After a seemingly very quick flight from Dubai, we arrived in the Seychelles just in time for a beautiful sunrise. The view from the plane is always one of my favourites because of the clouds (see here), but what made this extra special is the tiny islands you see all around you. I knew that there was a few, but I hadn’t realised that the country was made up of 155!!
I’m sure that there are very many island type places that are beautiful, but I doubt that there are many that you start your journey with such a breathtaking view, not only because of the islands and the sunrise, but because the runway of the airport is literally along the coastline! I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s stunning!
I started to unwind as soon as I could see the sparkling water, but as we disembarked and I took my first breath of warm, fragrant, humid air, I could feel the healing begin. I honestly think there are few things as beautiful as the air on islands. Bermuda was the same. It is so pollution free that your body can’t help but pep up the moment you meet it. Your skin feels softer, your hair is fluffier, and for me, my lungs feel cleaner. It’s an intoxicating feeling.
We came down the portable staircase, onto the tarmac, and headed into the tiny airport. Nothing much to say about that. An airport is an airport. We queued for immigration, and here is my first confession: It really pissed me off! The queue was really quite big. Not A380 big, but big enough. It took probably an hour to get through. I would like to qualify this with the fact that I had probably a maximum of 2hrs sleep on the plane. I wouldn’t even say that much. That’s a big dip from my normal 6-8hrs!
I was really getting annoyed and that’s not a feeling that I wanted to have on this trip. Thankfully, about 10 minutes in, my brain kicked in through the sleep deprived fog and reminded me that we were now operating on island time. Something I had been very good at once upon a time. Within seconds of this realisation, it became much easier. I watched the people, made up stories of their lives, and generally had rather a good time.
We passed through immigration without a hitch, but with a beautiful smile from the lovely lady who was stamping our passports, and nipped into the booze shop. This little gem had a great many treats – both for kids and adults! Half the shop was alcohol and half was chocolate! My exciting finds included a giant box of Wine Gums and a creamy tequila based drink called Strawberry Lips.
Loaded up with goodies, and with the right suitcases, we were met by a wonderfully smiley boy named Herve (well, that’s what I have decided his name was based on what I heard – I was too English to ask him to repeat it) who was to take us back to the hotel.
Here comes the second confession: We had too much luggage to fit in his van. Literally. He had to nip off and get the bigger one which wasn’t as smart, but was just about the right size!!
Oh, as an aside, some traffic wardens came along while he was loading up and I can confirm that it does matter where in the world you are, they are miserable wankers.
Off we set and got our first glimpse of this little slice of paradise. I have no clue where we went but it was just incredible. Easier to show you than to tell you:
We arrived at the Kempinksi Baie Lazare and fell in love with it as quickly as we had everything else so far. There was a complementary breakfast as we had arrived so early, and the housekeeping team did everything they could to ensure our rooms were ready as soon as possible. And what beautiful rooms they are:
The whole resort is just incredible. Every corner there is a new view and a different kind too. We all know they have a beautiful building and the ocean, but what you may not know is that they have lagoon too. Our room backs onto it and it’s unbelievable. On the other side of the lagoon, the ‘forest’ starts and works its way up the giant hill-mountain behind.
It seems quite a shame that we are going to have to sleep at some point during the trip because it is just so beautiful I want to spend all my time staring. It made unpacking more bearable though on the plus side. On the flip side though, it took twice as long as it probably should because I kept pausing to look.
One of the advantages of taking so long though is that we were still inside the room when it started to rain. Not because I don’t like the rain. Quite the opposite in fact. I love watching the rain, especially when its so clean and warm. However, we got to watch this with the lush green backdrop.
Off we eventually ambled along to the beach. I have been following the hotel on Instagram since we booked the trip, so I couldn’t wait to see it all for myself! It really didn’t disappoint, either.
We soon discovered, thanks to the Boys in Blue (the Kempinksi named chaps who look after you on the beach), that the water was rough and the weather was bad because of a cyclone that was due to hit India imminently. Well, you can tell they’ve never tried to have a beach day in Brighton!! There was a breeze which meant it was cooler, and the water was wavy which made for a very relaxing sound.
The Boys in Blue are a bit of a legend really. We had read about them before we arrived. They are all Seychellois (not Seychellian!!) and are definitely brand ambassadors for both the hotel and the island. They are full of stories (including the life history of a local lady who shared my name!), laughter and even humorous flirting. There is nothing serious or creepy in it, just fun! They are there to ensure that you have everything you need and that you enjoy yourself. They even go a step further… one of them (Vivian) actually woke one of my friends when she was having her lounger nap to let her know the sun had moved and she needed more lotion on. I think that is an incredible thing to do. It shows that they really do care for the guests well-being. it isn’t just a job that they are working to get through.
There is only one downside to the hotel that I can see, and that is the beach. It’s not even a big downside. It’s just that it’s very rocky. There is so much rock and coral on the seabed that you cannot go in without diving shoes or jellies on. This somewhat detracted from the bliss of the water. That, and the masses of seaweed that was being washed in with the tide. It’s not a huge issue but it does mean that no matter how good the actual hotel is, I wouldn’t come back. It is billed as a diving and snorkeling resort and so it is perfect if you’re into those things. I like my water crystal clear and easy to get in and out of though.
The pool is however east to get in and out of, and is Olympic length. I am setting no records while I’m here but I am enjoying sitting in that and cooling off. It’s on the edge of the beach too, so you still get to hear the waves as you wallow and cool down.
That is exactly what I did for quiet a lot of the afternoon too. There may or may not have been a snooze on a sunlounger too. Lunch does however deserve an honourable mention!
I think on a normal day, there won’t be a huge amount of room for lunch after having a hotel breakfast, but we had only had pastries for breakfast so felt that lunch was needed. I opted , thanks to Jason’s suggestion, for fish and chips, but local style. It was locally caught fish, and the batter was infused with local spices. Even the tartar sauce had a touch of Creole with the spiced preserved pickles in it.
10/10 plus some! It was absolutely incredible. The batter was light and crisp, the fish moist and tender, and the sauce was the perfect mix of sweet, savory and creamy. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to local cuisine. I feel that some days I will need to scale down the hotel breakfast so I have room for this delight again!
By 5pm we decided it was time to head up to the rooms to get ready for dinner. Because we had missed a night of sleep, we were all keen to have an early night.
Dinner was very nice. The chef kindly came out to show me around what I could and couldn’t have with my nut allergy. The general nut side isn’t so bad. They of course love coconut though so it’s better to be safe than sorry. They had three dishes of Seychellois (check me using the right word now!) food. 2 of the 3 had coconut in them but the fish stew didn’t and was incredible! The theme of the night was Market Place and essentially that meant food from around the world. There was even Arabic food which was amusing and avoided!!
After dinner we headed up to the front desk to talk to the Ladies in Red (another Kempinski named team!) about something to do for the next day. Because of the weather, the girls had their dive cancelled. Instead we decided that we would go and explore the island of Mahe, but wanted a guide. But more about that tomorrow!