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Hotel review: Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Baie Lazare

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Luxury, indulgence and sophistication meet the sublime waters of the Indian Ocean.  If an exclusive, luxury hotel is a careful balance of sophistication and creativity, then Kempinski Seychelles is the ideal.

Located in the secluded – and exclusive – south of Mahe, directly opposite the Baie Lazare, where French Explorer Lazare Picault landed on his first voyage of discovery to Seychelles in 1742, the opening of The Kempinski Seychelles last year was one of the most hotly anticipated events of 2012.

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First impressions: wow, dramatic and luxury

The hotel’s dramatic position 4˚ south of the equator on a jungle hillside and its castaway-chic vibe doesn’t disappoint: the 149 rooms resemble luxury residences, spilling dramatically over a large forested hill offering spectacular views of the beach and turquoise waters through the lush vegetation. A reef 200 metres off shore protects the tidal beach, and fantastic natural features such as the bay, lagoon and granitic rock formations surround the resort.

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Its design amalgamates contemporary, colonial and ‘plantation’ styles to create a stunning style which redefines Seychellois architecture, with its wow-factor lobby, high sloped ceilings, airy balconies, large wooden doors, and modern textiles and fabrics.

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On arrival at the airport my driver offers me a cold scented towel and bottled water. The temperature outside was 32˚C, making the offer a fragrant towel a simple, yet much-appreciated gesture – and hopefully a sign of the pampering to come.

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The drive to the hotel took around 30 minutes from Mahe International Airport, and it was one of the most picturesque routes I have ever been on. The scenery reminded me of when Capt. Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) crash lands on Ashlar, in Planet of the Apes. The deserted beaches, the rock formations, the lush green mountains, the winding coastal roads; it’s gob-smacking views of the endless beaches and coves leave me in awe – I knew I had arrived somewhere transcendent.

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At check-in, I’m greeted with a smile and an ice-cold welcome drink. After the formalities I am introduced to a charming young woman, my ‘Lady in Red’ – she will be my personal point of call during my week-long stay at the luxury Seychelles hotel. In no time, she whisks me away in a posh buggy to my private villa – one of just forty rooms on the resort. My sea-view room, is situated on the first floor of the resort – elevated for better viewing – and, wow, what a view. My room is stunning, too – it comes with a lounge area, balcony and a luxury walk-in wet room (all stocked with Blaise Mautin products created exclusively for the Kempinski Seychelles hotel).

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There is free WiFi throughout the hotel – a faster option is available for extra cost if you want to upload your snaps on Instagram or Facebook –  but for just checking emails the free WiFi is fine. Your rooms are replenished with complimentary bottled water each day, and I was even left a personal handwritten greeting card from the hotel manager.

I’m given a quick tour of my room and asked if I would like a tour of the luxury Seychelles resort, or if I prefer to arrange another time – the bags under my eyes after the 18-hour flight are a giveaway, though, and she leaves me to recuperate in my king-size bed.

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After an amazing sleep on the comfiest bed, I slip into my swimming shorts and head for the beach for an afternoon of pure laziness in the scorching Seychelles sun. The Baie Lazare is perfect for snorkelling and I waste no time getting in the warm turquoise waters. After swimming with tropical fish I float back to my sunlounger, I am lost in tranquility, the sound of soft lapping waves sends me back to the land of nod.

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Later on I head over to the Windsong Bar for some lunch. The open-air bar is located on the beach, serving refreshing cocktails, and a live BBQ station is on offer on Wednesdays and Sundays. I opt for the tofu wrap, a side of fries and Coke, this sets me back ₨465 SCR (£25 GBP or $40 USD) – ouch, not the cheapest – or best wrap – I’ve tasted, but I wolf it down, nevertheless.

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Later in the evening, I meet the assistant director of sales for dinner at the fabulous L’Indochine restaurant, a speciality fine-dining seafood restaurant that serves a fusion of cuisines inspired by countries in the Indian Ocean. The ‘grazing menu’ takes you on a journey munching through the rim of the Indian Ocean, with dishes from Seychelles, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Oman and Australia.

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I opted for Oman; an oriental fish and mixed seafood grill with lemon butter sauce, onion and zumak (sumac) salad. The fish was as fresh as it could be and the lobster was a delight. I’m served four different breads: Kraftkorn, Focaccia, Rye Walnut Bread and Raratha, all unique and delicious in their own right. Portion size was colossal, but there’s always room for dessert, right? My host ordered Sherry ‘rendezvous’ (lemon sorbet, crunchy meringue, sherry and a mango mint salsa), whilst I went for the traditional sticky date pudding with toffee sauce. Bellies full, we head for the intimate Planters Bar and Lounge for a nightcap. The atmosphere is great, with live music and a drinks list that would keep even the snobbiest of wine connoisseurs happy.

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The Kempinski Seychelles resort has four bars and restaurants. If you prefer something less informal Cafe Lazare is the place to visit, the all-you-can-eat Creole buffet may be on the pricey side, but it’s a gastronomical delight. The chef is more than happy to prepare something extra if you’re a fussy eater – like me – or have any special dietary requirements. And I’m told chefs from more than 10 different countries, using more than 400 various ingredients, staff the busy kitchen – you really will be spoilt for choice at this exclusive Indian Ocean hotel.

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Every day there are planned activities from 9am to 5pm, such as yoga, snorkelling, walks, aqua gym, Pilates, kayaking and a whole host of others. If you have time make sure you join the Coconuts’ Show – an informal, fun and practical talk about coconuts; you even get to sample some fresh coconut and get to listen to an inspiring talk by the hotel’s resident wildlife expert.

All in all, the Kempinski Seychelles Resort is a luxury hotel with a laissez-faire attitude that you will love. A favourite of Bollywood celebrities, Russian oligarchs and jet-setters seeking the ultimate in privacy and seclusion. The hotel is a tropical haven surrounded by flora and fauna, and makes for the perfect tranquil getaway. The hotel staff go out of their way to ensure your
experience in the Seychelles is a memorable one – I just can’t wait to go back.

Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Baie Lazare, Mahe, Seychelles, kempinski.com/en/baie-lazare/seychelles-resort/welcome

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About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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June 28, 2013 | Travel Reviews | View comments

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