A touch of royalty, it turns out, can do wonders for a destination.
That seems to be the experience of the Seychelles, basking this month in the glory of being chosen as the honeymoon spot for the world’s most watched couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Since the first reports of the honeymoon surfaced, the Seychelles has been blessed with the sort of press coverage most places can only dream of — something which authorities hope will turn readers into visitors in the coming months.
This week, Etihad announced that it was ramping up services to the destination from later this year, adding that the islands have a “strong and growing appeal as a premium leisure destination, with increasing numbers of UAE residents and European travellers holidaying there.”
The move followed an increase by its rival airline Emirates in March.
So what can travelers look forward to on what must now be the Indian Ocean’s most famous islands?
Get away. This was, after all, what the royals were after — Bird Island is perfect for honeymooners, with no mobile phone reception, televisions or lights at night. There is only one hotel, but 5 kilometers of beach.
Indulge. The Raffles Praslin is an 86-villa resort with spectacular ocean views, butler service and a private plunge pool in each villa. It’s the newest of several luxury properties in the country.
Sunbathe. Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue island is the world’s best beach, if you ask the editors of National Geographic‘s ‘The 10 Best of Everything’. Relax on the pink sand as the turquoise waters lap at your feet, soaking up the near-permanent sunshine.
See the wildlife. The Seychelles’ 115 islands could easily be described as one huge nature reserve — from coral atolls to endemic bird species, there is enough flora and fauna here to fill months of vacation.
Island hop. This is one of the greatest pleasures to be had in the Seychelles, between Mahé, Praslin and La Digue or even further afield. Those with the cash can use a helicopter, but for everyone else there are frequent ferry services.
Splash around. The crystal-clear, bath-warm waters of the Seychelles make for an unbeatable snorkeling experience, with visibility over 30 meters. Alternatively, take advantage of the winds between May and September to sail and surf.