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The Seychelles

O p e n , O p u l e n t & O r g a n i c

The Seychelles Isles has long held high esteem as one of the world’s best destinations for idyllic beach utopian scenes perfect for isolation, high-end accommodation & unique insta-profile fodder. Like most Indian ocean destinations the Seychelles isles are synonymous with giant granite stone formations, turquoise bays, exotic marine life & sprawling fauna. So the opportunity to explore, taste and capture the island's bounty through a lens has long been a life goal. Fortunate I’m now able to tick said box & hopefully convince you to embark on a similar pilgrimage, albeit with a guide & heads-up for what to expect and look for. My family’s excursion to tropical paradise was made that bit sweeter by pitching up at the opulent Constance Ephelia, one of the Constance chain's 7 luxurious high-end resorts spread across Indian Ocean locations Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles & the Maldives.

In this iteration of the travel guides/reviews I'll cover The Constance Ephelia, Dubai Airport, Childcare, Marine National Park Port Lanauy, 5x Resort Restaurants, 2x Islander Restaurants, Zee Bar, U spa, Transport, 3x Alternative Beaches, The Hotel Kempinski, Eden Island & Victoria's Botanical Gardens.

T h e C o n s t a n c e E p h e l i a

P o r t L a u n a y R d , M a h é , S e y c h e l l e s

The Mahe Island resort boasts the largest spa in the Indian Ocean, centennial tortoises, zip lines, decedent cuisine, water sports, an outstanding kids club, 2 private beaches, protected marine life & lagoon, as well as family, hillside & presidential villas. All explored via round the clock golf-carts that ferry you & your dearest across a breathtaking 120 hectares of manicured natural grounds. Not to mention bats & a complimentary room gecko.

This summary of my stay on the Island & resort will cover the journey to & from the UK or Europe, the island’s practical’s such as currency, transport tips, the reception from the people of Mahe, Kids provisions, the resort’s customer service and some things to see & do beyond the confines of the resort.

J o u r n e y

D u b a i A i r p o r t

A i r p o r t R o a d , 2 5 2 5 , D u b a i , U A E

Just a short detail on the small subject of the journey from the UK to the Seychelles. There are a number of routes to the Seychelles. You may have the option to fly straight there from wherever you are, but if possible I'd highly recommend travelling via Dubai. A Dubai stop-over sets the tone for arriving at one of the worlds foremost luxury destinations. The Dubai airport is unique in scale & amenities. This state of the art behemoth is a testament to Emirati style & flair, a benchmark for those renovating or designing future airports. The indoor waterfalls, the synchronicity of reflective metal lifts that double as contemporary works of art, the cylindrical pillars wrapped in LCD screens, and of course the expansive choice of flag-ship brands.

The opulence & class is something to behold, so be sure to reserve a substantial space in your hand luggage & wallet for all the duty free loot your likely to find en route to your terminal. Note to the wise. When booking your transfer, try not to have too quick an interconnecting flight. Emirate's handling of our transfer was somewhat chaotic due to a very small window between connecting flights. We really had to have our wits about us to ensure we didn’t miss our flight. The journey back on the other hand was a totally different experience. With plenty of time to spare, we were able to swan about the two huge shopping areas care-free.

Its also worth noting the A380 airbus is one of, if not the best flight experience available today. Seat pitch, food quality, in-flight entertainment & customer service were all excellent. Better than our prior experiences with Thai-Airways, Virgin , British Airways & American Airlines.

