Best Private Islands: Seychelles' Frégate Island

This island was a paradise before the Frégate Island Private resort was built -- and it still is. Few islands, private or otherwise, do a better job of providing world-class luxury to their guests while preserving the natural environment. Reserved sanctuary areas on the island help boost populations of rare magpie robins and terrapins. That love of nature carries over to the Rock Spa, run by what locals call a madam dibwa, "fairy of the forest." All treatments are drawn from the fruits and vegetables grown organically on Frégate. While you could actually eat any of those treatments, better to try the Seychelles creole dishes at the Plantation Restaurant. The beauty of it all is barely interrupted by 16 villas, each with a swimming pool measuring from 33 to 60 feet in length. It's an ideal way to soak your body while soaking up paradise. See photos. Here is further insight from the Frégate Island Private managers: What do U.S. travelers seem to enjoy most about Fregate? They love the luxury, the privacy, and the "oneness" with nature. View Larger Map
Which of Fregate's offerings do you think best celebrates the authentic island culture? The Spa is run by Bernadette Chang Ty Seng who is a "Madam Dibwa" (a Sechelloise word meaning Fairy of the Forest). Dibwa's use generations old knowledge of local herbs and plants for healing and well being. Much of this well-being lore is used in the spa treatments. No product line is used in the spa anymore -- all treatments are freshly made from the organically grown produce of Fregate Island. Everything is fresh and pure and technically you can eat the treatments that are put on your body or hair (but then who would want to!). The Plantation Restaurant serves authentic Seychelles creole cuisine exclusively. The Fregate Restaurant serves more traditional European food so there is a variety of cuisines. The Plantation is open year round now. The whole island celebrates the nature and flora and fauna of the Seychelles. Frégate is one of the most important sanctuaries for rare endemic and indigenous species, setting an inspiring example for others to follow with conservation projects that have yielded dramatic results: the Seychelles Magpie Robin, still the world's seventh rarest bird, has been rejuvenated from a global population of just 22 -- all on Frégate Island -- in 1995 to over 180 today, including a family of 16 recently translocated to neighbouring Denis Island; the Seychelles Whiteye population is up from 31 in 1995 to over 100 today; and the critically endangered Seychelles terrapin has been nurtured back from just eight individuals to over 100 today. What makes Fregate unique among all the world's private-island resorts? Its beautiful and private and likely no other private island resort in the world has done as much to restore their island to the natural paradise it once was in terms of flora and fauna. Every accommodation has a huge private pool together with a butler assigned exclusively to them 24 hours a day. Are there any new amenities, accommodations, travel specials or other features planned for 2009? All the villas now have swimming pools rather than jacuzzis. The swimming pools are slightly different sizes but none smaller that 33ft long -- so not plunge pools. Largest pool is 60 ft long. In December, 2 of the villas were converted into two-bedroom suites which are perfect for families or couples traveling together. A tree house has been erected in a Banyan Tree. It's 60 ft up the tree. Couples can opt to have their breakfast/lunch/dinner served up there by their butlers. It can take up to 6 people at a time if there is a family but otherwise its usually taken just by 2 people. The helicopter landing strip can now accommodate night flights and is the only resort able to do so. Fregate Island Private is working towards carbon neutrality and these are some of the things they have done over the last 18 months toward that goal. All the golf carts for guests' use are now solar powered buggies. The only electric buggies used are "back of house" staff use. Kitchen oil is recycled to run the gardening tractors. Solar energy to heat up water has been installed in all staff houses. They have planted 80,000 trees so far (they also plant 2 trees for every guest arrival). They have setup a nursery with 30,000 rare and endemic hardwood trees. Plans for 2009: Don't have too much detail but they include more measures toward carbon neutrality, a rum distillery (using organically grown sugar cane on Fregate Island), their new resident zoologist is planning together with the dive instructor some underwater "walks" for snorkelers and underwater "hikes" for scuba divers. To find out more information and book your stay, visit fregate.com. For more private islands, click here.