Back in summer of 2017, my family and I spent a month traveling in Africa, and Seychelles was our second last destination before heading home. After much city walking and safariing (apparently that’s a word) in the part of the continent that was in mid-winter, a beach vacation was quite frankly vital to maintaining sanity within our family. For those of you who don’t know much about Seychelles, it’s an archipelago of 115 islands situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. Only ~4.7°C south of the equator, you’ll find fantastic tropical weather all year round.
We had the pleasure of staying seven nights in this country: one night on the main island of Mahé and six nights on Silhouette Island, home to the Hilton Labriz resort. Just like most island destinations, you need to take a boat to island hop, and so after our first night on Mahé, we were driven to Bel Ombre Jetty where we caught the yacht. Note that the there are three separate departure times inbound and outbound, and that there is a transfer fee for getting to and from Silhouette Island. Reservations must be made through Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa to reach the island.
The one thing I love about arriving to an island resort is the warm welcome you get from the many staff members awaiting to help you off the boat and to greet you with refreshments. As soon as you step off the boat and into the luxurious dock reception, you know you’ll be treated with the best service a place can give you. After checking in, a golf buggy awaited us with our luggage to take us to our villa.
Our villa was grand with high vaulted ceilings. We were ecstatic about having a beachfront villa that allowed us to walk right out onto the beach from our deck. The villa features a king-size bed, a sofa, a desk and a minibar. The bathroom is one of the most gorgeous and memorable I’ve ever had as an en-suite. As soon as you slide open the doors, you’re greeted with a freestanding tub with massive windows and a door to your outdoor shower. I absolutely love having the option to shower outdoors, indoors, or just soaking in a bath in a grand bathroom. On each side of the bathroom are His & Hers vanities so you have two mirrors facing each other, making the bathroom look even grander.
The beach was perfect: crystal-clear water and fine white sand. I spent most of my days here walking along the long stretch of beach, seeing all the deluxe beachfront villas and their plunge pools, and picturing me and Jason some day booking one of them. The beach has areas with these massive, smooth rocks that look so pristine they looked like they were placed there for a movie set. My brother and I enjoyed climbing the boulders because some of them are so flat you could lie down on them. If you’re heading to the water, you could pick up some snorkeling gear through reception and set off to the coral areas. But during our stay the tide was quite low, so my mom and I would wade in the clear water until our skin pruned.
Although we didn’t spot many fish, my mom and I occasionally saw some smooth stingrays burrow in the sand and come out into the water. It definitely brought us back to Bora Bora days when some of them would graze our legs as they swam.
Silhouette Island was once owned by the Dauban family, a prosperous family who were responsible for the extensive plantation and environmental upkeep of the island until 1960. On the resort property, you’ll find pieces of history that were maintained for the heritage of the Dauban Family. Namely, the Grann Kaz restaurant is the Dauban plantation mansion house restored. Here they serve fine dining French Creole cuisine and part of the building is kept as a museum. Café Dauban is the main buffet restaurant and serves a full breakfast and dinner. The buffet themes change on a weekly basis and you’ll get to enjoy different cuisines prominent in Seychelles depending on your stay period.
When we were here, we spent every breakfast at Café Dauban, some lunches or dinners at the Brizan Bar and we had two fine dining experiences: one at the famous Grann Kaz and a modern Italian meal at Portobello. The food at Portobello was delicious and beautifully set, but the restaurant that takes the cake is Grann Kaz. It was amazing to be seated on the outdoor patio of this beautiful and historic house, and enjoying an authentic Creole meal that I’ve never had the luxury of tasting before.
The thing to note is that all the fine dining restaurants have limited space and require a reservation made ahead of time. On the days we had a late and massive buffet breakfast, an evening meal at the Brizan Bar was all we needed. But if I go back to Seychelles Hilton Labriz, I’d love to try their Japanese cooking at Sakura and Teppanyaki, two of their other fine dining restaurants. The 4th Degree beach restaurant and bar is also the perfect setting for a casual and lively dinner where you can enjoy the ocean breeze, sunset and the soaking of your toes in the sand.
Sakura (left) and Teppanyaki (right)
4th Degree Beach Bar
What truly amazed me about this resort is how dedicated it is to being environmentally-friendly and self-sustaining. Hilton Labriz is so unique in the sense that it aims to import very little in food and harvests its own produce. They grow 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables in their garden in a non-pesticide environment. Each week, 10 kg of produce is grown in their aquaponics and all organic waste is composted. Also, 95% of the resort’s seafood is caught by local fishermen if not grown in their aquaponics.*
Not only are they a self-sustaining property when it comes to food, but they manage to conserve a great deal by limiting waste in plastic and energy. Their established water filter system allows them to collect fresh water from the island’s waterfall and fill up glass bottles for the resort rather, than importing plastic bottles.* You can learn more about their sustainability initiatives by clicking the link below!
Did you also know that 93% of Silhouette Island, the third largest island of the archipelago, is protected as a National Park? Even when you’re within the other 7% of the land, walking around the village of La Passe and the Hilton resort, you feel like you’re fully immersed in the rain forest with sparse human footprints to be seen.
What To Do on the Island
My family and I enjoyed light hikes around La Passe. We ventured out to Pointe Ramasse Tout and Pointe Zeng Zeng, which are beach lookouts on the east side of the island. Silhouette Island is so rich in vegetation and is so untouched by humans, that it’s almost impossible to not see an abundance of wildlife. I had to be so careful not to walk on little hermit crabs and sea snails through the forest and on the beach.
On our boat ride back to Mahé on our last day, we met a family from Liechtenstein who did a lot more in activities while on the island. Sandy, the daughter, told me about their guided day-long trek through the rain forest. Their guide pretty much had to machete their way through the jungle because of how overgrown the plants are in this protected park. After she told me this, climbing Mount Dauban through the dense rain forest went straight on my bucket list for when I come back to the island.
The resort also has all the necessary amenities that you may need during your stay. A gorgeous infinity pool is situated behind Café Dauban leading to the beach. There are outdoor sports activities you could utilize like the tennis court (with coach), scheduled beach yoga, bike rentals and other fun playgrounds for kids. A treatment at Eforea Spa is the perfect item to complete your week-long island vacation at Labriz. You can book a cooking class at Grann Kaz to learn the the style of Creole cuisine. And you can even set up a diving excursion with PADI 5-star Diving Centre and get to experience swimming with turtles, dolphins, sharks, rays and many, many fish. You might be lucky and spot some whale sharks! Even walking along the paths of the resort property was an excursion in and of itself. The four of us even spotted a giant tortoise while we were here!
Seychelles Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa is in my top three island vacation destinations, and I would 100% go back and do more of the available activities and hiking on the island. It’s the perfect destination for people who love sea excursions and witnessing ocean wildlife, nature hikes in the jungle, visiting historical heritage sites, or meeting friendly locals going about their day. It’s the perfect romantic getaway for honeymooners, and the ultimate retreat for families with young kids. It’s one of the top resorts for people who are crazy for caring for the environment and who want to immerse themselves in a place that cares too. The staff is exquisite, the food is fresh, and the location is remarkable. Honestly, 10/10 I would go back to Hilton Labriz and bring Jason with me this time!
Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored by the mentioned brand and it is strictly a review of my experience. Please note that changes may have been made since my stay at the resort. All photos are owned by the Hilton with all rights reserved. © 2019 Hilton.