In July 2016, we had a fabulous experience staying at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz for three nights. The resort is part of the Hilton brand, so we managed to get some really good value because of the Hilton Honors program.
– The Setting –
The Hilton Seychelles Labriz is actually located on its own island. While almost all hotels are placed on on of the three main islands (Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue), this one has got its own (and massive!) island about 20 kilometres towards the north-west of Mahe. It is actually larger than La Digue, but since 93% of the island are designated national park lands, there are only 7% left – which are all owned by the resort.
As you can probably imagine, this makes the whole place very special. An island in the Indian Ocean, with lots of nature on it and just one resort. There is also a tortoise farm, a very very small local village with about a dozen buildings. Unfortunately, most of them are abandoned. Even a school exists there, but it’s closed because there are currently no children living there. Apparently, there is also an even smaller village on the other side of the island, but only a handful of people still live there.
So here you see the Google Maps screenshot of the Seychelles:
And then of Silhouette itself:
– Getting there –
Due to the secluded location, the only way of getting there is the private boat transfer offered by the resort. The boats run three times a day each way and take about 45 minutes to cross. The timetable fits all international flights very well, so there won’t be any annoyingly long waiting times. We paid 99 Euros (around US$110) per person for the round-trip, which isn’t too bad considering the location.
After landing at the airport (Mahe International), we took a taxi to the Hilton Labriz jetty. The ride to the other side of the island takes roughly 30 minutes without traffic delays. Going by taxi will set you back around US$45, the transfer you can order through Hilton is around US$75 each way. We took the taxi and can definitely recommend it! Be sure to agree on a price before getting in the car though. Most taxis in the Seychelles do not have meters. If you want to save as much money as possible, there are also buses running along this route. Since there are no reliable timetables, you’ll have to bring a bit of time though.
Arriving at the jetty, we were taken care of by a lovely lady, offering us free drinks and refreshments by the water until our boat departed around 30 minutes later. We loved how the staff just took care of our bags from here on, we didn’t see it again until arriving in our villa! Also, they already completed our check-in for us while we were waiting for the boat to Silhouette. This is the jetty on the main island of Mahe with a few rain clouds around in the early morning:
And this is after arriving at the resort – no sun quite yet:
We just loved how organised and smooth everything was. Arriving on the island, we were all put into different golf carts, getting a tour of the resort and its facilities, and then stopping at our villa. Literally a couple of minutes later, someone else arrived with our bags, which were taken from us when getting out of the taxi. Can’t really get any better than that! And all this, even though we arrived on the island just after 9:00 am!
– The Resort –
Besides the really really secluded location, it is a huge advantage that the resort is simply a long stretch along the beach. There are only very few villas that don’t have a sea view, but almost 100 out of the 120 villas in total are spread along one kilometre of sandy beach. Thus, even with occupation rates of around 90% like during our stay, the resort never seems full.
On this map, the right side is north and the left side is south, which is where the boat jetty is located.
After arriving and passing the old village called “La Passe”, we came past the actual entrance to the resort:
In the southern part, you’ll find the reception, all of the garden villas, as well as some beachfront villas. Then there is a lake (or river), which sort of divides the resort into two parts:
Then in the centre of the resort there are the pool and most of the restaurants, as well as the “Silhouette Pavilion”. There, you can sign up for all the activities and excursions offered on the island. Further along, all the other villas are lined up along the beach until you get to the very end. That’s where the spa is.
– The Villas –
The resort accommodation consists of nothing but private villas, some of them with an own pool. There are six different types of villas´:
- Garden Villa
- Beachfront Villa
- Beachfront Plunge-pool Villa
- Deluxe Hillside Pool Villa
- Deluxe Beachfront Pool Villa
- Presidential Villa
This is the basic option. The villas themselves are just as nice as the ones by the beach, but they are located in the second or third row. Therefor, these villas usually are at least US$100 cheaper than the ones right by the beach. That means, you’ll be able to get a single night here from US$200 when on sale. If you do have a Gold Status with Hilton Honors like us, which is surprisingly easy to get, you’ll most likely find yourself upgraded to a beachfront villa.
As I mentioned above, when available you should always be upgraded into one of these as a Hilton Honors Gold member. Otherwise, these villas start at around US$300 on sale. This is where we stayed, and the patio and private beach access is nothing short of amazing.
Beachfront Plunge Pool Villa
These are basically the same as the beachfront villas, but they feature a little plunge poo. It’s located in the outside bit of the bathroom, as you can see on the picture.
Deluxe Hillside Pool Villa
This is kind of a hidden gem. A lot cheaper than the similar pool villas along the beach, but located hillside. The view towards the sea is even better though! In addition, you get your own swimming pool in the garden facing the lush hillside jungle.
Deluxe Beachfront Pool Villa
The nicest one of the regular villas, but unfortunately it is quite far from the main part of the resort and the beach up here is a bit more rocky than elsewhere.
To be fair, “villa” is not really the right explanation for this one! It’s massive. It’s just over the top. We were trying to figure out where this multi storey residence was located, as we couldn’t find it anywhere around the resort. On our last day, I went towards the far northern end of the resort in order to explore what was around the large amount of rocks piling up on the beach. Turns out there was another beach almost as big as the whole resort beach. But with a huge difference – the only “room” with access to it is the presidential villa! At a few thousand dollars a night though, we could do nothing but admire it…
It’s awesome that even the cheapest villas already feature an outside rain shower. That way, it really does feel like a tropical luxury resort.
