The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge first visited the Seychelles, a paradise patch of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, in 2007 following their break-up five months earlier. Rumour has it the dreamy archipelago is where they vowed to stay together for good and marriage was first mentioned – so it is an apt place to return to for their honeymoon.
While taking over an entire island might be out of most people’s reach, here are some ideas for planning the perfect honeymoon.
The place Prince William and Kate checked in following their kiss and make up back in 2007 is a main contender for the royal honeymoon retreat. It is a private island ringed by 14 kms of white sand and 70 kms of coral reef. There are 23 luxurious beach villas furnished in tasteful cream and wood, each featuring a four-poster bed, outside bathroom and spacious lounge.
The royal couple, who would most likely stay in the enormous Presidential Villa, could dine in privacy each night on their terrace, or in the lush gardens overlooking the sparkling ocean and pool; a personal chef whips up mouth-watering dishes in the villa’s kitchen while a butler pours the drinks.
North Island (http://www.north-island.com)
Sybarites adore this private island resort, which is one of the most expensive and exclusive getaways in the world (around £14,000 per person for a week’s stay). It’s an A-list favourite, thanks to its incredible beaches and beautiful villas – there are only 11, handcrafted and dotted around the island for complete privacy. Villa 11 is the ultimate honeymoon pad, with a split-level lounge, spa, home entertainment system and library.
Nature-lover William would appreciate the island’s eco credentials, which include the reintroduction of critically endangered Seychelles flora and fauna, such as the legendary coco-de-mer palm. Kate would adore the spa menu, with specialties such as a tension release massage (vital after that wedding) while listening to the lap of the waves. There’s no menu concept here, as the chef speaks to each guest in turn about what their personal food preferences are and develops a daily menu around this, using influences from the Seychelles, France and Southern India.
Another tiny private island that draws the stars – Sir Paul McCartney honeymooned here with Heather Mills (although perhaps this isn’t the best advert for the start of marital bliss) – but much lower-key than neighbouring eco-resort North Island. There’s a choice of four villas each featuring a large bedroom opening straight on to the beach, and a spacious bathroom with twin showers and a Jacuzzi bath. As with many other resorts in the Seychelles, Cousine is also big on conservation, so the royal couple could expect to spot giant tortoises on the white sand beach and see flocks on endangered birds during a stay here.
Frégate Island Private (http://www.fregate.com)
James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan, has holidayed on this incredibly exclusive hideaway. Frégate has 17 traditional-style villas made from native mahogany and thatch and spread out between the palm trees, offering total privacy. Highlights here include private plunge-pools set beside king-size day beds, and a range of luxurious and indigenous treatments available at the Rock Spa, which is located on a high plateau.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge flew into Mahé, the international gateway to the Seychelles and home to the country’s main airport and capital Victoria, one of the world’s smallest cities. Although most honeymooners use it as a stepping-stone to other islands, it is a beautiful destination in its own right, which Prince William and Kate would do well to spend a day exploring.
There are lush botanical gardens bursting with tropical blooms, a tea plantation, and interior nature trails along mountainsides which reveal hidden treasures, such as the carnivorous Seychelles pitcher plant, vanilla orchid and rare Jellyfish tree. The south is less populated and boasts spectacular, often deserted, palm-fringed, talcum powder-soft beaches, such as Intendance, a half-mile stretch of powdery white sand considered by many to be the best stretch of sand in the Indian Ocean.
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (www.maia.com.sc) lies on the southwest coast and is a honeymoon Mecca. After a welcome glass of Champagne you’re whisked to one of 30 private villas, full of the usual five-star clichés – infinity pool and enormous bed – plus some fabulous extras such as La Prairie products and sunken outdoor double baths.
Praslin, which lies just 45 km from Mahé, is the second largest island in the chain and home to not-to-be-missed UNESCO World Heritage site Vallée de Mai, once thought to be the original Garden of Eden, and where the legendary coco-de-mer, the world’s largest nut, grows. Praslin’s other main lure for visitors are its exquisite beaches, such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette.
There are several hotels on Praslin, the chicest of which is Constance Lémuria Resort (http://www.lemuriaresort.com) overlooking bright white Anse Kerlan beach. Along with the fabulous presidential villa, perched on a granite outcrop with its three swimming pools and private beach, the other lure here for Prince William and Kate is nature: turtles lay their eggs on the beach and rare black parrots can be spotted in the palms.
La Digue (http://www.ladigue.sc/)
La Digue, the fourth largest island in Seychelles and just a 30-minute boat ride from Praslin, is unmissable. The pace of life is slow and laidback; the two types of transport are ox-cart or bicycle and boats are traditionally made by hand. Here they can catch a glimpse of the Seychelles’ black paradise flycatcher, one of the rarest birds on earth. The island’s forests are filled with giant Indian almond and takamaka trees, vivid hibiscus and bougainvillea flowers. Most visitors to La Digue seek out Anse Source d’Argent, one of the world’s most photographed beaches thanks to its soft white sand edged by giant, smooth granite boulders and caves. It lies at the end of a sand track in the Union Plantation Reserve, where coconut oil is still produced in an old mill surrounded by palms.
Honeymooners check in to La Digue Island Lodge, a rustic idyll lining Anse Reunion beach. If the royal couple decide to eschew celebrity haunts and go local, this is the place to do it. From the delicious Creole cuisine to the thatched beach houses, it is very laid back, although they could spread themselves out in the Yellow House, a National Monument of the Seychelles dating back to 1900, which boasts a spiral staircase and nine double rooms.
Article Source : The Telegraph, London