North Island is a large, beautiful private island - surrounded by tropical seas.
North Island: Our full report
North Island lodge in the Seychelles is one of the most luxurious and exclusive retreats in the world. It is beautifully set on an island larger than Monte Carlo, which is also called North Island. Beside the amazing location, North Island is marked out by its stylish design, outstanding service and excellent food. For us, its fascinating ecology – and genuine commitment to ecological restoration – also make it very attractive.
It is no wonder it has received many awards and keeps attracting euphoric travellers. North Island is a spectacular destination for honeymooners but also for families, as all villas will comfortably take a family of four.
The interior design of North Island’s villas is characterised by a tasteful combination of traditional styles from mainland Africa, Zanzibar and Bali and the clean lines and open spaces of contemporary design. Intricate, hand-cut floor and door carvings meet concertina glass walls; shaggy, woven thatching covers a sunken marble bath; coral rock curtains contrast with super-soft cotton bed linen. Each and every detail has been carefully considered, and it shows!
There are eleven villas on North Island:
- Ten thatched Presidential Villas and
- The even larger and more luxurious Villa North Island, which is set separately from the others.
The villas one to ten, also known as Presidential Villas on North Island, are nestled in the tree-line, facing onto Anse d’Est Beach. Each of them measures 450 square metres and can accommodate up to four travellers. Every one has a large master bedroom with a writing area, change-room and dressing table. The massive en-suite bathroom is fitted with a marble bath, an indoor and an outdoor shower.
A completely separate, large second room is furnished with woven coffee tables and deep, slouchy sofa beds in crushed velvets, linen and chenilles. It can be used as study, lounge, theatre or - at an additional cost - to sleep children aged 19 or under. At night it can be transformed into a complete private cinema with projector, screen and surround sound.
Between the two rooms is an open-sided lounge and dining area which leads seamlessly onto the outdoor deck, and to the back of this is the kitchenette, which is used by your butler to help prepare drinks and food, if you choose to eat in your own villa.
The bedrooms are air-conditioned and all rooms possess overhead “punkah punkah" fans and WiFi internet access. From most places in the villa you can enjoy great views over the turquoise water and fresh lawns in front through fully retracting sliding doors. Beside each villa’s private ocean-view plunge pool there are lungers and an umbrella, as well as a shady, open-air sala.
Villa North Island is separately hidden away in the takamaka forest, on a rock spectacularly overlooking the extreme north of the Anse d’est Beach. With 750 square metres, it offers even more uniquely designed space than the other villas as well as a private spa area.
You enter the bedroom suite at Villa North Island via a palm-framed bridge made from two long casuarina trunks. The en-suite bathroom offers fantastic views reaching across Anse d’Est, to Praslin, Mahe and La Digue. Down the staircase you can find a sunken deck with an outdoor shower, which is surrounded by a large granite boulder. A few metres from there around the boulder is a wooden deck with massage beds, also called ‘spa al fresco’, where you can pamper yourself while enjoying the view over the Indian Ocean.
All of North Island’s villas have been individually handcrafted using local stone, wood and glass by craftsmen from the Seychelles and all Africa. They are built of materials from the rehabilitation process as far as possible. Felled alien and dead indigenous trees have been aesthetically integrated into the buildings’ roofs, balustrades and stairways. As a result, all common areas and villas on North Island blend effortlessly into their surroundings. They are raised more than one metre above the ground in order to catch the refreshing island breezes.
North Island’s common areas include:
- a common dining area,
- a private dining sala,
- a double-sided bar,
- a picnic area on the beach,
- a Gym & Spa,
- a main pool,
- the Dive and Activity Centre,
- a library and
- a boutique.
Next to the lounge is the library which provides a range of interesting books and a computer with Internet access. Talks about North Island’s fauna and flora, history and environmental programmes are given here on alternate days. Situated on the east beach of the island, this former copra shack built of coral blocks is also a relaxed venue for some pre-dinner drinks and a chat.
