There’s something magical about Seychelles, a nation of 115 islands cast adrift in the Indian Ocean. Its location just a few degrees south of the equator makes it a true tropical paradise, and its grand granitic and low-lying coral islands are some of the most spellbinding peace on earth. Travellers come for sweeping white-sand beaches, palm trees, abundant marine life, and fabulous resorts and to experience a melting pot of French, British and Creole culture. The gateway to the archipelago is the largest island Mahé, home to the pint-sized capital Victoria and 65,000 people. While other islands like Praslin and La Digue are most famed for their beauty and beaches, Mahé has both, plus a lot of action. There are national parks, spice plantations, distilleries, Creole restaurants and nightlight, and the island offers something for every traveller – unlike many alternative tropical paradises. At just a 4.5-hour flight from Dubai and with GCC connections to Doha, Qatar, Seychelles is the perfect destination for a short break. Explore our Seychelles travel guide here:
Where to stay in Mahé, Seychelles
Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas, Anse Louis
On a peaceful bend on the southwestern coast of Mahé lies the thick golden sands of Anse Louis. Here, nestled on the cliffs of a towering granitic rock, is Anantara Maia – a Bill Bensley-designed ultra-exclusive hideaway of just 30 secluded thatched pool villas, peppered across the cliffs. This is peace and privacy like no other: check-in happens in the villa, with your personal private butler, and it’s rare to see other guests – apart from when pottering down to the main Tek Tek restaurant or to enjoy watersports on the beach. The villas themselves are full of rustic island charm, with spacious terraces framed by thick vegetation, infinity plunge pools overlooking the ocean and wood-floored living spaces with a canopied king-sized bed. Guests can arrive here, kick off their shoes and put away their wallets, thanks to the Beyond All-Inclusive offering – which includes unlimited food and beverages from four menus: Asian, Mediterranean, Creole and Indian, at any time of day.
Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Anse Aux Poules Bleues
A shoot for Vogue France first brought Italian photographer Gian Paolo Barbiere to Seychelles in 1975. He loves it so much, he built a home on Anse Aux Poules Bliueues – on the wild southwest coast of Mahe – which he named his Mango House. Fast-forward to today, the once private house has been upgraded into a beautiful new boutique hotel by Hilton’s LXR brand, keeping the affectionate moniker. The 41-room five-star Mango House resort is built along the shoreline and features stunning suites and villas with views across the bay and onto the hotel’s tiny sun-dapped beach. Guests will love the earthy, natural aesthetic, with vivid prints from local artist Alyssa Adams – prevalent in the modern rooms, spa and public spaces. The hotel has made a name for itself as a leading f&b destination on the island, and both visitors and guests come to dine in its four outlets: Japanese, Creole and Italian restaurants and a stylish Spice-route-inspired cocktail bar.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Baie Lazare Mahé
Four Seasons operates two gorgeous resorts in Seychelles, an exclusive tree-house style hideaway on the south coast of Mahé and the private Desroches Island. The former is one of the best hotels in Mahe, set on a forested hill around the protected Petite Anse bay, where swimming is safe all year round. The 67 vernacular villas sit on stilts on the hillside, offering beautiful sea views, with 62 single and five two- and three-bedroom villas to choose from – all marrying traditional Seychellois design touches with contemporary luxury. Breakfast is one of the most impressive around – a buffet laden with the freshest fruits and delights like shrimp rougaille, and the hotel also houses a sushi bar and all-day eatery.
L’Escale Resort Marina & Spa, Roche Caiman
L’Escale Resort Marina and Spa sits in the north of the island, just a short drive from the airport and capital Victoria, sandwiched between Morne Seychellois, the highest peak in the archipelago, and the ocean. The property made news when it opened in 2020 as the first hotel with its own marina specially catering to superyachts – and this accolade sets the tone for your stay. Renowned yacht designer Andrew Winch designs the only hotel and, as a result, the inside feels more like a superyacht or swish private resident than a hotel. The design is impeccable: soothing natural tones of cream and taupe, shiny wood, piles of chic coffee table books on heavy oak coffee tables, rattan cabinets, and artwork from local artists. There are just 23 rooms and suites, meaning no fighting for the plush cream sunloungers, and standard double rooms have either ocean or mountain views. Despite its size, the hotel is also home to a sprawling wellness centre with a Japanese water garden, outdoor rainfall shower and Jacuzzi.
