Tucked away in a corner of the impossibly blue Indian Ocean lies one of the world’s most coveted getaways. North Island, an ultra exclusive resort in the Seychelles archipelago, attracts A-listers, royals, and those seeking the best of the best.
George and Amal Clooney and royal couple Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge honeymooned here. David and Victoria Beckham celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary here. And notable celebrity guests include Julia Roberts, Paul McCartney, and Angelina Jolie.
So what makes this spot 1,000 miles off the eastern coast of Africa the preferred retreat of the “fabulous”? First, North Island’s extreme privacy makes it an ideal refuge for a Hollywood Hideaway.
And there’s the wow factor: This lush sanctuary—punctuated by granite peaks that are home to exotic flora and fauna, luminous turquoise water, coral reefs, and resplendent marine life—is also a haven of unparalleled experiential luxury.
Guests are provided anything and everything they could possibly want, anywhere and anytime they so desire. The credo at “North,” as the locals call it, is: “Fulfilling your wish is our joy.” It’s like having a magic lamp with a genie on request. Even better, the folks here seem to know what you want before you do, and surprise you with it.
The coddling starts before you even set foot on the island, such as sourcing a guest’s favorite foods and beverages for a fully stocked villa pantry and mini bar to a picnic basket of your preferred delectable, all ready to go. Andrew, my remarkable butler, made me scrumptious omelets for breakfast that I enjoyed in my sala (outdoor pavilion).
There’s no set schedule, no set menu, no clock. Everything is up to you. The fully customizable experience includes having your meals served to you anywhere on the island you want. It didn’t take long to get used to the carefree, relaxed, and casual atmosphere. This is barefoot luxury at its best.
You have the option to explore the ravishing island at your own pace by foot, bike, or your own personal golf buggy. Coco de Mer palms, Tanaka trees, mangrove and palm-fringed bays, canopied peaks, indigenous seabirds, and giant Aldabra tortoises, such as the adorable 160-year-old Brutus, make for a natural wonderland.
Relish a private picnic on wildly romantic Honeymoon Beach with its sugary white sand, or enjoy a personalized cruise on water that sparkles like blue diamonds. You can also explore the forest trail across the island to watch an exquisite sunset followed by a barbecue under the stars at West Beach Bar.
No matter how you spend your time, you’ll be enchanted by the special magic of “North.” Every activity, such as padi courses, diving, kayaking, and fishing is tailored to you.
After a guided snorkel session with a dazzling underwater kingdom of colorful fish, my butler and the exceptional staff surprised me with a marvelous set up of my favorite things to eat and drink, on the most beautiful beach you have ever seen. For even more pampering, the outdoor spa, which is perched on a cliff, offers blissful massages with unrivaled views.
With only 11 palatial villas on the island, serene seclusion is guaranteed. These high temples of understated luxury feature floor-to-ceiling windows and thatched roofs, and have huge indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Glam interiors designed by the famed South African team Lesley Carstens and Silvio Rech showcase stones and tree trunks. I especially liked my four-poster bed with plush linens whose pillars were made of driftwood. I adored a soak in the bathroom’s deep tub using the resort’s aromatic oils and herbal salts.
These cozy cocoons have all the luxurious trappings including air conditioning, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and every amenity. Outdoors you will find an expansive sun deck, loungers, a daybed, private pool, swaying palms, and your own silken sandy beach with aquamarine water—providing you with your own private paradise.
North Island cuisine of just caught fish, local specialties, or anything your heart desires, takes advantage of fresh herbs and vegetables from the island gardens. I practically swooned upon tasting the Créole seafood curry for lunch; it was so divine.
Upon hearing this, the chefs prepared a sumptuous Créole curry feast just for me one evening with several varieties of meat, seafood, lentils, spinach, coconut, and condiments paired with fine French wine from their notable wine cellar.
Dining at the candlelit Piazza (the main island eatery) with breathtaking ocean views and the sound of wind rustling in the palms and the waves breaking on the shore, was unforgettable. Experience it for yourself by visiting North Island.
By Maxine Albert