When it comes to luxury escapes in the Indian Ocean, look no further than the Seychelles. For while Mauritius ticks all the right boxes for families, and La Réunion will keep adventurers happy, Seychelles has nailed its colours to the mast as the most luxurious destination in Africa’s Indian Ocean waters.
And while there’s never been a shortage of choice, from boutique resorts on Praslin — home to the only golf course in Seychelles — to intimate villa escapes, 2024 sees a brand-new addition to the archipelago’s luxury landscape with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island.
Set on a private island some 140km south of Mahé — a 20-minute journey on the daily charter flight — it’s the first outing in Seychelles for the Waldorf Astoria marque, and sees 50 wonderfully private villas strung out along the shores of a secluded slip of sand.
It’s a glorious setting, with kilometres of calm lagoon, pristine palm tree forests and a private coral reef on offer. While the bustle of tourism affects many corners of the Seychelles, Platte Island is largely untouched.
“I have never witnessed an island as pristine as Platte Island, nor one so teeming with wildlife,” said Elias Pertoft, GM of Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island. And, Pertoft should know, having run eco-minded island resorts from Thailand to the Caribbean, including mogul Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island.
Platte Island is a far cry from the streets of Manhattan, where the Waldorf Astoria first made a name for offering the last word in considered luxury. Still, the sense of effortless style translates easily to this idyllic island setting where you’ll find 50 private villas strung out along the shoreline. Options range from one-to-three-bedroom villas, as well as a master five-bedroom villa.
With private pools and secluded gardens surrounding each villa, the architectural inspiration comes from the hawksbill turtles that nest on the shores nearby. With that in mind, the villas are set well back from the beach, designed with a faceted roof to allow an abundance of light and airiness indoors. Here the aesthetic takes its cue from the tropical landscape, with a palette of earthy tones and textures that reference the coral sands and coconut palms beyond the terrace. Personalised concierge service comes standard.
“The debut of Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island represents an intersection between luxury, the highest echelon of personalised service and eco-conscious travel,” explains Dino Michael, global head of Hilton Luxury Brands. “The resort is a one-of-a-kind offering that creates unparalleled experiences and exceptional service, in a setting that is truly remarkable.”
The new-build resort also taps into a growing demand for sustainable escapes. A large solar array supplies renewable energy for 95% of the resort’s needs, including a desalination plant, with an expansive island garden providing much of the island’s fresh produce.
The farm-to-table approach informs the dining experience across the resort’s six bars and restaurants. Executive head chef Jane-Therese Mulry heads up the kitchens here, blending Creole and Latin influences across an array of culinary experiences.
Waldorf Astoria’s iconic Peacock Alley lounge makes an appearance here as the Parisian-style Peacock Terrace, for light bites and afternoon cocktails, while Maison Des Epices — House of Spices — celebrates the Creole cuisine of the islands in a live-fire set-up. La Perle features a fine-dining interpretation of the flavours of the Levant and Mediterranean before guests segue into late-night cocktails at Lalin. Later in 2024, the resort will add Moulin, focusing on the island’s gardens and a menu built on the ‘soil-to-soul’ culinary concept.
And while it’ll be tempting to spend your days in a state of indulgence, it’s worth heaving yourself away from the table. Aside from strolling pristine sandy beaches, the shores of Platte Island are fringed by sandy shallows and coral reefs, offering world-class snorkelling and scuba diving. The large coral-fringed lagoon provides flat waters for kitesurfing and paddle boarding, while the seas offshore are a hotspot for game fishing.
Guests can also delve deeper into the delicate reef ecosystems, with expert marine biologists on hand to lead guided field trips across the island and intertidal zones. Beyond discovering the coral shallows, coral planting with expert guides allows travellers to play an active role in marine research and conservation.
The key to luxury travel is about layered experience. Butler service, percale sheets and memorable dining come standard, but today’s high-end traveller seeks something deeper. An immersive escape that challenges and informs, so that when it’s wheels-up from the island air strip and the charter flight turns its nose north towards Mahé, you leave the island not just rejuvenated and recharged, but inspired. You’ll find all that, and more on the most eye-catching new resort the Indian Ocean has to offer.