Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel contests, tips, series, or news.
Today: Tips for booking a stay at North Island Seychelles
Known as the holy grail of luxury travel, North Island Seychelles is one of the world’s most exclusive getaways (along with the Soneva Resorts in the Maldives & Thailand, Time + Tide Miavana in Madagascar, The Brando in French Polynesia, and Laucala Island in Fiji). You can read my review of North Island here, or watch my YouTube video below.
Located 30 km (18 mi) from Mahé (the main island in the Seychelles), North Island occupies its own private island. There are just 11 ocean-view villas hidden amidst 201 hectares of exquisite natural beauty, each with private plunge pool and direct access to the beach. The granitic island is also a sanctuary for endangered species: luminous beaches and clear blue seas welcome nesting sea turtles, and the palm forests are home to giant Aldabra tortoises and rare Seychelles white-eye birds. Activities on North Island Seychelles range from snorkeling, diving, kayaking, paddle-boarding, fishing and sunset cruises to exploring tropical trails by foot, bicycle or private buggy. The resort is magnet for the rich and famous since Prince William and Kate spent their honeymoon on North Island in April 2011.
North Island Seychelles enjoys a stellar reputation and it is priced accordingly, making it easily one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Rates start at a hefty $6,000 USD per night, excluding 21% in VAT and service charges. You can even opt for more expensive package rates that include half or full board, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and water activities. On top of the nightly rate, you’ll still have to pay extra for the transfers by helicopter (from Mahé), most spa treatments, and full-day excursions. However, there are some tricks to save some money when you consider booking a holiday at North Island Seychelles, and surprisingly, you can even stay here for free.
BOOK WITH MARRIOT BONVOY POINT
In 2019, management of North Island Seychelles changed from Wilderness Safaris to Marriott’s ‘The Luxury Collection’ brand. At the time, North Island’s Managing Director, Bruce Simpson, had the following to say about this deal: “We are delighted to join the exclusive collection of properties under The Luxury Collection. North Island is the perfect fit for a brand that stands for such exclusive luxury, while recognizing the importance of sustainable development, and we look forward to building on the position of the island as one of the world’s most aspirational private-island destinations.”
Unfortunately, I respectfully disagree since I don’t consider North Island to be a great fit for The Luxury Collection, since it offers a scale of luxury and exclusivity far above all other hotels in Marriott’s portfolio. Also, The Luxury Collection brand is not as luxurious nor exclusive as it pretends to be. Seeing North Island Seychelles become a member of Marriott makes me wonder whether the resort will lose part of its allure in the long term. I can only hope that the island will one day return to the portfolio of Wilderness Safaris (which was a perfect match) or choose another hotel group that better fits its unique and exclusive character (e.g. Soneva, Oetker Collection, Aman, or Rosewood).
The only good thing about Marriott’s takeover is that North Island now also participates in Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy (which I reviewed here). Marriott’s top hotels are labeled as Marriott Bonvoy category 8 hotels, which require 85,000 points for a free night, which is where most The Luxury Collection properties sit. However, North Island Seychelles is in a category in its own: the nightly award rate starts at 365,000 points, and includes breakfast, complimentary use of an island buggy, morning yoga, kids activities and more. Members can find the award rates when searching on Marriott’s booking channels after they click “Use Points.” Given the uniqueness of the property, North Island is not participating in Cash + Points or Pointsavers, and will also not appear on the Marriott Bonvoy category chart like other properties which top out at 100,000 points.
BOOK VIA VIRTUOSO
North Island Seychelles is a member of Virtuoso. Virtuoso is not your classic hotel booking engine website. It’s the industry’s leading, invitation-only network of the world’s best luxury travel advisors, spanning over 26 countries and 9,000 travel advisors. So when you book a hotel via Virtuoso, most of the time, you will be in touch with a Virtuoso travel agent who will make the booking for you. There are some Virtuoso travel agencies though that offer an online booking tool, such as Classic Travel, which has an excellent website and is my overall preferred Virtuoso travel agency for booking luxury hotels. The single best reason to book a hotel through a Virtuoso travel agent is that it means value for money as you’ll get access to complimentary VIP perks, such as room upgrade, flexible check-in and check-out times, daily breakfast and a resort, spa, or food credit (or something else).
At North Island Seychelles, the Virtuoso rate includes:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Complimentary breakfast daily (already inclusive in rates)
- Complimentary 60-minute massage for up to two people, per villa, once during stay
- Bottle of champagne on arrival
- Early check in and late check out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
These perks and amenities are only available when you book your stay through a Virtuoso travel advisor. In other words: the Virtuoso rates are exactly the same as the rates offered on North Island’s official Marriott website, but will get you some extras like a bottle of Champagne and a complimentary spa treatment for two. Booking via Virtuoso will also earn you Marriott Bonvoy points, so booking North Island Seychelles via Virtuoso is always preferable over the Marriott website (otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table).
I always use Classic Travel, a Virtuoso agency, for my own travels and I am very happy with their service. If you want, I can always introduce you to one of Classic Travel’s travel agents (just sent me an email at email@example.com).
PHOTOS OF NORTH ISLAND
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