C h i l d c a r e

Ephelia Kids Club

The main reason for choosing the Ephelia was it’s outstanding effort to accommodate young families. Most resort's kid’s clubs cater for children 6 plus, sometimes older. Children of relatively low maintenance who can wipe their own rear-ends and regulate their own emotions (to an extent!). Leaving very young families like mine with a 4 year old at a loose end trying to find quality adult time to re-connect & unwind without the cacophony of pre-school toy's sound fx & Disney movie playlists on repeat for two weeks. Not to mention the emotional and physical drain that is entertaining a 4 year old with no siblings or playmates. Without doubt I can emphatically recommend & applaud this service & it's staff for what is the best Kid's club experience I've seen to date. With provisions for kids ranging 4-11 the club provides such all-day amenities as a swimming pool, indoor & outdoor-covered play areas with soft-play, computer games, imagination spaces with playhouses, kitchenettes & tool stations, Arts & crafts, interactive games, plus educational beach trips & adventures to learn about local plants & animals i.e crab spotting and tortoise feeding. Not to mention kiddy zip-lining. None of which is chargeable! The Club is well staffed at all times, highly organised and most importantly, Punctual! Which is paramount if you're trying to make a morning class or treatment. The vast indoor and outdoor areas are kept clean, modern & presented every bit as premium as the surrounding resort.

T h e G r o u n d s

Marine National Park Port Launay Cove Panoramic

The resort grounds are vast, featuring architecture that compliments the surrounding landscape. Single story earthy coloured huts with either thatched or stone tiled roofs sit low & unobtrusive to the landscape allowing you to survey the surrounding hills in all their majesty, as if you were ship wrecked on an island paradise with all the luxuries & conveniences of modern civilisation. This design principle is commonplace across the resort allowing nature to take center stage. During our stay the resort was at 80% capacity, but between beaches, restaurants, the gym & spa I couldn’t say I struggled for space or privacy. However, you'd be advised to arrive early at the more coveted parts of the North Beach to snag the day beds closest to the shore if a tan is your goal, This should ensure you catch adequate UV rays & sea-breeze. I personally can’t stand direct tropical sunlight. It’s just too intense for a lad accustomed to the London climate. In terms of navigation, The Ephelia provides modified golf carts that carry up to 8 people at a time to expedite your journey across the resort. However, once you’re familiar with the layout & discover a few shortcuts you're likely to prefer a walk from your room to the nearest beach depending on your proximity. If seawater & sand isn’t you’re thing then any one of the numerous swimming pools close to the apartment rooms is a perfect alternative. With water toys, a shower & shallow ends, these areas work better for families, so pitch up here with your young ones, as they’re likely to make friends they’ll see again at the kids club. If you don’t have kids then noise cancelling headphones is a good shout for obvious reasons. If you have the budget, a villa or hillside suite is the way to go if seclusion and privacy is your aim. This being the Seychelles, the hillside views over the bay are breathtaking!

Our 2nd floor apartment came with a 40inch flat screen with apple TV, access to a current blockbuster library & selection of channels. The bathrooms are very spacious with his & hers sinks in front of an oversized Jacuzzi bath tub large enough for two. The resort will provide a small single size bed for your little one and your room still won’t feel cramped. The interior decor features warm earthy neutral tones, plenty of wood and beige with art canvasses I'd assume inspired or supplied by local artists. Then of course there's that balcony! I'd suggest requesting a 2nd floor room at check-in. The balconies are huge, with sofas, armchairs and great views over the surrounding gardens facing the sea.

M a r i n e N a t i o n a l P a r k P o r t L a n a u y

S o u t h B e a c h

Marine National Park Port Launay South Beach Panoramic

This amazing sea horizon of the South Beach can be viewed through the trees from Corossal the main restaurant. Being the calmer option of the resorts two main beaches you won't find any day beds here as you will along the north beach shore. This is where the brides come for their photoshoots, & so will you if photo opportunities are a priority. At low tide you can wade out at least 100 meters, but be advised the further out you go the more jellyfish you'll find, so don't get caught out. The only seating here are a few scattered day beds set back beneath the tree canopy & the odd bench swing, beware the calling coconuts. This beach is perfect for a private picnic, reading a book or daily mindfulness.

