After 31 nights in the Seychelles over three visits, I think it’s fair to say I have done this Indian Ocean-island-nation justice. Besides the main island of Mahe, I have been to the islands of Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, North, Frégate, Bird, Desroches, Eden and Sainte Anne.
Here are some notes based on my experiences:
1. The Seychelles is still one of my favourite countries in the world for its exclusivity, stunning beaches and beautiful ocean.
2. Although fantastic, it’s one of the most expensive places in the world to visit, and I can’t recommend it for the value. In direct comparison, you get a lot more for your money in Mauritius and the Maldives. That said, I think I like the Seychelles the most of the three.
3. Hitchhiking. Not the easiest island nation to hitchhike in. I managed to get some rides in 2012 and this time as well. The key is to hitchhike on a quiet road. Busy roads are difficult. In my recent trip, I picked up two people myself while driving on Praslin as a way of “paying back” to the “hitchhiking” system.
4. Best Food in the Seychelles
I had my best meal at Diva at Lemuria, Praslin. North Island, takes the second spot. None of the restaurants would be worth of a Michelin star though so please don’t travel to the Seychelles for amazing food. If you like fish, you get the best value buying fresh fish at one of the local markets, but then you need to stay in place with a kitchen to prepare it. Eden Luxury Apartments on Mahe would be a good value choice.
5. Car rentals:
On Mahe, I had a car for two days with Nelson Car Hire.
On Praslin, I had a car for four days with Aventure Car Hire.
I can recommend both.
6. Where to stay?
Here is a list of the properties I’ve stayed. Something for any budget:
1. North Island, $$$$$$$$$$$
Named the most expensive resort in the world. It’s a fantastic experience and one of the best I have stayed in my travels. Amazing villas and attention to details. You can get a very similar experience at Soneva Kiri in Thailand and pay around ten times less. In the Seychelles, you pay for the exclusivity.
2. Frégate, $$$$$$$$$
Another extraordinary experience in the Seychelles. Better villas than at North Island, but the service and food didn’t match their competitor.
3. Raffles Praslin, $$$$$$
Well-managed resort from the Raffles chain.
4. Banyan Tree, Mahe, $$$$$$
The very first place I stayed in the Seychelles back in 2009. Amazing experience at the time with their private pool villas.
5. Constance Lemuria, Praslin, $$$$$
It is a really big property with 105 rooms, golf course, 5-star facilities and a corporate feel. Their Diva restaurant is the best I’ve tried in the Seychelles.
6. Desroches Island Resort, $$$$$
I stayed here in 2012. A stunning island with good villas, while I felt they could improve a lot on the service. The good news is that Four Seasons is taking over and I’m sure it will be one of the best places to stay in the Seychelles in the future. At least for the service.
7. Beachcomber Sainte Anne, $$$$
Located close to Mahe, Sainte Anne is another beautiful island operated by Beachcomber. The food was better than expected, while the villas could need an update.
8. Hilton Northolme, Mahe, $$$$
The smallest Hilton hotel in the world with only 40 villas total. Very different from the usual corporate Hilton experience which I don’t like much. It is a lovely resort and by far the best Hilton I have stayed.
9. H Resort Beau Vallon, $$$
A newer resort with a membership of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Stunning rooms and good value for money.
10. Le Meridien Fishermans Cove, Mahe, $$$
After a disappointing experience at Le Meridien in Mauritius, I didn’t expect much from their property in the Seychelles, but it was awesome. Beautiful rooms, only 68 total, set in a stunning location, good service and some of the best food in the Seychelles by their French chef.
11. Coral Strand Smart Choice, Mahe, $$
Comparable to a Holiday Inn-kind of resort, but service wasn’t good.
12. Elite Residences, Eden Island, $$
One of the best places to book on Airbnb. A beautiful villa with free, unlimited Wi-Fi and kitchen. It’s huge. Five beds, three rooms, accepting up to 8 guests.
13. Indian Ocean Lodge, Praslin, $$
A comfortable mid-range resort, but with no internet in the room it isn’t for everyone. Food above average for the Seychelles.
14. Acajou Beach Resort, Praslin, $$
A good mid-range resort with comfortable rooms, friendly service and surprisingly fast internet.
15. Chateau Elysium, Mahe, $$
A newly opened hotel bookable on Airbnb. It feels more like a homestay than a hotel.
16. Le Repaire, La Digue, $$
One of the best places to stay on the small island of La Digue. La Digue is usually the favourite island for the local people to go and it is indeed lovely. Few cars and short distances making many of the tourists renting a bike to get around. Le Repaire has an Italian restaurant, comfortable rooms, good service and complimentary internet.
17. Le Relax, Praslin, $$
The basic place I stayed during my first trip. Can’t recommend it. Way overpriced.
18. A place in 2009 I can’t remember, $
Negotiated a lower rate here in 2009. It wasn’t a nice place, and there was no hot water in the morning.
19. Eden Luxury Apartments, Mahe, $
Eden Luxury Apartments makes comfort on a budget possible in the Seychelles. Great value for money. Nice apartments with kitchen and fast internet access.
20. Carana Hilltop Villa, Mahe, $
A small comfortable property bookable on Airbnb. The Internet is slow but free and worked well. Would say it’s something between a homestay and a hotel.
21. A rental car, $
Slept a night in a rental car as I didn’t get a hotel for the night. Please don’t do it. It was so hot that I didn’t manage to sleep much.
Here are a few of my latest photos from the Seychelles. Now back in Italy enjoying extraordinary food!