AP/Simon Upton, Wilderness Safaris
13 May 2011 | By Suemedha Sood
After months of secrecy, the news of where Prince William and Kate would spend their honeymoon finally leaked this week. Sources say the royal newlyweds are currently in the Seychelles for a 10-day trip.
Back in February, we named "Renting a private island in the Seychelles" as one of our "Five best getaways for a royal honeymoon". It appears we were prescient, since that's exactly what the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did. Vladi Private Islands has said that it rented the secluded North Island to the royal family.
Since the media frenzy surrounding the vacation is focused on the couple's itinerary, we thought we would offer a few suggestions for anyone looking to create a fantasy honeymoon in the remote archipelago off the east coast of Africa.
Whether you rent the entire island or simply stay in one of the luxury villas that the Seychelles are known for, this trip is a recipe for pure relaxation. Since money is no object in fantasy honeymoons, opt for the extremely private Villa 11, aka the "Villa North Island", (a mere 3,340 euros per person, per night). Hidden in the Takamaka forest at the northern tip of the island, Villa 11 sits on a private beach and offers incredible views of the Indian Ocean. The villa comes complete with a 5,400-square-foot sundeck, two lounges, a media room, an open-air bathroom, chef service and butler service. Unlimited scuba diving is also included. Enjoy access to a holistic spa and gorgeous restaurants with lounge seating right on the beach.
Then explore the islands, immersing yourself in upscale Seychellois cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood. The local Creole dishes combine French, Indian and East Asian flavours for a decadent result. On Praslin Island, Le Chateau de Feuilles has been called one of Africa's best hotels for food. There, the Chef's Garden grows a variety of organic fruits and vegetables. The fresh fish with passion fruit sauce or roasted giraffe crab sounds perfect. For a lesser known spot that locals love, Coco Rouge Restaurant is low-key but high in quality. The menu includes grilled Creole fish and native breadfruit.
On Mahe Island, the Four Seasons's open-air restaurant ZEZ offers a mix of Creole and Mediterranean food, including grilled octopus, a national staple. While traditional preparation involves crushed chillies, ginger and garlic, ZEZ chars its octopus and serves it with smoked eggplant drizzled with a white balsamic vinaigrette.
Mahe also provides a beautiful backdrop for a day at the spa. The award-winning Banyan Tree Spa specializes in Asian treatments. You will want to try the Royal Banyan (this is a royal vacation, after all), a massage utilizing an herbal pouch dipped in warm sesame oil to relieve tension.
For a slightly more active, and regal, pursuit, try sailing. Veteran sailors will enjoy island hopping via boat and the Seychelles Tourism Board provides a suggested itinerary for a sailing trip.
Finally, a trip to the Seychelles would not be incomplete without scuba diving or snorkelling. This may have been a draw for the royal couple, since Prince William apparently enjoys his scuba, according to ABC News. Dive centres include the Underwater Centre on Mahe, Octopus Diver Centre on Praslin, and Azzurra Dive Centre on La Digue. Newbies can take courses through these outfitters as well.
Whether you have the means to make a royal honeymoon a reality or you simply enjoy daydreaming, the Seychelles is a beautiful place for a romantic luxury vacation. Embark on underwater adventures or, even better, do nothing at all. These relaxing islands let you spend your getaway any way you like.