Marriage On The Rocks! | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
September 12, 2013

Marriage On The Rocks!

Text by Devanshi Modi.

Seychelles is ‘Destination Honeymoon’. Hush-hush hotels endowed with enervating natural beauty; azure-carpeted islands whose beaches, like pearl necklaces, wreathe rocks mantled in emerald forest. Here’s to heady honeymoons, toasts Devanshi Modi….

Seychelles’ most-sought ‘honeymoon hotel’, ever sold-out. With 30 honeymooning couples dotting the beach, curled over private romantic suppers, it seemed like I alone wasn’t honeymooning. But bands of Arabian ladies too sweep the restaurants. The hotel is owned by Arab sheikhs and perhaps they bring their harems along on honeymoon. Or perhaps Chef Dave’s silken homemade pastas explain the allurement. Whichever, you’d be combatting with honeymooning hordes, Arab royals and Russian oligarchs for those long, sultry dark wood villas staggered on the brooding granite hillside. Bay views from your immense bathrooms and aquamarine infinity pool bewitch (famously); wooden decks with outdoor showers embowered in luxurious foliage splash wilderness excitement.

The spa is placidly poised on an incline. Sofas studded in white Italian pebbles lounge by an all-glass facade that frames astonishing sea views. During the Hilltop Fusion Massage, Elirose of the satin-tipped fingers and soft, soothing voice eases the most entangled muscles with her tender persuasion and subtle craft.

Exclusivity is when 17 villas scatter a Monaco-sized private isle. This remote and seductively savage island, the resort MD declares, is about three things: Privacy, Privacy, Privacy. Languish on a beach ranked amongst the world’s best, where spa manageress Widi conducts invigorating massages; do forage into this enchanting island athrob with fauna and flora, culminating in Mont Signal: from its pristine pinnacles the sea seems to gush up to hold in passionate embrace the shore. Amour flourishes, however, in an encirclement of cooing Fairy Tern lovebirds whilst you have high-tea in the lofty tree house. And then, new French Chef Arnaud’s cuisine is a labour of love. Enhancing the suave appeal of his haute gastronomy, the teasing innovation of his salads – think vinaigrettes of hibiscus, ylang-ylang, fig and cashew – all tossed with produce from his gardens. Relish designer lunches in the garden and this could be the Garden of Eden, but for constant battles with impudent little birds craftily whisking away your victuals.

Here’s to where Prince William and his Kate once retreated to mend a ruptured romance. Perchance they’ll return with the brood as the newly launched villas may comprise five bedrooms, that’s if the British monarchy can yet spare 9000 Euros/night for royal extravagances.

Honeymooners decided on a lifelong love affair with Desroches could buy a villa. Get 163, or rent owner’s personal 162. Impressive doors open, behold splendid salons that flow uninterrupted into an ample gardened infinity flanked by elegant stand-alone bedrooms in quiet hues with the raunchiest mattresses veiled in wispy white curtains. The villa also stocks a butler (insist on Mumbaikar Kundan), kitchen with private chef and 12-seater dinner table – if you’re cross with the loved one, dispatch him to the nether end.

Prefer intimacy? Then book less glamorous but delicious Beach Retreat 201. Delightful garden bathrooms, larger than the bedrooms, scintillatingly lit at night, have electric blue plunge pools set against outdoor showers that look like melting gold.

This private island is a quirky little number with an avenue called Champs-Élysées, à la Paris, cruising through unvarnished nature and a farm furnishing everything from gleaming veggies, fresh milk and amazing cheeses to meat and poultry. Self-sufficiency has its charms. Villas are sweetly gardened and may include outdoor spa beds. Simple but simply lovely cuisine beckons society’s cream. Breakfasts are buxom with warm, fragrant breads, dangerously addictive all-butter cookies, about six sorts, and you have to try them all, naturally, and then at lunch the remorseless enticement of voluptuous home-style desserts continues. During supper GM Salvatore’s Italian exuberance exacerbates the assailment of dolce. If you’re getting as round as a cookie remember, love handles aren’t becoming on a honeymoon and sinking a pretty private island even less so. You wouldn’t want a marriage on the rocks – quite literally….

A ravishment of the senses. Caressed cocoon. Residents-only. So exclusive, its guests wouldn’t deign driving there. Choppers descend here. Less exalted creatures aren’t disdained: Collin calls pre-travel, “Just to re-assure, I’ll collect you from Mahé Airport.” Given service so exquisitely crafted, the Abu Dhabi royals simply had to purloin the former staff to manage their 17 palaces.

This ivory tower, however, swiftly equipped itself with another prince charmant as GM. And François Ritchli has already worked in palaces – the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s, in fact. If his predecessor made of the sophistication of simplicity an accomplished art, Ritchli simplifies sophistication, artlessly.

The right royal treat rocks on as my private butler Kamini winds me up verdantly-clad paths to my hilltop villa. Hung like a painting before the terraces is a terrifically turquoise spread of sea. Soak in the view immersed in the water-embedded deck-chairs or the outdoor pavilioned bath around which the pool rests like a sapphire necklace. In these classy environs, even sunsets restrain their flashiness, as soberly silvered seas shimmer beguilingly at sundown.

High on love? Get higher still on wine – try in-cellar WineSign. Let nothing rub you the wrong way on honeymoon, least Sri’s massages (outstanding) in the award-winning spa set in exotic foliage.

Aswarm with chic young honeymooners. For this island generously dispenses all-inclusive villa packages and who can resist freebies? Luring lovers too are the most romantic restaurants in the Seychelles, the waterfront raised and dressed-for-supper Le Mont Fleuri presenting elevated epicureanism and rustic beachfront Robinson so mesmerisingly candlelit. As coy candles flutter on jagged wooden tables, enormous glass-encased candles on stands melt away, the wax swooning like a white willow. Views from your table are of Mahé, ten minutes away by boat, and civilisation. But the adventurous embark on four-hour island tours that vanish you away into serene beaches accessed arduously via forests. Those not given to exertions can laze in the spa over a four-hand massage or a totally-natural facial from Clarins de Paris. The mini-bar is free, but ask Goan boy Gautam at Le Sans Souci Bar to conjure up some Théodore de Paris iced teas, on the rocks. Now that’s a tea-tea-lating high!

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