A brief look at the three main Seychelles Honeymoon choices for the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge by David and Marsha who must be part of a very small group of people who have stayed on each of these fabulous islands recently.
With all the speculation in the media about where will William and Kate Honeymoon locations be, we take a brief look here at the three most talked about destinations – Desroches Island, Fregate Island and North Island.
Marsha and I have had the huge good fortune of having been able to experience at first hand all three during the last couple of years. Although we were working (!!) – somebody has to do it – gathering all this information to share with our clients, it was nevertheless a labour of love and did not in the least detract from the experience of enjoying these exclusive islands of pure pleasure.
So in alphabetical order we start our journey with Desroches Island.
Desroches Island is about 35 minutes flight from the main Seychelles International Airport. The island is coralitic, that is, formed on a base of low coral and surrounded by secluded bays of golden sand approximately 11 km of them to be precise!
The interior of the island is generally flat with cycle ways and footpaths winding their way through the forest to literally dozens of small intimate beaches.
Accommodation at this resort island is split broadly into two categories – the “standard” beach suites for couples on the one side of which there are a dozen or so and the more family orientated Beach Villas and Presidential Villas on the opposite side of the island.
The Resorts main area, being situated between both areas offers the bar, restaurant, pool facilities plus the admin and all other facilities including superb tennis courts.
Whilst we were there the island was host also to an internationally known film star of many years standing and a Russian Oligarch and his wife – and those were just people that we recognised!
There is no doubt that Desroches Island is a fantastic location for a honeymoon and in a Beach Villa you could go a whole week without seeing another sole other than your personal butler but ultimately the island does cater for more people so is marginally less exclusive than the other contenders.
Fregate Island is reached either by small plane or helicopter or in fact by short sea crossing for those not inclined to travel in tiny airborne capsules . The island is “granitic” – it is rock based as against coral, this simply means that it is hilly, its been around longer and is covered in rich vegetation – and it has several of the most pristine private beaches that I have ever seen.
I have two over riding memories of Fregate Island – one, the almost surreal experience of sitting atop “the mountain”, the highest point on the island, under the shade of a makeshift umbrella with a cooling breeze taking the edge off the heat of being served afternoon tea by our butler Asanga, assigned to us for the duration of our stay. We sat there for maybe an hour looking down over the island laid out below, its small valleys creating updrafts of warm air over the tropical forests and fertile fields over which pairs of Fairy Terns would soar in unison, thier long tails whisping away behind them as they flew effortless, locked together like lovers in post coital harmony. Magical.
The second – there are seven (I think) individual and separate beaches on the island, each one approachable via routes that lead you through forest or down a gentle cliff face. Entrance to these secretive routes is via a length of weathered rope – if the rope is hung across the way then there is somebody already in residence on that beach and etiquette demands that you go no further and continue on to another of the beaches. If like Marsha and I, you had decided to take breakfast on that particular beach ( we had chosen Anse Victorin) you would have forewarned your butler of your intentions and he would have put the rope across for you and gone on ahead to prepare your breakfast laid out on the crispest white linen table cloth for you. As we emerged from our early dip Marsha took her cooled orange juice whilst I preferred my usual early morning pot of builders tea. I recall it took us most of the morning to have breakfast that Monday.
On a more practical reflection Fregate has around 15 private villas scattered along the shoreline each with total privacy and each with its own dedicated private butler to look after your every whim.
Fregate Island is pretty much self sufficient having what must be the Indian Ocean’s oldest and most comprehensive hydroponics gardening installation. As you would expect the island is a haven for endemic species of all kinds and is surely the most eco friendly of all the Indian Ocean islands.
We didn’t spot any celebs during our stay primarily because, apart from bumping into one other couple prior to dinner one evening, we didn’t actually see any other guests during our stay on Fregate Island!
In a word Mature and Elegant.
And last but by no means least …
Like Fregate Island, North Island was formed by a huge subterranean shift millions of years ago and has evolved to become the utterly wonderful, romantic island that it is .
Again the word is “exclusive” with only 11 luxury villas on the whole island there are only a limited few privileged people that will ever be able to experience North Island.
Each Villa has, as you would expect, complete privacy, its own dedicated butler and access to the fine beach a mere twenty paces away though your own garden.
The island is small and access is only normally available via helicopter as there is no landing strip and no jetty. In special circumstances it is possible to travel out by boat – as Marsha and I did- but the landing for somebody not as agile as me (at 60 something) might prove a little er.. challenging – driving a small boat up onto the beach I found hugely exciting but probably not something that you would necessarily wish to attempt in your “finery” !
In some way I think that this somehow sums up North Island for me. There is no doubting that it is facilities are second to none – being given the key to wine cellar on a arrival and being told to help your self to whatever and whenever you want is testimony to that. It is the lack of formality, by no means a lack of attention to detail at all, that grabs you when you arrive. Staff are young, smart, attentive, perceptive and … at ease.
Here is an environment of huge natural beauty that is managed by a group of people who obviously care for the place and care for their guests, there is little to suggest that this in fact a hotel – it is more like being welcomed into your best friends cosiest retreat.
Here you will probably find more laid back guests – I have no idea whether Sir Richard Branson has been here but I would not have been surprised to have bumped into him anywhere on the island – maybe in the converted fishing shack (now a fine library & media centre) catching up on emails or maybe on the headland in his customary gear sipping a sun downer as the golden sun slipped effortlessly below the horizon after a yet another stunning day. Certainly this is where Becks and what’s her name celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary a couple of years ago!
So there you are – a whistle stop tour and the nominations of the three contenders for the title of “ Royal Honeymoon Location of the Year 2011 ” award!
No doubt in the fullness of time we will learn who won and who did host William and Kate for their Seychelles Honeymoon but in the meantime you will just have to try and work it out for yourself.
My bet ? Well, given the client, I would reckon Fregate Island will be seen to be the chosen destination.
Pop back to the main site and take a Virtual Tour of these and all our destinations – it need not cost £4000 per night – you can enjoy a Seychelles Honeymoon from around 125 euro per couple per night – your choice may not have all the facilities and exclusivity of the properties above but you will share the same warm sea, the same golden sands, the same blue skies and … the same warmth and friendleness of the same Seychelles people.
David and Marsha Clarke
7 May 2011