Carved into a hillside on the remote Indian Ocean island of Mahé, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles seeks not to impose itself on the landscape so much as bend to its will. The property’s 67 fabulous resort villas and 27 private residences are either perched on stilts on the jungle hillside or nestled amid greenery close to the beach. All villas have large infinity-edge plunge pools surrounded by a natural hardwood deck. In an island nation blessed with the best beaches in the world, it should not come as surprise that the Four Seasons Resort is located along a magnificent stretch of soft white sand. As well as indulging in water sports, there’s also a lovely beach-front swimming pool to relax by with poolside dining and refreshments readily available. The spa is a treat for all, located at the top of the hill and overlooking spectacular Petite Anse, with both adults and children welcome. Before you plan a trip to Seychelles read this post to help you plan the 10 must to things in Seychelles!
The property is managed by Four Seasons, probably the best known luxury hotel brand in the world. The Canadian-based company has, for nearly 50 years, transformed the hospitality industry in a tale of continual innovation, remarkable expansion and a single-minded dedication to the highest of standards. Four Seasons was founded in 1960 by the young architect Isadore Sharp, but the real breakthrough of the brand came in the seventies with the opening of the Four Seasons London. Although the company went public in 1986, the Sharp family – along with a group of like-minded investors such as Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal – took the company private again in 2007 to protect the integrity of the brand well into the future.
The resort provides exceptional service, as you would expect from the Four Seasons brand. As good as the facilities are, in the end, it is the unmatched service that really has this hotel standing head and shoulders above most of its competitors on Mahe island. From the second I stepped foot onto the property, I was treated like royalty, thanks to the incredibly hospitality and the welcoming, professional attitude of the hotel staff. Senior managers frequently checked throughout my stay whether everything was ok and whether there was anything I needed. Miraculously, everyone at the resort seems to know your name and what you want before you even know it yourself.
Four Seasons manages not one but two properties in the Seychelles: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (reviewed here) and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island. In contrast to the granitic island of Mahe (which is home to Four Seasons Resort Seychelles), the flat, coral island of Desroches lies 230 kilometres (143 miles) southwest in the Outer Amirantes – islands known for their wild beauty and freedom to explore some of the best diving and fishing in the world. Being one hour by plane from the main island Mahe, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island enjoys unrivalled privacy and absolute freedom. The property is one of the most intimate Four Seasons resorts with just 71 accommodations, including pavilions, villas, suites and residences – all with private pool and beach access.
What I liked
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles enjoys a splendidly isolated location on the southwest coast of Mahé, the granite-filled main island of the Seychelles known for its white powder beaches and dramatic rock formations. With over 60 sensational beaches and coves fringing the island’s coastline, lush mountainous scenery and small towns with a unique Creole culture, there is much to explore. Mahé is also home to the Seychelles’ international airport and the resort is a convenient 25 minute drive from the airport, which is definitely an advantage compared to hotels on other islands which can only be reached by ferry or flight (something you may not be looking forward to after your longhaul flight to the Seychelles).
The ultraluxe resort occupies a 170-acre site of breathtaking natural beauty in the magnificent, horseshoe-shaped bay of Petite Anse. Most of the hotel’s villas and public pavilions tumble down the steep jungle-clad hillside and giant granite cliffs towards the bay’s fabulous white sand beach and crystalline waters. If ever there was a place made for photo opportunities and Instagram addicts, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is it. Great care has been taken to ensure that the property harmonises with its spectacular surroundings rather than dominating the site. It is no exaggeration to call the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles paradise on earth, combining intelligent luxury with seclusion.
The resort’s timeless design draws its inspiration from graceful tree house architecture and local French Creole style. A vibe of rustic chic will first strike you upon arrival at the resort’s intimate, hillside open-air lobby, whose hand-planed wood floors, woven ceilings, and local furnishings blissfully merge with the sweeping ocean vistas. This ambiance continues throughout the resort’s indoor and outdoor pavilions, with extensive use of native woods, stone, plants, flowers, and palms. The resort decor’s color palette is subtly influenced by the teal blue ocean, indigenous cinnamon tree leaves and copious bamboo groves, providing a sense of place and enhancing the indoor-outdoor aesthetic pervasive throughout this spectacular property.
All 67 elegant villas are set in the natural amphitheatre of Petite Anse, either clinging to the steep hillside or nestled in the jungle close to the beach. During my visit, I was upgraded to a phenomenal hilltop ocean-view villa, whose decor featured a a mix of rustic Seychellois style and contemporary elegance, with simple, white-washed timber slat walls allowing a carefully curated collection of objets d’art to sing. The large bedroom featured a king-size bed enclosed by mosquito netting, a sitting area, a writing desk, and a coffee table. The en-suite bathroom was fitted with a toilet, two washbasins, a bidet and a massive sunk bath made of dark stone and enclosed by glass on two sides. The outdoors included a verandah, day bed pavilion, and wraparound infinity plunge pool surrounded by a natural hardwood deck, all setting off unencumbered views of the bay from a perch high above the island’s Jurrasic granite landscape.
In this lush castaway sanctuary, days promise barefoot ease as you stroll along the resort’s pristine curve of white sand, flanked by two giant granite cliffs and offering mesmerizing views of Mahe island’s verdant peaks. Given the protective curve of the bay and the gentle incline of the underground, swimming is safe all year round. The resort operates a beach club at the oceanfront, offering comfortable loungers and daybeds in addition to a full spectrum of water sports, including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, boogie boarding, and sailing. To top it all, the beach offers romantic sunset views, with the sun setting perfectly between the bay’s two headlands at certain times of the year.
