You have to start the day in Paradise with a lemon and rum crepe. And take your time over it.
You might however prefer blue eggs and caviar. There is an art to holidaying in the Garden of Eden.
The latest oceanfront, uber-luxury boutique hotel and Indian Ocean barefoot wedding venue is the 41-room colonial-meets-eclectic vernacular LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s Mango House on the Baie Lazare on the southwest shoreline of Mahé, near the world’s smallest capital city, Victoria and only 30 minutes from the Seychelles’ international airport.
It may be three hundred miles from the equator and a thousand miles from anywhere, but the Seychelles is a foodie paradise and Mango House offers even greater and more tempting fine dining options to satisfy all tastes and nationalities, from soulful sharing plates, poke-and-build-your-own bento box bar treats and Sukiyaki nabemono-style to “locale Creole” cooking.
Indian Ocean Reunion islander and Institute Bocuse graduate executive chef Olivier Barré, who worked under Joel Robichon and formerly at the Seychelles Four Seasons Desroches Island, oversees five fine dining venue including the Japanese robatayaki, nigiri and moriawase sushi seafood brassiere “Azido” (meaning, “Do taste and flavour”), Italian “Muse” and Mouya, named after the 115-island Indian Ocean archipelago’s traditional dance, which specialise in sustainable barbecuing over steamed husks and charcoal coconut shells. Mango House’s signature cocktails are gin tea martini and a five-spice rum sour.
Azido’s menu also includes chutoro, akami and eel nigiri, handmade gyoza, nori seaweed flavoured sake, soft shell crab and avocado sushi rolls and rock shrimp tempura.
Moutya’s specialities like vegetarian local roots curry and seafood platter for two. It is the place to have a Kreol-style crêpe.
Drinks range from local Takamaka rum arranges and Reunion Island French department in the Indian Oceans rums like Charrette as well as Madagascan Drama, Mauritian Arcana and African gins (starting at 180 Seychellois rupees). You have to be wealthy or profligate to be a whisky drinker in the Seychelles with Johnnie Walker Blue 850 (£44) and Chivas Royal Salute 21 620 (£32). A local small beer is 110 (£6).
Championing local and natural, Mango House offers rooms rather than villas and has built-in go slow vibe, bohemian beach chic and wicker and rattan colonial aesthetic, being constructed from granite and nalauwood and bucson wood.
Only an artist could have lived among the mango trees at Blue Chicken Beach (Anse Aux Poules Bleus). Mango House is the former home of celebrated Milanese fashion-turned-travel photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri who worked for Vanity Fair, GQ. Glamour and Vogue Italia and Paris with models like Mirella Petteni, Jerry Hall, Monica Belluci and Audrey Hepburn and designers such as Armani, Fere, Versace, Giuseppe Zanotti and Dolce & Gabbana.
Very near the hotel is more art in the shape of the home and studio of the heavenly archipelago’s best-known artist. Michael Adams, M.B.E. has lived in in the Seychelles since 1972.
Born in Malaysia, his father was a rubber planter there for Dunlop and his mother an opera singer. He attended Falmouth College of Art and Royal College of Art. He met his English wife Heather in Kenya. After marrying they found a wooden house in the jungle which has become a botanical garden.
After you’re done with silk screen, line blocks and water colours, the Mango House’s “Anpe” spa (from Creole for “at peace”) offers 75 minute £115 charcoal purifying masks and lots of coconut foot polish, papaya seed, bigarade and mint scrubs, ground cassava unctions, island fruits and local Ingrid Sauer’s “Belliche” skincare products to satisfy everyone whose idea of earthly bliss is to be smeared with bitter orange and blended caramelized banana oil.
With original furniture and artwork. rooms are in separate houses with high thatched ceilings. The property’s exclusive 13 guestroom Cliff House – the largest private villa in the Seychelles – comes with its own private elevated pool.
Mango House Seychelles, Anse Aux Poules Bleues Baie Lazare Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles.
Tel: +248 4 397 000 / Toll Free: 1-800-Hiltons
Located in the south of Mahé, Mango House sits right on the oceanfront with direct access to Anse Aux Poules Bleues, the “Aquarium of Wonders.” Seychelles International Airport is a short 35-minute drive, and the capital of Victoria is approximately one hour from the hotel.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Colonial Style Hotel
Number of Rooms: 41 rooms including complimentary Wi-Fi.
Price Band: Turquoise Holidays (Tel. +44 (0)1494 678 400) offers 7 night stays in a Premier Room with Ocean View bed & breakfast from £2,799 per person, including return private transfers and international flights from London.
Insider Tip: Do have a crêpe while you’re there. You will never forget it. You can’t leave without trying a blue egg as well.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His humour, travel, food and drink work appears worldwide and he has been published in over 800 titles.
Photographs courtesy of Mango House Seychelles