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No phones, no keys, no worries – back to nature!
On our second visit to the Seychelles, we explored a little island paradise in the Indian Ocean. Denis Private Island is a secret destination for gourmets, couples and families who want to enjoy pure relaxation in conjunction with sophisticated luxury. In complete seclusion and with Robinson Crusoe feeling, you can completely relax on the dreamy white beaches, go snorkelling, diving or fishing, watch the countless birds, enjoy the finest food, explore the island and simply experience beautiful nature!
A lot is different about this island! There is no television, no mobile network and no internet in the rooms. The owners want you to come to rest and experience the ultimate luxury of having time!
The 143 hectare Denis Island, is located in a coral reef and has belonged to Kathryn and Michael Mason for almost 20 years now. The Masons are the founders of Masons Travel, the oldest tour operators in the Seychelles. Besides the owners, only the hotel guests and staff live on the island. Together with the Green Island Foundation, they protect this little piece of paradise for future generations.
The island can only be reached by plane. Since a rat plague and in order to protect the birds on the island, vessels are no longer allowed to moor here.
We flew with a small plane from Air Seychelles, for about 30 minutes (95 km) from Mahé to Denis Island and were warmly received on the runway by a joyfully waving team including the Manager, Beverley Daguise.
On Sundays, no planes land here and the runway is converted into a cricket field.
The hotel is located in the north of the island, surrounded by coconut trees and fantastic tropical vegetation.
You get to experience the pure luxury immediately as you check-in, when you are welcomed with sashimi of sea bream and a cool refreshing drink.
In the main building you will find the lounge, the bar with a pool table, the wine cellar, the restaurant with a show kitchen, a small boutique and a library with TV and internet access. This is also the only Wi-Fi Hotspot, if you would like to use the internet.
I was overwhelmed by the tasteful and lovingly designed, down to the smallest detail, design of the lounge. Handmade Takamaka wooden furniture, pastel colours, Creole fabrics and maritime details such as shells, coral and driftwood exude an incredible atmosphere of comfort. The many cushions invite you to sit down and snuggle and remain here forever. By the way, the beautiful decor is the work of Kathryn Mason. Wow!
In the evening with the nice warm lighting the atmosphere is even more cosy and comfortable.
Update 2016: Unfortunately, there is no longer this great pool. He was destroyed by a big storm . Super pity!
Denis Island has 25 cottages in total, each one between 90-325 square meters and one of them even has its own private pool. The cottages are charming with their simple, yet elegant typical island style design. They all have direct beach access and a private little beach area with loungers.
The cottages are surrounded by the tropical garden with plenty of space, so that you almost think, you were here on your own.
We stayed in a Deluxe Beach Cottage with a porch and daybed. It is a little further back, but even from here, you have a sea view.
For excursions you can arrange for bicycles to be brought to the cottage.
Each villa is individually decorated and has a porch, an open-air bathroom with freestanding bath, an outdoor shower, an iPod docking station, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, tea and coffee making facilities, a telephone, a mini bar and a hairdryer. You will not find a television, but what you will find, is pure relaxation!
And yes, there are no keys! It is very unusual indeed, but conveys a feeling of security and freedom.
In the cottages you will also find beautiful patterns, Creole fabrics, maritime decorative objects and handmade wooden furniture, which are manufactured in the island’s own carpentry.
Water is bountiful here. The glass bottles are filled every day and the mini bar can be can be stocked to your heart’s content.
An absolute highlight is of course the open-air bathroom. Something we would love to have at home! When you come from the beach, you go directly through the garden and can wash the sand off your feet.
These young visitors also belong to each cottage. Simply nature at its best!
There is no spa as such, but a private mobile spa. So if you book a massage, the therapist will arrive with a massage table laden golf cart and will then set-up in the privacy of your own cottage. One can also choose whether you would like to have the massage in the cottage or on the terrace, of course. Our two therapists came from India and really knew what they were doing. From their very first touch, we were able to relax completely! A big plus is the cheerful birdsong in the background! These massages were absolutely among the best that we have ever had!
Creole cuisine with French finesse.
Also part of the all-round feel-good package is full board with excellent gourmet cuisine.
The restaurant is open plan and has a wonderful terrace overlooking the ocean. Breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed here with a view of the Indian Ocean and the occasional visit of some colourful island birds.
Lunchtime some light cuisine and a Creole buffet is on offer.
For dinner there is a delicious five-course menu consisting of local and international specialties. The meat comes mainly from island’s own breeding and the fruit and vegetables also come from the island’s own small farm. The hotel’s fishermen catch fresh fish on a daily basis in the surrounding waters.
On Wednesdays there is always a Japanese buffet, where the fresh fish is processed into delicious sushi and other delicacies.
We were lucky enough to be at the hotel on a Saturday and got to experience the beach barbecue with live music. This is definitely not to be missed!
With romantic lighting, your feet in the sand and the sound of the waves, you can enjoy fresh fish and the best meat from the grill.
If you feel like it, you can completely circumnavigate the island with a long beach walk or a bicycle ride to the remote parts of the island.
At dusk you can soak up the last rays of sun while watching the beautiful sunset at the pool, with a tasty cocktail in your hand.
Upon arrival you should definitely join the Island Tour. It is very informative and you will also find your way around the island much quicker. Although we spent 5 days on the island, we unfortunately, still have not seen it all.
The former coconut plantation was gradually replanted with native trees and now offers many endangered birds a new home and protection.
