So after a really disappointing experience at our first hotel, it wouldn’t be exaggerating to say we rushed back from breakfast first thing to pack up our bags and check out of our rooms in the keen desperation to get to our next stop – what we had been savouring for our last stop and what we were (even more so than before) hoping would be a memorable end to our Seychellois experience (read all about my time on the island here)…
And it didn’t disappoint. The Banyan Tree Seychelles is a true oasis of calm and serenity. No sooner had we drawn up to the grand entrance of the property than we were swept into the cool air -con of the spacious high-ceiling lobby, bags taken care of, and offered refreshing fruity drinks and cold face towels – just what we needed! After being told we’d kindly been upgraded to an Ocean View Pool Villa (!) and whilst the check-in process was taken care of by the competent and friendly staff, we were free to take a wander and get our bearings in our new surroundings. There’s no better feeling than arriving into a luxurious paradise scene, knowing that it’s your home for the next few days!
The hotel is set on Intendance Bay in the south-west of the island, one of the most stunningly beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen (quite a statement I know). It was genuinely postcard-perfect – the sand was pure white and soft, with palms swaying over the sand, lush green, tropical forests backing onto the beach, and the water such a deep and clear turquoise it almost didn’t look real. It was hard to put the camera down at all as I just wanted to capture it from every single angle!
Although the weather was slightly cloudy to begin with on that first day, it didn’t bother us in the slightest – we settled down by the stunning infinity pool to order drinks – not before the pool staff rushed over to set up our sunbeds before we even knew ourselves what we were doing. They really couldn’t do enough – it was the level of service you’d expect from such a high quality 5* hotel chain.
The hotel itself I felt really evokes a sense of grandeur everywhere you go. With its colonial white structure, its design is grand and elegant yet not pompous and with modern touches – which is what I think epitomises the Banyan Tree brand. I hadn’t stayed in a Banyan Tree hotel previously, but I feel like I got a sense of what they were about. What will stay with me when I think back to our stay here was just how serene the resort is – the villas, pools, restaurants, lounges etc are perfectly spread out, which creates a great sense of space, peace and quiet, and intimacy.
Wherever you went, day or night, it was never busy. If you like the buzz of a busy resort and people-watching, this is not the one for you! I think it’s mostly due to the fact that all the rooms at the property are villas. Everyone staying at the resort has their own private outdoor area complete with a plunge pool, daybed, sheltered veranda and jacuzzi bath, not to mention the spacious interiors including a walk-in wardrobe, open plan bathroom and spa shower – meaning that there really is no need to even leave your room all day!
We liked to spend our days there doing a mixture of ‘activities’ – some post-breakfast sunbathing time at the infinity pool, lazing on our own terrace and long walks on the beach – which amazingly we had private access to via a path from our own garden!
As I’m sure you won’t be surprised to read, the food matched the high standards of everything else at the resort. From the incredible spread at the buffet breakfast, including a personalised fruit station, chilled champagne on tap (yes, I’m still talking about the breakfast!) and unlimited ordering off the à la carte menu complete with the best eggs benedict I’ve ever tasted at Au Jardin d’Epices…
…to a fantastic bistro lunch menu here at the same restaurant or the more casual Pool Bar…
…to a delicious afternoon tea in the open-air La Varangue lounge…a casual afternoon cocktail in the Rum Shack located right on the sand at the end of the beach…to a choice of elegant Creole fusion dining which is definitely worth a try at Chez Lamar…and my favourite which was Saffron, the hotel chain’s signature Thai restaurant. Top tip – don’t forget your insect repellent though when dining at Saffron, as it’s located on the edge of the hotel’s gorgeous waterlily pond which definitely comes alive in the dark!
All in all, as I hope you can tell, we had a truly amazing few days at the Banyan Tree Seychelles. If I had to imagine an environment that directly contrasts my normal hectic London life, this hotel captures it exactly – serenity, peace, relaxation and lush, natural surroundings. Complete with top-notch service, luxurious accommodation and the ultimate island lifestyle, I would say this makes for the perfect Indian Ocean escape.