North Island is a place that unashamedly aims at providing the very best in privacy, location, accommodation, services, facilities and experience, yet has restored its environment to a place of verdant plenty â€“ a Noah's Ark afloat in warm tropical waters in colors of blue and aquamarine. The Island has only 11 guest Villas â€“ exquisitely designed to celebrate nature and offer an authentic home-away-from-home ambiance.
North Island is located between 6 and 10 degrees south of the equator amidst a vastness of sparkling ocean. Some 30km from the main island of Mahe, the resort enjoys private isolation within the Inner Island group of the Seychelles. Luminous white beaches cosseting a tropical interior of coconut palms and takamaka trees, cradled between three granite outcrops, 110m to 180m in height, complete the island's magical landscape.
Transfer from Mahe Airport only takes about 15 minutes, and will be arranged via helicopter, giving you a first taste of the heights of luxury that await at North Island. Guests are welcomed by smiling staff on the island's own helipad, in the middle of the plateau. It is a large open space surrounded by rows of old coconut palms, remnants of the island's history as a coconut plantation in the 19th and 20th centuries.
North Island is a sanctuary where natural habitats, long neglected, have been rehabilitated so that endangered Seychelles fauna and flora could be reintroduced and given a place to grow and thrive. On this floating paradise, 11 guest villas have been built from local materials reaped from the rehabilitation process, where luxury and simplicity mingle to form a signature architectural style called â€˜barefoot luxury'.
The true essence of North Island is a rare encounter that is in harmony with the environment - one that touches and inspires the lives of all who walk her beaches, dive her waters and contemplate her beauty.
Cuisine at North Island
North Island cuisine is based on the very finest natural products lovingly prepared in a sumptuous array of exotic dishes. The Executive Chef makes use of the vegetable and herb gardens on the island to prepare only the freshest food combinations to reach the table in the dining environment of the guests' choice â€“ whether on the beach, in the Villa, restaurant or Sunset Bar. The cuisine of North Island is based on the diversity and cultural influences which, in part, make up the Seychellois Creole flavour. The menus are combined with the tropical, organic resources of North Island and the variety on offer from Mahe. Balanced with simplicity, guests can expect a feast that will awaken all of their senses. North Island embraces the â€œany menuâ€ concept of dining on the island, meaning that the chef speaks to guests during their stay to explain the cuisine concept and to encourage the guests to tell him about their specific food preferences. Although a daily menu is prepared using this information gathered from the guests and with an option for each meal, special menus are encouraged and designed for the individual.
The Dining Room
The Dining Room is located at the Island Piazza, central to North Island, and roofed by upside-down casuarina trees, with a picturesque setting against the granitic rock into the vegetation. The backdrop of a pond and stepping stones to the wine cellar add to this fusion of building and plant life to create a forest with a roof: one dines in nature with the sea in front and forest and water behind. The geometry of the dining room is amorphous, imitating a journey through a forest where natural ponds, stepping stones, and secret cave-like cellars unfold. The dining experience extends out to the beach, where tables are placed under the restful shade of an enormous takamaka tree - and there's a private dining sala that lies across a walkway over the lily pond in front of the wine cellar.
The Bar joins the Dining Room, not far from the Island Piazza. This is a little jewel fantasy with the primal takamaka trees and roots on the ceiling counterpointed by the clean-cut design of the double-sided bar. The bar stools are made out of takamaka stumps on site and help take the language of handmade furniture one step further. No matter the time of day or night, the bartender will serve a stupendous variety of drinks.
The Wine Cellar
North Island promises a memorable culinary experience, complemented by an impressive cellar with some of the world's great wines and champagnes. The cellar is cave-like and made of rock-walling, bottle racks are executed in chunky oversized raw timber which is washed with down-lighters. Just steps from the Dining Room, being enticed across the pond to a wall of wine bottles is part of the ceremony of dining amongst the upside-down takamakas. The wine cellar allows guests, under the guidance of experts if so required, to select a vintage to suit their palates.
West Beach Bar
A walk along Grande Anse Beach as the sun sets is an enlivening experience not to be missed - especially as the West Beach Bar lies at the end of the walk. The building is made out of coconut uprights (felled from the Island), a palm leaf roof and pine floors. Meet up with the Bar's chef, and let him prepare a private culinary journey, a barbeque or simply a homemade pizza in a wood-burning oven for you. The Barman will pour you exotic drinks to sip while lying comfortably on bright red cushions looking up at the darkening sky.
Activities & Recreation
On land or in water, the choices on North Island are many and varied. Cool forest trails and mountain biking create an air of tropical exploration, snorkelling or diving in the warm seas reveal a world of marine wonder, sea kayaking or fishing expeditions thrill the active, while boating to other islands satisfies the adventurous.
The activities on offer at North Island are designed to allow guests to enjoy the Island and its magic, either under guidance from one of the staff, or alone. All activities have a minimal impact on the environment whilst providing the enjoyment of entertainment and exercise.
