a touch of class n luxury indian ocean
a touch of class n luxury indian ocean
luxury If you want to get away from everything and be pampered in the lap of luxury, nowhere does it with quite as much panache – or seclusion – as the Indian Ocean. Mike Swindell reports
n Relaxing in the Seychelles n The OverWater Spa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Beachcomber Tours
“The opulence of Maldives resorts is hard to beat”
Raffles Hotel and Resorts
n Le Touessrok, Mauritius
For the best of both worlds, especially-pampered guests at the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa on South Male Atoll can loll in the Rehendi Presidential Suite’s glass bathroom that is said to offer “infinite views” or take a dip in a freshwater pool suspended over the lagoon. The appeal of the Maldives, notwithstanding some outrageous examples of tourism luxury, lies in the sense of peace to be found in the remote, scattered atoll resorts. That, and some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. A holiday in the Maldives allows guests to unwind, especially if you choose to ignore TV, DVDs and other 21st century distractions - after all, there's not a lot else to do on a remote desert island but enjoy the sun, sand and sea.
mauritius Mauritius is more old-school holiday, offering luxury resorts around a big island but plenty to see and do for those who want to get out and about. The service that guests receive in big resorts such as the One&Only Le Saint Geran and Le Touessrok is oldschool as well, with masses of staff on hand to make sure that everything is absolutely right in what amounts to private tropical estates with beaches. Rooms and public areas at the top resorts are always big and airy, with the plantation-style architecture of The Residence Mauritius typical of a colonial style. But there are smaller examples of luxury Mauritius as well – the Angsana Balaclava offers 49 suites and one villa, while Shanti Maurice has 61 villas and suites and The Oberoi boasts 48 pavilions and 23 villas.
sri lanka Sun Resorts
n A romantic dinner on the beach at Raffles Praslin, Seychelles
n Shangri-La’s Villingili resort, Maldives
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
little sweetener to the price, starting at $66,500 per week, hen Prince William and his bride guests get the use of the island’s private yacht. headed off on a belated honeymoon Another sole-use island hideaway is Banyan Tree Madiafter the worldwide phenomenon that varu on North Ari Atoll, offering just six tented villas was their wedding, they managed what no-one thought they could – they dotted around the island, costing from £6,550 per person in low season, May-October, including flights from the UK. gave the press the slip. The opulence of Maldives resorts is hard to beat in the Speculation on the honeymoon destination choice ran Indian Ocean, as the government has taken a pragmatic wild in the days after it became clear that Wills and Kate view of tourism, opening new atolls for development had disappeared, and while the Seychelles eventually complete with the latest concepts of luxury. A proposed emerged as the winner there has never been official ban on spas threw the whole future of its tourism confirmation that the exclusive North Island industry into doubt, but the threat has been resort received the royal seal of approval. lifted for the moment. Still, it has been widely reported that Over-water bungalows and villas, the 600-acre single resort island boasting n Coco made famous in French Polynesia, are just 11 villas was where the happy Palm now widely available in thesuch as at couple spent their 10-day honeymoon. Resort in Coco Palm Resort on Dhuni Kolhu, But the fact that it is still all a bit of a the while new resort facilities go under water mystery and that the voracious paparazzi Maldives and into the trees. failed to get a single snap highlights the Anantara Kihavha Villas is among propreason why many of the rich and famous erties to have harnessed the underwater choose the Indian Ocean to get away from it all. Coco Palm Resorts scenery, with the Wine Cellar allowing guests to While a report by US Weekly that the royal estate dine with sealife swimming around and above them. rented out all 11 villas at a cost of $720,000 to ensure the Another is at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, where the couple’s privacy seems a bit far-fetched, the concept of Ithaa underwater restaurant is one of three dining sole use in Indian Ocean resorts is not unheard of. choices to be made. Others are the Atoll Market featuring eight show kitchens and The Sunset Grill set atop a the maldives coral reef. Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo whisked his Russian girlAerial architecture can be found at Dusit Thani on friend Irana Shayk off to the Maldives to see in the 2011 New Year, taking over The Rania Experience, which has Mudhdhoo Island, in Baa Atoll, where the newly-opened a sole-use policy for a minimum of two people and Devarana Spa features six treatment pods built into the trees. While not actually a Tarzan experience, the up to 12 guests in a single group. This private island holiday destinaShangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa on Addu Atoll tion boasts a three-bedroom suite and boasts eight tree house villas that are perched on stilts to three separate beach villas, each with offer stupendous panoramic views, and Viceroy their own walled garden, tropical outdoor Maldives on Shaviyani Atoll offers guests a Moroccanshowers and staff of around 25. And as a style dining experience at its Treehouse Lodge.