We booked the cheapest category on sale for just over US$200 a night, knowing that most likely we’ll be upgraded to a beachfront villa. And we were! So here it is. Having your own private beach access from your own private villa is just phenomenal. And the little beachy garden kinda area right in front of the villa is so nice to hang out for the hottest time of the day, with plenty of shade provided by the lush vegetation. But pictures say more than 1.000 words…
Apart from the slow internet, we really had nothing to complain about. But in such a remote place, that’s just what it is. You shouldn’t spend too much time on the phone / computer here anyways.
– The Beach and Pool –
The beach here is actually very nice too, which isn’t always the case in the Seychelles. There are not many of the typical rock formations you get around the Seychelles and thus not much snorkelling right by the beach, but therefor the colour of the water and the swimming during high tide is great. And for snorkelling, they offer tours to some amazing spots nearby. It certainly isn’t a bargain though.
The pool itself and the sun loungers and day beds around it are super nice and comfy to spend a large amount of time. If the resort is booked up though, it might become a bit crowded here though. A few more staff members for serving drinks or prepare the sun loungers would have been nice, as we hardly saw anyone in charge of that. We didn’t get any of the super expensive stuff, but we can definitely imagine other people getting annoyed by that 😀
– Activities –
There is a ton of stuff to do here. There are general activities like tennis for example, but you can also do other things like scuba diving courses, snorkelling, or guided walks around the national park.
There is one route though, which you can walk on your own, without a guide. That’s what we did, as we like to explore places on our own. It takes you along the coast from the boat jetty down south along a dirt road that soon turns into nothing more than a walking path. The first beach is only about half an hour from the resort, but you can continue walking along another beach and then on to a third one. The beaches are not really suitable for swimming, but there is some stunning natural beauty to be found around here and we didn’t see a single human being for the whole three hours we wandered around. A really rare occurrence in popular vacation spots nowadays!
– The Restaurants –
For a resort of this size, the variety of restaurants is remarkable. There are seven of them in total!
The Cafe Dauban is the buffet restaurant and serves as the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner.
The Portobello serves Italian cuisine and is the only restaurant with a dress-code. The wine selection is overwhelming, even though it’s not one of our favourite beverages.
The Lo Brizan is where you’ll most likely get your lunch. It’s conveniently located right next to the pool, offering snacks, sandwiches, and other light food. Connected to it is a Pizzeria, which serves good pizza until 5:00 pm daily.
If you like Japanese food, the Sakura is made for you. It’s located in between the Lo Brizan and the little lake in the middle of the resort. The luxury seafood part of this restaurant is called Teppanyaki and sits on a separate platform above the lake, offering show-cooking:
Finally, the Grann Kaz is the only restaurant away from the main area. Since it’s actually inside the house of the former Family Dauban (the owners of Silhouette island), it is part of the old village. On the menu are local creole specialties as well as french cuisine. The setting is very typical for the Seychelles:
Keep in mind that you need reservations for all dinner restaurants apart from the buffet. During high season, the restaurants fill up quickly.
If you’re planning on eating a lot, or going for more expensive food, half- or full board would definitely be the right choice for you.
The good thing is: If you do opt for the half- or full board meal plan, not only the buffet restaurant, but also all the a-la-carte restaurants are included in the price!
The budget option: We had the breakfast included because of the Hilton Honors status and enjoyed all the food there until 11:00 in the morning. Then we usually had pizza just before 5:00 in the evening and that was it. This way, we managed to keep our daily expenses far below our expectations.
One night we went to the Portobello to test it out and I paid almost US$30 for about 16 tortellini, so we decided to have the pizza again the next day 😀
More info on the restaurants you’ll find here.
In addition, just south of the lake there is the Moon Light Bar, which was closed during our stay:
– Getting off the island –
We had a flight departing Mahe at 9:00 in the morning to Johannesburg. Since the Hilton offers an early boat transfer at 5:00, this wasn’t a problem. We were the only people on the boat and all staff was trying to make our last few minutes a nice experience, even at this horrible time of day. We even got an own breakfast served by the front desk at 4:30 in the morning. A golf cart then picked us up and we were down by the pier in no time. It was a clear night with the moon and countless stars sparsely lighting up the ocean and islands around us, with us two being the only ones standing on deck of the boat.
Again, we left our baggage in the room and it magically appeared in the back of our airport taxi an hour and a half later. Perfect!
– Bottom line: –
If you ever go to the Seychelles, you should be prepared to spend a lot of money. It doesn’t matter what you’re planning on doing there, everything apart from catching a local bus is expensive. Considering the value you get for your money though, the Hilton Seychelles Labriz is for sure one of the best places in the entire country! You’ll often find three / four star hotels on the main island in the same price range as the Hilton Labriz. That’s because it’s a bit of an effort to get there, and once you do, everything costs a lot. But considering that you get a private island resort in the Seychelles for this money, it’s a bargain. Even more so, if you can enjoy the benefits of a Hilton Honors status.
Don’t just take our word for it though, check out their reviews on TripAdvisor
Have you been to the Seychelles? Maybe you’ve stayed here! We’d love to know!
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