfer from Praslin or helicopter from Mahe, the emphasis is on uninterrupted relaxation.

© PA
STORY hotel on Mahe.

Thirty pool villas are tucked into the palms and tropical forest, where fruit bats swoop overhead at dusk; a generous lap pool, sun deck and playful swing above the bath arguably justify spending extra time in your room.

To do so, however, would mean missing out on so much: take a dawn kayak ride to nearby Coco island, where several seabird species nest; trek a trail to the island’s highest point; dine beneath a native takamaka tree festooned with fairy lights; or enjoy private sundowners on beanbags at a secluded granite viewpoint.

Built into the rocks, the spa is extraordinary; book a private slot at the saltwater pool and sundeck gazing out to the Indian Ocean.

Boulder-strewn beaches attract visitors to Silhouette Island, but the wild interior is just as captivating, creating an adventure playground for anyone lucky enough to stay at Hilton Labriz.

Despite having 111 rooms and a choice of eight restaurants, it never feels busy, and there are plenty of opportunities for discovering secret patches of sand either by hiking or exploring on a boat.

Silhouette’s history as a coconut plantation is detailed at the Grann Kaz, a Creole house where lively, traditional dinner dances are held.

Underwater activities are taken care of by an excellent PADI dive centre, while the spa – built sensitively between giant boulders – is back-to-nature bliss.


P.S.

Seychelles’ capital is one of the smallest cities in the world. Bordered on one side by steep mountain slopes, Victoria is made up of just two dozen streets and has only two sets of traffic lights!

Located on the island of Mahe, one day spent adventuring on foot is more than enough time to explore this cultural hub of a city.

Factfile: 

Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk) offers seven-night holidays in the Seychelles from £3,900pp based on two people sharing. Includes breakfast, flights, transfers and accommodation.