Marine National Park Port Launay South Beach Low Tide Panoramic A

Walk through the trees pictured above and emerge to this view of the beach at low tide. A wonder along the South Beach alone or with loved ones is a humbling experience. The surrounding mountains meet the clouds, occasionally piercing them allowing sun rays to streak through at an angle. You're surrounded by a balmy haze that strips away the stresses of worldly concerns. This is the beach you paid for in my humble opinion.

To your far left you'll find the swimming pools closest to the apartment blocks, set back behind an elevated bank. Alternatively, look to the far right for a steep trail that leads uphill to the resort's helipad where you'll find awesome views over the bay area, and another trail back downhill to some secluded coves.

Rarely will you find such openess & opportunity for privacy at a single resort, these options cator for restless souls not concerned with sunbathing allowing exploration for days at a time. I could have spent a week alone exploring the mountain trails, fitness challenges & ruins. Just be advised these areas are not patrolled by resort personnel. So you explore at your own peril.

N o r t h B e a c h

Marine National Park Port Launay North Beach Panoramic

The North Beach is where all the action is during the day. You’ll find two beach side restaurants, a mini bar, water-sports, kids climbing frame, life size chess, a gift shop & library all overlooked by a hillside canopy from Jurassic Park.

This is also where the majority of beach side day-beds can be found, with some set back under the cover of trees for those less keen on melting. The aforementioned amenities are all within a minute or so by foot, in view of family villas set back from the interlinking walkway. The North Beach is essentially the ying to the South Beach's yang. This is where you'll see stewardesses from emirates or virgin hanging out during their layovers. This is also were you tend to see paddle boards and snorkels owing to the variety of sea life found beneath the waves of this protected marine park.

Port Launay North Beach Sundown Panoramic

S e s e l w y n

Seselwyn Restaurant Panoramic

One of the three A La Carte Restaurants, Seselwyn has a bar, a sit-down dining area. Or If you don't want to sit within the immediate restaurant area you have the option of large lounge arm chairs with coffee tables amongst the sand. Seselwyn is a Creole themed affair offering delicious grilled seafood. ‘Catch of the Day’ dishes must be tried at least once during your stay. Seselwyn also runs a breakfast spread in tandem with Corrosol (the more popular breakfast destination), & as this is 1 of 2 restaurants situated on the busy North Beach strip it's an ideal destination for brunch & lunch. During the day I’d almost always opt for a burger or fish & chips out of habit, but I'd advise being more adventurous than me.

Seselwyn Bar

Seselwyn's bar isn’t huge but it stocks the essentials. Despite coming alive at lunch, we never found ourselves waiting for a table at Seselwyn. The only annoyance to mention is the flies, they’re notoriously fast & persistent! be sure to lather your extremities in repellent, or ensure your kung-fu is strong.

Seselwyn Restaurant Approach

Of an evening Seselwyn entertains with live creole musicians providing a taste of Seychellelois culture. If you’re based on the other side of the island as we were, you may not want to make the trip. With a four-year old child we chose to enjoy most evenings in our room. Putting the little one to bed reasonably early so my partner & I could "reconnect". But, if you'd prefer to be out late socialising or just hanging out, there are always babysitters available?

C y a n n

At the furthest end of the north beach tucked away in a little corner is Cyann, the most expensive restaurant at The Ephelia. With it's walk-in wine library & in-house sommelier, an evening at Cyann is where you pull out the ring & savoir-faire. The Ephelia also does well to encourage social mingling of guests by hosting evening soirees where you'll meet the management team and other key resort personnel accompanied by champagne & entrees. Some guests show up in their day wear, most uncouth, but we kept it suave and made the effort to dressed up (little man included). Standards people!

