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Paradise Living – in the Middle of La Digue’s Tropical Jungle
In the middle of the jungle, on one of the highest points of La Digue, nature-loving Gerard Payet has brought his dreams to life. Over the past 23 years, he has built several timber houses with five rooms and an in-house restaurant on a 12,000 m² plot of land, using natural materials and his muscle power amidst the jungle and rocks.
It is not only the unique design and sustainable construction that is impressive, but also Gerard’s in-house restaurant with the best Creole cuisine using ingredients from his garden. Gerard is not only a gifted craftsman, but also a gardener and cook.
For the more adventurous, the two Captain Master Suites are ideal. There are no walls, doors or keys, but always a gentle ocean breeze, birdsong and fantastic views of the jungle, the ocean and the offshore islands. However, for those who need walls and doors, the two standard rooms with bathrooms and terraces are a perfect choice. The brand new “Aladdin” suite is a mixture of both. It has walls and doors, but an open bathroom in the middle of the rocks. You always have a fresh ocean breeze because the windows have no panes.
To enjoy this breathtaking view, you also need to use some of your muscle power. These unique wooden houses are located at a height of about 100 metres. On arrival and departure, the transfer by car is included. On all the other days, you can hike up the mountain in about 10 minutes and then really deserve the magnificent view at the top.
Arriving at the Secret Garden Villa, you are warmly welcomed by Gerard and his four-legged friends.
On your way into Gerard’s pirate world, you pass a huge Coco de Mer palm tree which leads to a large terrace with the in-house restaurant and the two Secret Garden Standard rooms. They share this spacious terrace. On the upper floor is the Secret Master Captain Black Pearl Suite.
Secret Master Captain | “Robinson Crusoe”
How you would love to be stranded here!
The “Robinson Crusoe” Master Captain Suite is even more secluded in the jungle. It is located on the upper floor of the other wooden house and above the brand-new Secret Garden Suite “Aladdin”.
When you first enter the “Robinson Crusoe” suite, you are overwhelmed by the open design, the spaciousness and the awe-inspiring view… What Gerard has created here is simply impressive! And his love of nature, freedom and pirate ships is unmistakable.
Here, you live surrounded by nature, with lots of fresh air and the sounds of the jungle.
The spacious suite with 2 king-size beds, an open bathroom and a terrace with ocean views can accommodate up to four adults or two adults with two children (from the age of five only). There is also a swing, ceiling fans, mosquito nets, a hairdryer, Wi-Fi (free) and tea and coffee making facilities.
The bed does not only look stylish, but it is also extremely comfortable. In the morning, rays of sunlight gently wake you up. Awesome!
In the open bathroom, you can take a shower in the beautiful outdoor shower surrounded by beautiful tropical vegetation and at night under the starry sky. How I love bathrooms like this!
Breakfast à la Secret Garden
Breakfast also has a wonderful view of the tropical garden and the ocean. There is freshly cut fruit, freshly squeezed juice, coffee, toast, butter, homemade jam and freshly prepared eggs (omelette or fried eggs). You do not have a choice, but it is perfect as it is. You get everything you could possibly want. We thought it was great and the omelette was delicious!
Dinner the old-fashioned way
It’s not just the architecture at the Secret Garden Villa that is special, but also the food. Every evening, Creole delicacies are created here – delicious, varied and healthy to boot.
Freshly cooked every day in the rustic outdoor kitchen – the old-fashioned way. Chicken or fresh fish are prepared over the fire and rice in old kettles.
Everything is then served promptly around 19:30 and everyone can help themselves. Every day something different is cooked depending on the season, but there is always delicious salad, tasty vegetable curries, rice, crispy chicken thighs or freshly grilled fish. Gerard’s avocado salad is already legendary! It is accompanied by white or red wine and water.
The dessert, such as flambéed banana with vanilla ice cream, was always a special treat. It was accompanied by freshly brewed lemongrass tea from the garden.
The heavenly tranquillity, the tasty food, the freshly harvested ingredients and Gerard and his team, make dining here a very special experience indeed.
Secret Master Captain | “Black Pearl”
The name says it all! This unique suite is located on the upper floor of the main house. The charm of old pirate ships is undeniable. Everything has been designed and decorated with great attention to detail.
We simply cannot say which master suite we found more beautiful. Both are unique! The one is just a bit smaller and closer to the ocean, while the other has even more peace and quiet.
This suite also has fantastic ocean views.
This outdoor bathroom is an absolute dream!
