I was crossing my fingers the entire flight from Mahé to Praslin – not because I was afraid of the 15-minute turbo prop flight ahead of me, but that it wouldn’t be raining when I got there. Twenty-four hours is not a long time to spend in a place, especially if half that time you are in bed sleeping. It was going to be my only day to experience the luxurious Raffles Praslin and it would be so sad if I had to spend it indoors.
My first time in the Seychelles, I had arrived an hour before from London to unwelcoming clouds, due to a cyclone somewhere in the Indian Ocean. As I boarded the 20 seater to take me a short hop across the sea, it could go either way.
Surprisingly, given the wind, the flight was super smooth and the view could not have been better. The water of the Indian Ocean was clear, blue, and inviting, giving me some hope for the day ahead.
I could cross as many fingers as I wanted, but it still wouldn’t stop the heavens from opening up the second we touched down. Still, as the car made its windy way to the opposite end of the island where Raffles Praslin sits, I vowed to stop thinking about the weather.
Massive red granite monoliths, endemic to Praslin, greeted me upon arrival. They could sense my excitement.
As soon as I knew I was headed to the Seychelles, I requested a stay, no matter how short, at Raffles, on this tiny and exclusive island minutes away from Mahé. I had been to the original Raffles Hotel in Singapore, many years before, to sip a Singapore Sling, but was staying with friends in town, so had not been able to experience the hotel. Thus my thrill of finally being at one of the great hotels of the world. Raffles Praslin has won a slew of awards: World’s Leading Luxury Villa Resort at the World Travel Awards, Seychelles’ Leading Hotel at the World Travel Awards, Condé Nast Traveller Hot List, this was just a few, making it an unmissable Bit and I knew it was the kind of place I could call home for a night.
I was taken by buggy to my sea view villa and what a view that was! I couldn’t be further away from London – smack down in the middle of paradise.
In my opinion, the inside counts just as much as the out. Linen covered down pillows, Asprey toiletries, huge fluffy towels, an outdoor shower and views from every part of every room!
After a must-have bath, the bed was just too luscious not to dive into and I napped for the first time since arriving.
I had only managed a quick cup of tea before nap-time and now was awake and ready to take on lunch. Sitting at the Pool Restaurant, I sampled the Thai Beef Salad, that perfect combination of spicy and sweet. I also ordered a spicy tuna roll from the famous The Sushi Room at their Curieuse restaurant. The lunch terrace overlooked the divine pool, the largest in the Indian Ocean(!), which sadly wasn’t getting much use.
This may not be Singapore but that doesn’t mean you don’t get a Sling! In Praslin, it’s the Praslin Sling, of course. Maksym, the resident bartender at the Danzil Lounge, fixed me one.
Needless to say, the spa was booked solid for the day. I loved how the individual rooms were tucked into the fronds of the trees surrounding them. Raffles Praslin is home to the original Raffles Spa, the largest spa in the Seychelles. Every room has a view of the Indian Ocean; you relax just walking into the room!
VALLÉE DE MAI
Instead, I headed out to the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, once believed to be the Garden of Eden by The British General Charles George Gordon who said he had proof of this, even proclaiming the Coco de Mer was the forbidden fruit!
The Coco De Mer is one of very few trees to be both male and female, even with gender specific flowers on each tree. The female (above) has great big coconut seeds that can resemble a woman’s bum and the male plant – well, the photo below will do to describe it!
photo source – ViloWiki
Unfortunately, the fruit cannot be eaten so Sir Charles’s theory was debunked very quickly.
Another curious find in the Vallée de Mai is the cinnamon plant, whose leaves, when rubbed between your fingers, smell as heady as the bark. While under the great canopy of the trees, I remained quite dry and so had not noticed that the sky had cleared. I could even honestly say I saw the sun, peeking out between the clouds.
Raffles had arranged Sundowners on Anse Lazio, considered one of the best beaches, not only in the Seychelles, but also in the world and only five minutes from the hotel. My last Sundowners had been at Mala Mala, in the middle of the bush with the slight fear that a lion might leap out and eat us for dinner.
The worse thing that could happen might be a turtle emerging from the ocean to make off with my Moët. The sun that had been hidden behind the clouds for most of the day knew that I was only here for one night and gave me the sundown I longed for. Picture perfect, just like the Raffles.
The little bit I experienced made me know for sure that I will return and although the weather was inclement – it was just as beautiful all the same.
- Raffles Praslin, Anse Takamaka, Praslin, Seychelles, Tel: +248 429 6000
NB: I was the guest of Raffles Praslin and the Seychelles Tourist Board. It was absolutely perfect and I can’t thank them enough for inviting me.