Only a few metres beside the library on the beachfront there is another former copra shack, which nowadays is the well-equipped Dive and Activity Centre. It includes indoor and outdoor tuition areas and changing rooms. Most activities on North Island, such as scuba diving or boat cruises, are coordinated from here.
Behind the activity centre, gifts, books, jewellery, clothes, designer swimwear, homeware, arts and crafts are for sale in North Island’s boutique, which feels a bit reminiscent of a souk.
Above the central piazza and just a short walk from there along the granite outcrop you can get into some exercise or relax in the main swimming pool. The 45m long infinity pool is beautifully tucked away between tall, lush palms, while still allowing lovely glances onto the beach and the sea below. Its marble stone blends softly into North Island’s rocks.
Further up North island’s mountain, you reach the air-conditioned, well-equipped Gym and North Island’s luxurious Spa, both of which have great views over the Indian Ocean
At the spa, the staff aims at providing not only excellent but also highly personalised treatments that incorporate both the ‘Dr. Hauschka’ skincare range and many local products. Here, travellers can pamper themselves from head to toe. Typical options for facial skin care are cleansing and revitalising treatments or eyebrow and eyelash tinting. Holistic body treatments include e.g. hot stone and back, shoulder and neck massages as well as a special ‘Dr. Hauschka’ treatment. As finishing touches, North Island’s spa offers manicure, pedicure and waxing.
On request, guests can also enjoy treatments in the privacy of their villa on North Island. Note that spa treatments are charged as an extra here; they are not included.
On the other side of the island, on north end of the West Beach of North Island, you can find the very cool Sunset Bar. This rustic bar is a lovely place to enjoy North Island-style snacks and cocktails while watching the sunset – and while it has a trendy, relaxed vibe there are rarely more than a few people here.
Even though the island’s villas are often full, North Island usually feels empty to the visitor. Be it a very quiet Sunset Bar, or a main piazza that only has a few tables occupied, our experience is that it always feels as if you have the island largely to yourself. This is due to a combination of North Island’s size, and because many people spend the majority of their time enjoying the space and luxury in their own villas.
Our viewTwo of the Expert Africa team have been lucky enough to stay on North Island – and it’s simply amazing. From its design, to its service levels, activities and food, North Island works very hard to exceed expectations and it does deliver a truly stupendous experience. It has a chunky price tag to match, though it's difficult to argue that it doesn't offer value for money. It’s the ultimate in exclusive holidays.
Ideal length of stay: Best at least 5 nights; some people stay for months!
Directions: North Island is about 20 to 30 minutes by helicopter from Mahe Airport. You will be welcomed on the helipad, which is at the north end of the island. Alternatively boat transfers (usually by a private catamaran) can be arranged if flight times allow.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: North Island was been privately owned by Wilderness Safaris since 1997. In 2011, Pravda reports that it was sold to Russian steel tycoon, Mikhail Prokhorov, for around €25million (US$35 million). It is still managed by Wilderness Safaris, and nothing on the ground changed.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The cuisine at North Island lodge combines a Créole base influenced by French, Indian and African flavours with flares from all over the world, e.g. Italy, Spain, Japan and England.
North Island’s chef usually explains the lodge’s culinary concept to travellers, who are encouraged to tell him about their meal preferences. This way an extensive daily menu is prepared. However, this is merely a suggestion; guests on North Island receive meals prepared completely on individual request. You can ask for what you like, and usually they will be able to prepare it for you.
All dishes contain very fine natural products, which are often grown locally. The vegetable and herb gardens on North Island and the rich fishing grounds around the Seychelles provide the cuisine with the freshest ingredients.
When we last stayed on North Island the food was excellent, particularly with regard to sea food and 'sushi' starters from freshly-landed fish. We often took the chef's suggestions, however, when we requested specific dishes of our own choice several times, they were beautifully prepared, too.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: The list of beverages on north Island is split into two: one section of wines which are included in the cost, and a separate 'reserve' list, for which there are extra charges.
