Today (November 5, 2014): Hotel review: Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles.
The Seychelles, an incredibly scenic island group in the Indian Ocean, is a living museum of natural history, a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth, and a paradise famous for having some of the best beaches in the world, pristine and uncrowded. It is also home of the ultraluxurious Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles. Set in beautiful Intendance Bay on Mahé Island, this hotel might hold some of the most desirable real estate on earth. With a shoreline stretching across one of the world’s best beaches, lush, rolling hills, and magnificent views of the Indian Ocean, Banyan Tree Seychelles will impress even the most demanding traveler.
The Banyan Tree Seychelles features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in the Seychelles, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, and the most world’s most spectacular views from hotel rooms.
In this review (more info and photos below my slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The most attractive feature of the Banyan Tree Seychelles hotel is its fabulous location along the Indian Ocean at beautiful Intendance Bay, set upon the original Seychellois abode belonging to Pink Panther actor Peter Sellers and Beatles member George Harrison. In terms of location, this is one of my favourite hotels of all time (and I have been to a lot of impressively located hotels worldwide).
- The Seychelles are blessed with the world’s most beautiful beaches (e.g. Anse Source d’Argent, Anse Lazio), and IMHO, the Intendance Bay beach is the most stunning of all Seychelles’ beaches and the world’s most beautiful hotel beach: an impressive crescent of powdery white sand, backed by hills that are covered in lush rain forest. I even witnessed a giant turtle coming onshore.
- The resort is located on the western side of the Island of Mahe, so this makes for some very impressive sunsets and adds a touch of romance to your stay.
- The design of the main hotel building is reminiscent of a colonial plantation. It feels very chic and upscale.
- There are 60 creole style, colonial pool villas that have been renovated to their former glory. All villas are scattered throughout the jungle, and can be efficiently reached using buggies (which are run 24 hours a day). They all come with a private pool and are lovingly decked in contemporary and colonial decor, evoking equal parts comfort and sensuality. The real stars are the 5 intendance pool villas, located on a rocky outcrop at the northern end of the beach and offering a spectacular view. Besides the advantage of the surreal view, these villas also come with an outdoor jacuzzi.
- The hotel is managed by the Banyan Tree hotel group, one of the best global luxury hotel brands. In fact, the Banyan Tree Phuket resort is where it all began for the high-end Banyan Tree brand in the mid-1990s, which has grown since then into a well-established Asia-Pacific brand with global expansions. The Banyan Tree Phuket resort is still the hotel group’s flagship resort. I have previously reviewed the equally superb Banyan Tree properties in the Phuket, Koh Samui, and the Riviera Maya.
- As you would expect from the high end Banyan Tree brand, service is top-notch. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. In fact, it was the most friendly hotel staff I encountered during my holiday at the Seychelles.
- The main swimming pool overlooks the beach and ocean and is remarkably beautiful. It has figured on the cover of many travel magazines.
- The spa is a serene experience, pairing incomparable views with soothing Asian-influenced treatments.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Banyan Tree Seychelles is a brilliant resort and one of my favorite worldwide. Nevertheless, it is not 100% perfect and there are some things you need to know:
- The resort offers magnificent views of the Indian Ocean. But while the sea was perfectly swimmable during our stay (October), it is quite rough most of the year.
- The beds have hard mattresses, compromising the sleeping quality of the guests. A mattress topper would be appreciated.
- Except for the breakfast (which was great), the food was decent but not exquisite. The Thai restaurant was better than the international restaurant. Food is expensive but that’s the case with the other high-end resorts in the Seychelles as well. I booked a halfboard supplement of 75 euros per person (excluding taxes and beverages/alcohol) because I was worried that the cost of food would be too high, but in the end it turned out that I would have spent less on food if I had not chosen halfboard but simply paid what I ordered. So, I would not advise to prebook a halfboard meal plan as it will not make a true difference in your wallet.
- The beach is stunning, but remarkably, there was no beach club whatsoever. The beach villas all have 2 sun loungers in front of them on the beach, but there are no loungers for the other guests. This was very weird: the resort needs to put enough sun loungers on the beach in front of the hotel, so that guests of the hotel that stay in other villa types can lounge on the beach during the day.
- WiFi is complimentary but did not work during my stay.
- Keep in mind that some hillside villas are tucked away deeply into the jungle and do not enjoy any view at all.
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 9/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 7/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: excellent: 8.6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- I recommend to book an intendance pool vills, which offers a surreal view and also come with an outdoor jacuzzi.
- Request a room with a view when you book the lowest room category (a hillside villa) to avoid ending up in a room surrounded by dense jungle vegetation.
- If a swimmable sea is a must for you, then I recommend a stay at the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (25 minutes north by car) as the sea at the Banyan Tree Seychelles is is very rough most of the year.
- Save money: read my tips for getting the cheapest rate for a room at a luxury hotel like the Banyan Tree Seychelles (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Seychelles is often sold as a year round destination and it is. However there is more chance of bad weather, that is to say rain, from November to March. The transitional months of October and April are excellent for a visit as the oceans are very calm and the weather balmy. During the dry seasons (May to September), it can be windy (causing seaweed on the south or south-easterly side of the islands) with rough seas.
HOW TO GET THERE
The resort is located a 40-minute drive from Seychelles International Airport (SEZ), which is served by many airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites):
- From/via Asia : Air Seychelles (via Hong Kong), Mihin Lanka (via Colombo)
- From/via Middle East: Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad Airways (via Abu Dhabi), Air Seychelles (via Abu Dhabi).
- From/via Europe: Condor (via Frankfurt), Air Seychelles (via Paris), Transaero Airlines (via Moscow).
- From/via Africa: Kenya Airways (via Nairobi), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Air Austral (via La Reunion), Air Seychelles (via Johannesburg and Mauritius).