Last October, I enjoyed a terrific holiday in the Seychelles, the legendary island archipelago of exceptional tropical beauty in the Indian Ocean. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Condor B767-300ER Business Class from Frankfurt to Mahe
- Review: Six Senses Zil Pasyon
- Review: Maia Luxury Resort (today)
- Review: North Island
- Review: Constance Ephelia (to be published later)
- Review: H Resort Beau Vallon Beach (to be published later)
- Review: Qantas A380 First Class from Dubai to London
Today (21 December, 2016): Review of Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Seychelles).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: 5th June Ave, Anse Boileau, Seychelles
- Hotel website: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa
Set on the secluded Anse Louis beach overlooking the warm Indian Ocean waters, this private twelve-acre property is lushly landscaped with hibiscus, lemongrass and cinnamon. With just ten ocean-front villas and 20 panoramic villas, all with private pools, and a staff of 230, the resort insures an exceptional level of service. Pampering and wellness are also the focus at the Balinese-style spa, which offers instruction in Hatha yoga and Qigong, as well as restorative treatments performed in open-air pavilions. The resort belongs to The Leading Hotels of the World‘s portfolio.
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa features in my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Seychelles.
In this review (more info below the 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 main reason why one would want to stay at Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, is because it is one of the top hotels in the idyllic Seychelles. Situated in a remote part of the West Indian Ocean, the spectacular archipelago is often referred to as the Garden of Eden, and it still lives up to its blissfully exotic name with exquisite tropical landscapes and the world’s most magnificent beaches.
- When Vasco da Gama discovered the Seychelles, he titled it the Seven Sisters archipelago after a star constellation of the same name, which was used by mariners to navigate the seas. The stars were named after the daughters of Atlas and Pleione from Greek mythology, the eldest and most beautiful known as Maia, The Great One, hence explaining the mysterious name of the resort.
- Located on the southwest coast of Mahé, the Seychelles main island, the resort is an easy 25-minute drive from the Seychelles International Airport, appealing to both Africa and Middle East-based couples and families seeking a short break to rejuvenate as well as long-haul guests looking for a comprehensive escape. The hotel offers a chauffeur service to and from the airport (not included in the room rate).
- The hotel enjoys a beautiful and secluded setting that ranks among the very best on Mahe Island. Its thatched roof villas and facilities are tucked away on a hilly, palm filled, private peninsula that overlooks a beautiful stretch of beach (Anse Louis beach), washed by the timeless tides of the warm Indian Ocean. You leave the world behind on the very moment you enter the gates of this ultraluxe Seychelles resort.
- The resort’s 30-acres of award-winning garden burst with life and colour, delighting senses of sight and scent with beautiful trees and herbs, fruit trees and greenery bearing exotic spices such as cinnamon, and extra-ordinary flowers such as orchids, blossoming hibiscus and heliconias. The green-fingers paradise is home to over 300 different species of exotic and endemic plants tended to by 18 passionate full-time gardeners.
- Designed by American landscape artist and architect Bill Bensley, the resort features a striking combination of Aztec and Balinese design influences. The resort is somewhat reminiscent of a timeless native African village, with clusters of hut-like structures with thatched roofs in a variety of shapes. Furnishings are deliberately scant, with mainly brown and beige colored interiors that are inspired by the African earth. There’s an interesting read in Architectural Digest about the creation of resort and the design by Bensley.
- You enter the resort via an open-sided welcome pavilion, set among palms and other native plantings, where the you will be met by one of the resort’s staff members. From there, a buggy will take you straight to your room or the communal areas if you prefer so. The latter all cluster close together on the hill, cascading down to the beach. On top of the hill, there is an appealing bar with a fringed conical roof and columns clad in woven copper strips. From there a majestic staircase leads to the pool deck, restaurant, bar, and a boutique shop.
- Made from black lava stone, the main communal pool is the perfect place to cool down under the hot Seychellois sun. It overlooks the garden, but has no direct ocean view since there is some tropical vegetation in between the small garden and the beach.
- Maia Luxury Resort & Spa has only one restaurant, called Tec-Tec, but it’s a great one. It draws inspiration from a number of cultures, and the chef has perfected the art of Asian, Mediterranean and Creole cuisine. The cuisine is complemented by an impressive collection of top international wines.
- The property’s all-inclusive service goes above and beyond by allowing you to curate your meals and to dine anywhere, anytime. From the beachfront Tec-Tec dining room, to your villa or the beach, the resort will serve your meals wherever it pleases you. The all-inclusive includes all-day snacks and select alcoholic beverages.
- MAIA offers thirty exquisite thatched villas, each strategically positioned in different locations for ultimate privacy. There are 19 Ocean Panoramic Villas and 11 Maia Signature Villas, most of them with breathtaking vistas and reached through individual gated gardens. Each is made up of four separate pavilions: a bedroom, a living area, an outdoor tub and a bath. All have at least one pool – most have two – and expansive terraces that seem to be suspended above the earth.