Cyan Restaurant Outdoor Seating Area

Cyann also features a rustic outdoor seating area with wild foliage backdrop overlooking the paradisaical Port Launay Marine Park Bay (North Beach). Intermittent rays of sunlight penetrate the tree canopy that overhangs these outdoor dining tables, offering respite from the Indian ocean sun. This end of the beach is probably the best area for a snooze, read or laptop admin. It's quiet, not far from a WC, close to sand showers, & a stone’s throw from a towel hut, plus it's close to the Cabana for cocktails, milkshakes & ice cream. You tend to find very few younger children here too, they're drawn to the climbing frame at the opposite end of the strip.

For lunch you must try the sushi with orange caviar & squid ink burger. I’m a self confessed burger fiend with a love for seafood, so the novelty of trying a dyed squid-ink bun with subtle hints of sea-food paired with melted cheese, steak burger & salad couldn't be turned down. The burger was pretty good. It needs to be tried rather than described as different palettes are sure to interpret the subtleties differently. The restaurant’s evening dining experience also lives up to the hype. I spoke earlier of good form, so during our Cyann meal I left the camera & savored the moment. Expect pan-asian cuisine prepared to very high culinary standards, paired with world-class wines.

H e l i o s

The Helios restaurant is a Mediterranean themed dining experience. Here you’ll find tapas, mezes, seafood, various meats & pizzas. Once again prepared to high culinary standards. Excellent for lunch if you want more than just a burger & fries. Book in advance for evenings, & theirs a casual chic dress code that should be adhered to. No flip flops or sandals! Don’t fret over formal wear in such a climate. The evenings in the Seychelles are mild & breezy with low/moderate humidity. Enough to keep you warm without sweating. breathable linens & men's espadrilles or plimsolls work well.

We only ate here once during our stay although I wished we’d dined here more often. My Cypriot partner & I are well accustomed to Mediterranean cuisine & If you like buffet style dining, Helios is perfect. Gorge to your hearts content & nap like a well fed lion the next day, Or burn it off at the well-outfitted gym & lengths pool. Alternatively, re-center with a yoga class at the U-Spa if you’re an early riser with a seasoned core.

A d a m & E v e

A homage to south east-Asian style cuisine presented in a naturalistic settings with lightly sanded floors & granite rock walls. Probably my favourite restaurant of the three. I’m a sucker for Malaysian & Singaporean dishes. Especially the street-food kind. Aside from great food, what you may find most memorable is the atmosphere at Adam & Eve. Starting with the open kitchen. The chefs are all hard a work in full view of guests. The air is thick with the aroma of herbs, spices, sauces & meats like therapy for the senses. The volume of civil convo from neighboring guests is just right due to perfect spacing between tables & booths. Sizzling from the grill & plumes of flames tickle your ears, accompanied by a background choral of nightime wildlife. Crickets, chirping fruit bats & swaying trees. Add this to the party on your tongue & the company of your dearest and you have an awesome dining experience. Also, if you’re staying in a South Beach apartment as we were, you’re less than five minutes from your bed, a mini-bar night cap & High-Def movie. If you're a couple with no rugrats, the above elements mixed with nightime humidity & salty breeze makes for an effective aphrodisiac.

C o r r o s o l

Outside Corrosol

Corrosol is very much a way-point for the resort. It's situated next to the reception, resort gift shop, zee bar & is adjacent to the vast & underpopulated south beach. It's also where the majority of guests eat breakfast & dine of an evening.

Which brings us to the food, which is an experience in itself. Not cheap either. Regrettably we didn’t go all-inclusive. So if you’re intent on booking the Ephelia, I’d strongly advise you go inclusive for this reason alone. When the food is this good its very hard to stay trim over the course of your stay. These images capture a fraction of what's on over, but know this, they don't demonstrate the en masse gorging that takes place at breakfast & an evening at Corrosol. Stretch pants required.

Each night offers a different cuisine theme from around the globe. Each prepared and presented elegantly. A small but important detail I appreciated were the fly deterrents the restaurant employs to stave off the little pests. Stringed Fans blow and swipe over the food, but not so close you can’t get to the food. Ingenious! There are plenty of staff, all highly attentive & capable. The smart casual dress code keeps standards up & there's an atmosphere of mutual appreciation that we’re all fortunate enough to enjoy such luxury. It’s hard, but do try and save space for desserts! If only you could taste these images!

