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The WOW factor

"If it's good enough for royalty, it's good enough for me."

Harriet Rhodes February 18, 2014

I’ve just recently returned from my first trip to the Seychelles and it will certainly not be the last after what I experienced. Yes, the eleven and a half hour plane journey was tiring, but if it’s good enough for Kate and Will, it can’t be that bad! The moment you step off the plane, you are presented with the most magnificent views and you can instantly feel the tropical temperature, all is forgotten in seconds.

Of course, the major appeal of the Indian Ocean is the soft, white sands and turquoise waters, and the competition between family members on who can achieve the best tan to show off back home! However, relaxation could turn to boredom for some staying on the same island, in the same hotel, by the same pool. With three main islands - Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, all so different from one another, you really are spoilt for choice. Experience the culture in the capital of Victoria, wander around the local markets offering fresh spices, salted fish and pure coconut oil and take in the untouched views of Vallée de Mai, the World Heritage nature reserve.
The moment we stepped off the plane we were met by the most enthusiastic Seychellois, Eugene.  He was so happy about life; I mean who wouldn’t be living there? Our personal guide for the full week, “did you know there are 150,000 tortoises in total, reputedly five times more than on the Galapagos Islands...”
Our first hotel we stayed at was a little corner of paradise, known as CoCo De Mer (only a 45 minute ferry transfer from Mahé. Set on a stunning 200 acres, perched over the edge of the Indian Ocean, complimented by mountainside views, this was a hidden treasure for all to explore.  
Our next visit was to the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa, one of my favourite hotels. Imagine the beauty of a wooden ski chalet but plotted in the middle of the picturesque Indian Ocean. My room had a four poster bed and the softest pillows I have rested my head on with a balcony where I could relax and watch the world go by. Not to mention the HUGE bathroom with a walk in shower and Jacuzzi bath tub, I didn’t want to leave my room!  
We then arrived at the five-star Constance Ephelia, WOW (I couldn’t believe it was only a five-star). I couldn’t contain my excitement when I was led to my Spa Villa Suite - all to myself! I was delighted to be met with a huge swimming pool with an outside dining area before I then entered into the villa. My own master bedroom leading into a dressing room –YES, my own dressing room, every girls dream! Walking into the main bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath tub (big enough to fit four of us in it - yes, we did test it!), I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my very own sauna and steam room, followed by another bedroom with an en suite bathroom. The entire villa was bigger than my three bedroom house! It took a lot of persuading from my butler to leave the following morning. 
Banyan Tree Seychelles, a refreshing, white, colonial style resort, was our next stop. Greeted with warm smiles, fresh towels and thirst-quenching fruit juices, it was the perfect start to our stay here. Our villas were charming wooden buildings – again, with our very own private pools and an outside dining area, offering scenic views of the unspoilt surroundings. We pre-ordered in a private breakfast, delivered and served to our villa the following morning and with the sun rising as we ate, it was just heavenly.
Our last visit was to the Hilton Seychelles Labriz, arriving by a scenic 45 minute boat transfer to Silhouette Island from Mahé. Situated on an untouched island and surrounded by a nature reserve, I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy my last day in the Seychelles than here. From feeding turtles to enjoying life with the locals in the village and local schools, to renting bicycles and enjoying the views of the entire island; it was a truly unique experience. I can easily say this village resort is the perfect family choice.
Some of you, after reading this, may still be asking yourselves why I should choose the Seychelles over the Maldives when the price is generally higher. It’s simple. The Seychelles gives you a chance to experience both Mauritius and the Maldives in one country with one great difference, the Seychelles is much quieter. With smaller hotels and more personalised service to make that dream holiday a reality, it really does make spending those extra pennies entirely worthwhile.
If you’re looking for pure luxury and a relaxing getaway, look no further than the Seychelles. It should be the next destination to tick off your wish list.