North Bound Bliss: Seychelles North Island
Published 28 March 2012
Nestled among lush native vegetation, and ringed by pristine coral reefs, the tiny Seychellois resort of North Island is a distinctly luxurious getaway that Robinson Crusoe himself would be proud to check in to.
Text by Nick Walton
Once one of the largest farms in the tiny Indian Ocean nation, North Island combines idyllic isolation and spacious accommodation with a stunning natural environment, which has been painstakingly restored as part of a 40-year conservation program.
North’s 11 beachfront villas, each wreathed in replanted native trees and guarded by a population of 50 delightfully-docile giant tortoises, all boast the title ‘presidential’ with grace and humility. Sandy paths lead down from expansive timber terraces to a blindingly white beach, while a private whirlpool and two lavish bedrooms make each setting extremely hard to leave.
Villas were constructed using Australian casuarina trees felled as part of the conservation program, with the upended trunks of naturally-felled native takamaka trees used as roof supports. The effect is one of a luxurious tree house – think Swiss Family Robinson with a mini bar – with golf carts on hand for exploring further afield.
North’s 11 beachfront villas are guarded by a population of 50 delightfully-docile giant tortoises.
The tale of North’s ecological reincarnation is told by the resort’s in-house conservation team, who host fascinating weekly cocktail seminars in the library, in the shadow of an enormous pirate ship’s anchor, found off North’s coastline during reef regeneration. The conservation program, known as Noah’s Ark, hopes to return North, which was all but abandoned in the 1970s, to its original state, and guests are encouraged to get involved with a range of activities; from helping safeguard green turtle eggs on Honeymoon Beach, through to reef cleansing in nearby coral coves, studying the population of giant tortoises, and planting saplings in the resort’s nursery.
Reception, a formal word for a blissfully informal locale, overlooks East Beach, as does the resort’s alfresco restaurant, which boasts a ‘no menu’ policy and a wine cellar with over 600 labels. Beyond, a clifftop day spa features suites open to the pounding sea below.
North is all inclusive; all but reserve wines are stuck on free-flow, as are innovative meals and some activities. Be sure to set out on one of the island’s purpose-built vessels for half-day diving in the Coral Garden or along the bolder-strewn coast of neighboring Silhouette Island, home to shoals of bulbous Napoleon wrasse. Alternatively trawl for feisty barracuda, which the chefs will barbeque, Cajun style, at the West Beach Bar. There are also walking tracks, hidden snorkeling spots, bicycles and kayaks on offer, for the energetically-inclined.
Seychelles North Island