24 Hours at the Banyan Tree, Seychelles
It was end of May again, the weather in Europe was turning better but since the birthday of my colleague was approaching soon, we were in for a long-haul getaway. While Delhi was already crossed off our bucket-list, a wonderful opportunity to go to the Seychelles came up and we did not hesitate long until we booked our flights. While we just had three nights to spend on the Seychelles, we decided to stay on Mahé only. As you might already know, one of the most famous and first international properties to open a resort on the picturesque archipelago in the Indian Ocean was the Banyan Tree group. Me as a total hotel geek was totally interested in staying at the Banyan Tree due to the renowned name of the brand as well as the world famous infinity pool I always wanted to check out. To make the best out of our stay on the Seychelles we decided to stay one night in the South - where the resort is located - and the other two nights in the north, since we knew already the sea conditions. While the landscape is truly unique in the South, the sea is too rough to swim in during the rainy months. So if you plan to go to the Seychelles for swimming in the sea you may better go there during European winter.
So after our extremely relaxing flight with Air Seychelles, we were picked up by the hotel and began our 1-hour journey to the property. To be honest, the arrival itself was very interesting and we could not believe our eyes once we left the car and walked inside the colonial main building with a real banyan tree outside and the front desk fully facing the ocean! The sound, the smell, the welcome - everything was already set to give us the fullest enjoyable stay. We were seated in the lobby, handed over refreshing towels and a welcome drink before we headed towards our villa. One of the unique characteristics of this resort is the fact that they have a wide variety of accommodations: one can choose between a hillside villa, spa villa, sea view villa or beach villa. While my preference would be latter one, we got an upgrade to a perfectly located sea view pool villa overlooking the entire bay, the ocean and the resort. I could not say it any better but I feel this was the most wonderfully located villa they have. I love the fact that all villas have their own pool, a terrace with sun beds as well as a pavillon with a canape and chairs.
Once we entered the main villa, we felt the typical Banyan Tree style reflected in the interior design, furniture and layout of the villa. A big sofa was located in front of the sea view window as well as a television and minibar on the left side and a writing desk on the right side. The main center of the room was the heavenly double bed with lovely welcome leaves on top of it. Unfortunately we had to figure out that these leaves brought ants with them and therefore ants were all over the bed which was not that chic. Luckily they provide poisoning spray to kill the ants - you have to spray the entire room for a minute and then leave the room for 30 minutes so that they all die. After we did this, we did not have any more issues which was super great. Remeber you are vacationing on the Seychelles so nature is your friend. Later I headed towards the lovely bathroom with a big tub next to a huge window overooking the sea as well. It was so amazing to look onto the deep blue ocean while taking a shower or brushing your teeth after getting up. There was also a semi-separated toilet and bidet along with lots of wardrobe spaces. All their amenities are eco-friendly and filled in small cans just like Aman - tough smelled very nice. Furthermore towels were provided to use for the private pool just like super cool kimonos by Banyan Tree.
Soon after we have settled in the room and experienced all the amazing amenities, we headed towards the long beach in front of the main building where we walked to the other end. Interestingly all beaches are public on the Seychelles and that's why you can't find any beach filled with sun beds and umbrellas - these are hidden behind the trees in the second row which is extremely clever. There is also a super nice beach bar where we stopped for a dring before moving to the pool bar where we lingered for longer. I have to admit that the infinity pool is indeed as amazing as on the pictures. It feels like swimming next to the washed stones towards the horizon. Plenty of towels were available on the pool site and due to the fact that all villas have their private pool it did not at all feel crowded - even tough there were less than 20 sun beds. After sunset, we decided to have a look into the spa and gym which is situated across the main entrance. The gym offered a nice array of equipment tough it felt a little bit too warm for my personal taste. However the spa looked fabulous and really gave a serene feeling.
Being located near the equator, the sun sets really early and you have to expect darknessaround 7pm. At the Banyan Tree there are three gastronomic outlets: one Thai, one Creole and one International restaurant. Since we wanted to go for the local experience we decided to book a table at the Creole restaurant next to the lobby. You cann't imagine how gorgeous the resort looks at night: everything is open, wind breezes through the rooms and you hear the waves breaking - this is the total holiday experience. According to our lovely server, we should try the beef fillet and red snapper which we did after an octopus carpaccio and tuna tartare. For dessert we had lemon sorbet to cool off before trying a shisha at the hotel bar. Breakfast was served in the international restaurant and was truly extensive. Beside a fresh fruits corner, there was an egg preparation station, a juice bar and a cool room where all the self-service products were displayed. This place was actually the only corner at the entire resort where you could guess the approximate occupancy - this is an extremely good sign since it is a vast resort and everyone can hide somewhere.
In general the Banyan Tree is a lovely and famous property located in the south of Mahé. I would have wished a more personal touch of the staff but guess there would have been a better relationship once we would have stayed a week or more. Anyways the villas are really nice, offer plenty of privacy and the fact of having a private pool is just stunning. It's always better to check the conditions of the sea whether you can actually swim - it really depends on the season and the weather conditions. If swimming in the sea is a must, you might better end up staying the north.