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Paradise Found

North Island

North Island is not a hotel but life as it should be lived. Mona Farrugia and The Writer land on its helipad to check why and send love notes from the Seychelles’ most treasured island

 
North Island
North Island
North Island
North Island
North Island
North Island
North Island
North Island
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A helipad is, in the case of North Island, an empty space submerged in swinging palm trees, surrounded by turquoise waters and sand so white and fine it trickles through the hand like castor sugar. Yet, as we made our airborne way around it on the Helicopter Seychelles aircraft, with the pilot pointing out Honeymoon Beach right below, I could see it was much more than that.  We hadn’t even landed and I was already smitten.

Next to the clearance where the heli would kick up some sand and gravel, I could see Fred waiting, standing next to a row of golf carts. Of course, I had no idea he was called Fred at the time, or that he was South African. I did not know that for my few days on this mythical, yet all too real island, Fred would be our 24-hour butler, catering to my every whim, from ice-creams on the ‘secret’ beach we would have to ourselves at 10.00 am to fresh-fruit and indigenous cocktails next our personal pool at 10.00 pm. I had no idea of anything, but nothing mattered.

Fred jumped in the golf cart and drove us to the ‘reception area’, a couple of words pulled from the normal hotel-speak but which here verge on interiors magazine territory. Or rather, exteriors. The supporting ‘columns’ are reclaimed trunks, upturned, roofed over with thatching created by craftsmen from the area, and bedecked with massive sofa-like loungers whose upholstery material was specifically chosen to resemble faded coral and turquoise stone well before the sun had had its way.

There is no check-in procedure at North Island; no boring papers and stuff to sign. All of that is over and done with via e-mail before you have even left home. So they knew our tastes, what kind of holiday we were looking for, and what we wanted to eat. Or not eat.

Fred drove us to Villa number 3 and handed over the keys, making it clear without even saying that he knew we were on honeymoon and he wasn't going to disturb us. 'Keys' are just a manner of speech really, because there are no keys here either, and if we wanted not to be disturbed, all we had to do was swing the rope from one side to the other of the timber bridge. I had a golf cart to myself - excellent for exploring the forest and just the thing if you do not want to run over the turtles - and a mountain bike.

We only used the latter once when we got spectacularly tipsy on the all-inclusive champagne and darted around the turf like kids whose school-term had just finished.

The Villa itself simply takes your breath away. A cliché, but what a cliché when it becomes real. Hewn from all-natural and reclaimed materials, each room is bigger than most people’s apartments. The ‘living’ room is a lounging space facing the sea, and the ‘dining table’ was once a huge tree trunk. The chairs, on the other hand, are super-contemporary, ergonomic resin.

The bedroom is the stuff of white linen-lined dreams, although for most honeymooners, sleeping is the last thing they have on their minds. Food is on-demand at whatever minute you decide to have it, wherever you are. The kitchen comes bedecked with Porsche Siemens appliances and your favourite tipples and snacks.

The bathroom is even bigger than the bedroom, and complete with outside shower and a towelling-sheeted couch just in case a midnight, rose petal-strewn, candle-lit bath after a day of snorkelling and doing sweet nothing but smearing suntan cream leaves you too whacked to walk to your massive bed. Fred would run our bath, leave chocolate truffles and champagne within our grasp then disappear like the excellent butler he is. You know a hotel member of staff has been spectacularly good when, years later, he is the 'thing' you remember most from your stay.

The hotel business is there to stir our imagination and give us a glimpse into how the other half lives. Mostly, it ends up providing a space which could be anywhere in the world; somewhere to eye up the television and the expensively-stocked mini bar and sleep; and nothing else while bruising our credit cards as much as possible. North Island is not a hotel: it is life as it should be lived. Small wonder that the next time we were on the heli-pad, tears of sadness were streaming down my face.

 

 

The only way to get around the islands is by helicopter and www.helicopterseychelles.com do it with style and in very modern helis.

 

Wilderness Safaris run some of the most beautiful lodges in South Africa. Their website is inspirational, beautifully shot, and can sometimes be frustratingly confusing. http://www.wilderness-safaris.com

 

Royal Travel  of Iklin http://www.royaltravel.com.mt represent North Island in Malta. Make your life easier and book through them.

 

A variant of this article was originally published in Cool Rooms, the series of hotel reviews published in FM, the Sunday Times' fashion glossy: www.fmlifestyle.com


Additional Information

Location

Address North Island, Seychelles
Country Seychelles

Additional Information

Hotel Star Rating 5 star

Contact Details

Website http://www.north-island.com

Map

 

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Mona Farrugia
July 22, 2010
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Last updated: July 25, 2010
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