It can be old-world chic in Sri Lanka as well – an island that, like Mauritius, offers stylish beach resorts and plenty of interest elsewhere. While not a beach resort, Amangalla in the UNESCO
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tlm n the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk
a touch of class n luxury indian ocean
Small Luxury Hotels of the World
n Serene Pavilions, Sri Lanka
World Heritage-listed Galle Fort offers grown-up luxury in a 17th century building that boasts period furnishings, teak floors, free-standing bathtubs and four-poster beds. The Fortress at Koggala, Galle, is another that echoes history, with fortified walls and colonial-style lobby but modern rooms with glorious sea views. Serene Pavilions at Wadduwa, on the other hand, is decidedly modern, with an all-suites design offering four garden and eight ocean-walled pavilions spread around the landscaped grounds.
luxur y indian ocean facts Destinology offers seven nights at Dusit Thani Maldives from £2,049 per person, B&B, including Emirates economy flights and seaplane transfers. www.destinology.co.uk Scott Dunn offers seven nights at One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius, B&B, from £3,430 per person, including British Airways economy flights and transfers. www.scottdunn.com
Freelance travel writer Mike Swindell has travelled the world charting the development of tourism, with a particular interest in the Indian Ocean and Africa.
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ITC Classics offers seven nights at North Island, Seychelles, from £15,120 per person in a Presidential Villa including economy flights from the UK and helicopter transfers. www.itcclassics.co.uk Carrier offers seven nights at The Fortress Koggala, Sri Lanka, from £1,280 B&B, including economy flights from the UK and transfers. www.carrier.co.uk
butler service can be found at:
For the best of both worlds – resorts accompanied by big island interest and small island retreats – then you have to head for the Seychelles. The main island of Mahe boasts the dramatic Four Seasons Resort with 62 villas set on forested slopes that swoop down to the isolated Petite Anse Beach, Banyan Tree Seychelles, featuring 60 Victorian-style villas, and the recently-opened Constance Ephelia Resort, incorporating 267 suites and villas within almost 300 acres of bush-clad grounds. Praslin Island has its own luxury options in the form of the recently-opened and very stylish Raffles Praslin Seychelles, offering 86 villas, and the Constance Lemuria Resort that sets 96 suites and nine villas amidst palm trees and along two pristine beaches. For island getaways, Sainte Anne Resort & Spa is a short boat ride from the main island and is sprinkled with 87 villas, while others such as Desroches Island, Denis Private Island and Fregate take fewer guests and are served by light plane from Mahe. Then there’s North Island, which likes to bring in its guests by helicopter. On arrival, they’ll spread out in one of 10 450-square-metre villas or go really upmarket with the 750-square-metre Villa North Island, all with butler service and a chef who cooks just what you want to eat. And you don't have to be a prince to enjoy it.
n A villa at Banyan Tree, Maldives
Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts
Niyama, Maldives: niyama.peraquum.com Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives: www.tajhotels.com/maldives Banyan Tree Madivaru, Maldives: www.banyantree.com/en/maldives_madivaru The Residence, Mauritius: www.theresidence.com/mauritius Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort, Mauritius: www.heritageletelfair.mu Constance Belle Mare Plage Resort & Villas, Mauritius: n Trou Aux Biches, www.bellemareplagehotel.com Mauritius Trou Aux Biches, Mauritius: www.trouauxbiches-hotel.com, www.beachcombertours.co.uk Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, Seychelles: www.maia.com.sc North Island, Seychelles: www.north-island.com