NEW HORIZONS
Business Traveller UK|May - June 2021
After the long months of lockdown we all need an idyllic escape. The islands of the Indian Ocean should be on your wish list
APRIL HUTCHINSON

The Indian Ocean trio of Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives may all share the vast expanse of azure water that laps at their shores, but that’s where the similarity ends, with each country having its own unique culture and natural appeal, plus a distinctive array of superb hotels.

The 115 islands of Seychelles are perhaps the most wildly paradisaical of them all, with endless chalk-white crescents and stretches of beach hemmed by enormous granite boulders so big that they must surely have been dropped by giants. There’s a population of only about 100,000 people spread across these scattered islands, so you can expect plenty of peace and space.

Still, adventure does await those who seek it, from hiking Morne Seychellois – the country’s highest mountain is a challenging mission that you should allow a good half-day for – to diving in hopes of seeing some of the 850 species of fish that can be found here. Seychelles also prides itself on its rich Creole culture, and there’s no better time to see this come alive than for Festival Kreol, which is usually held in October.

In the Maldives, it’s more of a numbers game – both in terms of the volume of people who flock to its Robinson Crusoe-style islands, and in the plethora of classy resorts they get to choose from. It’s also a game of innovation – top properties constantly try to outdo each other with engineering feats such as the Muraka, a two-level residence at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island with an underwater bedroom that means you can literally sleep with the fishes.

Mauritius, meanwhile, has a population of about 1.2 million and a history woven with tales of colonisation and sugar plantations. The nation is made up of many islets and sister islands include Rodriguez, but the bulk of travellers will explore the large main island of Mauritius, which has a strong Indian and Chinese heritage, a wonderful untamed interior and a dramatic coastline. Resorts tend to be on beaches that are a struggle to peel yourself away from, but you should try and explore what this island has to offer.

SEYCHELLES

Of the three countries, Seychelles is the one where tourism is most low-impact and its development carefully measured, with islands maintaining a land-that-time forgot look about them. Sustainability is a way of life here, with almost half of this Eden-like paradise set aside as national parks and reserves. As a visitor, you can expect to come across plenty of wildlife-saving projects and conservation-first resorts.

Seychelles is made up of two island groups – the inner group of more than 40 mountainous granitic islands, which form the cultural, economic and tourism hub and include the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue; and the 70 or so outlying, largely uninhabited, flat coralline specks known as the Outer Islands.

One new option in that area is a small eco camp on Wizard Island, set within the magnificent Cosmoledo Atoll, where Blue Safari Seychelles takes care of conservation and preservation. Cosmoledo has always been the domain of fly fishing, but Cosmoledo Eco Camp means adventurous, conservation-minded souls can now stay there in one of eight converted shipping containers, or “eco pods”.

Seychelles boasts a clutch of desirable resorts that have private islands all to themselves, such as North, Denis, Desroches, Cousine and Fregate. The last of these plays a crucial role in conserving the critically endangered magpie robin as well as hosting the archipelago’s second-largest gathering of giant tortoises, more than 3,000 of them. The highest number live on Aldabra, where there is a 150,000-strong population of these ancient creatures.

If you’d rather stay on a larger island with a bit more going on, opt for a resort on Mahe, home to the capital, Victoria, and the international airport, along with hotels from the likes of Banyan Tree and Hilton. Bringing some recent global pizazz is Minor Hotels’ top-notch Anantara brand, which took over management of the Maia resort on Mahe last summer.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BUSINESS TRAVELLER UKView All

TURBO CHARGED

It’s all about electric and hybrid this year. Here is a look at the top new eco-friendly vehicles

5 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

SPENDING POWER

You put plenty of thought into what to pack in your suitcase, but what about what you carry in your wallet? Here’s our guide to the best credit and debit cards to use when travelling

4 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

Workspaces by Hilton at the Trafalgar St James, London

BACKGROUND Like many hotel firms, Hilton has launched a programme to rent out rooms by the day for guests to work in.

3 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

Premier Inn London Southwark (Southwark Station)

BACKGROUND This new property opened briefly in December 2020, when I stayed, and then closed from December 24, 2020, until April 12, 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

3 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

Brighter times ahead

Conditions remain challenging for Europe’s rail operators but new night services and rail-air links will provide welcome momentum

4 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong

BACKGROUND Originally opened in 1991, the Island Shangri-La has recently renovated its Horizon Club rooms. I visited in March 2021 when restrictions were lifting in Hong Kong.

3 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

NEW HORIZONS

After the long months of lockdown we all need an idyllic escape. The islands of the Indian Ocean should be on your wish list

9 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

4 HOURS IN... Kaohsiung

Take in the cultural sights and waterside attractions of Taiwan’s atmospheric southern port city

4 mins read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

Vaccine Passports: State Of Play

As vaccinations are rolled out worldwide, discussions continue about the possibility of having some kind of digital document to prove that travellers are protected against Covid-19.

1 min read
Business Traveller UK
May - June 2021

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

We round up the finest watches released in 2020 – and look ahead to 2021, which may prove to be as unpredictable a year as the one that has just passed…

9 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021
RELATED STORIES

SPECIAL REPORT

BREATH-CONTROLLED TRANSATLANTIC • UPWIND MAINSAIL TRIM • SETTING A TRYSAIL

6 mins read
Yachting World
February 2021

Seychelles – A World Apart

Get away from it all in the picturesque Seychelles.

5 mins read
Global Traveler
July/August 2020

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

The Nature Conservancy has a bold plan to protect over 1.5 million square miles of ocean in the next five years

4 mins read
Scuba Diving
July 2020

STAY HOME AND MAKE ART

Mural artist Shahul Hameed unravels his secrets to remaining cheerful, positive and hopeful as we endure these stressful times while staying at home.

4 mins read
Creative Gaga
Issue 50

Maldives - Islands Of Plenty

There’s more to the Maldives than honeymoons – this escape offers resorts to suit all types of travelers

5 mins read
Business Traveler
December 2019/January 2020

World's Sexiest Ecolodges

At last, aesthetes can enjoy escapes that are as easy on the eyes as they are the environment, writes Juliet Kinsman

7 mins read
Condé Nast Traveller India
October - November 2019

The Action-Packed Side Of Mauritius

Think Mauritius is all about romantic walks on the beach and candlelit dinners at plush resorts? Kriti Saraswat-Satpathy introduces you to an action-packed side of this tropical escape

4 mins read
Femina
August 9, 2019

En donde reinan los reptiles

En un atolón coralino remoto, un fotógrafo descubre un paraíso prístino en el que él es un elemento más del ecosistema.

4 mins read
National Geographic en Español
Junio 2019

Exotic Dining In The Maldives

Strewn across the Indian Ocean like a handful of shimmering pearls.

3 mins read
Food and Travel Magazine
Spring 2019

Ocean Mission's Emergency Ascent Caused By Motor Burning Out

A drama in which a submersible made an emergency ascent from 250 meters (820 feet) below the Indian Ocean was caused by condensation burning out a small motor in the cockpit, the director of the British-led Nekton Mission said.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
March 22, 2019