Babette's Late and Lazy Seychelles Report

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Jan 24th, 2004, 01:32 AM
  #1
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Babette's Late and Lazy Seychelles Report

Thanks for your reminders, Sandi, but as you may have guessed, I was always the kid in the class that had an excuse for not having his homework done!

We went to Seychelles in November and spent 10 days at the Banyan Tree. We stayed in an Intendance Villa which was absolutely incredible. Great views, private pool, private jacuzzi, private dining/living pavillion, private deck with comfy sun loungers. There was really no reason to leave our little "compound". We brought way too many clothes!!

Perhaps I didn't jump on a trip report because we really didn't do very much but relax in this gorgeous paradise. (not much that I can report on anyway -- wink, wink!) But it was truly an excellent destination for pure relaxation -- and we enjoyed plenty of this!


We did charter a boat for a day and they took us to Praslin where we were a little underwhelmed at the Valley de Mai, though it could've been because it was really, really hot. Then they took us snorkeling at Cocos Island which was absolutely awesome -- one of our favorite things. They prepared a fresh fish lunch for us on the boat which was one of the best meals we had. (The boat was a little pricey but worth it. They picked us up at the hotel and took us to all the places we wanted to go in one day. If someone wants this company's information, I'll dig it up.) Then we went to La Digue where we rented bikes and rode down to see the gorgeous beach. (Saw lots of gigantic spiders too!! Not good for arachnaphobes!) Lovely little island village -- could've spent more time there. On the trip back over to Mahe, it began raining (but this boat had a comfortable interior -- it was about a 50-footer) and we saw the most incredible rainbow -- streching from one point in the water to the other, as solid and as bright as any I've ever imagined. Really heavenly.

We also did a tour of Mahe one day. The Banyan Tree will provide you with a very comfy 4x4 and driver/guide for the day. This was interesting as he showed us all the cool stuff -- the market in Victoria, the National Forest, the tea planation, a few great beaches. We had lunch at the great creole place in Victoria. That was pretty good.

One thing we agreed on (and I remember hearing this before we went -- and should've listened) is that we should've split up our time between Mahe and another island or two. To have just one day to see Praslin and La Digue was a bit rushed.

But, the Banyan Tree was an excellent hotel. We always choose Small Luxury Hotels when we travel because they include only top-drawer properties that pay attention to details and this Banyan Tree was no exception. We were quite pleased with everything there.

Oh! And the spa! (I almost forgot it!) It was one of the greatest I've ever seen (and I'm a spa junkie). Fabulous ocean view treatme

Unfortunately we kept comparing Seychelles to our trip to Maldives the previous year. While we found the natural beauty of Seychelles to be superior, we did enjoy having more choices for activities in Maldives. Perhaps that's why the Maldives trip reports are G-rated!!

I welcome anyone's questions and would be happy to pull out my notes to provide details for anyone that asks.
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Jan 24th, 2004, 01:42 AM
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Sorry to chop up this report, but I'm having a problem with my connection and it started to disconnect on me when I went back to add the spa information. I already lost one long e-mail letter this morning so I panicked and hit "post" before it happened again.

Anyway, as I was beginning to rave about the spa at the Banyan Tree...

.. fabulous oceanview treatment pavillions scattered on the hillside with a wonderful, diverse menu and really, really talented Thai-trained masseuses. Each spa treatment included lots of little extra touches that made it very special. We went every other day and that was not too much.

So, our Seychelles experience was wonderful and relaxing, which is just what we needed!

Babette
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Jan 24th, 2004, 02:11 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip, thanks for sharing Babette.
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Jan 24th, 2004, 05:00 AM
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babette -

Really glad I found you over there on the Europe Board and your wealth of knowledge re the Provence area, considering that's where you live.

Well worth the wait for your report. Of course, having visited the islands in '98 I do remember the heat and humidity. In fact the year we were there the Miss World Pageant was being held on Mahe and even the participants commented on the heat/humidity and it's effect on their hair.

I happened to have been the person who suggested splitting your time with at least 2 islands (maybe 3) and with 10-days you certainly could have. But you did manage to get to Praslin and La Digue on day-trips, so that's good.
When we visited, we spent 5-days on Praslin with day-trip 2-days, plus 1-day to La Digue; then onto Mahe for 2-days with a 1-day island tour, leaving us with only 1-day to actually enjoy the beach.

