I recently enjoyed a sublime holiday in one of my favorite destinations in the world, the Seychelles, an astonishingly beautiful island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Qatar Airways A350 Qsuite from Frankfurt to Doha (world’s best Business Class)
- Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
- Review: Raffles Seychelles Resort (Praslin island)
- Review: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Mahe island)
- Review: Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles (today)
- Review: Constance Ephelia Resort (Mahe island)
- Review: British Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Seychelles to London
Today (May 15, 2019): Review of Banyan Tree Seychelles Resort
Located on the picturesque south-western coastline of Mahé island, the Banyan Tree Seychelles might hold some of the most desirable real estate on earth. The resort has 60 exquisite Creole-style villas (some with stunning views) that are located above or along the pristine beach of Intendance Bay. The latter is an impressive crescent of powdery white sand, backed by hills that are covered in lush rain forest. All villas come with a private pool and are lovingly decked in contemporary and colonial decor, evoking equal parts comfort and sensuality. The spa is a serene experience, pairing incomparable views with soothing Asian-influenced treatments.
Banyan Tree Seychelles features in my top 10 lists of the best resorts in the Seychelles, the best Banyan Trees hotels in the world, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches and hotel rooms with the world’s best views.
Have you ever stayed at Banyan Tree Seychelles? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Reviews of other luxury hotels in the Seychelles
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
*** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to the Seychelles with my online Seychelles travel guide ***
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Banyan Tree Seychelles Resort is located on the southwest coast of Mahe, the granite-filled main island of the Seychelles known for its white powder beaches and dramatic rock formations. With lush mountainous scenery, small towns with a unique Creole culture, and over 60 sensational beaches and coves fringing the island’s spectacular coastline, there is much to explore. Mahé is also home to the Seychelles’ international airport and the resort is a 40 minute drive from the airport, which is definitely an advantage compared to hotels on other islands which can only be reached by a ferry ride or domestic flight (something you may not be looking forward to after your longhaul flight to the Seychelles).
- The resort enjoys an idyllic location on a remote estate in beautiful Intendance Bay along the Indian Ocean. On the ground where the resort now stands, Peter Sellers (the famous British actor of the Pink Panther movies) and George Harrison (a member of the Beatles) first bought the site in 1974 to make it their home in the Seychelles, attracted by the island’s insanely beautiful scenery and ideal climate. After a period of political turmoil in the late 70’s when most of the island’s private properties were reclaimed by the state, the Banyan Tree Group saw the touristic potential of the area and decided to build the resort known today as Banyan Tree Seychelles.
- The single most attractive feature of the resort is its location on the jaw-droppingly beautiful beach of Anse Intendance, which offers half a mile of the whitest and softest sand you’ll ever encounter, with a lush backdrop of palm trees, huge boulders and steep jungle-covered hills. There is no reef so the waves here are much larger than at most other beaches on the Seychelles, making it more suitable for surfing rather than swimming at most times. During the south-east trade winds (May to September) the waves can reach fearsome heights, but in the north-west trade wind season (November to March) the sea is calmer. IMHO, this beautiful beach is the best on Mahe island and one of the best beaches in the Seychelles.
- The low-rise resort features an attractive design, inspired by local French Creole architecture. The main lobby complex comprises three colonial-style plantation pavilions, centered around a tropical courtyard dominated by a giant banyan tree. Housing the reception area (decorated by lush greenery), two of the three restaurants, and a boutique shop, these three pavilions are interconnected by lovely whitewashed verandas overlooking the fabulous beach of Anse Intendance. Each element of the decor is well-appointed, imaginatively designed, and constructed with quality materials. Beyond this hub, the villas stretch out along the beach on one side and climb a steep hill on the other side.
- The resort features 60 spacious villas, located either beachfront or hillside. During my holiday, I was upgraded to a Sanctuary View Pool Villa, which offered a spectacular view over jungle covered hills, blinding white sands, and turquoise waters. Set on a bed of rocks, this pool villa came with an outdoor jetpool, a pool deck complete with pristine sun loungers, and a colonnaded outdoor living area. Inside, there was a large bedroom with kingsize bed and a bathroom equipped with dual vanity, rain shower and deep soaking bath tub. The Asian influenced interior featured pitched ceilings, dark timber contemporary furniture, and ivory marble floors.
- Although chances are high that you will spend most of your leisure time at the resort near your own private infinity pool, the Banyan Tree Seychelles Resort also has a fabulous, Instagram-worthy main swimming pool, located next to the main lobby complex. The L-shaped pool is lined by a dozen comfortable sun loungers and overlooks the white sands of Anse Intendance and the Indian Ocean. You can complete your leisurely pool experience by quenching your thirst with poolside cocktails or feed your hunger with tasty bar snacks. The pool deck has direct access to the beach, and is partly shaded by the surrounding tropical vegetation.
- Set on a hill behind the lobby, the resort’s impressive spa sanctuary is the perfect place to recharge your body and soul. There are eight spa pavilions, nestled between the granite boulders and indigenous trees on the hillside. These open-sided pavilions allow you to enjoy garden views and bird song during spa treatments, scrubs, and wraps. The staff members and spa therapists are very professional ansd skilled – all of them have been trained at the Banyan Tree Spa Academy in Thailand – and they make use of Banyan Tree’s own-brand signature oils during treatments. The spa complex also houses a fully equipped gym.