Denis Private Island is committed to the conservation of nature and the protection of birds, turtles and tortoises. Sustainable tourism is extremely important here. With its own small farm, the hotel guests and staff can be supplied to a large extent with food from the island’s own production. Electricity and hot water come from solar power systems.
You will find countless bird species on Denis Island, among them for example, the Seychelles Fodies, Warblers, Magpie Robins and the long-tailed Paradise Flycatcher. During the Island Tour, we even found a Paradise Flycatcher in its nest. They are beautiful, noble birds with a pearly sheen.
Many threatened bird species have already been brought here from other islands, in order to rehabilitate them. To this effect, all rodents were banished from the island.
This is also the home of the beautiful fairy terns, which are also called Lovebirds as they are always seen as a pair sitting or flying together. That is unless the female is breeding, then she is fed fresh fish by the male.
Endangered giant tortoises also live on the island. Toby – the oldest turtle on the island – is already 117 years old and every day looks forward to being stroked on the neck by Island Tour guests!
We also asked ourselves why the turtles do not roam freely on the island?! That was once the case, but the giants simply flatten and eat everything in their way and so they all had to be moved to a spacious enclosure. Also a nice home to have!
Green sea turtles lay their eggs on the shore of Denis Island. Every day, the Denis Island biologists walk around the island twice to check the breeding sites and to count the turtles. The biologists, Janske and her husband Martijn, are also the guides for the Island Tour. Be sure to join!
You also get to know the small farm of the island on the Island Tour. Many chickens, goats, rabbits, quail, pigs and cattle happily live here. Thus, Denis is the only Seychelles island on which there is fresh milk. Many chicken eggs are also sold to Mahé. Herbs, fruit and vegetables are grown ecologically in the gardens, greenhouses and in the field.
The most beautiful beach and the perfect place to observe turtles, manta rays and plenty of other tropical fish, is the stretch of beach at the upper end of the runway. In order to see the nimble turtles, you have to be patient, but every now and then you can see their small sparkling heads just above the water surface. With a little luck, you can even see them underwater, if you float. However, to get a photo of them, you need even more luck!
The crew gladly also take hotel guests out to sea for big game fishing, diving and snorkelling. Out in the ocean, there are large marlins, turtles, reef sharks and swordfish swimming about.
Houses of employees
The approximately 120 employees of the hotel charmingly live on the “Champs Elysées”! Their houses with its exclusive location, are at the other end of the island and very cosy and chic!
Honeymoon & Wedding
One can also celebrate a wonderful wedding ceremony on Denis Island! There is a small chapel and sometimes the whole island is even fully booked for a wedding. The wedding package includes the wedding decor, a wedding cake, a bottle of champagne, the fees of the wedding officials and a romantic candlelight dinner on the beach. The registrar’s travel and accommodation expenses are for your own account.
Honeymooners get a sundowner cocktail with canapés, romantic candlelight dinner on the beach, a special turn down service and a romantic bath with candles, flowers and essential oils included in their package.
Actually, you never want to leave Denis Island! But, when you have to, at least the waiting time in the airport lounge is made more bearable.
We had the good fortune to fly by helicopter from ZilAir back to Mahé. An absolutely brilliant experience!
What a great island!
With the sustainable tourism concept, the stunning hotel and the great animal protection and nature conservation programs, the dedicated Mason family has created something truly out of the ordinary here. They are making a remarkable contribution to the protection of nature and wildlife, as even here in paradise, climate change will not simply pass by.
There is a lot to discover and experience on Denis Island, but best of all, you can really relax and unwind! With the excellent food even your palate is pampered! In addition, it is wonderful to get away from it all, without internet and television, we were able to switch off completely and rejuvenate body, mind and soul.
Denis Island leaves its mark in your heart! We thoroughly enjoyed our time here! Such a deserted island experience, is something very special indeed and leaves one yearning for more!
Rooms: 25 Cottages
Air Temperature: 24 – 30 degrees Celsius.
Water Temperature: 25 – 27 degrees Celsius.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year. May/April and October/November are the warmest and calmest and ensure good conditions for diving and snorkelling. December to February is the rainiest, but mostly these are short, warm rain periods. It rains more often on Mahé, because of the mountains. It seldom rains On La Digue. Monsoon winds from May to September provide excellent conditions for wind sports enthusiasts.
Flight duration: Non-stop from Germany to Mahe Island about 10 hours flight time. From Mahe to Denis Island: about 30 minutes
Time Difference: GMT + 3 hours in summer GMT + 2 Hours
Price:. From 670 EUR per night including full board
Honeymoon Special: 5 nights: 20% discount + 1 Sundowner cocktail with canapés, 1 private dinner on the beach, 1 special turndown service, 1 romantic bath with candles, flowers and essential oils, 1 massage per person (when booking a Beachfront Spa Cottage), valid for up to 9 months after the wedding
Special features: very personal service | Robinson Crusoe Feeling | exquisite food | wonderful nature experience | pure relaxation
Important: Remember only 15 kg of luggage allowed in cargo
Perfect for: Couples, honeymooners, discerning travellers, gourmets, nature lovers, people seeking peace and quiet, romantic souls and for weddings
Best Luxury Private Resort 2015 World Luxury Hotel Award
Best Scenic Environment Award 2014, 2015 World Luxury Hotel Award
The World’s Best Family Hotels 2015 Condé Nast Traveller
Best Luxury Private Accommodation 2014 Luxury Travel Guide’s Global Award
Certificate of Excellence 2014 TripAdvisor
Environmental Sustainability Award 2013 Seychelles Business Awards
Note: During our stay we were partially supported by Denis Private Island. The opinions expressed in the article are as always our own – 100 percent!