Monday, 23 April 2018

Hotel Updates: Indian Ocean Lodge

The Ritualistic Travelers 

They’ve been thanked, wined and dined, even honoured with gifts of state. So after 33 years, what keeps German couple Herbert and Corinna Pietsch coming back to the Seychelles?

One thing you’ll never hear between Herbert and Corinna Pietsch: “Remember that time we went to Seychelles?”

That kind of conversation would need to get a lot more specific: Herbert first visited the archipelago in 1983 and has returned almost every year, and after marrying his wife Corinna in 1996, she’s been accompanying him ever since.

That’s a ton of flight miles, hotel nights adding up to years, and probably a great deal of breadfruit – local island legend holds that when a visitor eats breadfruit in Seychelles, they are destined to return.

The couple has now boiled down to a science their yearly (if not more) holidays to Seychelles, so much so that they speak about the segments of their stay in percentages.

“Our habit now is to stay on Praslin for approximately 40-50 percent of our vacation, on Bird for 30-40 percent, and 10-20 percent on Mahé,” Herbert says, “and that’s for three or four weeks usually once a year.”

That isn’t to say they don’t mix it up every once in a while. Throughout more than 30 years of visiting Seychelles, Herbert has stayed on La Digue, Denis, Desroches and Fregate, as well as visiting Aride, Curieuse, Cousin, the Sisters, North, Ste Anne and Therese Island. And they also have plans to add Silhouette to the list within the next two or three years, and perhaps even a visit to the famed Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO world heritage site.

But as far as “typical” trips to Seychelles go, the Pietschs prefer the seclusion of Bird Island, along with the laid-back atmosphere of Praslin’s Indian Ocean Lodge, to which they’ve been returning for decades.

“It’s such a nice, small hotel with a touch of the Creole spirit, as well as a long and calm beach (Grand Anse), friendly staff and good management, and excellent food,” Herbert says. “It’s good value for money.”

After being recognised by the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism for their continued loyalty to Seychelles, and having been bestowed with one of the country’s rare and iconic Coco de Mer nuts, the Pietschs remain as fixated with Seychelles as they’ve ever been.

Upon Corinna’s retirement in several years, they envision spending a good two to three months in Seychelles to escape the European winter, although they might still need to work out the math as far as where to spend all that time.

But with a continued fondness for authentic Creole curries and the local SeyBrew beer, and a wealth of friendships that developed within Seychelles only to expand across continents, the question with the Pietschs seems to always be when, and never if.

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