This Hidden-Gem Honeymoon Hideaway Is The Seychelles’ Best-Kept Secret
Without a big brand name behind it, Maia doesn’t have the same brand recognition as other luxury hotels in the Seychelles, but its “whatever, wherever, whenever” approach to service makes it one of the country’s best-kept secrets.
There’s no shortage of high-end hotels to choose from on the island of Mahé, the largest and most easily accessible island in the Seychelles, but the most luxurious choice may not be the most obvious one. Flying under the big-name radar is Maia, an ultra-premium resort for those in the know. The romantic hidden-gem is part of Tsogo Sun Hotels, a small hotel collection based out of South Africa.
This all-villa property nests discreetly on a prelapsarian hillside peninsula above Anse Louis Beach, one of Mahé’s most gorgeous and approachable beaches where flour-soft sand and gentle waves make swimming here a pleasure. There’s an undeniable Balinese vibe to Maia, which comes care of star hotel architects Bill Bensley and Lek Bunnag. Palatial villas—either beachside or ruched into the hill—sport soaring thatched roofs, elevated decks, rich teak accents, and wisps of mosquito netting. (The Ocean Panoramic Villas, which seem to float above the greenery in a Robinson-Crusoe manner, are the stars are the show).
The property's 30 landscaped acres are lush as a rainforest, and there are over 120 endemic species of plants on site. Bensley ensured that no tree was felled during the construction of the site, and the gardening team playfully claims that they have more plants than the nearby botanical garden. There’s plenty of indoor/outdoor space in the villas too, with private cobalt-blue pools and outdoor soaking tubs that 24/7 dedicated butlers are more than happy to fill with coral-hued hibiscus flowers and vanilla-scented bubbles, sourced from nearby vanilla plantations on the island of La Digue.
The open-air forest spa, resplendent in tassels of leafy vines, shady palms, and old-world porcelain tubs, is hard to beat and boasts a collection of locally sourced products (the lemongrass and lime massage oil is sublime), as well as products by top-tier Budapest beauty and skincare brand, Omorovicza. Rooms have Hermès toiletries, designed by Hermès master perfumer Christine Nagel.
Though you’ll be hard pressed to find a more tranquil and expertly dressed property on the island, what sets Maia apart goes beyond its enchanted tropical aesthetic. One of its unique selling points is the fact that Maia is the very highest level of all-inclusive.
Yes, the term “all inclusive” is troublesome in the luxury market because it’s hard to shake away images of wristbands and bottom-shelf liquor, but at Maia, all-inclusive means Veuve Clicquot, Wagyu beef, seafood platters and truffles—seriously. Maia decided to become the only luxury all-inclusive in Mahé because their clientele were coming from other ultra-luxe inclusive private islands (like North Island, where Will and Kate honeymooned and Fregate Island Private). Maia often works in conjunction with these properties as many travelers stay in Mahé either before or after heading to one of the private island paradises.
At Maia, there’s one restaurant, Tec-Tec, that serves different and distinct menus across five cuisines: Mediterranean, Indian, Thai, Japanese, and local Creole. The head chef is Indian, so that cuisine really shines, as does the Thai. And if you want something off-menu it’s never a problem (in fact, few things are at Maia). All but the very top level of alcohol is included as well, for example Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve N.V. is poured freely by the glass, but Billecart-Salmon ‘Sous Bois’ Brut N.V. is charged at around $220 per bottle.
Don’t be put off by the idea of only having one restaurant either: dining is available in your private villa, on the beach, and even on the hotel’s helipad—all for no extra charge.
This is all part of Maia’s ethos of “whatever, wherever, whenever.” Nothing is impossible and the staff genuinely welcome challenges. You want a massage under the full moon on the helipad? A seafood beach barbecue? A wine-paired private dinner for two in the wine cellar? Done, done and done.
Before arrival, guests fill out a preference sheet that includes everything from choice of music to choice of water (sparking or flat). Each villa comes with a dedicated butler who is more than happy to make all your dreams come true. General Manager Lionel Ferrari says one of the biggest challenges is creating optimum butler-guests matches. But to ensure success, he has butlers speaking multiple languages like French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish, and there are also female butlers to cater to the Middle Eastern female market to ensure all guests feel comfortable, completely taken care of, and genuinely appreciated.
During your stay at Maia, you may notice that the staff greet one another and guests by holding their hand to their chest. Even after only a day or two, it’s easy to see that at Maia thing are done from the heart.