Friday, 14 March 2014

Hotel Updates: Enchanted Island Resort

Welcome to Enchanted Island

Discreetly nestled on a forested island, ten ultra-luxurious villas overlook a sprawling lagoon. Their private infinity swimming pools plunge seamlessly towards the backdrop of ever-changing hues of green and blue. The nearby islets, all jagged-peaked, that emerge from the surrounding waters seem to be within touching distance. 

Though several superlatives spring to mind, secluded exclusiveness is possibly the most apt term to describe Enchanted Island, the new hotel recently opened on Round Island by JA Resorts & Hotels, a Dubai-based group. Located a stone’s throw from Victoria, just opposite uninhabited Ile Moyenne, this is a place for those who cherish tranquility and intimacy.

There’s a lot to like about the hotel’s concept. Firstly, its emphasis on small is beautiful is a refreshing departure from many of the soulless resorts increasingly common on these shores. The decision to limit the number of villas to ten was a conscious one, both out of respect for the island and the guests. On Enchanted Island, privacy is a right rather than a privilege. Secondly, Creole-style architecture has been privileged, rather than the ubiquitous “Bali fusion” style that passes for hotel design nowadays. 

Corrugated iron roofs and wooden beams give the structures an air of understated luxury, a certain je ne sais quoi that can’t really be contrived. 

Thirdly, the kitchen is run by renowned local gastronome Chef Denis Ulric who knows exactly how to blend local and imported ingredients to perfection. Each three-course a la carte dinner at Bounty, the hotel’s only restaurant, is unique.

And that’s not all. The Serena spa offers everything from massages for couples in the Adam and Eve room to Ayurveda treatment using a drop-by-drop technique meant to open the third eye. The hotel offers hand-picked excursions to the neighbouring islands complete with impeccably prepared picnics. The list goes on. But one suspects that many a guest will be happy to simply enjoy the coddled seclusion of their villa. Indeed, viewed from their wooden decks, the world appears a more benevolent place. And if that’s not enough, there’s always the Wi-Fi, cable TV and other amenities to keep them busy. “Privacy is hugely important to us. We wanted to recreate the Seychelles of 40, 50 years ago. Personalized service is also priority”, says Fredrik Reinisch, regional general manager of JA Resort & Hotels.

View of Round Island
Given that the hotel can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests (for a staff of 60 - half of whom are Seychellois), privacy and service are in fact “guaranteed”. The former quality in particular has apparently attracted the attention “the celebrity market”. As its first venture outside of the United Arab Emirates, JA Resorts & Hotels has invested a lot of effort in the project. Just building the hotel was a Herculean task, one which took a full five years. Not that you’d notice, mind you, considering how effortlessly it blends into its environment.

In addition, Enchanted Island’s proximity to the airport means that guests can flop down on their beds virtually within half an hour of having landed (the boat ride from The Wharf lasts around 10 minutes).

Perhaps there’s something you should know before going there though: Enchanted Island casts a potent spell, one that will linger long after you've returned home. 

{ This article, by Nicholas Rainer, was originally published
 in the TODAY in Seychelles Newspaper ( }

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