Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa on Silhouette Island is a perfect paradise
Laura Toogood discovers a luxurious tropical retreat that is hidden away on a protected island…
I have found paradise! Those who read my last travel feature will know that I ventured to Mahe recently and stayed at Hilton Northolme. I didn’t think that a trip to the Indian Ocean could get any better until I discovered its sister resort, Hilton Labiz, which is located a short boat ride away from the mainland on Silhouette Island.
Hilton Labriz is the only hotel on this idyllic island and over 90% of the landmass is marked as ‘National Park’, which means it is highly protected from an environmental perspective. Exotic plants and indigenous wildlife flourish alongside a population of approximately only 200 people. Thus, the Hilton Labriz is a very exclusive retreat and provides a tranquil and luxurious hideaway.
While I was surprised by the dramatic landscape of Mahe, Silhouette proved even more impressive. The boat to Hilton Labriz leaves from a small harbour on the main island and takes only about 40 minutes to cross the warm sea. For those who want to speed up the journey, it is possible to fly into the resort by helicopter. However, watching the island grow bigger on the horizon as you approach it from the water certainly adds to the sense of anticipation.
Towering peaks are covered with luscious vegetation and white sandy beaches lead to turquoise water where brightly coloured fish dance between the coral. Fruit bats fly among the grapefruit trees, friendly giant crabs nest in the rocks and, come night time, turtles quietly make their way from the waves to the sand in order to lay their eggs. Rare species on the island include the incense tree and sheaf tailed bat, as well as beautiful orchids.
Silhouette is the Garden of Eden for many animals, sea creatures and plant life, which is why Hilton Labriz has a strong commitment to helping conservationists preserve and promote the island’s rich biodiversity.
After the boat moors at the bay guests are collected in a golf buggy and driven through the tiny, historic village of La Passe before arriving at the entrance of Hilton Labriz. The resort is stretched over 2 kilometres of glorious beaches and features a collection of spectacular villas. Many of the villas are situated right on the ocean front, which means you are only steps away from your own garden of sand.
For those wanting to enjoy the very highest level of luxury, the Presidential Villa at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa is the place to book. It offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean, a huge amount of personal space and the best privacy possible. The Deluxe Beachfront Villas are also splendid. These boast their own private pools, as well as direct access to the beach from the villa garden.
There are villas available that sit further inside the resort and these also include a private pool to help you cool down in the tropical climate. However, it is absolutely marvellous to wake up, slide open your patio doors and run just a few steps to the sea for a sunrise swim. For this reason, I would consider an ocean front villa as vastly superior for those seeking the ultimate desert island break.
The furnishings in the various residences at Hilton Labriz are excellent. The living area is large and the veranda adds an extra area. This is the perfect place to relax on a lounger and read a book while listening to the rhythm of the waves. Meanwhile the bathroom is also very spacious. The addition of an outdoor shower and plunge pool is a useful idea in this climate.
With the beach at your fingertips, it is very easy to simply tuck yourself away in the plush surroundings of your villa and enjoy all of the benefits of such a sublime location. With sunrise swims, the opportunity to snorkel in the coral and the chance to relax in a hammock that hangs from the palm trees that guard the entrance to the water, it can be hard to tempt yourself away.
However, there is more to explore at Hilton Labriz and this includes a stunning swimming pool that is framed by a mountainous backdrop as well as a lavish spa. If you book a treatment at the latter, a buggy will collect you in order to whisk you further into the rainforest.
The spa can be enjoyed by all guests and provides a peaceful environment, which is different from the beach front and it is set up high in the rocks. Treatments need to be booked in advance and I would recommend opting for a massage to help you reach the ultimate state of relaxation. There is also a dedicated suite for couples, which means you can enjoy a range of treatments together.
Although the Hilton Labriz is the only hotel on the island it boasts a number of different dining options, including a plantation house that is located in the local village. The food is excellent in all of the restaurants. I have a preference for Thai and Japanese cuisine and so dinner at Sakura was a real highlight. This restaurant has an open kitchen and sushi bar with a menu that offers mouth-watering fusion Japanese food.
Again, the beach is only steps away and you can enjoy views of the sunset and starry night sky. In fact a star gazing walk back to your villa after dinner is a must; the lack of light pollution accentuates the dazzling patterns in the sky come darkness. I also spotted a turtle nesting in the sand later on in the night.
Teppanyaki is an excellent place to eat and this overlooks a lake on one side. Fresh seafood is expertly cooked in front of you and the chefs perform knife spinning displays! There is the chance to enjoy fine dining at the elegant Portobello restaurant and the local curry dishes at Grann Kaz are very good. This is the historic plantation house and it was once the home of the Dauban family, who initially owned the island. It is a leisurely stroll away and allows you to temporarily step outside of the resort.
During the day Lo Brizan Bar allows you to dine near the pool or have a beach view and it also serves excellent cocktails in the evening. There is often a ‘Happy Hour’ and I can recommend the Banana Pina Colada as a delicious tipple.
Hilton Labriz caters well for families and couples and there is more than enough space for excited children to explore the environment and loved up couples to unwind simultaneously. The snorkelling on the resort is incredible but for those who want to travel further afield it is possible to head out with the local diving experts for an afternoon.
Such a trip will allow you to visit the waters next to North Island, which is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon. Only visitors to Silhouette and North Island can dive or snorkel in this area, which means the waters are relatively undisturbed. The currents are strong but you float easily and the view down to the seabed is unbelievably clear. This means you can spot hundreds of fish, as well as rays, reef sharks and turtles.
I found exploring the sea life in the waters surrounding Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa to be a highlight of the visit. Although the boat trip further afield added an extra dimension, I spent hours watching the coral just outside the beach villa. The fish are not timid and almost seem to enjoy you making a fleeting visit to their world. The views from the ocean are also spectacular. It is worth swimming out to sea to watch the sky turn a rose pink at sunset. Admiring the island as it welcomes dusk is a very special experience indeed.
Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa on Silhouette Island is a destination to treasure. It provides an opportunity for you to experience a supreme tropical getaway. It is the perfect example of luxury working in harmony with the environment. The dynamic landscape is thriving with precious forms of life and the setting is magical. This is Mother Nature at her very best and you are guaranteed to enjoy a remarkable experience.
Watch Sloaney TV to see more of our visit to Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa on Silhouette Island in the Seychelles…