Every evening, an aperitif is brought to your room around 18:30. You will not see the sunset from here, but the colours, the fruit bats and the atmosphere are still enchanting.
Secret Garden Suite | “Aladdin”
This new suite has its own distinctive charm. In the middle of the bedroom and in the bathroom, the rocks are an imposing part of the suite – a rustic living experience.
Secret Garden Standard
“COCO DE MER”
The standard rooms with queen-size beds (140 x 200 cm) can accommodate two adults and one child (from the age of five only). It has an ensuite bathroom with shower, ceiling fans, mosquito net, a hairdryer, Wi-Fi (free of charge) and a small terrace with a view of the jungle.
Jungle Tour with Gerard
In the middle of the jungle, a path leads to a wonderful vantage point overlooking La Digue and a magnificent view. As always, along for the ride – the dogs. They love these walks too.
The secluded beach Anse Gaulettes is located just below the Secret Garden Villa. It is reached after a 10-minute walk down the mountain. Bath towels are available at reception.
The beaches Anse Grosse Roche and Anse Patates are also within walking distance. Anse Severe is about 1.8 km away. You can rent a bike to go there. Gerard and his team are happy to arrange the rental.
Anse Source d’Argent, the most beautiful beach in the world, is about 5.4 km away. This beach can be reached by bike in about 40 minutes. The ride is so rewarding!
What the future holds
Gerard has even built a fishpond in the middle of the mountain. And he has many other plans as well. He is currently building a beautiful venue for jungle weddings. Gerard also wants to move the restaurant and enlarge it to a maximum of 20 tables. Then they can also welcome guests from outside to share in this unique experience. If Gerard manages to collect enough rainwater, there might even be a pool one day. So, there is always something to do!
Arrival and departure
A visit to the beautiful island of La Digue on a trip to the Seychelles is not to be missed. The Cat Cocos ferry takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes or 1 hour and 45 minutes with a stopover at Praslin.
The Secret Garden Villa in the east of La Digue is only a 10-minute taxi ride away.
It is hard to leave this unique piece of paradise. You truly feel welcome here. And to be able to live in harmony with nature, is an absolute dream come true!
The Secret Garden Villa is a very special place surrounded by beautiful nature and with incomparable design. To be able to live as a guest in Gerard Payet’s dream come true is a dream come true in itself! It is hard to imagine anything more beautiful than being woken up in the morning by the rays of sunlight on your face, the sound of the Indian Ocean and chirping tropical birds. Dinner on the large terrace in the middle of the jungle was also one of the most relaxing and delicious we have ever enjoyed. We looked forward to it every day. The daily hike takes a little getting used to, but it is worth it. We found it stunning here and will most definitely visit the Secret Garden Villa again – and you simply must meet Gerard!
Rooms: 5 rooms in two categories – 3 × Secret Garden Standard Rooms (up to 2 people, 1 extra bed possible), 2 × Secret Master Captain Rooms (up to 4 people)
Air Temperature: 24 – 30 degrees Celsius
Water Temperature: 25 – 27 degrees Celsius
Best time to visit: All year round. May/April and October/November are the windiest and warmest (good for diving and snorkelling). December to February is the rainy season, but these are usually only strong, warm short outpours. It rains more often in Mahé because of the mountains. It rarely rains in La Digue. May to September is the monsoon wind season, which is ideal for wind sports enthusiasts.
Flight Time: Non-stop from Germany to Mahé in approximately 10 hours. From Zurich with a layover in Abu Dhabi in approximately 14 hours
Time difference: CET + 3 hours, in summer CET + 2 hours
Price: From 250 EUR per night for 2 people including half board and transfer in the Secret Garden Standard Rooms. From 390 EUR per night for 2 people in the Secret Master Captain Suite.
Minimum stay: 2 nights
Activities: Relaxing; hiking in the jungle; visiting surrounding beaches; boat trips; snorkelling tours, excursions to La Passe, L’Union Estate and Anse Source d’Argent, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Special features: Unique rooms in the middle of the jungle, open style living, magnificent views, outdoor bathrooms, delicious food
Perfect for: Couples, adventurers, families, nature lovers, peace seekers, romantic souls
Secret Garden Villa, Gerard Payet
T +248 257 03 44
T +248 423 50 12
Book directly via WhatsApp: +248 264 35 07
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Please note: Our stay was partially sponsored by The Secret Garden. Nevertheless, our opinions expressed in this article are unbiased.