Denis Private Island is accessed by a 30-minute light aircraft flight from Mahe Airport.
Denis Island Lodge: Our full report
One of the most northerly of the Inner Islands of the Seychelles, Denis Private Island (formerly Denis Island Lodge) is a small private coral island about 60 miles north of Mahé. Underpinned by a strong conservation ethic, Denis Island has 25 cottages set amid rich vegetation along the northwestern coast.
Dotted amongst the trees of Denis Island are 25 well-spaced cottages, each within about 30m of their own stretch of beach and with the feel of a private-island villa. All are spacious, tastefully furnished with lovely wood furniture, and decorated in cool, calm tones with splashes of colour. Amenities are broadly similar too: an open-plan bedroom/sitting area, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, an outdoor en-suite bathroom (with double vanity unit, shower, alfresco shower, bath, WC and bidet), a hairdryer, an ironing board, tea/coffee-making facilities, a minibar and a private outdoor courtyard.
Differences between the cottages are as much about size and location as facilities, though these do differ too.
- Three Beach Cottages (90m2) are the smallest, but they are closest to the beach.
- Ten Deluxe Beach Cottages are a little larger at 110m2, and have the same features as the beach cottages, as well as an outdoor thatched 'sala' and daybed.
- The ten Beach Front Spa Cottages are larger still (150m2). In addition to the facilities of the deluxe beach cottages, they also have a private outdoor spa area with a massage table – perfect for those who plan some serious pampering during their stay!
- The Family Cottage (169m2) has a separate lounge and bedroom. The lounge can be converted into a second bedroom for up to three children, while still retaining an area for sitting and relaxing. Access to an absolutely enormous bathroom is from either the bedroom or the lounge.
- Then there is the Beach Villa, by far and away the largest of the cottages at 325m2. Like the family cottage, it has one bedroom, and a separate lounge which can be converted into a sleeping area, though only for up to two children. The beach villa benefits from a private courtyard with a sala and daybed, a private plunge pool, and an outdoor barbecue and dining area.
The imposing, palm-thatched main building at Denis Island Lodge houses the restaurant, an elliptical sunken bar for evening cocktails, and a contemporary lounge of exposed rock walls, cream fabrics and funky, nature-inspired objets d'art. There is also a games area with a billiards table and library, complete with satellite television, internet points and WiFi. Meals can be eaten inside, on the beach or at the poolside, with a combination of buffet lunches, table d'hôte dinners and themed evenings on offer.
Guests have free run of Denis Private Island, with plenty of activity options. Cycling or walking around the forested interior and beaches will lead you past some beautiful scenery, as well as the giant tortoise enclosure, the 1881 lighthouse and the ecumenical chapel, dating to the island’s plantation heyday.
Birdlife on Denis Island includes noddies, plovers, whimbrels, tropicbirds and frigatebirds, and turtles nest on the beaches. Resident environmentalists are available for guided tours of the island, either on foot or by electric buggy. Guests are also welcome to visit the small farm, which provides a large proportion of the food served at the lodge, and it is usually included on the island tour.
For sub-aqua enthusiasts, escorted snorkelling and diving (including PADI courses) can be arranged from the watersports centre, which also supplies kayaks and snorkelling equipment for independent exploration. This is also the place to organise big-game fishing (catch and release). A swimming pool, floodlit tennis court (damaged by a storm at the time of our visit in July 2015) and jogging trails complete the package, with in-room massages available to balance all that activity.
Our viewFor families, Denis Private Island is relaxed and comfortable, with easy access to plenty of activities; for couples seeking a romantic get-away, there are long, secluded stretches of beach with a real feeling of a faraway island idyll. We think it's an excellent place to enjoy terrific food, to explore and quite simply to relax and 'get away from it all'.