Where to eat and drink in Mahé, Seychelles
Beach Shak, Beau Vallon
Beach Shak is everything you want from an island beach bar, authentic, slightly ramshacked and serving the best island cocktails and local beers. The charming bar is tucked away at the end of Beau Vallon beach – in the north of the island – and alongside ice-cold drinks serves Seychellois favourites like breadfruit chips, chicken wings and spicy Creole bar bites. Make sure to visit at sunset for some of the most mesmerising views on the island.
The Boat House, Beau Vallon
Just off Beau Vallon Beach lies another hopping local spot, The Boat House. The open-air restaurant and bar is a favourite with locals and tourists alike: a charming wooden construction with an open mezzanine level serving up great mixed drinks and laid-back island vibes. Come for the popular Creole buffet of 20 traditional dishes such as papaya salad, spicy Creole curry and breadfruit chips.
Marie Antoinette, Victoria
Marie Antoinette is one of the most respected restaurants in Seychelles, founded in 1972 and still one of the most popular places to visit. Set in a green colonial Seychellois mansion on the outskirts of Victoria, it’s an experience and a place to dine. Guests can take seats in the timewarp dining room and order dishes like battered parrotfish, Creole curry (some with fruit bats), aubergine fritters, and the freshest tuna steak.
The Boardwalk Bar & Grill, Eden Island
The Boardwalk is ‘The place to be’ – a claim backed up by near enough every local in the north and a huge sign above the door. Its position on Eden Island means it attracts all manners of people: yachties, wealthy yacht owners, tourists, locals – and as a result, it’s a heady and vibrant atmosphere. Come here for great vibes, food and drinks, and music from DJs and live bands. Sit on the terrace or floating platform for soothing views of the marina or head inside for a more party-like atmosphere.
What to do in Mahé, Seychelles
Ocean Bird boat trip
Seychelles coastline is utterly spellbinding and the best way to appreciate this is from the water. Ocean Bird Charters is a private tour company offering an array of aquatic activities near the capital and in the north of the island and has two catamarans and a glass-bottom boat available for full- and half-day private hires. Guests can enjoy snorkelling, fishing, visits to other islands (including Praslin and La Digue) and the best of all, a private BBQ on a secluded beach. The skippers fish, prepare and cook the food by themselves – so you can relax on the beach with a glass of something cold.
Takamaka is Seychelles’ most successful export, and visitors can see where it all happens at the Takamaka Distillery, located in the south of Mage. The distillery – once the site of a former plantation – offers free walking tours and has plenty of opportunities for tasting. It’s worth visiting for the gardens alone, which have myriad endemic species, giant tortoises and historical ruined structures.
Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden
Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden is a serene botanical garden high above Anse Royal. The garden is a haven for horticulturists and foodies, home to plenty of lush palms, endemic species and local Creole spice plants – all of which frame a series of gorgeous garden walks. The gardens also offer a glimpse into the Seychelles of yesterday with a small furnished house museum, while other attractions include a vibrant Creole restaurant and hiking trails.
Michael Adams art gallery, Anse aux Poules Bleues
For original paintings and artsy souvenirs, Michael Adams MBE’s home-cum-art gallery cannot go a miss. Adams first came to Seychelles in 1972 and quickly became the island’s most prominent artist with his vivid oil and silkscreen works. Despite the termites, his original family home still stands, and now houses a quirky, topsy-turvy art gallery with works by himself, his daughter Alyssa and son Michael. There’s even the chance to meet Michael himself, usually found sketching away in his garden studio.
Seychelles travel guide: Need to know
- Currency: Seychellois rupee (but most places accept Euros)
- Time zone: GST
- Airport: Seychelles International Airport (SEZ)
- Getting there: Emirates flies round-trip from Dubai to Mahé daily, with return fares from around AED 2,300. Etihad Airways flies from Abu Dhabi to Mahé five times a week (all days except Mondays and Wednesdays) with return fares from around AED 2,500. Qatar Airways flies round-trip from Doha to Mahé daily, with return fares from AED 3,000.
- Getting around: Hiring a car to get around the island is easy and relatively inexpensive to do. If you prefer not to drive, Mahé has an arm of blue-coloured old TATA public buses which are punctual, cheap, safe and offer plenty of routes. Taxis are quite expensive and harder to come by. Book with a trusted company through your hotel and agree to a fee with the driver before you go to prevent being overcharged.
- Best time of year to visit: Seychelles benefits from year-round sunshine, but there are two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The dry season is around the winter months (May through to October) and the wet season in the summer (November to April). Temperatures usually hover between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius.
- Tipping guidelines: Across Seychelles, it’s customary to tip around five-10 per cent, depending on service.