Seychelles, Seychelles, by the seashore. The Raffles Seychelles calls Praslin island home and you will want to, too.
In the north-west of archipelagic island country the Seychelles, views of the ocean are punctuated by private islands, yachts and helicopters ferrying celebrity guests. Nestled into the coastline and soaring into the mountainscape lies Raffles. Adults love its luxurious nature and children adore the endless array of water-based activities, but Raffles’ real charm lies in the fact that this private cove, flanked by white sandy beaches and lush rainforest, isn’t even remotely pretentious or dazzled by its own magnificence: staff are unassuming and effortless, stunning mountain-top villas are quietly lavish, and fellow guests are sociable without being showy. Each of the ocean pool villas overlooks Praslin’s Anse Takamaka bay and comes replete with a private plunge pool, alfresco shower and a sheltered terrace area that moonlights as a mesmerising lookout point to soak-up the island’s tropical rain showers. Inside, interiors evoke a modern-island vibe with high-ceilings and touches of timber and a two-tiered bedroom offers even more splendid views of the Indian Ocean; especially dreamy when waking from an afternoon siesta.
The dress code is breezy kaftans (Missoni or Emilio Pucci will do just fine), colour-fuelled sunnies, an over-sized beach hat and this season’s Chanel or Valentino slides. By day two, expect to be permanently carrying a snorkel instead of your raffia bag. You’ll take barefoot strolls along the cashmere-soft sand that’s the colour of yellow gold before diving into water that’s cool enough to shake away the woes of the past year. Choose to snorkel close to the shoreline, where small, tropical fish are interrupted once in a while by reef sharks the size of your flippers, or venture farther out aboard a speed boat equipped for diving and island hopping. But for those who like to stay close to home, paddleboards and kayaks are available all day and provide the perfect transportation for a tiny dose of exploration (hop from one cove to the next and stay to sip on a fresh coconut while lapping up an endless Tiffany-blue view).
If sipping long, cool drinks poolside is your thing, then the property’s infinity pool is framed by marshmallow-soft queen-sized day beds along one side and luscious flora and fauna the other. Gentle beats play in the background, interrupted only by the chirping of the island’s birds. In a world so slow-paced that the civilised time to enquire about lunch is no earlier than 3pm, stress slips as easily from your shoulders as an oversized sweater. Fresh bread is baked on site and developing an addiction to Raffles’ olive oil is part-and-parcel of your stay. We suggest you always say yes to the fresh-fish specials: think red-snapper curry replete with home-made chutney and fiery papaya dipping sauce, fresh tuna, and seafood linguine. Come evening, the dress-code ramps up (Bermuda shorts and embellished sandals hit the right notes), as does the cuisine. The Sushi Room celebrates the island’s world-class catch with a set menu enjoyed while overlooking the property’s lush gardenia. But the traditional creole BBQ is arguably the culinary highlight. Expect local salads that meld the island’s fresh fruits with an assortment of spices and relishes, slowroasted meat, barbecued fish, and an atmosphere that’s all-at-once jovial and authentic. On Praslin, simplicity is the most direct route to pleasure and at Raffles that can be found at almost every turn. Home-cooked banana bread for breakfast is best enjoyed from cliff-top restaurant Losean while overlooking the spectacularly green and blue abyss.
A gentle meander from the top of the property down to the sea’s edge includes run-ins with anything from the island’s century-old giant tortoises to electric-hued lizards. Or, for true indulgence, book into an open-air treatment room at the spa and allow a signature massage and the calming sounds of the tropical rainforest to melt away any remaining worries. Escapes in the age of Covid-19 really don’t come better than this. raffles.com/seychelles