Ideal length of stay: Four nights or more
Directions: Denis Private Island is accessed by a 30-minute light aircraft flight from Mahé Airport. Flights are on a scheduled basis, so please contact us about times. On arrival, guests are met by golf buggies for the short transfer from the airstrip to the lodge.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Most of the food is produced on the island’s farm, where they grow vegetables and fruit, and also raise chickens, pigs and cows (milk is pasteurised!), so it is about as fresh as it can be. Menus are seasonal and varied; we found dining here a real treat when we last visited in July 2015.
A breakfast buffet features a variety of local fruits, freshly squeezed juices and pastries. At the grill station, the chef cooks up delicious hot breakfasts with your choice of eggs.
Lunch is also served buffet-style, with a wide choice of salads and a variety of hot dishes. On our visit these included grilled fish, beef or fish curry and stir fry. When fresh is available, the chef makes sushi – we thought it was delicious! If you have space, you can tuck into an array of desserts; the only trouble we had was choosing what to try.
On five days of the week, dinner is a three-course set menu, which is advertised each day. There’s usually a choice of two or three items per course, but if there is nothing on the menu that you fancy, then as long as the chef is given a bit of notice he is very happy to make an alternative. The other two nights are buffet evenings. Around the time of our visit, on Wednesdays they had a Japanese theme, while on a Saturday it was usually a barbecue (on the beach if the weather permitted).
For a supplement, and also weather permitting, it is possible to arrange a romantic, private dinner on the beach.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included. Bottles of drinking water are provided in the cottages.
Further dining info: In-room dining can be arranged with advance notice. Although all meals are included at Denis Private Island, a surcharge applies for in-cottage dining.
Honeymoons: Denis Private Island is a faraway idyll for your Seychelles honeymoon. Perfect for couples seeking a romantic getaway, it is reasonably priced, with well-spaced cottages and plenty of secluded stretches of beach for lovely romantic strolls.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Seychelles
Beach holidays: With long, stunning beaches, Denis Private Island is the perfect choice for those seeking a secluded beach holiday on the Seychelles. Each of the stylish cottages comes with its own private access to a lovely stretch of white sandy beach.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: Denis Island does welcome children – and even has a specific family cottage.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.
Special activities & services: Babysitting can be arranged, though staff are not formally trained childminders, and this is best requested in advance of your stay. The lodge offers a host of child-friendly activities including treasure hunts, cookie decorating, visits to the giant tortoises, collecting chicken eggs on the island farm, and kids’ bicycles, and the housekeepers are happy to show children how to fold towels into fun, quirky animal shapes. There is satellite television in the library and board games are also available.
Equipment: The lodge has family-friendly accommodation, and both cots and highchairs can be provided.
Generally recommended for children: The lodge actively welcomes families and has gone to great lengths to provide plenty for them to do. With miles of lovely beaches and a very relaxed vibe, we would certainly recommend Denis Island for families with children of all ages.
Notes: As with any new environment, especially one with easy access to the sea and no fence around the pool, children should always be closely supervised by their parents.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: The island has two generators. Power is supplied to the cottages 24 hours a day.
Communications: Local or international calls can be made from reception, or from the IDD telephone in each cottage. Complimentary WiFi is available in the library and next to the office in the main building.
TV & radio: There are no televisions in the cottages, but there is satellite television in the library. Each cottage has an iPod docking station.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: All the cottages have flushing toilets, a shower and a bathtub. Water to the bathrooms is desalinated, so it is not recommended for drinking.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The manager is trained as a basic first-aid responder. Medical evacuation by air can be arranged in an emergency, but it would take a minimum of 1½–2 hours to reach Mahé for a transfer to hospital.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: None
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside each cottage, in the kitchen, the bar and behind the grill station of the restaurant.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge. Clothes collected before 11.00am will usually be returned the same day, weather permitting. Charges vary depending on the item but they ranged from SCR50 to SCR250 (about £2.50 –12.50) in July 2015.
Money: There is an electronic safe in each cottage. The lodges does not provide currency exchange facilities.
Accepted payment on location: Denis Island accepts MasterCard and Visa credit cards, as well as cash payments in Seychellois rupees, euro, US dollars or pounds sterling.