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Banyan Tree – Mahé,Seychelles

A plantation-style spa resort set in 286 acres of thick tropical forest on gorgeous, glittering Anse Intendence beach. Once the exclusive hideaway of Pink Panther star Peter Sellers, this is one of the most private and picturesque spots on the main island, Mahé.

Situated on photogenic Anse Intendence beach at southern end of Mahé, the Banyan Tree is highly private, making it attractive to prominent and wealthy guests. Unfortunately, given the orientation of the beach, the sea can get very rough here, particularly between May and October. This limits the possibilities for watersports and even swimming on some days. The airport is a 30-minute drive northeast.

Built into the landscape rather than over it, the low-lying, white clapboard structures look extremely attractive set against the dark green foliage of the surrounding forest. The architecture is also well suited to the Seychellois climate, with high sloping ceilings, airy verandahs and louvered doors. The main ‘house’, which sports a contemporary Asian style and big, bold flower displays overlooks the scenic beach.

From its broad verandahs, decks descend to the restaurant and infinity pool which stretches out towards the sea, the invisible edge making for a memorable swimming experience. Beyond this hub, the villas stretch out along the beach and climb the hillside behind.

Most of the activities at the Banyan focus around the Asian spa. There are eight spa pavilions, and therapists are trained at the Banyan Tree Spa Academy before being let loose on guests. If you can tear yourself away from their clutches there’s a tennis court, a Technogym, complimentary yoga sessions and free snorkelling for when the sea is calm and swimmable (water conditions are marked daily with coloured flags).

The 60 villas are divided into six categories. The majority are either beachfront or hillside villas, the latter offering stunning views over the top of the takamaka trees to the luminous water below. All of them are enormous and are surrounded by a solid fence for the utmost privacy. Inside, Asian furniture, woven textiles and crisp white linens give the bedrooms a contemporary feel, in addition to which there’s a dressing room, a bathroom with a sunken tub and a power shower that doubles as a steam room.


Outside, beside each private pool is a colonnaded pavilion for romantic outdoor dining or in-villa spa treatments. Other, more spacious and luxurious room options include four Intendance bay view villas, five ocean view pool villas, the Sanctuary spa villa, the two-bedroom, double pool villa and the Royal Banyan villa.

An extensive international breakfast buffet is served in the rather stiff Au Jardin d’Epices restaurant in the main plantation house, the same place used for international dining in the evening.

More atmospheric is Chez Lamar, the casual Arabic-influenced restaurant. The real highlight though is the resort’s signature Thai restaurant, Saffron, which is set in a quiet forest glade beside a glassy green lake much visited by water birds. It’s the best South Asian restaurant on the island and bookings are essential.

Children are welcome although there are no specific child care facilities at the resort. Also, the rocky terrain, unpredictable sea conditions and split-level villas are not very suitable for younger children.


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