To our slight surprise, the 'included' list was very extensive – with both, a range of interesting offerings from the Old and New worlds, and some excellent and eclectic vintages from slightly offbeat areas, from Alsace to Chile. Even committed wine buffs will find enough to explore for a week or so at North Island Lodge. The 'included' list also contains common spirits and cocktails as well as soft drinks.
Only the more costly and esoteric spirits – like old whiskies and cognacs – are found on North Island Lodge’s reserve list. That said, the separate 'reserve' list was vastly extensive with a number of first-growth clarets – often available for different vintages – and a strong selection of top-end vintage champagnes. If you want to drink Petrus, Margaux and Dom Pérignon, you can do so on North Island; given the quality of the wines on offer, the prices for them were very fair.
Further dining info: Dining is very flexible in time and location on North Island. You can enjoy your meals for example against a backdrop of rocks, forest and the sea in the common dining area, next to the lily pond in the private dining sala, in the Sunset Bar or in the shade of a tall takamaka tree on the beach. You are free to choose the place you like best!
During our last stay on North Island we chose to dine a couple of times in our villa, once over at West Beach, and several times in the main piazza. The latter seldom had more than a dozen other diners, and so always felt very quiet.
Family holidays: The lounge of each sumptuous, stylish beach villa at North Island can easily sleep two children. It serves the top end of the market for family beach holidays in the Seychelles, so come for a beautiful setting, excellent service and ultimate exclusivity!See more ideas for Family holidays in Seychelles
Honeymoons: Seychelles honeymooners here are spoiled with stunning beaches, luxurious villas, absolute privacy, outstanding service and many romantic extras. No wonder even Prince William and Kate spent their beach honeymoon on the stylish North Island in the Seychelles!See more ideas for Honeymoons in Seychelles
Beach holidays: North Island’s private villas are all close to one of four powdery white sand beaches here, lapped by the Indian Ocean’s clear, turquoise water. An amazing location, luxury, excellent service and food – certainly one of the best beach holidays in the Seychelles!See more ideas for Beach holidays in Seychelles
Birdwatching: North Island may be of special interest to birdwatchers in the Seychelles for the 25 endangered Seychelles white-eye which were reintroduced here in 2007. There are now about 60; the world population is only about 300!See more ideas for Birdwatching in Seychelles
Diving & snorkelling: With clear water, a variety of fish and experienced dive masters, North Island’s luxurious private villas make a superb base for diving and snorkelling holidays in the Seychelles. Guided scuba dives start from the well-equipped Dive and Activity Centre.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Seychelles
Wellbeing: North Island in the Seychelles has a top-notch Spa, set on a mountain with stunning views. It offers highly personalised treatments incorporating local products and the ‘Dr. Hauschka’ skincare range; many can also be enjoyed in the luxury of your own private villa.See more ideas for Wellbeing in Seychelles
Private villas & houses: North Island is the amazing location of one of the world’s most exclusive retreats. Each of its 11 private villas sleeps up to four guests, and comes with a butler and a buggy. It’s the ultimate in private beach villas in the Seychelles!See more ideas for Private villas & houses in Seychelles
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome here; every villa has a separate room which can function as bedroom for up to two children. There are substantial rate reductions for children.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: The North Island team is exceedingly focused on the needs of their guests, and we’d expect them to be very helpful indeed, doing whatever they can to help children enjoy their time here.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, North Island is very flexible; it's a superb place for a family holiday.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There is satellite television, a DVD/CD system and wireless Internet access in each of the villas.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There are first-aid trained staff, and a doctor is a short helicopter flight away, on Mahe Island.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: North Island is a remote private island, and there is nobody here who is not connected to the lodge. Security measures are generally redundant.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full laundry service is included.
Accepted payment on location: Credit cards, US Dollars, Euros, and GB Pounds are accepted as payment for extras.