A few steps from the beach – behind the treeline – you find the resort’s massive shared pool. The rectangular pool itself is quite shallow (with a maximum depth of 1,3 m or 4 ft) and lined by sun loungers and umbrellas (although most guests prefer to lounge at the nearby beach club). The pool is surrounded by the resort’s public leisure facilities, including the casual Kannel restaurant & bar, a boutique shop, a marine educational centre by a non-profit organization WiseOceans, and the kid’s club. The lawn around the pool is also home to the resort’s five giant resident tortoises, who spend their days basking in the sun, cooling off in the mud and roaming freely around their beachside pen.
High above the bay, the impressive hilltop spa epitomizes the resort’s sense of tranquility and seclusion. There are seven treatment pavilions, and each room comes with one or two massage couches, a ceiling fan, a separate, partially open area with a big outdoor shower and a large stone bath, a little changing area and toilets. You can also indulge in a treatment at the beachside spa cabana, where the sea breeze and sound of the ocean will aid relaxation. As the highest point in the resort, the rooftop of the hilltop spa offers the perfect platform from which to view the sunset. Here, you can pull up a chair or stand on what feels like the edge of the world, taking in the whole of Petite Anse bay from this magnificent vantage point.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles offers fine dining and inventive cocktails at two restaurants and two lounges, set hillside and beachside:
- ZEZ restaurant is located on the hillside, boasting spectacular ocean and sunset views. The restaurant’s open-air design takes full advantage of Seychelles’ warm, sunny weather. Each morning, a hearty breakfast buffet is offered at ZEZ, comprising specialties from around the world, displayed in the open kitchen and in a separate cooled room; an à la carte menu is also available. For dinner, ZEZ offers contemporary Pan-Asian delights.
- Infused with warm and refined elegance, the sophisticated ZEZ Lounge is located next to the restaurant of the same name, and represent a perfect spot to enjoy sushi and sashimi, pre-dinner cocktails or after-dinner drinks. ZEZ Lounge maintains a wide selection of wines and cigars. Sheesha, a traditional Middle Eastern water pipe, is also available.
- Stylish yet informal, Kannel restaurant enjoys a beach-side location, with nice views of the main pool area. Kannel serves Creole and international fare, featuring a variety of fresh fish and seafood. Some nights, sumptuous themed buffets are offered at Kannel, accompanied by live music.
- Located next to the pool and close to the beach, the casual indoor-outdoor setting of Kannel Bar makes it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy light snacks, lunch and refreshing fruit drinks and cocktails throughout the day.
What you should know
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is one of the most exclusive hotels in the Seychelles. The breathtaking bay, pristine beach, stunning villas, and world-class facilities make it one of the world’s ultimate beach getaways. There’s very little to say against the resort, but you need to know the following nonetheless:
- The resort’s bay and beach are public (as are all beaches in the Seychelles). However, it’s not evident to access the beach when you don’t stay at the hotel, as it involves registration at the hotel’s entrance gate and a 15 minute walk. Consequently, only few non-guests make it to the beach, giving the resort the most private beach experience on Mahe island. Unfortunately, since non-guests cannot make use of the resort’s sun loungers, some may lay their towels in front of guest chairs which can be annoying.
- The resort grounds can be a challenge to navigate due to the steep incline of the hills and the expansive terrain, but the resort offers efficient 24/7 buggy service. They normally arrived swiftly, but around dinner time, or at any other time when a lot of guests are moving around, you may have to wait a while for one to pick you up or drop you off. That wasn’t an issue at all for me, but some travelers might find this a bit inconvenient.
- The rooms at the Four Seasons Seychelles differ in location, view and size – and this split explains the different prices and experiences. For example, the garden-view villas are tucked away in the jungle and do not enjoy a lot of sunlight during the day. The higher located villas are more expensive, but offers stunning views and enjoy lots of sunshine; some even have a full view of the sunset. I would recommend to spend some extra money on a better located room (book at least an ocean view villa).
- The Four Seasons Seychelles offers airport transfers in a luxury car for the price of 200 euro one way and 300 euros return (excluding tax). However, after having emailed them, I found out they could also arrange a taxi for 70 euros one way. I understand some may prefer a 200 euro transfer in a BMW, but I would have preferred if the resort also mentioned the option of the 70 euro taxi transfer in the welcome letter/email (otherwise, you may not beware of this option, unless you explicitly ask for it).
- Food at the resort is expensive (as expected and on par with other luxury hotels in the Seychelles), and although it’s great, I would not describe it as mindblowing (although it is by far the best food I had in the Seychelles). A three course diner costs about 75-100 euros per person (excluding wine).
- As mentioned above, the resort’s beach is a stunning crescent of powder white sand, lapped by the turquoise sea and backed by lush vegetation. A lot of wildlife is present in the sea. Just by strolling with my feet in the ocean, I encountered a giant manta as well as a barracuda. But … the resort’s villas are clearly visible everywhere on the hills, so you will not have the feeling of being on a deserted, wild location. IMHO, the Banyan Tree hotel, which is located 30 minutes to the south, has – from an aesthetical point of view – one of the most stunning beaches in the Seychelles, although the ocean here is very rough and not swimmable most days (while the ocean at the Four Seasons is calm and perfect for swimming). The Banyan Tree villas are hidden in the jungle and less visible (although they are not as impressive as the villas at the Four Seasons).
- During my visit, there were many families with young children staying at the resort, much more than I would normally expect in a property of this nature. It was not really troublesome, but I think honeymooners should be forewarned that the resort may not be as peaceful as one might expect since there’s no kids free area (except for your own villa). On the other hand, families will love the Four Seasons Seychelles with all the facilities made available to them and their children.
Have you ever stayed at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles ? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment and let me know!
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