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LUXURY ISLAND: ALPHONSE ISLAND, SEYCHELLES 

Style:  Barefoot luxury 
Scene: Private Island Paradise 
Seen in the Lobby: Groups coming back together for lunch after a morning following separate activities of flyfishing or snorkeling or even just sitting by the pool.

It’s Official - I have found paradise! 

Many times during my stay on Alphonse Island I found myself walking down from my Beach Bungalow, through my large private garden and onto the most pristine and tranquil beach. With just the occasional sea turtle swimming by, a crab scurrying past me or a seabird swooping through the sky for company I was feeling like I was the only person in the world lucky enough to be experiencing this truly idyllic scene. 

 

While I was entertaining thoughts of solitude, deserted on my own private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thankfully Alphonse Island had the luxury, service, amazing food and drink and activities to keep guests extremely well looked after.

Alphonse Island is located 400 km south-west, and a 60-minuete flight, from Mahé. Alphonse Island is divided down the middle by the runway which has flights from Mahé arriving twice a week. As our flight approached the private luxury island it looks almost heart-shaped (an early sign that you are absolutely going to fall in love with the location). 

Alphonse Island is comprised of a single lodge with 22 Beach Bungalows, 5 Beach Villas and 2 Beach Retreats. These accommodations are all situated along the white sandy beach. The main complex, located centrally amongst the accommodations, features the reception, lounge, bar, restaurants, spa, gym and swimming pool.

The accommodations are spaced out and surrounded by lush green forest so it really was immensely private – I never saw or heard my neighbours while in my bungalow, or even while in my garden. 


I was staying in one of the Beach Bungalows and I fell in love with it during my week’s stay on Alphonse. My spacious bungalow, with direct access to the beach, was a stylish cocoon and the décor cleverly reflected the island so it seemed like just an extension of the beach. After a day of swimming and snorkeling I was tired but thankfully the bed was so welcoming and comfortable I could thoroughly recharge ahead of another day of exploring the island.

One of my favourite features of the bungalow was the open-air shower. The warm shower against the breeze from ocean was pure perfection. 

I particularly loved my bike which each guest is given to explore the island – I quickly fell into a routine of jumping on my bike to head off to breakfast or to meet at the dive centre for an activity. 

Alphonse really will appeal to all types of guests, from couples to families. 

The Alphonse atolls offer world-class  flats and bluewater fly fishing, so of course it will always attract fly-fishers who happily head out by boat each morning. Alphonse Island has one of the most experienced recreational angling team in the Seychelles to support guests. 

For those who aren’t fishing there is a full leisure programme for those left behind on the island and we happily all found alliances and bonded during our shared boat journeys, snorkeling adventures, bike rides, Stand-Up Paddleboarding and kayaking trips. 

Due to it remoteness you will find the best snorkeling locations in the Seychelles in Alphonse  with unbleached and largely untouched corals, great visibility and a diverse range of marine life. During one ‘Blue Safari’ trip we spotted sharks, turtles and many tropical fish. The team were fantastic at guiding the group and also moving us on to the best spots to see the most during our excursions.

There is an ultimate goal to kayak around the whole of Alphonse island, not many achieve this so I’m still pretty smug to say that I actually did. I earnt my delicious dinner that night!

 

There is also plenty for the Little Luxies. During my stay a Little Luxie aged Four announced to the group, as we were waiting to board the boat to go snorkeling, that her daddy had promised that she ‘was going to see a Dolphin today’. High pressure indeed!  I think the whole group was relieved when a pod of dolphins started to swim and play along the side of our boat. It wasn’t just Little Miss Four who was impressed, everyone (of all ages) was equally thrilled. 

After a long day at sea or by pool it will always be time for Sundowners at Le Lys Bar before a dinner of Seychellois Creole and French cuisine -inspired dishes.

The Alphonse Island menus are described as being ‘built around freshness’ and the chefs make excellent use of the indigenous flora and fish as well as the produce from the beautiful kitchen garden on the island (your dinner will have almost zero food miles). Guests are encouraged to partake in tours of the gardens and it is certainly worth it to see the bounty of ingredients being grown to create the delicious meals. Especially as at the end of the tour we were served delicious smoothies from freshly picked fruit.