- During my holiday, I stayed in a Ocean Panoramic Villa. The enormous villa featured a secluded, outdoor gazebo that was fully equipped with en-suite dining facilities, a well stocked bar, an oversized day bed. It also offered direct access to a private, infinity-edged pool. The main pavilion housed an air-conditioned bedrooms including ceiling fans and inter-leading bathroom with a walk-in shower, dual vanity, and glorious outdoor and double- sunken bath tub, surrounded by a water party.
- Bathrooms are stocked with extravagant and oversized Hermès toiletries, which are by far the most impressive bathroom amenities that I ever encountered in a luxury hotel.
- At night, the resort is beautifully enlightened by torches, creating a wonderful, extravagant and romantic ambience.
- MAIA’s boutique spa is set in the lush gardens and features three luxurious open-air treatment rooms dedicated to the rejuvenation and restoration of the body, mind and soul. Spa treatments are terrific (I highly recommend booking your massages in advance). There is also a small gym and a meditation pavilion offering complimentary and private classes in yoga and qi gong.
- The personalised service is excellent. Each Villa benefits from the resort’s butler service to cater to your every need. The butler can prepare light dishes, meals and refreshments throughout the day; this includes off menu items such as barbecues and freshly caught fish.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa is one of the Seychelles’ most exclusive resorts, and my favorite one on Mahe Island. Because of its secluded beachfront setting, massive villas and superb service, I found Maia Resort to be a little slice of perfection. Nevertheless, you need to know the following when considering a stay here:
- While most accommodations feature glorious vistas, some of the beach villas’ ocean views are blocked by vegetation.
- Although the Anse Louis beach is absolutely beautiful, it’s not the best stretch of sand in the Seychelles, a destination known for having the most magnificent beaches in the world. The sand is very soft but it has a light beige colour (not sugar white). The sea can be rough as well with high waves. The best beach on Mahe island is the blinding white Anse Intendance beach in front of the Banyan Tree hotel.
- Although Anse Louis is never very crowded, the beach is open to the public and can be accessed from the road.
- Depending on the season, and its corresponding wind direction, seaweed can often plague the beach, sometimes making it almost impossible to swim. Generally speaking, from May to September, the cooler, drier, south-east trade winds bring lively seas to southwest Mahé and result in seaweed being washed up onto the beach. However, the staff does a remarkable job in cleaning the beach.
- Although families are welcome, the resort mainly caters to adults since child-friendly facilities are limited. If you want to holiday on Mahe island with your children, the Four Seasons Hotel is a better option.
- The hotels offer complimentary internet, but the WiFi connection is slow (which seems to be a problem with many resorts in the Seychelles).
- With a room rate of more than 2000 euros per night, the resort is almost insanely expensive and only caters to those with deep pockets. Granted, the rate is all-inclusive, but that money can get you in the Six Senses Zil Pasyon resort which offers a phenomal private island experience. That’s also double the rate of the only two other real luxury properties on Mahe Island, the Four Seasons and Banyan Tree (with only a marginal difference in experience).
- The hotel has only one restaurant, with separate Thai, Creole, Indian, Japanese and Mediterranean menus, plus a daily tasting menu. But even given all these options, you may get a little bored by the food if you stay longer than a few days. In addition, while the food is excellent, I was not blown away by what I was served.
- The gym is small and has limited equipment.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Resort grounds: 9/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 10/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 7/10
- Overall experience: exceptional: 9/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like Maia Luxury Resort & Spa Seychelles (and receive many free perks).
- Save money: book your room via The Leading Hotels of the World website (and not the official hotel website). The added benefit is that the stay will count toward a free night in the LHW loyalty program (read more about that here) and that you will also get a spa credit, in addition to the full board hotel package.
- The hillside, panoramic ocean villas offer magnificent views over surrounding jungle and ocean. The oceanfront, Maiai signature villas offer direct access to the beach and are more suitable to families with children. For a map of the resort, click here.
- The villas with the best ocean, beach and sunset views are villas 221 and 220, so make sure to make that request when booking your room.
- 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
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa is an easy 25-minute drive from the Seychelles International Airport, which is served by many airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites):
- From/via Asia : Air Seychelles (via Hong Kong, Mumbai), Mihin Lanka (via Colombo).
- From/via Middle East: Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad Airways (via Abu Dhabi), Air Seychelles (via Abu Dhabi), Qatar Airways (via Doha).
- From/via Europe: Condor (via Frankfurt), Air Seychelles (via Paris, Dusseldorf), Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul).
- From/via Africa: Kenya Airways (via Nairobi), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Air Austral (via La Reunion), Air Seychelles (via Johannesburg, Durban and Mauritius).