Banyan Tree Seychelles is set on the stunning Anse Intendance beach in the south of Mahe.
Banyan Tree Seychelles: Our full report
From being whisked by 'club car' (electric golf buggy) through aged Takamaka trees and palms on arrival, to sipping ice-tea on the stylish Plantation House veranda over check-in, and opening the door to your lavish villa, Banyan Tree Seychelles delivers the polished, professional service and stylish surroundings for which its rightly famous, from the moment its entrance barrier is raised.
With 60 villas, Banyan Tree Seychelles is not on paper an intimate property, yet the sheer space the occupied by the resort and the dense vegetation between rooms does lend a feeling of personal privacy and exclusivity.
Tucked at the end of a road on the beautiful sandy beach of Anse Intendance, Banyan Tree's architecture varies from the formal, colonial-style Plantation House of the main building, with its whitewashed verandas overlooking the turquoise sea and its plush interior furniture; to the modernist glass treatment rooms of the spa and the contemporary, Asian-influenced villa décor. Each aspect of the resort, however, is well-appointed, imaginatively designed and constructed with quality materials.
The 60 villas at Banyan Tree Seychelles split into various categories and are scattered amongst the cool natural wetlands and the steep, rocky jungle towards the signature spa. The categories vary by choice of location and an array of extra spaces and features.
Regardless of the room class, every villa has similarly styled interiors: pitched ceilings for height, dark timber contemporary furniture, comfortable beds with crisp white linen and silk throws, cool ivory marble floors, powerful showers, and wide, shady verandas. Finishing touches throughout show thoughtfulness and taste: aromatic incense on arrival, seating in the sapphire infinity pools, leaves embossed in outside stairs, and an assortment of games and magazines for quiet entertainment.
Every villa also includes as standard: twin vanity units, bathrobes, a hairdryer, coffee/tea making facilities, a mini-bar, IDD telephone, satellite television, digital safe, air-conditioning, ceiling fans and both wireless and hard-wired internet access. There is a private swimming pool in every villa; with some of the top categories boasting two pools and a Jacuzzi.
The rooms are divided into the following categories:
The resort's most luxurious villa is its Presidential Villa. Set on a private cove, this exclusive haven offers lavish ocean-front accommodation and the space to relax with and entertain family and friends. The beautiful bedroom aside, the curved infinity pool set within the granite boulders and idyllic setting of the terrace are enough to make you never want to leave this villa. For families, the adjoining Hillside Pool Villa can be connected with this villa to create a huge two-bedroom complex.
Two-Bedroom Double Pool Villa
Not the most romantic title for this villa, but descriptive. Located just a few paces form the powder-sand beach, this villa has two spacious, en-suite master bedrooms, as well as two private pools, two open-air dining areas, a Jacuzzi and a 24-hour butler.
Intendance Pool Villa
Tucked high up in the boulder strewn jungle above the Plantation House, the five Intendance Pool Villas peer down on the sparkling waters of Anse Intendance from their hillside setting. Romantic hideaways, these villas with their en-suite master bedrooms sunken baths, shaded pavilions and Jacuzzi decks, are spread out amid the forest. With both private Jacuzzis and good sized swimming pools, the distance to the sea need not be a problem in the heat of the day. One of these villas also has a massage pavilion for decadent in-villa treatments.
Pool Villa by the Rocks
Styled as a clapboard colonial hideaway, The Pool Villa By-the-Rocks offers superb ocean views from its bedroom, terrace and linear infinity pool. There's a Jacuzzi and double sunbed for enjoying both the startling sea spray on the boulders by day and the colourful sunsets at dusk. If being close to the sea is important to you, but you don't necessarily require beach access, this is a lovely haven.
Beachfront Spa Pool Villa
As the room category suggests, these one-bedroom villas are right above Anse Intendance beach. With a small garden, lovely swimming pool, small colonnaded spa pavilion, steam room and Jacuzzi, they offer huge potential for sea and spa aficionados. There is a stunning, understated master bedroom and even a king-size lounger for those who cannot be parted.
Hillside Pool Villa
The Hillside Pool Villas are unsurprisingly high up on the coastal cliff-face. With a relatively small, but very lovely, square master bedroom and an e-suite complete with sunken bath and glass wall overlooking the tree canopy, accommodation is more modest than some of the more costly villas, but it still comes complete with a quite lovely private terrace and a sparkling infinity pool from where the sea can be spotted through the palms.
Relatively recently, Banyan Tree Seychelles added a 47-foot catamaran, the Banyan Tree Explorer, to the resort's acommodation options. Staffed by a personal host and skipper, it offers accommodation for four people in luxury cabins, along with a spacious main salon. A real life on the ocean wave experience…
Back ashore, there's a selection of fine-dining and casual restaurants available, with European, Asian and Seychellois cuisine well represented, and a fabulous selection of private dining options. For us, food is a highlight of a stay at Banyan Tree.
