Arrival at North Island is a momentous occasion. The 15 minute helicopter flight from the capital Mahé carries you over pristine white beaches, swaying palm trees, turquoise ocean and the occasional pod of dolphins before landing to be greeted with charming smiles, chilled facecloths and a welcome homemade lemonade.
There are just 11 villas on North Island, each beautifully designed, extremely spacious and delightfully secluded.
If you opt for Number 5, you will stay in the villa where Prince Andrew has been a previous guest.
This villa which has two spacious bedrooms, a bathroom with sunken bath and a deck with private plunge pool, day bed and glorious sea views. Modern technology is low key – this is where you come to get away from it all after all – but there’s a TV with DVD player and it’s possible to get internet connection.
Dining on the beach
The island also has a dining room (though the ‘eat what, where and when you like’ concept is brilliant and very well organised), wine cellar, gym, library, spa and excellent PADI centre with very proficient, confidence-inspiring instructors. Sea visibility is good and it’s possible to see a variety of sea life including turtles and small sharks.
Though you are perfectly welcome to spend the evenings in your villa, with your butler organising a private dinner, guests tend to congregate for cocktails on the beach next to the dining room as the sun goes down.
Commitment to conservation
The island owners have a strong commitment to conservation, evident in the ‘Noah’s Ark’ concept which has re-introduced indigenous flora and fauna to the island, including tortoises, turtles and various bird species.
You will see baby turtles slowly making their way down the beach before swimming furiously into the ocean.
One day those turtle will return to the exact same spot where they were born, as they all do, to lay its own eggs.
The term ‘idyllic’ tends to be over-used but is well deserved on North Island. The beautiful beaches, the charming staff (Zimbabwean butler, Brighton, being particularly worthy of mention!) and the culture of the island makes this a place you long to return to.