If Praslin is the 'Garden of Eden', the stay at the stunning Raffles equates Eden to heaven
By: Suman Tarafdar
Posted on: May 26, 2015
LF Says: ★★★★.5
Praslin, the second largest island of tropical Seychelles, has been a favourite getaway of the rich and famous. The uniquely shaped Coco de Mer seeds in the gorgeous Vallee de Mai, a verdant green cover in the centre of the island, gave the island that added aura of exotica. Indeed the seed is to be found in all symbols of Seychelles, and has become a prized souvenir for, well, the rich, given that a single female seed could cost thousands of dollars (yes, US!)
The Raffles Praslin Seychelles, only one of the 10 odd Raffles globally, brings to Praslin a never before sense of luxury hospitality. Expect the latest in hospitality innovation, the most luxuriously appointed quarters, personal butlers, and a whole lot of pampering.
Arriving here is bound to be a journey for most. Flights to Seychelles arrive on the main island of Mahé. From there, you can take the 45 minute ferry a la James Bond in Sunseeker Quantum of Solace speedboat, cutting through the azure waves, or a 15 minute helicopter flight over the same azure stretch, landing at one of the tiniest airports anywhere for commercial flights! A short drive gives you the first glimpse of the resort – designed by the superlative Wilson Associates on a hillside facing the open sea.
The 86 villas are spread across the waterfront. They are identical but for the view. The higher you are, the better it is – tiled rooftops amidst shrubs, flowers, fruits and birds, the white beaches just beyond, and finally the rolling hues of the sea - will ensure lingering sighs every time you have to look away even for a sip of your Praslin Sling.
The villas are identical (though some suites have two rooms), combining simplicity with stunning aesthetics. All the villas face the waters, and come with a vast sun deck and a plunge pool – with sparkling tiles in every shade of blue imaginable. While calming hours in these are enough to ensure that your karma indeed could hardly be better, the interiors deserve another look. A luxurious bed is of course the Raffles standard, and it’s raised by two steps from the rest of the villa for better sea viewing while lounging in bed!
Exploring the resort is an activity in itself. The spa is the largest one in this part of the world, with 13 treatment rooms, a beauty salon, a Movement Pavilion, the Spa Boutique, a fitness centre and much more. A signature treatment is the Pure Pearl Treatment, using, the pearl of course! As for post spa relaxation, there’s a Spa Garden!
There are quite a few restaurants, each with a different cuisine and look. Of course a private nook by the sea is easily the most seductive! With an assortment of chefs from various corners of the world, you could have home food just in case you tire of the delicious seafood and local delicacies.
However the island beyond the gates of the resort is spectacular as well. Just around the corner are the Anse Takamaka, and the Anse Lazio, the latter named as one of the most flawless beaches on earth. The justly famed Vallée de Mai, home, among others, to the rare Coco de Mer palm and the black parrot, is also just a short drive away. A walk here is not to be missed, though be prepared with walking shoes and a hat. Going early in the morning may help cope with the heat.
Just across a narrow stretch of water, and indeed visible from your room, is the island of Curieuse, where you will be able to play with the largest tortoises you have ever seen! And are they cute. There are many other islands nearby, though Praslin itself offers more by the way of exploring its charms, natural and cultural.
For those not wishing to step outside, the resort has kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, snorkeling gear and plunge pools. For the lazier tourist, there are a lot of sundecks! Paradise indeed comes in all guises!
Coordinates: Anse Takamaka, Praslin Island, Seychelles
Ph: +248 4 296 000
LF Says: ★★★★.5
Suman Tarafdar is a journalist and writer based in Delhi. He has worked with a number of leading Indian media organisations, and writes on various aspects of luxury, lifestyle and culture. When not writing to earn a living, he likes to travel, read, cook, chat, shop and watch all kinds of soppy stuff on TV. Yes, current politics bothers him.
Ratings range from zero to five stars and signify the reviewer’s thoughts on the hotel, accommodation, service, décor and recreational activities.