Adjacent to the library and located on the beachfront, the Dive and Activity Center houses both indoor and outdoor tuition areas, changing rooms and interesting displays; it is where many of the island's marine and land activities are coordinated.
Four idyllic beaches offer sanctuary all year round. East Beach extends off the piazza and in front of the villas. As the sun sets, West Beach is washed in pastel colours and the West Beach Bar is the perfect place for a relaxing evening cocktail. Honeymoon Cove is an idyllic hideaway and Petit Anse offers shelter and seclusion.
The 45m long infinity swimming pool is a short walk from the side of the public area and along the granitic outcrop. The view from the pool looks back along a kilometre of beach and to the horizon of the sea, creating views of heart-stopping beauty. The pool is carved into the hill in an unexpected way and the steep shady banks create the feeling of a hanging garden. Pockets of private decks and upper-decks all have magnificent views across the beach. The pool is a private meandering experience with white marble-stone plaster that is the same colour as the beach and the colour of the water matches the sea. Rock walls blend gently into the hillside and large boulders counterpoint furnishings as they protrude through pool and deck.
Seychelles forms part of the world's longest coral reef system and has some of the world's best scuba diving sites. Numerous dive sites have been identified around North Island and its nearest neighbor, Silhouette Island. North Island offers a "guided" scuba experience and the island's dive masters and instructors are not only experts in scuba practices but also in the underwater universe. PADI Open Water dive courses are offered while on the island. The Dive Center is fully equipped with the latest BCD's, regulators, wetsuits, fins and masks.
There are amazing snorkeling sites around North Island and Silhouette Island. Masks and fins are available at the dive center if guests wish to explore these sites, either on their own or in the company of a staff member (depending on level of snorkeling skills).
Those wishing to explore the Island from the water are able to do so using sea kayaks with all necessary tuition and guidance provided. For the more adventurous guests there are body boards and surf boards available.
Trips to Silhouette Island
Located some five kilometers to the south, Silhouette Island is a soaring granite island, whose peaks are constantly enveloped in clouds. The granite cliffs drop sharply into the sea. Silhouette Island has few beaches, though there are some wonderful tiny coves with remote beaches that are worth exploring. Silhouette Island's attractions include an excellent example of a Seychelles plantation house (built in 1850), now a museum, and the remains of its once thriving copra processing plant. Ron Gerlach is the resident ecologist and runs a breeding programme for the highly endangered Seychelles giant tortoises and terrapin. His immaculate research center is worth a visit and, depending on the time of the year, guests may see turtle eggs (Hawksbill and Green turtles) being incubated. For the energetic and fit, Silhouette Island has some challenging hiking trails.
A fishing excursion is an exciting way to ensure a fresh catch for your next meal â€“ trawl for yellowfin tuna, dorado, bonito, trevally, red snapper, amongst others. Typically, this is a relaxing half-day activity.
Fly-fishing is an option for any guest. North Island has fishing rods, tackle and flies in stock for guest use. However, the resort recommends that serious fly-fishermen bring their own rods and tackle.
Boating and island hopping
Boating around North Island provides magnificent views. Other trips could include visits to Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and the outer islands, including the spectacular bird islands, Arid, Cousin and Cousine, and can be arranged at an extra cost.
Between Honeymoon Beach and West Beach Bar lies The Spot, a sala complete with beach beds, an umbrella and beach blankets - all perfect for picnics on the beach.
Each Villa has its own dedicated Island Buggy. These specially adapted electric carts look like golf carts and are easy to maneuver.
Island bicycles in adult and children's sizes are available for guest use and are suitable for getting from one side of the Island to the other with ease.
Explore the Island by walking and hiking along its extensive beaches, or by climbing the granite outcrops and crossing the saddle linking the eastern and western plateau.
North Island Fitness Center
The air-conditioned Fitness Center is situated on the Eastern side of the island above the swimming pool, nestled into the side of the mountain. This indoor area includes space for stretching, cardiovascular and weight training; there is an additional stretching area on the outside deck which is also suitable for the yoga enthusiast.
Overlooking the aqua marine waters, the facility incorporates a circumference of glass, framing some of the most spectacular views on the island.
North Island's family-oriented services include a Kids Club, where younger guests can spend fun-filled days, learning about the island's environment, or taking part in a variety of sports and arts & crafts activities.
Next to the lounges and placed well forward on the beach sits the library, the custodian of the history of the Island. Built of coral blocks, it is undoubtedly one of the most exquisite examples of historic architecture on the island. It houses a large anchor (pulled out of the bay and dating from the 1800s) and a collection of original black and white photos of the early history of the Island, as well as books on various topics and an online computer facility. An ideal place for a quiet and relaxing read, the library also contains material explaining the background to North Island's Noah's Ark Project and details of the environmental programmes currently underway. Presentations on the marine life, environmental programmes and development of the Island are conducted regularly in the library.
