Hilton Seychelles Labriz
When Ian Fleming came to the Seychelles in 1958 he got inspired to write James Bond short stories for his book "For Your Eyes Only". This is also true for dreamers wanting to travel to the Seychelles: only those willing to cash out - this place is not cheap - are allowed to lay their eyes onto paradise. You don't need Bond's platinum card courtesy of Her Majesty the Queen (damn, what would I give for a card like that?), but you should be able to hand over 500 USD per night for accommodation only. Of course you don't have to stay at a Hilton Resort, but then again, why live at all? (and, the Hilton Labriz was one of the "cheaper" options, mind you)
Question remaining: Do you really get paradise for your money? Let's see if we can find it on Silhouette Island - a nature reserve north-west of the main island of Mahé.
We have also stayed in two other properties on this Seychelles trip - reviews and a trip report of our Emirates Business Class return flight will follow.
Being basically the only hotel on the island (there is another small one directly at the jetty, but it didn't seem worth mentioning), the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa comes very close to a private island feeling.
While the ferry ride from the jetty on Mahé to Silhouette was quite bumpy, you are rewarded with a cute welcome by waving staff members that then took us with golf carts to our villa. I still have to say that this ferry ride is probably the single bad thing about this hotel. The 45 minutes in a really cheap looking, old little ship that could easily be a public ferry (but was exclusively for the Hilton) were far far away from luxury. And nothing helped against the bumpiness. Sitting inside was worst, so we went upstairs on deck. That was better for the stomach but you had to breath the diesel fumes. I managed to talk up the captain to stay on the bridge for a while. That was actually the best place. But still: Hilton needs to improve this ride. Maybe with a new ship. The return-ride was great, though - the sea was very quiet. It heavily depends on the weather.
Of course you have the option to take a helicopter from the airport, but this will cost you about 800 EUR for one way.
The way to the actual resort from the jetty on Silhouette was just beautiful and giving us the island feeling.
We booked a Beachfront Villa, slightly more expensive than the Garden Villa, but definitely worth it. Step out of the bedroom doors and you are basically at the beach. This is my dream. And it got fulfilled. Especially considering that the beach was ever only occupied by very few people.
The villa had one large room with a high ceiling, a king-size bed, sofa corner, desk and TV. In the back there was this big bathroom with outdoor and indoor showers, free standing bathtub, and two sinks.
All in all I liked the design, a mixture of tropical island and modern simplicity. Housekeeping was fantastic and often left something nice for us in the room.
To prevent insects from coming in, you had to close the net doors. One time we forgot it in the bathroom before leaving for dinner and there was a considerable number of little flies in the room, but not flying anymore, rather dying from some poison. Not sure whether it came from the fuming (which we witnessed once, but never when we were at our villa) or something else. They did a lot to maintain the impression of civilisation on this resort amidst the nature reserve. It didn't affect us, so we were happy. Anyway, there are no deadly animals or insects on the Seychelles.
On the far end of the resort is not only the Silhouette Estate (basically the Presidential Villa), but also the spa. It is nicely integrated into the natural environment and I really liked the atmosphere.
We booked a massage the day before and were very happy with it. They take you up the hill to one of the small wooden huts scattered in the jungle.
We usually had our lunch by the pool in the center of the resort. It was actually good to have a pool on this tropical island, since the sea was rocky at times and if you wanted a quiet swim, this was a perfect alternative. Some light (or not so light, but at least small) food here was a fitting complement to the sumptuous breakfast and dinners.
Now for the main attraction: the beach. The whole reason to go to Silhouette is the huge beach and the fact that you are nearly alone there.
The only negative aspect of that wonderful beach were the dead corals in the sand that could seriously injure your feet. That's why we bought light water shoes at the resort. It didn't bother us much, but you should know about it since it takes a little away from the illusion of complete paradise.
To see the fishes at the beach you have to have calm sea. We only had that on our last day. So only then was it really fun to be in the sea. But it was definitely worth it: you walk two feet into the water and suddenly are surrounded by fish - that was magical!
I am not a Diamond HHonor member, so we only got the "normal" buffet breakfast, which was fantastic nonetheless: a lot of choice, fresh juices, fruits, good coffee, eggs to order and other niceties were on offer. Diamond members would get a full-service breakfast in a different restaurant, but I can't comment on that.
For our dinners we chose a different place each night. The Teppanyaki, the Sakura (Japanese-fusion), the Café Dauban, a buffet restaurant (with changing themes every night) and the Grann Kaz, a Creole restaurant near the jetty. There is also a more formal Italian restaurant, but we skipped that one. Next time!
Overall, the food was of high quality and also of high price. The prices are similar to NYC or Tokyo, but considering that you are on a remote island on the other side of the planet, it's actually understandable. Think 35 to 45 USD (or more) per main dish. And get ready to talk to your bank before ordering a bottle of wine. See some expressions below.
Before the dinner we sometimes went to have a cocktail and shisha in the sand by this little bar without a name (see photo below) - what could you want more? For after dinner drinks you could go to the Lo Brizan Bar. They had a DJ once who accepted song wishes. We had some fun there, but it was often quite empty and no party mood in the air. Fine by us, we like the quiet. Some jazz music would have set the mood better for us.
Snorkelling, yacht cruises, diving, hiking into the island, etc. are all things we didn't do. Our four nights were just not enough to make use of the plenty (payable) activities on offer.
We did one fun thing though: renting bikes and took some easy rides from one end of the island to the other. And guess what: with my insignificant Blue Status of HHonors I got two hours of free bike renting per day. Hey, better than nothing!
|Hotel||Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort|
Let me put it this way: stay as long as you can! Seriously though, it was nearly perfect. After Silhouette we visited the famous Anse Lazio on Praslin (has been featured in several ads) and I wasn't impressed anymore. Silhouette had less people and the main beach was much longer. The Hilton staff was really nice and friendly at all times. The weather was not the best on the first days, with wind and a rain shower now and then, but even then it was a wonderful experience. When it calmed down on the last day, the magic of the Seychelles revealed itself. We only regretted to not have booked a whole week or two :)
So, to answer my initial question of "do you get paradise for that money" let me quote our tour guide in the Vallée de Mai on Praslin after listing all the feats of the Seychelles in general: "... you, ladies and gentlemen, are indeed in paradise." I can't argue with that.