One of the most memorable nights was the Creole BBQ on the beach under the clearest starry night sky I have ever seen. With zero light pollution one of my fellow guests had an App to identify constellations so after dinner their phone was passed around the group as we tried to locate our star signs in the skies above.

Alphonse is wonderfully pristine, untouched, and pure and it needs to stay this way. So sustainability and preserving and protecting the environment are at the heart of Alphonse Island’s philosophy. In 2007 the Island Conservation Society established the conservation centre on the island and they continue to offer guided and informative nature walks around Alphonse to teach guests about current research, projects and the fauna and flora of the island.

 

Guests are encouraged to get involved in sustainability practices and take part in activities such as tortoise feeding, bike tours of the island to learn its history and listen to informative talks on subjects such as the Seychelles Manta Ray Project, Shark Awareness, and Coral reefs given by the island’s marine conservationists.

In many subtle ways examples of Alphonse Island’s commitment to supporting the environment are evident throughout the island. The porch light of my bungalow at night was a luminous green which is to stop the baby turtles being drawn towards a bright light and away from the beach, there is no single-use plastic and artwork on display in the activity centre is made by the Kids Club from items found on their beach cleanups – who knew that discarded old flip-flops could be used to create a thing of beauty.   

On Alphonse there are a number of free roaming Tortoises, but the celebrity of Alphonse, the star of the show, is 100 year old George the Tortoise. Spotting him in various spots across the island is an activity in itself for guests, and we were all sharing and swapping tips on the latest sighting of him. 

One afternoon on my way to the dive centre I stopped my bike in its tracks as I spotted a tortoise (I think it was George but maybe it was just one of his pals?) slowly, yet confidently, walk across my path. Up until now George had eluded me, so I am definitely saying that it was George, well at least, that is what I told everyone when I met up with them at our next activity. 

Alphonse is remote. (Alphonse is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the Seychelles), and I absolutely loved the digital detox that was imposed onto me. There is no phone signal, no TVs in the accommodations or main complex and the internet was lovingly described as being ‘Turtle Wi-fi’. It was enough to sit in the lobby to check any important messages and that is about it. So many locations promise ‘getting away from it all’ or being an ‘Island Retreat’ but Alphonse actually achieves this. 

 

Alphonse is a special place. It’s unforgettable, it’s magical. I would say it’s a once in a lifetime experience, but it’s a place you will want to return to time again and time again. 

So what makes it so special? 

There are the amazing experiences such as the weekly flats lunch or heading out on a boat on a mission to try and spot Mantas that had been seen in the area the day before. It’s dining on freshly caught fish under the clearest of starry nights and enjoying Sundowners on the beach. It’s taking a visit to the nearby Bijoutier Island to walk around this pristine uninhabited island and realizing you are just a speck in the Indian Ocean and then listening to a talk about what the island is doing to protect the beautiful coral reefs. 

And yet for all the magical and unique activities and events there was also such magic in the simpler moments such as enjoying the privacy and the sounds of the island’s birds and wildlife while using the outside shower, exploring the island on my bike or on nature walks, a spontaneous game of volleyball in the pool with our fellow guests/new found friends, enjoying a cup of tea in my bungalow’s private garden after waking at 6am to walk down to the beach in your PJs to watch the most spectacular sunrise. Alphonse is truly unforgettable. 

So, like I said, I found Paradise!  

 Check in: Alphonse Island Resort, Seychelles
 
 Ultimate Luxury: The Flats Lunch in the Middle of the Indian Ocean
 
 Most Indulgent Moment: The freshest sashimi I have ever tasted from the buffet on the stunning beach
 
 The Little Things: Staff who greet you by name from your first day
 
 Junior Luxies: They will love Alphonse and the freedom it offers them – The Staff are great with them and kids will remember the things they experienced on Alphonse for years to come. 
 
 Dent in the platinum: 
 
 Luxury Resorts Link: www.alphonse-island.com
 
  

The Luxury Travel Bible flew Business Class from London to Mahé, via Doha on the award-winning Qatar Airways.

 The Airline was named the ‘Airline of the Year’ 2022 at the 2022 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax.
Qatar Airways are the only airline to be awarded this for a record seventh time. 

Qatar Airways flies to more than 160 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, which was voted by Skytrax as the ‘World’s Best Airport’ in 2022 for the second year in a row. 

They were also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’.

Read about their Award Winning Q Suites here.

 

 

Sarah Bryans, 21/04/2023
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