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Feel the Real Seychelles with Raffles Praslin

October 9, 2014 Luxury Hotels No Comments Email Email

A new menu of experiences from Raffles Praslin Seychelles 

As Peter French, President of Raffles Hotels & Resorts says ‘It’s not just about what we give our guests, but how we make them feel – well after they’ve checked out. We call this ‘emotional luxury’ – so at every hotel we provide tailor–made experiences for our guests, which will really connect them to the local culture and make them feel they have a real relationship with the hotel.’

The dreamlike Seychelles is certainly a place that is all about new experiences and new encounters, from archipelago hopping to wildlife watching. It is here that Raffles Praslin has chosen to create a new menu of experiences curated by Bernard Lucas, the hotel’s Island Concierge.

Across the water… Bird watching on Aride Island

VFMLID=61257316Aride Island has some of the finest – and most important – seabird life in the western Indian Ocean, with more breeding species than any other island in the Seychelles. Eighteen species of native birds – including five found only in the Seychelles – breed here, and the island is carefully managed as a nature reserve by the Island Conservation Society of Seychelles. The only human inhabitants are the rangers, who work tirelessly to protect this incredibly important environment and are on hand to guide visitors around Aride.  A visit here is unmissable; no other island is so pristine and yet so accessible. Catch Great Frigatebird soaring from the cliffs in the north of the island, or spot the enigmatic Seychelles Magpie Robin – once deemed the rarest bird in the world.

Bernard recommends visiting the island to experience life as it was in the Seychelles many years ago, before the islands were settled on by humans.

Cycling on La Digue

unnamedThe pace of life on La Digue is slow; unhurried, catch local people going about their daily business. Borrow a bicycle to explore the cinnamon and vanilla plantations, or travel by ox cart along the coast – a traditional form of transport which remains from the islands early days.

La Digue is famous for its beaches, most notably the dramatic granite formations and bright turquoise waters of Anse Source d’Argent. Bernard can shares his insight on the best secluded hidden spaces and small beaches which are practically untouched.

A hop to Curieuse Island

unnamed (1)Raffles Praslin Seychelles looks out over Curieuse – a small island, originally used as a leper colony. In 1979, the island and its waters were declared a Marine National Park to protect the native wildlife, which remains today. One side of the island is home to 500 friendly Aldabra giant tortoise who enjoy having daily visitors as well as being known for its Coco de Mer palms, giant Takamaka trees, and a large rookery of hawksbill turtles. Visit at the right time to catch the turtles laying their eggs in front of the Doctor’s House – the remnants of the leper colony turned into a museum narrating the island’s story.

Bernard can arrange for a picnic to be delivered to the island which can be enjoyed amongst these prehistoric creatures all while he shares the history of how the tortoises came to live there.

By boat….

unnamed (2)There is so much to explore from Praslin and island hopping by boat is a great way to see it all, discovering one picture postcard beach to the next. For fishing enthusiasts Seychelles is a haven and Bernard advises taking full or half day fishing trip by private boat in hopes of catching anything from Marlin to Yellowfin Tuna or his particular favourite, Kingfish. Romance and the Seychelles go hand in hand and what better way to celebrate a relationship than a private sunset cruise in the Indian Ocean. This picturesque setting will only be interrupted by the ‘pop’ of a champagne cork in the quiet calm of the ocean. It may even inspire a proposal….

At Bernard’s request a chef from the hotel can travel to an island of the guests choice to cook a BBQ on the beach while Bernard shares his knowledge on the history of the different Seychelles islands and how they were named.

And home again… The secrets of the Vallée de Mai

unnamed (3)The Vallée de Mai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to the endemic coco de mer palm – probably the most iconic symbol of the Seychelles. The coco de mer is the world’s heaviest nut that grows high on palms within the forests of Vallée de Mai, and can live up to 400 years old. The mystical charm of Vallée de Mai, often claimed as the original Garden of Eden, makes this site a must-visit for every traveller to the Seychelles.

During a visit to this protected national park Bernard will help guests spot the Black Parrot, one of the world’s rarest birds and only found in the Seychelles.

unnamed (4)Sundowners at Anse Lazio, Praslin

Anse Lazio is often named as one of the world’s top ten beaches. Beautifully framed by granite rocks and perfectly positioned for Indian Ocean sunsets, the beach has soft white sands leading to calm, clear waters.

Bernard suggests arriving in the late afternoon to soak up the last of the rays, before the Raffles Butler brings champagne on ice (or a Praslin Sling…) and delicious canapés as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Bernard Lucas – Island Concierge at Raffles Praslin, Seychelles

A day in Bernard’s life at Raffles Praslin Seychelles is all about fun and spontaneity. Guests request Bernard’s presence to share his insider knowledge of the island, while couples call upon his recommendations for the most romantic spots to steal away to and watch the sun set over the archipelago.

unnamed (5)From planning cycling trips to La Digue to masterminding private boat trips for two, Bernard lets guests into his island secrets….his favourite spot on Praslin is the beautiful, hidden away beach, Anse La Blague – known by the local villagers and accessed by a lush, unmarked trail.   At the top of the hill overlooking the beach there is a heart-stopping view over neighbouring islands, la Digue, Felicité, Grand Soeur and Petite Soeur – and even as far as Mahé, when the weather is clear.   And of course, white sand, turquoise waters and blue sky are the order of the day.

Bernard has magical knack of being able to feel what his guests need, before they have even thought of it.  He gives every guest an insider’s take on this dreamy island that he is lucky enough to call home.

Stays at Raffles Praslin Seychelles from AUD864 * (€600) (including 25% service/taxes) per villa per night, based on single or double occupancy in a Hillside Pool Villa on a B&B basis. Prices of the experiences at Raffles Praslin Seychelles are available on request

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