The Seychelles is one of those destinations that conjures up images of golden sand and lush greenery. One of our most experienced travel writers, Reena Patel spends some time at the AVANI Barbarons Resort & Spa to sample the delights on offer in this renowned archipelago
Tropical humidity and heat, white-powder beaches and lush hillsides greeted us to the sunny Seychelles, and as we reached AVANI Barbarons Resort & Spa, I exhaled in total relaxation.
The rhythmic sound of the lapping beach waves allured us in through the welcoming open plan hotel lobby and bar area. We instantly spotted that the resort’s recent refurbishment has injected it with a new lease of life and genuine character. The word ‘Avani’ stems from the word ‘earth’ in Sanskrit, and you can see AVANI Barbarons’ upscale, yet grounded charm, encouraging a vibe of exotic-island living with a touch of luxury.
Nestled on Mahe main land’s west coast, each of AVANI Barbarons’ contemporary suites are kitted out with all the expected mod-con facilities and WiFi. The major highlights though are the palm fringed postcard-perfect beach and large outdoor swimming pool naturally heated from the blazing daytime sun. This in itself was enough to keep me happily occupied, but there is plenty more in store when visiting AVANI Barbarons and the rest of the Seychelles.
First off, we would give AVANI Barbarons top marks on its food and the delicious spreads that they put on. There are plenty of opportunities to wine and dine al fresco under the magical night sky and everything just tastes so heartily good. A creole-inspired barbecue includes beautifully chargrilled fish, meats and fresh salads, while at the Gravity Shisha Lounge and Bar, you can completely chill out on colourful bean bags at the rooftop wooden-decked terrace. We also experienced a fantastic fine-dining pan-Asian feast at the resort’s Tamarind restaurant, brimming with mouth-watering dishes such as spicy green papaya salad with a spicy tamarind chilli dressing, succulent beef satay with a peanut coconut sauce and duck red coconut curry. Serving both breakfast and dinner, the Elements buffet space is kept insect and fly free with automatic doors to close off the kitchen area, bursting with fresh dishes within to decide from daily.
The AVANI Spa is neatly tucked behind the guest’s suites to aid in extra privacy. We took a cool dip in the plunge pool and relaxed out on the sun deck whilst waiting for our therapists to call us to enjoy our treatment. The signature AVANI massage was the perfect treat to melt away my travel tension and jet lag and the oils even helped hydrate my skin. There’s also a list of facials, nourishing body treatments and Ayurvedic therapy or Turkish hamman rituals to help completely unwind, or uplift and get into the swing of Seychelles living.
Other Things To Do In The Seychelles
Stroll around the capital and soak up the local laid-back atmosphere. Pick up some scented soaps as presents and spices for the kitchen from the market stalls. If you’re visiting in April, it’s well worth immersing yourself in the colourful and lively celebrations of the annual carnival. Watch the official parade filter through the streets and head down to the after parties for more celebratory dancing.
At Praslin, the second largest island to Mahe, you can explore Vallee De Mai – the only place in the world where the coveted large nut called Coco De Mer grows. A protected world UNESCO heritage site, the cool nature trail takes you through the Coco De Mer trees. Voted as one of the world’s best beaches, the long soft-sandy stretch and tranquil warm-water bay at Anse Lazio won’t disappoint those with idyllic expectations. Shaded by coconut and takamaka trees with views of huge granitic boulders, the panorama is unspoilt and simply breathtaking.
Lying east of Praslin is Ladigue, the third largest inhabited island in the Seychelles. Enjoy a short day trip by taking an open drive in an ox cart through the lush landscape and get a view of the crystal turquoise sea with its crashing strong waves at Grand Anse.
Taste The Local Tipple
Take a break to try the essences of white, dark and other blends of rum and learn how it’s made at the Takamaka Rum Distillery.
Feast On Creole Cooking
Marie Antoinette is dressed like a cosy dining room from days gone by with a set lunch menu that will put a spring back in your step after exploring the island. Authentic Creole cuisine was served such as raw mango salad, pickled vegetables, chicken curry, grilled marinated snapper and vegetable fritters. AVANI Barbarons also puts on special Creole themed evenings so you can sample similar flavours from the resort too. The hotel’s Creole fair is hosted down on the beach offering market craft stalls, traditional island food and drinks, plus island dance and music shows.
Nightly rates for a Beach Access Rooms at the AVANI Barbarons Resort & Spa start from 250 Euros http://www.avanihotels.com/seychelles-barbarons/
Emirates flights and itinerary activities for this trip were supported by the Seychelles Tourist Office.
+ 44 (0) 207 730 0700 [email protected] / www.seychelles.travel
By Reena Patel