Z e e B a r

Outside Zee Bar

Zee Bar is the resort’s main bar, complete with projector screen for sporting events & stage for bands. With comfy lounge chairs surrounding the bar & it’s own kitchen, you can sip mock/cocktails, munch on a burger & fries whilst watching the Grand Prix with a sea horizon to your left. Of an evening, the softly lit bar is a meeting point for holiday acquaintances. Perfect for an evening cigar & tasting of the bar's selection of whiskys & bourbons. N.b. the bar is non-smoking so you'll have to light up on the sea facing seats next to the ballroom. Don't worry the wind isn't too strong.

Be sure to arrive early as the real estate around the bar is sort after, but If you don't mind sitting on stools or with slightly obstructed views of the stage /screen then arrive at your leisure. The bar is situated adjacent to a ballroom/dance floor with intimate little benches around the perimeter. If that these feel too enclosed you also have outdoor seating a stone's throw from the South Beach. N.b. the bar is non-smoking so you'll have to light up on the sea-facing seats next to the ballroom. Don't worry the wind isn't too strong.

U S p a

U Spa Huts & Foliage Panoramic

The largest spa in the Indian Ocean is key a element at the Ephelia. This mecca for the soul is kitted with both covered and exposed outdoor chill-out areas designed to keep your stress levels the lowest they’ll ever be. Each day we'd drop the wee man at the kids club, head over to the gym for a quick 45min workout, then jump on a buggy for the short 2 min ride to the U Spa.

Once there you sign-in at the reception atrium & then make your way to the his & hers locker rooms outside. Then to the garden area to pitch-up on a day bed. Choose from the elevated Yoga stage where day beds are spread across shallow waters, or down by the jacuzzi baths, steam room & sauna huts.

Personally i’d make a rotation of jacuzzi, steam room, rest, then repeat. Playing PS vita in between rotations.

U Spa Jacussi, Plunge Pool, Steam Room & Seating

I’d do this for hours until late lunch, then we'd collect the little one & head off to the beach. The Steam room is huge, with small mosaic tiles across the interior from floor to domed ceiling. The Spa facilities are complimentary until 2pm. Then its fee-payers only. Except for those who've had treatments. On the day of your treatment the facilities are complimentary for the entire day. I can't say for certain, but it may be possible to include all-day spa access in your package if this is your main reason for booking the resort.

D r i v i n g i n t h e S e y c h e l l e s

With most points of Mahe Island reachable within a day's drive, an experience i’d recommend is hiring a car and going for a drive. Like the United Kingdom you'll need to drive on the right. The main roads are well maintained, but at various points feature a perilous gutter with a 3 foot drop at the edge. Dropping even a single wheel will stop you in your tracks until you can have the car pulled back onto the road (which I managed to avoid). You'll find this to be the case across the Caribbean, & Phuket incidentally. The cars available for hire at the resort are modest 1.2L - 1.4L hatchbacks. More than adequate for traversing the island. An alternative & highly iconic option is the Mini Moke.

For Seychelles locals and those who’ve traveled to the island a generation ago, the Mini Moke is a well known sight & sound across the island. This open-aired buggy with it’s small wheels, low pitch and hop in & out appeal makes for some memorable hilltop climbs for both good and bad reasons. Of course its quite an exhilarating feeling to whizz through winding inland hillside roads for both the photo opportunities and lasting imagery once you leave the island. However, with reliability something to be desired, you wouldn’t want to be stranded in unfamiliar territory, hoping for someone to eventually find you and escort you safely back to your resort. Neither would you like to be in a motor incident exposed to the elements, especially if you’re traveling with children. For those reasons we opted for the Hatchback with Air-bags, ISO-fix, air-con and remote central locking. But if you throw caution to the wind whilst travelling, then go for the Moke. Regardless which vehicle you opt for, Mahe offers some fabulous driving roads and scenes that you won't find anywhere else in the world other than the tropics. The drive through the mountains is winding, challenging at times, but always thoroughly enjoyable. As with any new road you don't know whats next which makes it all the more exciting, & if you love rally driving as I do, Mahe's roads may bring out the Sabestien Loeb in you, with an emphasis on control over speed of course!

