BANYAN TREE SEYCHELLES OFFERS A MELTING POT OF CULTURAL SURPRISES
Mahé, Seychelles, March 2012: Situated on Intendance Bay along the southwest coastline of Mahé, Banyan Tree Seychelles is an idyllic retreat from which to delve into the colourful traditions and legacy of authentic Creole culture.
The Seychelles archipelago’s 115 granite and coral islands lie spread over one million square kilometres of tranquil waters. Guests at Banyan Tree Seychelles can arrange day tripsonboard Banyan Lagoon I, a luxurious 47-foot catamaran equipped with modern amenities, to nearby destinations including the Sister & Coco Islands, second-largest island Praslin and fourth-largest La Digue for a true Seychellois experience. These floating gems boast serene desert island beaches, ideal waters for snorkelling and indulgent Creole cooking served right on the sand.
Day trips can also be arranged to the nearest UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vallée de Mai, an expansive area of palm forest which has changed little since prehistoric times and was once regarded as the Garden of Eden. This nature reserve is home to the Coco de Mer nut, the renowned palm tree unique to the Seychelles and known for its mythological properties. Also found at the Vallée de Mai is the country’s national bird, the Black Parrot, which has a distinctive whistling call that can be heard echoing throughout the valley.
Other attractions include museums, historical monuments, boutiques and local village markets. Fans of history will enjoy the Sans Souci Tea Factory, the National Culture Centre & Library with its many archives and the National History Museum. For anyone interested in nature and the environment, the orchids at the Botanical Gardens, the giant Baobab tree at the Eco Museum and the Praslin Ocean Farm housing stone fish, sharks and over 40,000 giant clams are must-see’s.
Visitors can browse for locally handmade gifts at the Craft Village of Anse aux Pins, pick up exotic spices at Sir Selwyn Clark Market, and the Boutique and Black Pearl of Seychelles is the place to buy coveted pearls in a range of unique colours.
The undulating landscape of the Seychelles combined with oversized granite rocks, jungle foliation and tropical flowers gives the impression of a prehistoric land that never fails to amaze. Banyan Tree Seychelles offers several guided walks through this terrain ranging from ‘easy’ to ‘tough’ depending on fitness levels. Visit the Morne Seychellois National Park to see the carnivorous pitcher plants or Beau Vallon Bay, home to the rare Seychelles Scops Owls.
A visit to the Seychelles is not complete without a trip to the Takamaka Bay rum distillery, situated at La Plaine St. Andre, an old colonial homestead on the south east cost of Mahé. It was built over 200 years ago and recently sympathetically renovated to showcase its natural heritage, with an extensive medicinal herb garden and a charming café under the shade of a Billenbi tree, where guests can sip the famous local rum or enjoy a cup of tea.
Commanding a majestic view of the Indian Ocean, Banyan Tree’s 60 luxurious Victorian-style villas with sprawling verandas are nestled in the hilly terrain and scenic beachfront of this tropical paradise. Every villa is luxuriously equipped with its own private swimming pool, pavilion and king-sized bed. Guests have a choice of staying in a Hillside Pool Villa, Beachfront Spa Pool Villa, Pool Villa By-The-Rocks, Intendance Pool Villas and Two Bedroom DoublePool Villas. To showcase the Seychelles' heritage, soft furnishings have been sourced from local craftsmen and artists from the vicinity were commissioned to produce paintings based on the island’s legendary Coco de Mer nut.
As the pioneer of the tropical garden concept, Banyan Tree Spa focuses on the ‘high-touch, low-tech’ approach that celebrates human touch and the use of natural ingredients. Indulge in an exotic menu of spa treatments under the skilful hands of the Group’s formally trained therapists. Signature treatments include the Rainmist experience which combines a rain shower with a body scrub using local fruits such as banana and star fruit followed by a massage.