Any visit to a Four Seasons Resort comes with a guarantee that the accommodation will be to a certain standard, with exacting service to match.
And you get that here, at this luxurious property set on the South-West corner of the main island, Mahé. The hotel is a 40-minute drive from the airport along winding and, quite often, very hilly roads surrounded by dense jungle.
The resort is huge, in terms of acreage anyway, with all of the villa-style accommodation set on the hillside. Villas, all with their own infinity-edged pools, are well spaced out so privacy is maintained. Select one nearer the beach and forgo the view, or pick one high up on the hill with panoramic vistas across the sea. Whichever way you go, hotel buggies are readily available at all hours to give you a ride.
There is an impressive selection of activities on offer for all ages, including the rare chance to learn hands-on about marine biology, run by specialists in the subject. You can also go on a guided snorkelling trip to discover the wonders of the private reef.
But all of this and more comes at a cost. So if this property, like others in its competitive set, offered an all-inclusive package, it would be a bonus for guests because there really is nowhere else to eat within the vicinity, and it would be much easier all around.
The experience at the Four Seasons is not particularly Seychellois in architecture or design, but what you get is a fantastically laid-out and thought-through resort, perfect for couples and families alike. But be warned, during school holiday periods the resort will be massively popular with families.
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The arrival process ran like clockwork with staff on hand ready to check me in as soon as I pulled up. The process was quick and efficient, and within a couple of minutes I was en-route to my villa by hotel buggy.
The large lobby is open on three sides with magical views of the sea. I sat down on one of the sofas and filled in a couple of forms. The whole area, with its big lamps and objects of art, has a welcoming, ‘lounge’ feel to it.
Rooms and suites
Along a long walkway and down a few steps was the front door to my villa, an impressive entrance. There is a large outdoor decking area with a covered ‘sala’, a terrace with sun loungers and a generously sized pool. Once inside the villa, the space is huge with a sofa area, a four-poster bed and a work desk, beyond which is the equally impressive bathroom and dressing room.
There is storage galore and numerous ‘zones’ in the room to give you options for seating. Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors open out onto the terrace and offer amazing views from the high bed. There is a long bar area with a Nespresso machine and a generous minibar drink and snack selection.
The design concept of the villa is colonial with a modern twist. Dark wood floors extend through the whole of the space covered, in part, by a huge abstract rug. Beiges and greys dotted around with some dusky pinks and bright creamy whites give a nice aura to the space and the whitewashed and distressed wall panelling has a slightly vintage feel. All in all, it works well and it’s a joy to reside here.
If two bedrooms are required then the suites would be suitable. For parents with young children, make sure you check out the floor plans as some of the bedrooms are completely separate and not connected to the main suite. For larger, multi-generational families or groups of friends travelling together, there are the residences—individual and privately-owned villas which can be rented—from three to six bedrooms. These villas offer ample space and come with their own butlers and the use of all the hotel facilities.
Technology in the room is functional but not overly modern. There are no USB outlets but there are wall sockets conveniently located by the desk and side table next to the bed. There is a huge, flat-screen TV with lots of cable channels in several languages (some more clear than others) and an aux cable to connect your iPhone or iPod/iPad to play music. I was disappointed that there were no speakers outside to be able to listen to music whilst sunbathing.
The bathroom is huge, with a walk-in dressing room cum closet, a separate toilet and bidet room, a deep bath tub, and a huge walk-in rainfall shower. The dark wood flooring continues through from the bedroom and the basins. The shower and bathtub were all in marble, beige and grey. The special hair dryer socket here beneath the mirror is a nice touch.
There are large, freestanding wardrobes, one on each side of the door, a welcome addition to the room as they offer even more space than in the small walk-in closet area. Through French doors, you gain access to a large terrace with the pool on one side and an outdoor shower on the other.
The hotel provides refillable pottery jars full of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel by local Seychelles brand Yi-King, made using Chinese medicinal philosophy. They are refilled each day and are organic and biodegradable to protect the planet and, closer to home, the biodiversity of the Seychelles.
The dining options seem, at first glance, fairly limited with only two main restaurants but in fact through a variety of well executed themed nights, there is always a varied menu on offer.
During my stay, it was Italian night at Zez Restaurant, and I was not disappointed. Ambient music was playing softly in the background—Placido Domingo I thought—crooning away about Portofino where he lost his heart. The menu offered options for anti-pasta, mains and a ‘chef’s selection’ for dessert. Soon, I was tucking into a delicious starter, which arrived on a wooden board, of buffalo mozzarella and tomato skewers, aged Parmesan, salami, ham, baby calzone pizzas and some baby salad leaves—a delicious meal in itself.
Then came the main course and I chose red snapper, cooked to perfection and exceptionally tasty. Alongside this were homemade Italian breads and bread sticks, as in Italy. Dessert was equally delicious and service throughout was excellent.
Other restaurant options
From dinner to breakfast, the food at the hotel was sublime. A nice touch was at breakfast where I could select my egg order on a piece of ready printed card where the dishes of the day were listed. The buffet selection was equally impressive, with several choices of smoothies, cereals, breads and pastries. The only downside was that the breakfast restaurant did attract a lot of birds who stalked around the floor looking for crumbs, a global problem.
Spa and wellness
The spa is designed to impress, situated right at the top of the resort with tri-level floors consisting of a relaxation area, a boutique, yoga pavilions, and treatment suites. I liked that the resort’s two resident yogis hosted at least one complimentary hour-long yoga session each day.
I attended one such class at the spa on the shaded pavilion outdoors, with its incredible views down to the sea. It was a great experience and the yogis were highly qualified and inspirational. Inside the spa, the relaxation lounge or the roof terrace are two of the best places in the resort to have a drink and watch the sunset.
Pool and beach
The pool is a large, double rectangular structure just set back from the hotel’s beach. There are plenty of sun loungers and parasols available. The sun loungers are set up with deep filled cushions making them immensely comfy and the views of the sea above the trees are lovely. Close to the main pool is the kids’ club, which has its own pool, although there are some quite shallow parts of the smaller rectangular pool which would suit younger swimmers.
The beach is exactly what you would envisage a Seychelles beach to look like. It is a long, sweeping curved bay which, due to its positioning, is very sheltered and calm most of the year. The sea here can be quite choppy at times, an important fact for parents with children to be aware of. A great plus is that you can also snorkel directly from the shore as the hotel has its own reef. The loungers are laid out along the beach, perhaps a bit close together for my liking, but the service here was good.
Staff and service
All of the staff were professional and personable. The buggy drivers were undoubtedly my favourites though, as they were all Seychellois and had such passion for their homeland. They enjoyed their work and everyday made us guests happy by decorating the buggies with tropical flowers picked from the gardens. It almost appeared to be a competition between them as to who had had the most beautifully decorated buggy; it made me smile anyway.
International, with European and Middle Eastern families, couples and friends travelling together.
Sad to leave, the buggy arrived promptly to deliver me to my transfer car. I swiftly checked out and made my farewells.
How to get there
40 minutes by road transfer from Mahe Airport
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