Take 5: Luxury Meets Sustainability in the SeychellesPhoto by Olivia Balsinger Travel Lists Sustainability
Paradise on earth? It’s that small dot in the Indian Ocean on your map. Pristine and isolated, the Seychelles archipelago is located off the coast of East Africa and comprised of 115 islands that sprawl across the glittering turquoise water. Its extreme remote location and breathtaking, elysian vistas has made this chain of isles, which has two UNESCO-protected sites, a prime destination for honeymooners, eager to spend their first days in solitude in a real-life Eden, or for those just looking for unbelievable beaches, where the sand is a mosaic of white and pink and the lush, green mountains lining the distance create a sensation of complete seclusion.
With an array of islands to choose from, each with their own distinct charm, visitors to the Seychelles are given the opportunity to explore by wandering from one gorgeous location to the next, finding time to rest on uninhabited beaches overlooking the winding miles of reefs. We have compiled a list of our five favorite resorts that are both luxurious and sustainable throughout this verdant, vibrant island country.
1. The Kempinski Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare
The Kempinski Seychelles Resort (pictured at top) is an ideal base from which to explore the island’s attractions and nature. The five-star resort is located in Baie Lazare, at the southern tip of Seychelle’s main island, Mahe, and just 30 minutes from the international airport.
In the Sea View Garden Room, meditate to the rolling sound of the ocean on your own terrace, then take a short stroll to the sand to feel its ebb and flow. Nature lovers will be in heaven in the Hill View Room, where you will be greeted each morning with the sight of the dense tropical forest’s placid lagoons and stunning granite rock formations that grace the island.
When you stay at the Kempinski, you will be part of the sights, sounds and smells of Mahe’s inimitable nature, while resting in comfort surrounded by chic contemporary decor.
It was the first hotel in the Seychelles to qualify for the country’s Sustainable Tourism label. In fact, it excelled by 68% above the certification requirements, speaking to the management’s sense of responsibility to preserving a country where 70% of its economy relies on tourism.
Using correct and effective waste management, as well as water reuse and recycling programs, the Kempinski has set a standard for sustainable tourism in a country known as a natural treasure.
Photo: Didier Baertschiger, CC-BY-SA
2. The Constance Ephelia Restort
If you are looking for the ultimate luxury during your stay in Seychelles, embrace the decadent lodging of The Constance Ephelia Resort. Situated on two of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Mahe, spanning 120 hectares teeming with thickets of verdant vegetation. Roaming the lush landscape of the hotel grounds, you’ll spot the marine national park of Port Launay in the distance.
Their rooming options are extensive. Stay in one of the Tropical Garden View Room and wake up to a fresh breath of breeze flowing throughout the lush garden. In the junior suites, private furnished terraces (perfect for sunbathing!) are only steps from the beach. When you stay in one of the Spa Villas, you will rest peacefully in your own private sanctuary. Other accommodation options include the Tropical Garden View Rooms, Senior Suites, Family Villas, Beach Villas or the unique Presidential Suite.
Each accommodation is elegantly decorated in a style that incorporates the natural granitic landscape of the island with a clean contemporary style. Views include either the luxurious garden or a partial view of the Indian ocean. No matter which lodging you choose, every corner of the hotel grounds is prime space for sunbathing, meditating or simply just taking in the island air. However, to take your state of relaxation to maximum overdrive, be sure not to miss your chance to experience the U Spa within the resort. Choose from an extensive list of treatments to rejuvenate, in the perfect location of the surrounding island paradise.
3. The Carana Beach Resort
Photo by Olivia Balsinger
The Carana Beach Resort on the island of Mahe was designed to accentuate and incorporate the dramatic natural beauty that surrounds it. With 40 spacious chalets each—with breathtaking sea-front views of the turquoise water, framed by the lush jungle and massive granite pillars that surround the white-sand beaches—the resort invites you to uncover the true island experience by establishing an “authentic Seychellios sanctuary.”
