February 06, 2017 – 16:31 GMT
It’s no wonder that Prince William and Kate chose The Seychelles for their honeymoon in 2011. Not only do the islands boast breathtaking landscapes with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, but they’re also home to some of the world’s most luxurious – and secluded – hotels, which remain a firm favourite amongst A-listers looking for total relaxation. Determined to see if these islands are idyllic as their reputation would have you believe, James Rampton headed to the island of Alphonse searching for the ultimate getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life…
“As I arrive at the magical Alphonse Island hotel in the Seychelles, I notice the sign hanging from my bedroom door. It reads: “Please do not disturb. Shh … I’m in paradise”. ‘Paradise’ is an overused word in travel features, but in this case it really does apply. When you live in a major city, as I do, you can’t envisage anywhere so totally deserted, unspoiled and Robinson Crusoe-esque can exist. But it does, and it’s here on Alphonse. It’s like a Bounty advert – only better.
“Just breathing in the pristine, unpolluted air on Alphonse makes you instantly feel healthier. It is no surprise to learn that the 2016 Environmental Performance Index found that the Seychelles has the purest air on the planet or that the islands have a world-record 50 per cent of the total land area under natural conservation.
“The island is already globally-famous for its fly-fishing. But now, as well as world-class angling, it offers fun for all the family. The 52 guests, who stay in one of 21 gorgeously beach bungalows or five beach suites, can enjoy everything from kayaking in a glass-bottomed boat to a delightful ‘Flats Lunch’, knee-deep in warm water on the spectacular sandbar off the deserted neighbouring island, St Francois.
“You can also take a boat trip to another nearby island, Bijoutier. This is a picture-perfect desert island, inhabited only by turtles and surrounded by unfeasibly warm, aquamarine seas. It is like being in a wildlife documentary, except that this is actually the real thing. Another marvellous outing is the nature walk around St Francois. There we learn that thousands of whimbrel birds migrate from the UK to the Seychelles to spend every winter in this beautiful tropical paradise. You can’t really blame them, can you?
“The area is teeming with breathtaking wildlife – you are more likely to bump into a giant hawksbill turtle than another human being – and conservation is paramount at Alphonse Island. So fish caught on a fly are always put back into the water, and motorised watersports which would damage the fragile coral reef surrounding the island are prohibited.
“The best way of getting to Alphonse is to travel on Air Seychelles, which offers a very good in-flight service, and then over-night on the main island of Mahe, before flying on in a tiny propeller plane. On Mahe, we stay in the lovely Eden Bleu Hotel, a new establishment with stunning views of the marina. There is no mobile signal on Alphonse and no TVs in the hotel rooms. So if you’re looking to leave behind your urban worries and escape the turbulence currently gripping the world, then this is the place for you.
“During the Second World War, the MV Tulagi was travelling from Australia to Colombo when she was torpedoed by a German submarine on 28 March 1944. She sank within seconds, and only 15 sailors managed to survive on swiftly lashed-together rafts. After 59 gruelling days on torrid seas, just seven men landed on Bijoutier. They were quickly rescued by Lois Gendron, the manager of Alphonse, who cared for them until they could be picked up 18 days later. Mr Ward, one of the survivors, remarked afterwards that, ‘We could not have landed on a better island’. I know exactly how he feels.
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A seven night stay for two people in a Beach Bungalow on a full board basis (excluding beverages) (leisure only) including inter-island flights from Mahe to Alphonse Island return is £8,980 per couple. For reservations please contact Jordyn Kate Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +248 4229700 (GMT + 04:00) For additional information, please visit alphonse-island.com.
Prices for a one night stay in a Deluxe Room at Eden Bleu Hotel start from £265 per room per night, please contact email@example.com. Air Seychelles flies from London Heathrow to Mahe, Seychelles and flights start from £636.25 return per person, further information can be found at airseychelles.com