One of the most re-assuring elements of Mahe Island is how small it is. Everything is within half a days drive. So its incredibly hard to get lost. There aren’t that many roads, so you simply move in the same direction and eventually you’ll come back on yourself.

M a h e I s l a n d E x p l o r a t i o n

Beyond the resort there's a wealth of places to see & things to do. Once you have your car the Island becomes your extended playground with most destinations within an hour's drive. With so many beaches littered across the Island you can either pack a picnic or grab a bite to eat at any number of the local creole islander restaurants, then wip out your drone, DSLR or Phone camera to capture some of the most idyllic beach scenes on the planet. It’s evident the Seychellois government maintain the island well. Better than some of the other tropical islands I've visited. The market in Victoria is an excellent choice for authentic Seychelles keepsafes & souvenirs for both home & work, plus it's relatively close to the Victoria Marina & Seychelle Yatch Club should you own or wish to rent a boat/tour. For those in search of social media content or random adventure the southern end Mahe is where you'll find plenty of notable beaches, a casino, a cluster of resorts, hotels & restaurants. Here's a few highlights.

P e b b l e s C o v e

B a i e L a z a r e , M a h e I s l a n d

Pebbles Cove Panoramic

Pebbles Cove is an enchanting long strip of unspoiled & scarcely populated beach in the south west region of the island, a stone's throw from the Hotel Kempinski, the Four Seasons, Club Liberté Casino & the gorgeous Anse Soleil beach. To get there you must traverse a winding (drivable) pathway downhill amongst jungle like foliage. Observe the colossal spiderwebs between the tree branches overhead! They stretch meters apart! Once you find the car park beware the coconuts & other heavy fruit hanging amongst the canopy above your car. If they dent the roof of your rental car you'll be footing the bill! We made our way towards the beach and emerged to find this awesome beach scene. I'd forgot to bring the drone with me that day, but this is a prime spot to use one. Despite the abundance of options for food & drink in the region, Pebbles cove is a an enchanting location for picnic. One with a higher probability for prolonged privacy. You can walk some considerable distance along the beach as far as the eye can see in this panoramic. Like most beaches in Mahe the sand is perfect. Off-White & soft with a gentle low tide for wading out and iconic granite stone formations to photograph & admire.

M a r i a ' s R o c k C a f e t e r i a

B a i e L a z a r e , S o u t h W e s t M a h e I s l a n d

Maria's Rock Cafeteria Approach & Car Park

Before you reach Pebbles Cove you must stop off at the famous Maria's Rock Cafeteria, a pirate themed Creole & Cajun restaurant. The food is outstanding. Dishes are served with your very own hot plate. Perfect for both intimate & group dining. This coupled with the near-by pebbles cove makes for further incentive to visit this region of the island.

Pepples / Pirate Cove Waypoint

You may want to bring souvenir money too as next door to Maria's is an art gallery selling canvases & sculptures. Some of which is quite provocative. The atmosphere at Maria's is warm & welcoming. The surrounding area benefits from isolation from busy roads, so it's quiet & serene. No need to book in advance, but to ensure you're not waiting around during busy periods it wouldn't hurt to contact the restaurant via tel (4361812) or via their facebook Page. See for youself!

