Hotels & Resorts

Paradise Found on This 2-Kilometer Island With the Clearest Blue Water You’ve Ever Seen

It truly doesn't get more beautiful than North Island, Seychelles. You had us at giant tortoises, tropic birds and just 11 private villas.

Aerial over East beach at North Island, Seychelles

Warm equatorial waters lap the untouched shores of North Island

By Stacey Leasca

Aug 31, 2022

AT JUST TWO KILOMETERS long and located some 30 kilometer away from the mainland, North Island, Seychelles, could be easy to overlook. And for a while, it was — that is, until The Luxury Collection saw a true ecological diamond in the rough.

In 2019, The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott International, Inc., announced the addition of North Island to its portfolio. And more recently, ASmallWorld Hospitality took over management.

North Island, also known as Ile du Nord, was the first Seychelles island to have a recorded landing by seafarers in 1609. At the time, the expedition team reported the destination was home to a rather large population of giant land tortoises, and that was it. Then, between 1826 and the 1970s, it was owned by the Beaufond family from Réunion and used as a farm to grow fruit and spices, as well as produce guano, fish oil, and copra. The farm was sold in the 1970s and fell into disuse until it was purchased in 1997 to be once again turned into both a private island hideaway and sanctuary for native Seychellois wildlife. All that hard work has paid off to make the island one of the most pristine places on the planet.

Villa North Island from the ocean, North Island, Seychelles
Villa North Island from the ocean

“North Island is a fertile paradise — the perfect setting for ourf Noah’s Ark conservation and island rehabilitation program,” the website explained. “The natural beauty of North Island will touch and inspire you at the deepest level.”

To bring out the island’s emerald green flora and fauna, azure ocean water, and sparkling white sand, the team had to first undo all the damage done by man and the farm over the decades. That included eradicating non-native rodents and removing all feral animals, including goats, cats and cattle. Invasive plant species are still being cleared and replaced with thousands of native plant and tree seedlings to ultimately restore what once was. And it appears to be working.

FROM LEFT: Giant Aldabra Tortoises; white-tailed tropicbirds at North Island, Seychelles
FROM LEFT: Giant aldabra tortoises; white-tailed tropicbirds

According to North Island, Seychelles blue pigeons, as well as breeding populations of wedge-tailed shearwaters and white-tailed tropicbirds, have returned, and both hawksbill and green turtles have started to nest on the beaches again. It’s a bounty that guests can now experience by spending some time with the island’s private environmental team or simply heading out to explore.

So, how exactly can you visit this paradise? All you have to do is book one of its 11 private guest or family villas.

Tranquility in your Villa bedroom, North Island, Seychelles
Tranquility in your Villa bedroom

The accommodations are an ode to the island as well, constructed using sustainable and local materials, and outfitted to mimic the world outside, with neutral-toned furnishings and glossy woods.

On the island, guests can also enjoy menus designed in collaboration with celebrity chef Akira Back, whose restaurant, Dosa, in Seoul, South Korea, has been awarded a Michelin star. The food, which always revolves around what’s in season, is tailored to guest needs.

Sponsored by Tourism New Zealand
The Piazza Bar & Lounge is the first to see the light at sunrise, North Island, Seychelles
The Piazza Bar & Lounge is the first to see the light at sunrise

Of course, island activities mainly focus on experiencing the natural beauty. From scuba diving and snorkeling to kayaking, fishing, cycling, and guided walks, it’s all about maximizing time in the great outdoors and learning about how to better care for precious places like this.

See more about the destination and book a stay, which begins at €5,500 per night, on the North Island website.

All photos courtesy of North Island, Seychelles.

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