Paradise found? A Visit to the Seychelles (part 1 of 4)

- Erik Haugen, Erik Haugen, CEO of Kiwi Collection, has a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding merger and acquisition specialists, a leader and a premier long-range business development strategist. In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics magna cum laude from Cornell University he has a Master’s degree in both Marketing and Finance from one of the most celebrated academic institutions in America – the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As an Executive in a handful of high-powered consulting firms, Erik has developed long-range strategic plans for several Fortune 100 clients. He has also found success as a Senior Sales and Marketing Executive in the pharmaceutical and resources industries of Europe and the United States. His extensive professional experience has led Erik all over the globe and he has been a guest at many of the world’s finest hotels. And, while traveling with his beloved wife, Erik has developed a passion for fine cuisine, fine hotels, and exotic locations. His success in the world of high-finance has allowed Erik to fuse his passion and professionalism into his current role at the helm of Kiwi Collection.

How do you define paradise? Most people would agree that we all have a different view of what paradise is, based on our experiences, our preferences, our expectations and our state of mind.

The Seychelles is an island paradise. I was thrilled to visit there with my wife in March.

Our trip started during the planning stage, a few months in advance of our physical visit. It was very straightforward to organise our trip so we had a lot of time to think about the visit and read up on the islands. Tale after tale told of their beauty and the relaxed nature of the Seychellois, but nothing could have prepared us for the truly amazing experience that awaited us.

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 158 islands, 1600km off the east coast of Africa. It plays host to a wide variety of flora, fauna, sea-life, and some select tourists intrepid and lucky enough to experience it in person. It is still relatively underdeveloped in comparison to many other tropical paradises, and as with many Caribbean islands, it still possesses a lot of the local Creole flavour from its African, Malagasy, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, and French origins.

The population of the Seychelles is ~80,000. The majority of these people live on the main island Mahé, the capital of the Seychelles, and home to most of the country’s administration and the main international airport. Mahé is located on the north western edge of this island archipelago in a section called the Inner Islands. The Inner Islands are granite islands as opposed to coral reefs like the majority of the islands across the Indian Ocean. This means they are home to a wide variety of unique flora and fauna, and also to the majority of the hotels and resorts in the Seychelles.

Disembarking from the plane at the Seychelles International Airport on Mahé provided us with a taste of things to come. It was an absolute pleasure! The approach gave everyone a good look at Mahé, and what struck us was how incredibly lush it appeared. The mountains that make up the island seem to rise right out of the ocean, are stunningly lush (covered by a wide range of trees and plants), and fringed by the most beautiful white sand beaches.

After the 10°C, overcast weather in London, it was a shock to the system to be hit with the 30-35°C humid heat of the Seychelles.

It was slightly overcast when we arrived, and the humidity hung low in the air, but no one seemed to mind, especially the Europeans who were all eagerly anticipating their stay in paradise.

The pace of life in the Seychelles is unhurried and relaxed. The moment you get off the plane the heat penetrates your limbs and relaxes you. The infectious and genuine friendliness of the people puts you at ease, and before you know it, you are smiling uncontrollably and saying “Hello” to everybody you pass.

On our visit my wife and I stayed at three very different and unique properties; each consists of less than 55 villas, and each has its own personality.

  • North Island, the quintessential barefoot luxury island retreat.

  • Maia, a main island resort on Mahé that redefines the term “full service private luxury hideaway.”

  • The Banyan Tree, a main island resort on Mahé in an extraordinarily tranquil setting, overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Over the next few days, I will post my experiences visiting each of these island propeties.


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