A n s e L a M o u c h e & A n c h o r C a f e

A n s e a l a M o u c h e , V i c t o r i a , M a h e I s l a n d S e y c h e l l e s

Anse la Mouche sits on the east coast of the island along the single coastal main road from the north to the south. Midway along this route you'll find the quaint Anchor Cafe - Islander Restaurant literally opposite the well known beach Anse la Mouche. The bay area is steadily recovering from erosion following a successful restoration project, so now the bay can still be enjoyed as another example of Mahe's many fine beaches. Like Maria's Rock Cafeteria the Anchor Cafe provides sustinence to weary travellers & famished beach dwellers. Trying the catches of the day, signature pizza's & staple cafe cheese burgers are all good choices. The seating area is nicely spaced out, clean & minimal. The hospitality is warm & accomodating too. Like the cafe is an extension of the host's home. Like Maria's, no need to book in advance, just pull into the car park outside the restaurant and make yourself comfortable.

A n s e S o l e i l

A n s e S o l e i l R o a d , B a i e L a z a r e

Anse Soleil

Anse Soliel is a small but stunning beach. It's quieter than most other beaches on the island due to it's location. Also, it doesn't have the same amount of ameneties in close proximity as other beaches. This makes it all the more alluring for those seeking solitude and privacy. Fellow tourists will show up, but not enough to crowd the beach. So it's perfect for shots without other holiday makers in the backgroun. A backdrop of island foliage makes for a genuine shipwrecked feel and awesome photo stage, as well as offering respite from the sun. If you're hungry there is a close by restaurant 'Cafe Anse soleil' offering great cuisine and value for money. There are some shops 400 - 500 metres from the beach too. If you're driving there is parking close to the beach but it's limited so aim to arrive early in the day or late afternoon. If you're traveling with young children or anyone unable to tread water, beware the steep shelf that lies just beyond the shore. It drops considerably where the water becomes dark. An advantage of this is the excellent opportunity for snorkeling. Take a full face snorkel and enjoy crystal clear views beneath the waves.

T h e H o t e l K e m p i n s k i

B a i e L a z a r e M a h é I s l a n d M a h e

The Hotel Kempinski is one the many Kempinski Chains across the globe. The resort would typically warrant a complete review like the Ephelia, but we didn't stay here so I can't speak from experience. However what is available to visitors/non staying guests is the Bar area, the beach side restaurant, the gift shop & the conveniently placed pool table all within an expansive Atrium/reception area. However, my primary reason for visiting the Kempinski was their stock of Cigars!

The wonderful concierge at the Ephelia tirelessly scoured the island's possible suppliers of cigars to no avail until they contacted the Kempinski. Their selection is modest, or was at the time. Romeo & Julietas, Boliva Royal Coronas, Partagas series Ds, Montecristo Edmundos, Cohiba Robustos & Hoyo De Monterey Epicure Especiales. A more than adequate variety of Havanas. If these don't make the grade for you then it's best to bring you're own. As even the luxurious Eden Island didn't have any cigars humidors. I picked up enough the duration of my stay & played a little pool while my partner raided the gift shop. You can see a fraction of the beach front from the Atrium but once you hit the beach there's a nice long strip similar to the North Beach at the Ephelia. A stand-out feature at the Kempinski is the breathtaking lagoon that flanks the resort. You pass by it as you arrive at the resort (pictured above). This can be seen from other parts of the grounds too & allows this resort to stand out in terms of it's location and natural beauty. Just a brief observation as we nosed around before leaving. Both the kid's club & gym seemed smaller than The Ephelia's. Perhaps with a smaller footprint of grounds these amenities meet the needs of the resort. But i'd be weary of any prices similar to the Ephelia if you're weighing up the differences between booking at either resort. But it did have the only apparent supply of cigars on the island at the time of our visit. So the Kempinski gets a thumbs up from me!

