Seychelles : Praslin Island
Praslin is the second largest island in the Seychelles, but still only 10.5 kilometres long. Once described as the original 'Garden of Eden' when the 'coco de mer' was discovered, believed to be the female pelvis belonging to Eve. The Coco de Mer is the fruit from an extraordinary palm tree only found on Praslin in the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site). The hotels on Praslin tend to be small and offering a high standard of service, while the beaches are stunning and there are also some interesting walks and cycle trips to be enjoyed inland.
Hotel Acajou is located a stone's throw from Cote d'Or Beach. It is one of the smallest hotels on Praslin with some of the most spacious rooms. The 28 en-suite rooms are all located around the central swimming pool and built of specially grown mahogany (acajou) wood from South Africa. Each room has a balcony that faces the sea and is equipped with a bath / shower, air conditioning, television and music systems. Within the hotel there is a bar, cocktail lounge, restaurant, swimming pool and snorkelling. You are also within walking distance of larger hotels, casinos and restaurants and only 5 minutes by car is the jetty where you can catch a ferry to the Neighbouring La Digue.
Le Duc de Praslin is a small lodge with only 4 rooms overlooking the beautiful Cote d'Or Beach and islands of Chauve Souris and Pt Pierre. The rooms are located just 20 yards from the beach in beautiful private gardens; they have been built out of local hardwoods, coconut and bamboo and have a colonial feel to them. Each room has an en-suite bathroom, king size bed, mini bar and veranda. Breakfast is served on your veranda each morning and you are within walking distance to other shops and larger hotels with huge selections of water sports and restaurants.
Chateau de Feuilles is located inland on the southern end of Praslin Island, set amongst granite rocks and the lush tropical forests. The setting is unique, away from the beach and on high ground with stunning views of the surrounding islands. There are 9 villas all tastefully decorated and comfortable, built from the local timber with palm-thatched roofs. Each room has an en-suite bathroom and all the mod cons that you would expect including a DVD player. Chateau de Feuilles is the ideal location to base yourself to explore the island of Praslin, and to assist with this you are given a free hire car during your stay. They will also organise Helicopter rides to neighbouring islands and visits to the golf course. For those who just want to relax it is a mere 5 minutes walk to the white sand beach, or enjoy a massage at the lodge or the fantastic overhanging Jacuzzi with its unforgettable 300° view of some 12 islands. The lodge works with a 5-star scuba diving centre, their qualified staff will ensure an unbelievable insight into the Seychelles marine world.
Coco de Mer is a small hotel on the southern coast of Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles archipelago. It is named after the unique coco de mer palm indigenous to the islands. The hotel lies in a seemingly secluded part of the island and yet is close to other hotels and the village of St Anne. There are 40 chalets, most with a sea view and spread out along the beach and in the gardens. Each room has large four-poster beds, en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning and a mini bar. The hotel has excellent facilities for both water sport enthusiasts and explorers; there is tennis, windsurfers, snorkelling, pedalos and paddle skis, squash, table tennis, games room, swimming pool (shaped like a coco de mer), nature trails through the forest, mountain bike hire and yacht cruises and the complementary bus journeys around the island. The gardens surrounding the hotel are very well kept and there is an array of stunning flowers, mango trees, hibiscus and bougainvillea to name a few.
Indian Ocean Lodge is located in the west coast of Praslin island, the second largest island in the Seychelles Archipelago. The hotel stands on Grand Anse, the island's longest beach nestled amongst colourful tropical gardens just yards from the beach. There are 32 rooms, each one can be inter-connecting should you wish and all the rooms have wooden louvered windows, king size four poster beds with mosquito nets and private patio/terrace overlooking the Grand Anse bay and islands beyond. The hotel is small and friendly with a restaurant, lounge and bar. There is a large swimming pool and baby and they offer a laundry service and room service. Between the months of June and October the prevailing winds can leave seaweed on the beach, so the hotel offers a shuttle service to Cote d'Or where guests can use the facilities of the hotel and the beach is seaweed free.
L'Archipel is a small, exclusive hotel set on its own private beach overlooking the ocean. Being small and managed by the owner, the emphasis is on the personal touch. The twenty-four sea facing rooms are shared between detached and semi-detached cottages set on a hillside. Built in local stone and wood and simply furnished, each room has a raised double bed and its own private veranda. Two luxury suites have a separate sitting room, Jacuzzi and wonderful wraparound veranda. An elegant colonial-style restaurant on the hillside serves breakfast and dinner, and the Beach Bar serves lunch. Apart from enjoying the idyllic beaches, indulge in a massage, or if you are feeling active, there is a wide range of water-sports and fishing excursions on offer. Just wandering is also a great pleasure: Praslin Island is the last remaining natural habitat of the Coco-de-Mer palm (some of the trees are 800 years old) and home to three of the world's rarest birds, the Seychelles Bulbul, the Fruit Pigeon and the Black Parrot.
The lost continent of Lemuria was, according to legend, man's primeval home. Lemuria Resort on Praslin Island is a recreation of this lost paradise, set in a spectacular vista of azure seas, white beaches, tranquil lagoons and tropical palm groves, it seems to have been an immaculate conception. It appears among the trees without in the least disturbing the island's luxuriant vegetation. Totally in tune with its natural surroundings, eighty-eight discreet thatched-roofed cottages line the two beaches. Sophisticated in design and minimalistic in decoration, they are made from a combination of stone, wood, marble and pink granite. The experience at Lemuria, surrounded as you are by incredible, simple beauty, is enhanced rather than spoiled by the cascading swimming pools, two restaurants, 18-hole golf course, Health Spa and wide choice of water sports. Nestled into its natural tropical location, secluded and elegant, this exclusive island retreat makes a wonderful hideaway for incurable romantics.
Paradise Sun is a small resort on the north-east coast of Praslin, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Seychelles, Anse Volbert (on the edge of Cote d'Or). It has 80 simply and stylishly furnished French Creole-style chalets, all with sea-facing decks looking out over the gardens and to neighbouring islands. The rooms are all en-suite and have air-conditioning as well as ceiling fans. Breakfast is served overlooking the swimming pool and gardens, and Le Beach restaurant serves exotic cocktails, lunch and dinner, and is where the weekly Creole buffet and local dancing takes place. The resort has its own five-star PADI dive centre, and canoeing, snorkelling, boat cruises and windsurfing are all on offer. You can explore the island on a bicycle or hire a 4x4, visiting the equatorial forests of Praslin, play golf or tennis, or go island hopping. The hotel also offers aerobics, rock and deep-sea fishing and sunset cruises. Children’s programme available.