The boutique, situated behind the Dive and Activity Center, perfectly captures the spirit of the island and its barefoot luxury experience; it is a veritable treasure trove allowing guests a chance to take the unique quality of the island home with them. The store has a relaxed gallery-market feel, selling branded North Island clothing, one-off exotic finds from remote regions of the world, including Seychelles, and bespoke products ranging from jewellery, adults' and children's apparel, designer swimwear, unique homeware, arts and crafts, as well as books on local legends and customs and giftware to remind you of your unforgettable experience on this unique island.
Spa at North Island
North Island's Spa is a place of extreme natural beauty and timelessness. It is an experience of luxury and surrender - unencumbered, uninhibited, in touch, in tune, at ease and at peace. The Spa is situated further up the mountain, above the main swimming pool, thus providing outstanding views over the Indian Ocean while enjoying your fitness routine or being pampered. It also includes an air-conditioned and state-of-the-art fitness center.
The spa is specialized in designing personalized holistic treatments to rejuvenate the body, mind and soul. Upon arrival at North Island, one of the professional spa therapists will be available for an individual consultation aimed at personalizing treatments to suit everyone's needs. The menu includes treatments that relieve stress, that are suited to after-exercise, that detoxify, cleanse and purify, that refresh and rejuvenate, as well as those that provide finishing touches before leaving North Island.
In keeping with North Island's concept of tailor made service, guests can receive certain treatments in the privacy of their own Villa upon request.
DR.HAUSCHKA prides itself in being an authentically Natural skin care range free of artificial preservatives, fragrances and colours. DR.HAUSCHKA Skin Care regards the human skin as a holistic organ that protects the body. The skin is exposed to external and internal influences that can weaken it resulting in an imbalance. This imbalance can be: dryness, lack of moisture, over production of oil, as well as premature ageing. Preparations are designed to help the skin regenerate itself, these help to restore balance and harmony in the skin which leads to the true meaning of the word cosmetic, derived from the Greek word â€˜kosmein', which means: to restore order and balance.
Awaken your skin and senses with this gentle exfoliating and softening treatment. With attention on preparing your body for the sun, this treatment begins with a full body brush to improve the blood circulation to the skin, followed by a natural coconut or invigorating salt scrub to remove dry layers and increase absorption qualities of the skin. After a cool shower, the therapist will pamper your body from face to feet with a gentle massage and application of moisturizing cream and/or protective sun lotion.
North Island is truly an idyllic setting for a wedding. In keeping with the island's flexible philosophy, each couple's requests will be handled and arranged individually and personally, thus tailor making specific requirements. All arrangements will be made by North Island and through your personal Blu Maldives Travel Consultant.
A favourite location for wedding ceremonies is either West Beach (recommended for late afternoon weddings and going in to sunset for photographs) or on the beach in front of your villa. This is dependent on the time of the year and the beach movement and is best decided and discussed once on the island. The recently refurbished Villa North Island (villa 11) has also been utilized for a beautiful lunchtime ceremony overlooking the ocean and island. This is perfect for couples staying here and preferring an alternative to the beach style wedding. For either location, the set up is very â€˜island style', using the palm available built in to either an arch or a pergola and decorated accordingly with flowers. The area will be decorated with many tropical flowers and with a fairly simple but very natural look.
Environmental Initiatives: The Noah's Ark Programme
North Island is a fertile paradise â€“ the perfect setting for the resort's Noah's Ark conservation programme. Thanks to thousands of indigenous plant species grown in the island's nursery and then transplanted throughout the island, its habitat has been restored to become a place where fauna and flora endemic to the Seychelles can flourish. Alien rodents have been successfully eradicated and, excitingly, species such as Seychelles blue pigeons and breeding populations of wedge-tailed shearwaters and white-tailed tropicbirds have returned of their own accord. Hawksbill and green turtles nest on North Island's beaches once more.
The next phase has involved introducing more indigenous life. A founder population of 25 Seychelles white-eyes, of which a mere 400 remain on Earth, was introduced in 2007 and gratifyingly settled down to nest and produce the next generation in a place of safety and plenty. The population on the Island currently exceeds 60 birds, with North Island now responsible for a significant proportion of the world population of the species: a responsibility that the Environmental Team has taken on with enthusiasm and pride. The introduction of the Seychelles black mud terrapin has been similarly successful.
Spending time with North Island's Environmental Team will allow you to marvel at the full scope of what has been done in order to create a true Noah's Ark in the Indian Ocean.
Rooms & Suites
Villa North Island (Villa 11)
Villa North Island is the essence of privacy and exclusion. It is secretly tucked away within the Takamaka forest, yet the beach views are truly spectacular. The sheer volume, scale and luxury of this villa are unimaginably decadent as it spreads out across multi-tiered levels, cascading down granitic boulders onto a private beach entry
Villas - 1 to 10
The Villas have been discreetly placed in the tree-line, facing onto Anse d'Est Beach. Lovingly and individually handcrafted by Seychellois and African craftsmen from wood, local-hewn stone and glass, each Villa provides guests with their own private haven: a warm inviting space in which to enjoy a complete sense of ease and freedom. Each