Sheer tropical luxury in "the land of perpetual summer"
Hotel L’Archipel and its fragrant hillside gardens lie in north-eastern section of Praslin, the second-largest island in the Seychelles. Beneath the lodge is Anse Gouvernement, a secluded beach reserved for the hotel's guests only. Think of all the tropical words you can, and you'll be describing this location, with its wide white sands, rustling palms, loungers for sun-soaking, and turquoise sea that is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and, for an edge-of-your-seat Ernest Hemingway adventure, deep-sea fishing. Meander back to the hotel and your cool room through mature gardens filled with palms, hibiscus, fragrant frangipani and bougainvillea. Heavenly!
At the lodge
The communal area is open and tranquil, with a reception area, bar, comfortable seating areas indoors and on the veranda, and two restaurants – one spilling on to the beach and the second upstairs. According to the management, the public areas and some of the suites are to be upgraded in 2016. There's free wi-fi in the restaurant areas (you pay for it in your rooms). The pool is large and perfect for midnight dips if you're feeling the heat.
Stay in one of 23 rooms or nine stylish suites of varying sizes that dot the hillside or lie along the shore, just a few steps from the sand. All are spacious and air-conditioned, with large en-suite bathrooms with either bathtubs or showers. The beds are wide and comfortable, the views from all the suites, especially from the balconies of the hillside suites, are huge, and encompass palm trees, shimmering water and the blue, cloud-scattered sky.
Swim, snorkel or sunbathe at the private beach, visit Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and the astonishing Fond Ferdinand Cocos de Mer Reserve, walk the Praslin Heritage Route and Pirate Treasure Trail, and see the Praslin Museum. Two boats are available: Makwa (the smaller craft, for short fishing trips) and the 16-seater Lady Caroline (for deep-sea fishing trips or excursions to other islands). Explore other beaches, play golf, or visit a pearl farm, St Pierre or Coco/Felicite marine parks.