I chatted to Sean Kritzinger, Co-owner & Managing Director of the Giltedge Group, about his recent trip to Alphonse Island in the Seychelles.
Seychelles is a dream destination for holidays, honeymoons and multi-generational getaways. While the large islands like Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, have great hotels, snorkelling and diving – nothing quite prepared Sean for what the outer islands of the Seychelles had to offer! It’s well worth your while to travel to Seychelles’ outer islands and to add that extra hour to your trip.
What was your experience at Alphonse Island, seeing as you’d never been there before?
A stay at Alphonse Island is not like a stay at your typical luxury resort. It’s much more “real”. Alphonse is almost totally self-sufficient. They have carved their own runway onto the island, use solar power and have a desalination plant.
Alphonse Island is isolated, cut off from the rest of the world, and completely remote! While about 130 people who live and work on the island, you will only see, at most, about 5 to 10 staff at any time.
What does the accommodation look like?
The rooms are widely spaced out from each other, about 10 – 15 meters apart, and are all located on the beach. Alphonse Island is the epitome of barefoot luxury. I never felt uncomfortable even though travelling solo; the staff are amazing, friendly and helpful.
There’s even a bicycle per person outside every room (it’s a wonderful way of getting around!) or there’s a golf cart for guests who don’t want to cycle. Getting around the island is quick and easy, using this mode of transport.
On such a remote island, the staff are an integral part of the service. What were they like?
The staff comprise local Seychellois and trained hotel staff and professional guides from the UK, Europe, US and South Africa. I felt completely comfortable – and it takes a special kind of staff member to make guests feel at home and relaxed as they did.
Every evening at 6:30 pm there was a fun gathering around the bar area for everyone. It was a chance to meet other guests and you could really feel the warmth around you. Spot, fun prizes were given away to the best fly fishing catch or the child who did the best at SUPing. It’s also a time to discuss what you will do the next day – be it snorkelling, fishing, a boat excursion etc.
Having said that, if guests don’t want to interact with anyone, then you won’t feel forced to. Alphonse Island allows those who want to relax and enjoy “isolation travel” to do just that, yet it’s also attractive for people who want to socialise.
What activities does Alphonse offer?
Every morning guests meet at the island’s activity centre.
From there, guests can go on a bicycle tour around the island or participate in water sports like SUPing, canoeing, there’s dive masters on the island if you want to go scuba-diving, deep sea fishing, the best saltwater fly fishing in the Indian Ocean, and excursions to the atolls of St. François or Bijoutier or for a Flats lunch, their signature food experience.
I’d recommend the back-of-the-house tour to see how the island runs. Alphonse Island has its own vegetable garden, sewerage system, desalination plant and sanitation system, and they fish for the restaurant’s menu. Guest get to see the staff lodgings or visit the island’s carpenters and tailor. They even made me a stunning white linen shirt during my stay there!
How long does it take to get to Alphonse Island?
It took us a 1-hour flight from Mahé.
What are the island’s selling points?
- WIFI is available in one area of the island but focus is on experiences
- Client engagement with the staff is great
- As a guest, you will feel special, relaxed but with as much privacy as you want
- Dinner is in a different location every night
- It’s “beyond luxury”: high-end and five-star but a type of luxury that’s down to earth
If you’d like to explore Seychelles’ remote islands, just contact us directly.