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Bewitched by the Seychelles

Celebrities and honeymooners can't get enough of this magical paradise

Few places on earth come close to the natural beauty of the Seychelles. Imagine pristine white sand between your toes, trekking through lush green forests dotted with coconut trees and swimming in crystal clear water teeming with coral and exotic fish.  Known as the jewelled necklace in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is made up of a cluster of 115 granite and coral islands, each with its own character. With an enviable warm climate all year round - temperatures rarely drop below 24 degrees centigrade or rise above 32 degrees - holiday-makers flock here every month of the year. The Seychellois are a friendly mixed race of African, European and Asian origins and their Creole culture will instantly warm your heart and melt away your worries...

If you want to leave behind the hustle and bustle and uncomfortable humidity of the UAE then head to the peaceful sanctuary of the Seychelles - you've got heavenly beaches, primal forests with giant tortoises, water sports and much more.  One of the best ways to appreciate the stunning beaches is by sailing around the islands, which are home to over two thousand five hundred types of coral as well as fascinating sea creatures such as the Angel Fish and the unusual looking Night Trumpet Fish. Most resorts will be able to arrange snorkelling, fly-fishing and scuba diving outings for you.

Nestled among swaying palm trees on the shores of the world-famous Intendance Bay - one of the most spectacular beaches on the planet - is the luxurious Banyan Tree Seychelles hotel, in the South of Mahé Island. This modern colonial-esque haven is where Paul McCartney stayed during his honeymoon. The A-listers love it because it offers complete privacy - each five-star villa has its own infinity pool and Jacuzzi.  The world-renowned open-air spa here is also absolutely stunning. It's not everyday you can get pampered by expert therapists in the middle of a tropical forest!

On the North of Mahé, OK! recommends The Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa. This secluded hideaway is a twenty minute drive from the capital Victoria and offers luxurious boutique-y villas nestled among rocky hills and overlooking beach coves. Each villa is raised on stilts so you can enjoy a stunning view of the ocean from your bed and there's a giant hammock on your balcony perfect for some sunset cuddling!

A fifteen-minute flight from Mahé is Praslin Island, a charming slightly more chilled island, dubbed the Garden of Eden. Praslin boasts three of the world's rarest birds including the endangered Black Parrot which can be spotted in the Vallee de Mai National Park, a breathtaking mythical virgin forest which is also home to the famous Coco de Mer palm. Here, we fell in love with Lemuria Resort, a fabulous five-star hotel set amid 150 hectares of scenic palm groves.

In front of the hotel is the famous eco-friendly sandy beach of Anse Kerlan where turtles still lay their eggs. Golf enthusiasts will be happy as there's a wonderful 18-hole championship course here as well as an array of top restaurants overlooking the sea.  It's easy to see why Celine Dion and the actor Gerard Depardieu chose to stay here.

Those who hanker after untouched natural beauty should head to the small un-developed island of Silhouette, where there are only about 100 residents. You reach the island by boat and as you sail in closer, Silhouette looks like something out of a scene of Jurassic Park.  Set against a mountainous primal forest, Labriz Silhouette is a luxurious five-star resort located along a five km stretch of soft sand. The lavish love-pad villas offer A-list-esque seclusion, making it the perfect place for those wanting to escape from the world.  The postcard-like beaches are as unspoiled as they come and ideal for couples wanting to frolic in their own private cove.  Spa lovers will be in for a real treat as the first-class spa framed by boulders and trees has a list of amazing treatments, plus an inviting outdoor hot tub. Total bliss!
With the Seychelles simply a four and a half hour flight away, paradise is much closer than you think!

1. Visit the legendary Vallee de Mai (the Seychelles' second UNESCO World Heritage Site).  Here you can see the world's largest nut, weighing up to 40lbs.

2. Head to the stunning Anse Source D'Argent on La Digue Island - it's one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Once you see it for yourself, you'll realize why so many film directors insist on shooting movie scenes here. 

3. Have lunch at the Maria Rock café, a hidden gem of a restaurant located in Mahé.  You can fry your own fish and meat over hot fire slabs. The Creole sauces and fresh fruit juices are delicious.

4. Enjoy a soothing Island Dew massage at the Banyan Tree Seychelles or an age-defying Caviar Rejuvenation facial at Labriz Silhouette.

We recommend flying Qatar Airways via Doha.
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Source:OK! Middle East
Posted: 20/10/2008


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