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First impression Look how white the sand is! Can you hear the birds? Are those frangipani flowers covering the road?
Staff Do they even know what stress is?
Bed & bath You won’t want to get out of either – particularly with those views.
The crowd Style-hungry but nature-loving adventurers.
In a nutshell The place that, when you are having a bad day back at home, you dream about.
Set the scene
One of the finest private islands in the Indian Ocean, certainly one of the most dramatic, run by the sure-handed spa specialist group, with rewilded nature that’s been given the time and space to make a comeback. Everything island-lovers dream of, Felicité is dotted with primeval-looking, ocean-smoothed granite boulders. And it’s thick with jungle: as you approach, you can hear the squawk of birds – and in the evening see fruit bats swirling in the orange-streaked clouds. The Beach meets Jurassic Park.
What’s the story?
Before it became a resort, this was home of a king – in the 18th century, the Malaysian sultan, Abdullah of Perak, who was exiled by the British – and then a coconut farmer. Development began only in 2013, when contemporary eco-designer Richard Hywel Evans of Studio RHE in London was flown in to create what are possibly the sleekest contemporary rooms in the Seychelles.
What can we expect from the bedrooms?
Up in the trees, or secluded amid rocks and pristine forest. The villas are the closest thing to super-smart, minimalist tree-houses: floored in local Balau wood, fronted in glass that allows the surroundings to take centre stage, and decked out in soothing ocean hues. There’s nothing flouncy here: the style is as contemporary as possible, from the simple four-poster bed and the egg-shaped tub to the sculptural rattan chairs – and the string hammock that hangs just outside the shower, so you can dry naked in the sun. Jars of cookies and nuts, jugs of fresh juice. The ultimate places to stay are the 17 multi-room residences, with glass-bottomed pools, cavernous living quarters and private staff.
How about the food and drink?
Sensational breakfast: platters of delicious fruits; home-made, honey-drizzled muesli, baskets of just-made pastries, as well as the best smashed avocado with chilli-butter and poached eggs on rye. The main dining spot is Island Café for Creole lobster, curries, grilled seafood. The place you could hang out all day, though, is by Koko Bar on an oversized hammock above the sea, being passed passionfruit cocktails or coconut mojitos.
Anything stand out about the service?
Nothing happens fast in the Seychelles. The concierge can arrange fishing, diving and snorkelling trips, plus nature trails to the top of the hill (take hiking boots; it’s steep) and treasure hunts for kids – as well as excursions to La Digue, Praslin and Aride Island – and helicopter tours.
What type of person stays here?
Kaftans and Heidi Klein baskets, listening to feel-good tracks. If they’re bankers or tech billionaires in their real lives, here they’re into fruit, into birds, into hanging out with gardeners, learning about the five kinds of mango that grow, how fruit bats sleep upside down. They’re fishermen, who just caught their first tuna.
What’s the neighbourhood scene like?
It feels both very primitive – and, thanks to eco-initiatives, very advanced. It’s for those who want their world to be a microcosm of the most natural and the most high-tech: where heat is generated by solar and water is desalinated and all bulbs are LEDs.
And anything you’d change?
The time it takes to get there from the rest of the world.
Is it worth it – why?
The cutting edge of eco-friendly hideaways that don’t compromise on style.
By Lisa Grainger
Address: Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Felicité Island, The Seychelles
Telephone: +248 467 1000
Wifi: Free and unlimited.
Price: Doubles from about £1,045
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This hotel is one of our favourite in the world, and included in our Gold List 2019. Discover more of the best hotels in the world 2019 now.
The 78 best hotels in the world: the Gold List 2019