- The resort features three restaurants, offering a wider variety of dining options compared to most of its 5-star compatitors on the island:
- Au Jardin d’Epice is the resort’s all day dining venue, located in the main plantation pavilion below the reception area. It offer a lavish breakfast buffet in the morning (complemented with a menu), light snacks, salads, sandwiches and meals for lunch, and international dishes for dinner.
- Located next to the reception area, Chez Lamaar is housed in a colonial pavilion with an al fresco wooden veranda. Open for dinner only, it serves delicious authentic Creole cuisine influenced by the eclectic flavors of West-Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent.
- Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant Saffron is located at short distance from the lobby in a natural wetland much visited by water birds. Here, chefs prepare authentic dishes crafted on traditional recipes and cooking methods of Southeast Asia. Thai cuisine is the main attractions at Saffron and its dishes have won both hearts and culinary awards.
- The resort also features three distinct bar areas:
- With refreshing drinks, delightful fruity cocktails and delicious snacks, the pool bar offers poolside relaxation.
- With its verandah decor of warm wooden hues and creamy whites exuding island romance from every nook and cranny, La Varangue – located next to the lobby – is a great place to settle down for an afternoon drink or pre-dinner aperitif.
- A real highlight is the Rum Shack, hidden in the lush vegetation along the beach, where you can feel the sand on your feet and enjoy a cocktail while gazing at the Indian Ocean. Here, you also find a couple of sun loungers where you can easily spend the whole day.
- The hotel is managed by the Banyan Tree hotel group, one of the best global luxury hotel brands. The Banyan Tree hospitality company, which was established in 1994, has its roots in Singapore and provides naturally luxurious, ecologically sensitive, and culture-aware experiences for the discerning traveler. I have previously reviewed the equally superb Banyan Tree properties in Bali, Koh Samui, Phuket, the Riviera Maya, Bangkok, and Vietnam. That said, Banyan Tree’s Seychelles outpots is my favorite hotel in the group’s portfolio.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
IMHO, Banyan Tree Seychelles enjoys one of the most breathtaking beach locations on earth. That said, the facilities and villas are excellent as well. Nevertheless, the resort is not perfect and there are some things you need to know:
- The ocean can get very rough here with strong undercurrents, particularly between May and October. Whilst this makes surfing terrific fun for the experienced, it limits the possibilities to swim on most days. Water conditions are clearly marked by colored flags in front of the hotel and must be adhered to. Because of the rough seas, the resort also doesn’t operate a water sports club (something you’ll find at most other resorts in the Seychelles).
- The beach is stunning, but remarkably, the resort doesn’t have a beach club. The beach-front villas come with two sun loungers per villa, but there are no loungers for guests staying in the hillside villas. Halfway the beach, you find the Rum Shack, which features a couple of loungers (in the shade) and although it might be an option to lounge here during the day, the bar is far away from the main pool and other resort facilities.
- Banyan Tree Seychelles resort is the oldest five-star property in the Seychelles (it opened in 2002). You don’t really notice it in the public areas, which are excellently maintained and exude a timeless ambience due to the plantation-style decor. However, the room decor is slightly underwhelming, the furniture feels a little dated, and overall, the villas could use a refurbishment. Banyan Tree has the best location of the three ultra-luxe resorts on Mahe (the other two being the Four Seasons and Maia) but the least impressive (albeit still excellent) villas.
- Some hillside villas are tucked away deeply into the jungle and do not enjoy a view nor a lot of sunshine during the day.
- Service & food at the resort get mixed reviews from other guests on Tripadvisor. That said, I didn’t encounter any service issues (hospitality was warm, sincere and efficient during my stay) and I found the food to be excellent, especially at the Thai restaurant which is one of the most established restaurants in the Indian Ocean (although I agree that the cuisine at the Arabian and international restaurant could have been a bit more inspirational and sophisticated).
- The resort is located in what seems like the middle of nowhere, but, in a way, that is what makes it so unique – secluded, private, quiet and serene with its own amazing beach, great dining options, and exclusive facilities. Although the isolated location is part of the appeal for most guests, it’s important to emphasize that the resort is removed from almost everything, so you won’t find any restaurants, shops or night life within walking distance of the hotel.
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: 9/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 8/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good 8,4/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Banyan Tree Seychelles (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: it’s possible to stay for free at Banyan Tree Seychelles Resorts via AccorHotels’ loyalty program, which is called Le Club AccorHotels. In 2016, AccorHotels and Banyan Tree announced a strategic long-term partnership in which both groups collaborate to develop and manage Banyan Tree-branded hotels around the world. The partnership gives Banyan Tree access to AccorHotels’ global reservation and sales networks but its also good news for Le Club AccorHotels members as they can spend and redeem points at Banyan Tree hotels, as well as get elite perks at these properties. Read my review of Le Club AccorHotels here.
- Room tip: if you want to have direct beach access from your villa, you need to book a beachfront pool villa. However, I highly recommend a hillside villa since these offer you some of the most spectacular ocean and beach views on earth (this is especially true for the Intendance Bay pool villa).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
REVIEWS OF OTHER LUXURY HOTELS IN THE SEYCHELLES
- Review of Banyan Tree Seychelles Resort
- Review of Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Seychelles)
- Review: Raffles Seychelles Hotel
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
- Review: PHENOMENAL North Island Seychelles
- Hotel review: Six Senses Zil Pasyon Seychelles
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). Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to the Seychelles.