Every chalet harmonizes traditional island architecture with modern decor for an effortless and breezy ambiance perfect to unwind and recharge. Opt for one of the 12 chalets with a private plunge pool overlooking the ocean. Take advantage of the cabanas, where you can cool down and meditate before and after sinking your toes into the sand or plunging into the water for a dip. Multiple dining options are offered throughout the day, including beach orders, and each dish is inspired and sourced from the hotel’s family-owned farm.
4. The Acajou Beach Resort
Established in 1996, the Acajou Beach Resort is a Seychellois-owned business that has remained committed to operating a sustainable facility that promotes and protects Seychelles’ Creole culture. The name derives from the French word for “mahogany,” due to the natural timber-themed design of its concept.
Although a sustainable resort since its beginning, the hotel underwent renovations in 2014 during which new modern technologies were installed to drastically reduce its carbon footprint even more. These include a solar panel system that powers the majority of the hotel’s lighting and air-conditioning. Additionally, a new waste-management system and sewage-treatment plan is now used to limit the hotel’s waste, and another project provides helps to landscape the grounds and amplify fruit harvest of fruits, vegetables and spices.
Accommodations are spacious and warm, decorated with the mahogany timber for which the island is known. Stay in one of the standard rooms located on the ground floor, immersed in the tropical garden and complete with a private veranda. In the superior room, stretch out and enjoy views of the gardens and Indian Ocean from your private balcony. If you choose one of the deluxe rooms, expect the ocean motifs mesh with the beachfront location, where verandas offer views across the Cote D’Or and the Curieuse Marine National Park. You can also choose a Family Room or a Self-Catering Apartment.
5. Six Senses Zil Pasyon
Photo by Olivia Balsinger
Stunning is the optimum descriptor for the just-opened Six Senses Zil Pasyon, the only resort located on the private Felicitie Island (a satellite of La Digue) renowned for its massive granite rocks and white-sand beaches.
Accommodations include of decadent pool villas, with a choice of one or multiple bedrooms. Spacious yet warm, all villas are equipped with a private sundeck, an infinity pool and big bow windows. Each has a private garden with an outdoor shower—truly the epitome of paradise.
After a morning of relaxing poolside, spend the day with some of the resort’s facilities. The Six Senses Spa offers a wide range of holistic wellness treatments, inspired by traditional African treatments and designed around the natural properties of the island’s local flora and fauna. If you want an even closer experience with the island’s natural ecosystem, ask about the resort’s ocean adventures, including diving and snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, fishing and island hopping by boat.
As breathtaking as the resort is, Six Senses is just as out front with their commitment to conservation. The key theme for maintaining the island paradise is habitat restoration, specifically through the protection of rare local plants and the removal of invasive pests. In addition, the resort has eliminated the need for plastic bottles by implementing its own reverse osmosis plant and crystal water refinery. In fact, all of the pool villas have rain water showers to encourage conservation as a lifestyle.
Further, supporting the aim of self-sustained food and beverages on the island is the resort’s chicken farm and organic garden. But efforts are not only limited to the island paradise on which it resides. Six Senses has extended its initiative by providing water systems and solar water heaters to schools and hospitals on La Digue with the revenue of water sale on the island.
While a snapshot of Seychelles may appear to most as an idyllic paradise for those looking for the ultimate getaway, the country is unlike most island destinations in terms of its specific geology: It is the world’s only mid-ocean archipelago formed primarily on granite. Its history saw both its plant and animal life perish by way of colonial settlers and more modern development. But thanks to the efforts of the country’s tourism industry to utilize green facilities, travelers to this slice of heaven can select among the most sustainable lodgings available anywhere.
Olivia Balsinger is perpetually inquisitive. A writer for Paste Travel and deputy editor of About.com Sustainable Travel and OhThePeopleYouMeet.com, Olivia can be found in New York City’s East Village when not navigating the globe.