While this remote 115 island nation off the coast of Africa is known for its narrow, winding hilltop roads, Desroches Island is a dreamy departure. The largest in Seychelles’ Amirante Islands, it channels the Maldives with its entirely flat layout and private Four Seasons resort.
Opened in 2018, the Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island surrounds one of the world’s smallest airstrips, welcoming private planes and local outfitters for the 35-minute scenic flight from Seychelles International Airport in Mahé.
From Safari to Sand
When we skidded onto the runway, the staff was standing nearby, windblown but waving. A buggy promptly shuttled my father and me to our Two-Bedroom Presidential Villa, one of 71 villas, suites and residences on the island. As part of the Safari & Islands Collection, we came from the plains of the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti to the sands of Four Seasons Desroches.
With private beach access from every villa, we quickly made our way out onto the soft silica to dip our toes in the rolling waves. After a quick swim, the swinging hammock and a new book from the resort’s library collection came calling.
Rustic Chic Personified
With rumbling stomachs, we rode our villa bicycles to the island’s main restaurant, Claudine, for a light lunch of locally-caught red snapper ceviche. As our forks hit the plates, black clouds started to brew. A storm front in Mauritius caused volatile weather in Seychelles but spending time lounging in the villa was no hardship.
Rustic in design, each thatched-roof villa has a combination of mosaic tiles and Dabema wood throughout. Thoughtful touches from woven art inspired by the island’s African culture to door handles inspired by tree branches decorate the rooms.
Black and white Aztec-style rugs are laid on Dabema wood floors with black matte finishings throughout the bathroom. Pops of pink in the decor and green leafy palms add fun and a touch of whimsy to the space.
But it’s the outdoor areas that beckon. There are plush, covered cabanas alongside plunge pools, lounge chairs and umbrellas in front of your private piece of sand. Some villas even have a spiral staircase with a viewing area ideal for catching the sunset.
You’re on Island Time
When the beach weather turned from bad to worse, we hopped on bikes for an island ride through the lush jungle roads. While the humidity got the best of us, we stopped at Madame Zabre beach, one of the island’s premier snorkeling destinations. The resort has two cabanas set up with self-service lounge chairs, ice-cold water and a bathroom on the sand.
We rode on to one of the island’s most exciting areas, the Tortoise Sanctuary. Here, hundreds of baby and fully-grown Aldabra tortoises are protected by the Island Conservation Society. Every Monday and Wednesday, guests can partake in an afternoon feeding of these gentle creatures led by a member of the environmental group.
Soothing Ocean Sounds
What do you do on a tropical island when it’s raining? The spa holds the answers. As the drops started to fall, Berto led me in a calming Sound Healing Therapy session. The gentle singing of his Tibetan bowls combined with the patter of rain on the window and the fierce crashing of waves on the nearby beach had me nodding off within minutes.
The lull from the ocean continues during my Sound of The Waves massage. Using eggs filled with warm local baobab seeds, my Seychellois practitioner gently moved them up and down my limbs, mimicking the movement of the waves.
Known for its freshly caught octopus, red snapper and world-class fly-fishing, there’s no shortage of seafood in Seychelles.
As the storm started to calm, the Lighthouse illuminated. A favorite among guests, the first floor is a grill and raw bar restaurant. It has a spiral staircase leading up to the top and a second-floor lounge area for pre-dinner, sunset cocktails.
Inside catch-of-the-day sashimi and crispy tuna nigiri are a go-to. My dad opted for the melt-in-your-mouth black cod dish, while I deviated from the shellfish theme and ordered a dry-aged Galicia striploin with a side of mashed sweet potato made with organic coconut oil and macadamia nuts.
Here Comes the Sun
The following morning, after a sprawling buffet of fresh tropical fruits, homemade coconut yogurt and French toast topped with crispy bacon, the sun appeared.
Suddenly the beaches turned a blinding white, the ocean a light emerald green, and hours later, my skin a bright lobster red. Strolling down the beach, past stranded driftwood and shuffling hermit crabs, the palm trees undulated like the waves.
In all its illuminated glory, it was easy to see why people crave the beauty and simplicity of this barefoot castaway private island.