Perhaps better known are the resort's wellbeing credentials, having gained international media recognition for its spa. Banyan Tree Seychelles currently boasts eight treatment rooms which nestle between the granite glacis and indigenous trees on the hillside. These individual glass and open-sided hideaways allow you to enjoy sea-views and bird song during massage, scrubs, wraps and beauty treatments. The staff are all extremely professional, well-trained Thai therapists, the products all Banyan Tree's own-brand signature oils and the treatment menu is suitably extensive and exotically-themed. The spa is open daily from 9am-10pm and booking is essential.
Largely as a result of guests' tendency to remain in the comfort of their private villas, and the success of the spa, there are not reams of activities on offer at Banyan Tree. There is a small on-site watersports centre for the usual selection of non-motorised activities, and charter boats are available for deep-sea fishing and gentle sailing. For divers, scuba diving can be arranged using a nearby PADI centre, whilst for those keen to get into the sea at the resort, the water is at its calmest from December to April.
It is important to be aware that there are often strong currents underwater along Anse Intendance and whilst this makes surfing terrific fun for the experienced, it can prove dangerous for swimmers. Water conditions are clearly marked by coloured flags at Banyan Tree (green - good, yellow - for strong swimmers only; red - do not swim) and must be adhered to.
Our viewThe Banyan Tree makes a perfect spot for couples looking for a peaceful and relaxing retreat from the stresses of the outside world. With its top-class spa and tropical setting you should come away feeling extremely refreshed.
Ideal length of stay: 3-5 nights
Directions: Located on the south-west coast, Banyan Tree is 30 minutes by car from Mahé International Airport and 50 minutes from the capital, Victoria.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: There are three restaurants, two bars and countless private dining options available to guests at Banyan Tree Seychelles. Each offers a different cuisine and style, yet the food and drink quality remains consistently excellent here.
Au Jardin d'Epices
(Open: Breakfast 7-11.30am; Lunch 12.30-5pm; Dinner 7-10pm)
Below the main reception area of the central building, Au Jardin d'Epices is a terrific casual, all-day restaurant offering both buffet and a la carte menus. Its concertina glass wall allows for a completely open, ocean-facing vista during the day, whilst the slate and stone interiors, complete with whirring fans and interesting artwork, make it just as pleasant a rainy day retreat.
Extensive buffet breakfasts are available here in the mornings; a selection of tasty snacks, sandwiches, salads and light meals for lunch, and some more indulgent dinner. The menu boasts made-to-order dishes originating from Europe to Africa, including a great daily specials board, and its laid-back vibe make it suitable for relaxed dining at any time.
(Open Mon-Sat; Dinner only 7-10pm)
Set an immaculate ivory deck overlooking the hotel's natural wetland area, the chocolate and lime colouring of Chez Lamar's decor is strikingly attractive. Here, the specialist Creole menu gives you the opportunity to taste gourmet Seychellois' cuisine. Spicy and exotic in its flavourings, this is a good place for anyone keen to sample the country's food in smart surroundings.
(Open: Dinner only 7-10pm)
Rich red walls, burnished orange table runners and immaculately attired staff great you on arrival at Saffron. This is the flagship, fine-dining restaurant at Banyan Tree, and deservedly so for its authentic south-east Asian cuisine. Set in a cubist building alongside the Plantation House, the restaurant is open for dinner only and it is recommended that you book in advance. Wander by and study the menus displayed on the lectern during the day if further temptation is needed.
From sunset cocktails to after-dinner cognacs, and lunch time Thai finger-food to late-night pizzas, La Varangue is the hotel's main lounge bar. Located in the main Plantation House, with great deck views, this is a very pleasant drinking den.
If you take soaking up the rays seriously, the Pool Bar mean you don't have to wander far for a light snack of a refreshing drink; though you may just want to take time under one of the navy parasols for the fabulous views across the sea.
If the formality of restaurants and bars isn't for you, or some privacy is in order for special occasion, Banyan Tree Seychelles has a raft of great private dining venues and ideas. From a gourmet picnic for the beach coupled with fine wines, a private poolside 'Sea And Stars' feast, an authentic beachside grill as the sun sets on Anse Intendance, or champagne on the rocks served by a private butler: all are possible with just a little notice. Equally, if you fancy simply chilling and lapping up your surroundings, in-villa dining is available 24 hours a day!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Banyan Tree, though only one child may share a room with two adults.
Property’s age restrictions: None.
Special activities & services: Babysitting can be arranged for an extra charge.
Generally recommended for children: There are many open-sided drops at this hotel, including some particularly dramatic ones from the villa infinity pools and decks on the hillside, so extreme care must be taken with children at all times. Equally, pools and the sea pose inherent risk without supervision. For older, well-behaved children, Banyan Tree Seychelles is an option, but we do not recommend for those seeking a break with very young guests.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are IDD telephones in the bedrooms, and mobile reception is good. There is also free internet access for all guest villas.
TV & radio: Satellite televisions in the guest rooms offer movie and news channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: First-aid kits are kept on site and the nearest major hospital is in Victoria, Mahé's capital, about a 45 minute drive from Banyan Tree Seychelles.
Security measures: There is guard-controlled entrance barrier to the resort and security guards patrol the grounds at night.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located outside the villas.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Extra charge
Money: There are safe deposit boxes in the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: The hotel accepts major currencies and credit cards.