Travel Review: Seychelles' Luxurious North Island
Chris visits the Seychelles' North Island and gives us the low down on why this is THE place to go.
North Island, Seychelles - a simple name but an extraordinary place. Getting the elephant out of the room straight away, yes it is expensive. It may cost £1975.00 per person per night, but as a genuine once-in-a-lifetime, one-off trip, the cost can be justified. Many, many places and properties around the world claim to be paradise found, but North Island is the real deal. A tropical island with three golden, postcard-quality beaches and only 11 guest villas.
The villas are more like private estates – 5000 square feet of pure beach-foot luxury. With direct access to the deserted sands of East Beach, each villa comprises a standalone bedroom, bathroom, lounge & plunge pool, all set within a private garden area. The décor is shabby beach-chic, with lots of white-washed and reclaimed woods. The overriding feelings are of space, privacy and open air, with some guests rarely venturing outside their cocoon during their stay. This being North Island, the villa’s mini-bar is actually a maxi-larder, complete with a vast range of snacks, sweets & drinks, all of which are included in the cost, and a nice touch is when the villa attendant turns the villa lounge into a cinema for a private movie night with popcorn, snacks, a chilled bottle of something and the latest blockbuster from Hollywood all left discreetly for guests to discover after returning from dinner.
Astonishing dining experiences mean that guests can pretty much eat anywhere and at anytime on North – from an early morning sunrise breakfast on one of the island’s boats, to a lunchtime picnic on private Honeymoon Beach , (served in the largest wicker basket imaginable) , or an exclusive dinner served in the comfort of your own villa. The food is extraordinarily good – fresh and of the highest quality, and on a par with the offerings of any sophisticated eatery. The island also has two traditional dining areas – the Island Piazza, located at the end of the beautiful East Beach, (which is home to the guest villas), and the West Beach Bar, where sharing platters of the finest barbequed meats and seafood are regular highlights.
Having a maximum of just 22 guests at any one time means than North is never busy, and every activity offered will invariably be an exclusive one – taking a fishing or scuba-diving trip, enjoying a guided nature walk or kayak trip, or crossing the island on a mountain bike. The less energetic can make use of the golf buggy which comes with each villa to just tootle around the island, moving from villa to beach to bar.
This wonderful place is overseen by the enigmatic and highly organised general manager Nick, who is aided but not abetted by his very able deputy Austin. Together they ensure that everything runs seamlessly, from delivering gargantuan platters of fresh fruit to the main swimming pool, to ensuring that the cushions are perfectly arranged for memorable sundowner drinks on the rocks under the stars.
Once on the island everything is included, with the only expenses guests need to consider being for spa treatments, for telephone calls, and for drinks from the reserve list, (although with a huge selection of wines and spirits few guests will need to venture off-piste). With laundry also included, the £1975.00 nightly cost begins to look less intimidating .
Holidays are rewards, and what better way to reward yourself than by arriving in a helicopter on North Island for the beginning of a remarkable stay. As a previous guest was once overheard to say, ‘once you’ve been to North, you can only go South’.