E d e n I s l a n d

E d e n H o u s e , E d e n I s l a n d , S e y c h e l l e s

Eden Island Hillside View

If you have significant disposable income then renting or purchasing a property in Eden Island is how you maximise in the seychelles. Privacy, exclusivity & luxury are all synonymous with this man made utopia. The area is designed as a self contained compound providing the very best the region has to offer in terms of land & sea provisions. As a Marina laden with super yatchs would suggest, prices are suitably high, & so is the calibre of the compound's residents. So if you want to own a slice of private paradise but can't quite afford an island yet, a holiday home on Eden Island should suffice. With golf carts zipping about the Island ferrying homeowners to & from any number of beaches across the complex, Eden Island is The Ephelia on steroids & a wonderful permanent upgrade for you & your family.

V i c t o r i a B o t a n i c a l G a r d e n s

V i c t o r i a , S e y c h e l l e s

Victoria Botanical Gardens Giant Lily Pond

A trip to Mahe Island wouldn't be complete without a trip to the island's botanical gardens. If experiencing the wealth of the island can be found in dialogue with the people & landscape, then seeing this outstanding horticultural collection in one place allows for a swift tick of one of the former requisites.

Having visited botanical gardens previously I'd say Victoria's is moderate in scale. It's a good walk, just not not too long a walk. The size of the plants set it apart from others. This region features colossal examples, particularly the giant tree garden which places you on a pathway amidst a forest of gargantuan trees. You could easily make a trip here the focus of your day if you don't rush & truly absorb the gardens. Arrive during the week, and early if possible. You may avoid crowds this way.

The Gardens are situated along a main road with a car park on site. You're also very close to the famous Victoria Market. So perhaps make the Gardens the 1st part of your day, then head over to the market where you'll find things in full swing by late afternoon. Similar to the resort's bay explorations, my partner & I teamed up with another couple to make the day trip across the island, & I'd recommend doing the same for both the memories and the safety advantages. Travelling in numbers across unknown terrain is always a good idea.

Coco De Mer

Of course a trip to the gardens wouldn't be complete without a mention & feature of the infamous Coco De Mer. The giant seed that has quite a nice shape! ;-) The reception office holds an exemplary specimen for those biology buffs or anyone interested in natural phenomena, this is a real world example of a seed from the 'Land of the Giants'.

S u m m a r y

Kirk Facey in the Seychelles

Each tropical island you visit is sure to makes it's own impact on you, & I can say without doubt the overriding vibe I felt across the island was calm, & not in a laid-back way either. Island inhabitants I spoke with at local shops, restaurants, roadside vendors and of course the staff of the Ephelia, all seemed to have a soft confident & comforting temperament, as if they commonly held the same secret. On reflection, I'm certain it's because their everyday is our escape, their backyard is our paradise, & whilst the locals may not have some of the technological advantages we have in the UK, you don’t want for something you’ve never had. But when you have air quality that we in the UK are being taxed to achieve somewhere in the distant future, & when your everyday fruit, meat & vegetables bought at local prices are free from additives, preservatives & stabilisers (essentially organic) which in the UK is considered premium & only available at select outlets in limited quantities. you’d be mad not to grin from morning til night. Let's not forget the vitamin D supplements we spend thousands of pounds on annually that the Seychellois receive all year round free of charge.

The Ephelia is a stella 5 star experience across the board. During our transfer from the airport to the resort our driver relented how the Ephelia was the best on the island. Although I can't speak for the other islands La Digue & Praslin, I can say regardless of what they have to offer, there's only so much you need to enjoy yourself, & The Constance pulls out the stops were luxury, quality & choice are concerned. Your experiences & memories will resonate with you & your family for years after your trip. My 4 year- old keeps asking to return, & for an infant that young to recall detailed moments from a two week period months later speaks volumes. Despite capturing as much as possible for my own reminiscence, the best memories of our journey aren't captured in these images at all. These moments paused do convey an aesthetic, but they don't state the emotions or context behind them when they were taken. So my humble recommendation is to book your ticket & pay the money, you'll be glad you did!

Thank You Mahe


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