The December issue of the highly-respected and popular Conde Nast Traveller magazine issued during the World Travel Market (WTM) Tourism Trade Fair in London has done the tourism islands of the Seychelles proud.
“Indian Ocean, Coral Reefs and white sands in the Seychelles” is the head title on the cover of the magazine that carts twelve-and-a-half pages with spectacular pictures of the beautiful Seychelles islands.
Tim Ecott is the journalist behind this reportage on the Seychelles, and the pictures used are from ohotographer Christopher Baker. Tim Ecott is no stranger to Seychelles. He was a BBC correspondent based in these mid-ocean islands before returning to Great Britain. Tim remains the experienced journalist who presents the Seychelles from the eyes of a foreign journalist, but also one who knows his subject.
“Lesser spotted Seychelles” is title of this Seychelles report in the respected Conde Nast Traveller Magazine. “With their luxury resorts and royal guests, the islands are familiar as a tropical idyll for the rich and famous,” Tim Ecott wrote, “however, celebrates their simpler side, where nature is king.”
Tim Ecott wrote: “When I first visited the island of La Digue more than twenty years ago, there were only two places to stay. One was a licensed hotel made up of a collection of simple, thatched chalets in a palm grove besides the beach; the other was inland, set on a rise above a vanilla plantation. This was an ‘unofficial’ hotel, Chateau St.Cloud, a charming but eccentrically-run old house where Oliver Reed stayed while filming Castaway in the mid-1980s. Everyone dined together at a long wooden table, and there was no menu: you ate what appeared from the kitchen, which was always delicious Creole food.”
Tim Ecott continued: “ The helicopters and ferries may be new, but the original hotels are still there: La Digue Island Lodge on the beach and Chateau St. Cloud (now official) inland, still owned by the same family but considerably updated. There are also now plenty of small guest houses catering to flocks of young couples, many of them honeymooners, who come for the long stretches of white beaches backed by elemental granite boulders, and the peace and quiet (the best way to get around is still by bicycles). French and Italian travelers have always loved La Digue; for them, it seems infused with almost mythical appeal, and one of the erotic Emmanuel films was shot here. Perfectly bronzed and elegantly dressed, they weave around the island’s sandy tracks on hired bicycles and, given that Seychellois drive on the left, contribute a significant degree of danger to the otherwise lightly-trafficked paths. Despite all the changes, La Digue is still a special place with a real sense of the Seychelles’ older, simpler past, and most of the island remains an inaccessible, forested chunk of rock where fruit bats chatter in the mango trees.
“I was booked into Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie, which had recently been refurbished and extended to create a very smart mini-resort. It’s close to the only settlement on the island, La Passe, a few minutes’ walk from the jetty; but guests at Le Domaine are picked up in an air-conditioned, four-wheel-drive taxi and driven to the hotel where a giant bronze gong announces their arrival. The infinity pool and the restaurant extend out into the bay, and the whole set-up is very ‘St.Trop,’ with handsome staff in white-linen uniforms.”
Tim Ecott also wrote in this long reportage on the Seychelles about Fregate island with its 16 sumptuous villas providing a level of privacy and luxury unheard of in the Seychelles. “Pierce Brosnan booked the whole island when he was at the height of his James Bond fame; Brad Pitt and Emma Thompson have since both holidayed there…” said Tim Ecott.
On the main island of Mahe, Tim Ecott wrote about the Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, which he says is billed as an all-villa, six-star resort, and recently graced by Princess Anne when she passed through on an official visit. He also describes the Four Seasons hotel tucked into a forested enclave above a perfect crescent of sand where he said, “I recently spotted Roger Federer having a snack at the beach bar.”
Tim Ecott also wrote that Prince William said when he was leaving the Seychelles in May after his honeymoon, that he chose the Seychelles because they were a place where ‘the stewardship of nature is taken seriously’ on the islands, “and that for me, remains their real appeal,” said Tim Ecott.
The report on the Seychelles also touches North Island that Tim Ecott said is now virtually unbeatable in the name-dropping game, and the Raffles Hotel on Praslin island.