The three island nations of the Indian Ocean – the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives – each offer a true taste of paradise, with luxury resorts, stunning hotels, perfect beaches, warm subtropical weather and rich flora, fauna and marine life. With so much to offer the traveller, the biggest challenge is working out where best to stay. Here are our own top ten picks for 2023:
Six Senses Zil Pasyon is the only resort on the idyllic Seychelles island that is aptly named Félicité. Reached by boat or helicopter, the resort offers 30 villas, each with a private infinity pool, and three larger residences, all surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. There are three perfect white sand beaches, a swimming pool, spa and fitness centre, and six distinctive dining venues offering the finest, diverse Seychellois cuisine. You can enjoy a wide range of unforgettable experiences from island-hopping tours to kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkelling, which offers the chance to swim with turtles around Félicité’s coral reefs, rich in both colour and marine life. Located outside the cyclone belt, this is an island enjoying almost perpetual summer and a resort that combines seclusion and luxury to provide the perfect conditions for total relaxation.
One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives is a luxury resort offering a truly exceptional level of style, sophistication and privacy, on a private island with no fewer than 12 picture-postcard beaches and three stunning swimming pools. Choose between a stunningly appointed beach villa secluded by lush tropical greenery, or a water villa on stilts above the clear, warm waters of the lagoon. There are six world class restaurants, each focusing on a different cuisine, two bars, tennis and padel courts, and a sea-facing One&Only Spa offering a range of tailored wellness experiences. Offshore you can enjoy adventures both on and under the water, including kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Soneva Jani on the Maldives’ beautiful Noonu Atoll has 51 stunning over-water villas, all with private pools, waterslides into the lagoon and retractable roofs over their master bedrooms, plus three Island Reserves beach villas with private pools and extensive indoor and outdoor living space. This low-density resort is great for kids, with one of the largest children’s play areas in South Asia in The Den. There are eight different dining areas, offering a wide range of pan-Asian, plant-based, international and local cuisines, with The Crab Shack having been voted the World’s Most Romantic Restaurant on CNN.com. Play tennis or padel, relax and unwind in the Soneva Soul wellness complex, enjoy a wide range of watersports, plant corals or watch sea turtles with the resort’s resident marine biologist, explore the reefs with experienced divers or take a sunset cruise to spot dolphins – there is a truly amazing range of experiences on offer.
One&Only Le Saint Géran on Mauritius is a truly legendary luxury hotel, nestling among the coconut palms, immaculate gardens and silver sands of its own private peninsula. Its rooms, suites and one villa all offer private terraces or balconies with stunning ocean or lagoon views, and there is an eclectic choice of dining experiences at six distinctive restaurants. There is a world-class One&Only Spa and a state-of-the-art fitness centre, three swimming pools, tennis courts, KidsOnly daycare and entertainment programmes for the little ones, and the opportunity to enjoy a huge range of experiences from guided hiking tours to water-skiing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, big game fishing, yacht charters and helicopter excursions.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives offers 119 reef, beach and overwater villas across three islands, including the private island of Ithaafushi. Each villa is set in its own private enclave with a pool and ocean views. There are no fewer than 11 celebrated speciality food and drink venues, ranging from outdoor eating spots overlooking the pristine beaches to more formal restaurants with breathtaking views. The lifestyle spa and wellness refuge includes the Maldives’ first Aqua Wellness Centre and is complemented by a Wellness Concierge service offering a range of personalised treatments and guided fitness and health experiences. Explore the crystal clear waters of the reef in a glass-bottomed boat or get up close to the vibrant underwater wildlife by snorkelling or scuba diving. Parasailing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, fishing trips, sandbank excursions and private sunset cruises are among the wide range of other activities you can choose from.
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives is an innovative island sanctuary in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where you can choose between chic beach or over-water villas, all artfully designed to maximise privacy and seclusion. Spectacular white sandbars frame dazzling lagoons teeming with marine life, including the world’s largest population of manta rays, making this a truly exceptional resort for snorkelling and scuba diving. An innovative marine conservation centre provides insights into coral reef protection and turtle rehabilitation. Onshore, there are four swimming pools, four excellent restaurants and a kids’ club, while the AyurMa health club draws on the four pillars of Ayurveda, yoga therapy, personal wellness and planetary wellbeing, with a multi-award-winning team of naturopaths and therapists.
LUX* Grand Baie in Mauritius is a sophisticated, modernist five-star beachfront hotel with a lively vibe on a sheltered lagoon in the north of the island, with 116 suites, villas and residences fashioned by the interior designer Kelly Hoppen. There are three restaurants and five bars, with the range of exciting dining options includes the Bisou rooftop restaurant offering stunning views over the lagoon. There is also a cutting-edge wellness and fitness offering including the first outdoor wellness rooftop experience, with two Olympic standard running tracks and 12 workout stations, along with hydrothermal baths, spa treatments and beauty services. There are for swimming pools, clubs for kids and teens, and a range of watersports on offer including kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, water-skiing and snorkelling.
Six Senses Laamu is the only resort on the remote Laamu Atoll in the southern Maldives, offering 96 spacious beachfront, over-water and private pool villas, all carefully designed to harmonise with the outstanding natural beauty of the island. There is a choice of six restaurants and bars, sourcing produce primarily from the resort’s own organic garden and local fishermen, and a Six Senses Spa offering a range of treatments and wellness programmes. The crystal clear waters around the resort make the snorkelling and diving experience one of the best in the Maldives, and there are facilities for many watersports including kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, water-skiing and catamaran sailing. Laamu is also one of the prime surfing spots in the Maldives thanks to the famous Yin Yang break in the atoll.
The Oberoi Beach Resort in Mauritius is a renowned five-star luxury hotel set among 20 acres of immaculate private gardens on the island’s north west coast, facing the pristine white beach of Turtle Bay. All its 71 spacious rooms, under traditional thatched roofs, boast a private terrace or walled garden and offer breathtaking views. Great dining is a particular feature of the hotel, with three distinctive restaurants offering a full range of authentic Creole and international cuisines. There are two swimming pools, an extensive spa and a free children’s club for 4-12 year-olds. While most guests choose The Oberoi for its quiet ambience and the chance to relax in luxury and style, with superb service, the hotel will be happy to organise a range of excursions that include helicopter and catamaran tours, dolphin watching and deep sea fishing
Denis Island is a completely private island eco-resort in the far north of the Seychelles covering just 375 acres and ringed by pristine white sand beaches. This is a place to really get away from it all – with no mobile phone signal or internet access – that will appeal to anyone who shares the resort’s total dedication to conservation and sustainability. On land there is the chance to encounter giant tortoises and some of the world’s rarest birds; in the surrounding lagoon you can enjoy swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding, with snorkelling taking you up-close to turtles and a rich array of tropical fish. Deepwater sport fishing offshore can also be arranged. All accommodation is in beachfront cottages and one larger villa, all with private sea-facing verandahs, while catering focuses on ultra-sustainable fresh produce grown, reared or caught on the island itself.