Yes, the Valle de Mai is hot - an enclosed rainforest in a very hot environment - and small, but hey, it's a small island, yet some amazing plant life.

Glad you enjoyed and relaxed and got to visit this small paradise. Thanks for coming thru with your report, as I recall one or two posters had inquired about it. Now they have it.
 
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Jan 24th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Thanks Sandi. You can say, "I told you so" about staying on other islands if you like! I guess we really didn't realize how isolated the Banyan Tree is, down at the southern tip of Mahe. And, I guess we were assuming (foolishly) that it would be similar to the resort we stayed at the year before in Maldives with organized activities ... snorkeling, yoga, fishing, etc. Plus, if I remember right, we had already booked our hotel before I began researching the area. So, there must be a lesson in there somewhere! However, it was a wonderful trip and it seems silly to have any regrets. I only hope that my observations help someone else that is planning a trip. You truly can learn so much from other people's experience -- if you heed their advice!
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Jan 24th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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Sounds wonderful!!! I second your comments about Cocos Island! What a cool place to snorkel. And those spiders, ick...

Thanks for posting!
 
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Jan 24th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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babette -

You won't get an "I told you so" from me. All we can do is suggest and recommend from our own experiences, and from that as adults we make our own decisions.

More often than not things work out fine and for you they did - your managed to get to the other islands, and that may even give you more reason to return at another time to enjoy the other islands.

We traveled there after almost two weeks bumping around East Africa, so we really didn't need any activities, though as soon as we arrived at our hotel we booked our day trips immediately. And because it was so laid-back, even the day trips were relaxing and fun. While the trip home kicked out butts (36-hrs door-to-door, besides fact we had been up since early that last day) - it was certainly worth being in Paradise for a week.

Thanks for the report - and now you have to consider a trip to Africa!
 
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Jan 25th, 2004, 01:12 AM
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Now there's an idea! Perhaps next year we can spend some time in Africa and then return to spend a few days in a different part of Seychelles. Since we're living in France, it's not such a terribly far destination for us.

Your message made me think, if you return to the same destinations over and over again, you can really get them dialed in as to making the best choices. I think that part of the fun of discovering a new place goes hand in hand with those "coulda, shoulda, woulda" thoughts that are handy to share with others and also to file away for the next trip back.
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Jan 25th, 2004, 10:29 AM
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babette -
I think we all know people who return again and again to the same place - Paris for instance. And that is fine for some. And while there are some places that I have visited that I would like to have spent more time, there is still a big world out there and so much to experience.

As much as I enjoy my time spent in Africa, and probably could plan a different trip to someplace in Africa yearly, personally, I enjoy breaking up such trips with visits elsewhere.

It's all very personal, but if you're close enough to another country from the one place you're visiting and getting to this second place would necessitate a completely new trip and great distance on it's own (the Seychelles from the US) - try to combine them.

So the Seychelles or Mauritius and even the Maldives are great extensions for travels to Africa. Though the Maldives I would think would be a better extension to India.

When you get ready to consider Africa, we're here to help.
 
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Mar 12th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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Hello Babette!

I'm new on this forum. From what I see, you're quite informed on many destinations. Since english is my second language, I hope you'll excuse my mistakes.

My letter is not a reply to the precedent message, but I don't know how to write to you otherwise!

I intend to visit Aix-en-Provence in June with my husband (for 6 days). I looked on internet to find a well located hotel because we will arrive by TGV from Paris (we won't have a car).

I found "Artea Hotel" and it seems quite a good place. I wrote an email and they responded that we could have a double bed room in their hotel.

Do you know that place ? If yes, would you recommend it? It seemed to me the ideal place and 72 Euros for 2 persones is a fair price if I compare with other hotels I investigated.

Michelle

P.S. Do you speak french? Would be much easier!
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Mar 12th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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Miche - I would suggest you post your question on the Europe Board, where I believe Babette is more likely to look. Something like this:

"Babette - Need Info on Aix Hotel, Please"
... then list your question

Hope this helps!

 
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Mar 12th, 2004, 06:18 PM
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Thanks very much Sandi. Helps a lot... I don't know exactly how, but I 'ill find out the "Europe board" and do as you suggest!

