As my boat approached the island, the azure Indian Ocean around me, the giant stones on shore appeared even more majestic. Once on land I marveled at the prehistoric granite boulders punctuating the island’s terrain like some mystic sentinels of a lost civilization.
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Sometimes a place is so special, so distinct, attention must be paid. Six Senses Zil Pasyon, the luxurious resort on private island Félicité, Seychelles that opened last fall is one such place. The other worldly rock formations that make the island so unique have been cleverly incorporated into the architecture. The spa, a Six Senses trademark, features 5 double treatment villas strikingly built atop mammoth boulders and linked by rope bridges. It’s the island’s dramatic beauty that makes it such a mesmerizing retreat.
In addition to the massive monoliths, nature shines in all its glory here. Exotic birds, swaying coco palms and pristine sand beaches are found on this tropical oasis. Everything from the design, cuisine to the wellness treatments, for which the brand is renowned, is impressive.
Aqua enthusiasts like yours truly will love the crystal clear aquamarine water that surrounds the hilly island. I snorkeled just off the resort steps leading down to the sea amid coral gardens and an underwater kingdom of boundless fish in all sizes, shapes, and colors from jewel-toned, black and white striped to lemony yellow.
The personable, attentive staff provided water and towels the moment I emerged from the sea ready to bask in a sun lounger. After lolling a bit, it was time for my archery session. Happily, they use my preferred type of bow and arrow.
In addition to three white sand beaches to choose from with many secluded spots to kick back and relax, there’s a large swimming pool set at the water’s edge. You can also hop a boat for a 5-minute ride to dreamy Coco Island, for more snorkeling and more colossal rocks. Here, I swam with a large, friendly sea turtle in addition to a rainbow of marine life.
Each of the 30 stunning balau wood villas nestled amid the lush foliage of the hillsides offers total privacy and magnificent ocean vistas. Huge, handsome interior spaces with floor to ceiling windows showcase contemporary décor that blends with the island surroundings.
Eye-catching aqua quartzite bathroom and pool tiles reflect the colors of the sea. These sybaritic sanctuaries include insanely comfortable Six Senses beds with plush linens, a dressing room, nifty high tech lavatories and deep tubs with playful swings beside them – both gazing out to the luminous water below. I especially enjoyed the outstanding Organic Pharmacy products provided in my villa for pampering soaks and indulgent primping après bath.
My spacious deck, a veritable outdoor playground, included a dining table, daybed, ultra comfy loungers and infinity pool large enough to swim in with a chaise carved into it so you can read, sunbathe and take in sunsets while reclining in the water. At night, the pool’s fiber optic dots sparkled like a brilliant star-lit sky.
I always used in villa dining for breakfast on my deck. Juices of the day varied with concoctions such as coconut ginger, a mix of greens or watermelon, pomegranate and papaya. This was followed by inventive dishes like scrambled eggs with local crab and lemon crème fraiche or perhaps coconut pancakes, lime syrup with mango compote, all delivered promptly and set up perfectly by the excellent staff. There is no additional charge for this service, encouraging guests to enjoy any meal in their villa.
The whimsical but chic vibe of the resort is perfectly captured in the fanciful light bulb display dangling over the bar in fashionable Island Café, the main restaurant. The bird’s nest lanterns suspended from the Badamier tree in front of the eatery, beautifully illuminated at night, create a surreal setting.
The cuisine is a creative take on Creole flavors plus exciting Indian, European and International specialties. Some of the many standouts included tastiest soft shell crab curry, king prawns, grilled lobster, chicken tikka masala, rigatoni with spiced tomatoes and Australian lamb chops, all with herbs and vegetables from the organic garden.
For lunch, the seafront ‘no meat’ Ocean Kitchen offers sublime seafood such as grilled red snapper in a banana leaf, sautéed greens, cassava and addictive yellowtail tuna ceviche with avocado.
Visiting the spa which opened in February is a journey unto itself as you walk on primeval paths between the island’s towering stones. As I entered the hanging villa set on a large boulder for my massage, I immediately felt a sense of buoyancy.
A wide array of holistic, healing and rejuvenating treatments with expert in house therapists plus a rotating roster of top visiting practitioners from around the globe is planned. The Spa menu also features experience journeys with rituals and massages using native oils, herbs and Tibetan singing bowls.
I found the Integrated Wellness Program, a Six Senses signature that measures and analyzes physiological markers to curate personalized nutrition, fitness and spa treatments, remarkably accurate. To round out the wellness journey, the spa also houses an elevated open-air saltwater pool with sundeck, hammam, yoga and meditation pavilion.
High atop a hill, a glass of bubbly in hand I gazed at the sunset, an explosion of golden, magenta and orange hues. The gorgeous island spread before me surrounded by the vast Indian Ocean, Six Senses Zil Pasyon gets it all right.
Etihad and its partner Air Seychelles have daily flights from New York with outstanding service through Abu Dhabi, connecting to a 4 hour flight to the Seychelles’ main island Mahe. From there it’s a short helicopter ride to the resort. The Air Seychelles VIP service, a fantastic add on lets you relax in their air conditioned lounge while enjoying fresh coconut water, tropical fruit and other bites while they collect your luggage and process you through immigration when you arrive and get your boarding pass, conduct the immigration process and check in your luggage on the way out. They even have a separate X-ray screening directly outside the lounge so guests clear security there. George and Amal Clooney and Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge used this service when they visited the Seychelles.