Thanks a lot. A friend gave me the address of this forum and it's my first visit. Not too bright am I!

Miche
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Mar 12th, 2004, 10:54 PM
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For anybody considering Seychelles, Luxury Link has a couple different packages at the Banyan Tree.

First, there is a 10 night package in a Hillside Pool Villa starting at about $6,900 USD ($3,950 pp sharing).

Next, there is a 5 night package, although you don't get much bang for your buck. This one starts at $6,000 USD ($3,000 pp sharing) and it is the same type of room as the one above.

Also, for anybody considering Maldives, there is a 7 night package available to the Coco Palm Resort & Spa in a Deluxe Villa for only $2,326 USD ($1,163 pp sharing).

Having been to neither of these places, I am curious why Seychelles is so very expensive, especially in light that Babette was left longing for the activities available in Maldives.

For what it is worth, both the Banyan Tree and the Coco Palm Resort & Spa are both members of the Small Luxury Hotels Of The World. The Deluxe Villa offered at the Coco Palm Resort is 87 sq. meters and does feature its own private little pool and an outdoor sunken bath. If you are into the island/beach thing, it really does look like a great place at a very fair price.
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Mar 13th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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Roccco -

About Seychelles being expensive. If you book rooms into the newest properties such as Banyan Tree, Lemuria, North Island or Fregate Island - yes, very expensive. But there are other properties that aren't as expensive and quite lovely. Seems most travelers want to be at the newest name properties.

Also the Seychelles are islands, and as with most islands, generally everything is more expensive - think Hawaii! Just about everything has to be shipped in. I don't think anything is actually produced on the islands except the beer (Seybrew - excellent) and toilet tissue. The Seychelles also limit the number of tourists permitted to visit in any given year - last I heard they maxed out at about 250,000.

But if the market is out there for expensive lodgings, which apparently it is, then lodgings charge what the market will bear. Seems that some people have no problem paying the bill.

When we visited, however, we found many Europeans (few Americans travel this far) staying at lovely hotels and the prices weren't as exhorbitant as those listed for the new properties. We only paid about $1,350/pp for the week at one relatively new resort (2-ys old), with a/c (many other properties didn't have but fans) on Praslin, while on the other island stayed at the oldest hotel (now being refurbished) with a/c, private beach and lovely.

Banyan Trees are expensive worldwide; and private island resorts are exclusive - so overall, big bucks.
 
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Mar 13th, 2004, 11:53 PM
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Interesting topic! It seems to me that Seychelles was expensive even compared to similar properties on other islands.

For example, in our case, the hotel and meals at the Banyan Tree in Seychelles were considerably more expensive than those at the Four Seasons in Maldives, where we found the service and quality to be superior. I think that gets down to why we preferred Maldives. We just got sooo much more for our money.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Hi Babette!
So glad to hear how wonderful your trip was. If you recall, I was considering a trip to the Banyan Tree Seychelles for 2004. My husband and I are now going to Amanpulo (Palawan-Philippines) instead. But, the Seychelles is on our itinerary for next year.

I'm hoping you can answer a few questions for me.

- When did you go exactly? We are considering the first week of September.
- How much rain did you get?
- Was the water rough off of the BT beach?
- Was the water calm where you were snorkeling?
- The boat charter sounds perfect. How much was it and more importantly, was it a very nice boat? Motor or sail?

Looking forward to hearing more.

Ericka
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 02:18 AM
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Hi Ericka,

The rooms at the Banyan Tree are so nice. You will love it. We were there in November and the weather was great. We had a couple showers but that was fine for a change. The surf at the BT was a bit rough and some people told us not to swim there but we did anyway without a problem. (And I'm not a great swimmer either) It's comparable to the California surf.

The 50' motorboat we rented (with crew) took us to Cocos Island for snorkeling where it was completely calm. It was a great (albeit costly) way to see some other areas/islands. The company is Water World (www.seychelles.net/wworld)

If I had the trip to plan again, I would spend a few days at the Banyan Tree and a few days on La Digue and a few days at one of the private island resorts (Fregate or North).

Keep in mind that once you are at the Banyan Tree, you are pretty far removed from everything else. It is a wonderful place for relaxing, but if you like to explore a bit too, you'll want to spend part of your time somewhere else too.

I hope that helps. I welcome any other questions you may have.

Babette

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