Enjoy the sights of Dubai and a dune safari before a relaxing stay at the Banyan Tree Seychelles, one of the world's most luxurious hotels.
3 nights Dubai, including breakfast and excursions; 7 nights Banyan Tree Seychelles, including breakfast. Includes flights and transfers.
11 days from £4,352pp
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On the beach - 8 days
Banyan Tree, Mahe
Elegant, understated and very refined, the Banyan Tree Seychelles is one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. A combination of contemporary, colonial and plantation design, it seamlessly blends the old world with the new.
The exceptionally private Banyan Tree is an exclusive hideaway featuring lavish villas cut into a hillside and surrounded by lush tropical foliage. Cool marble floors and balustraded balconies lead out to the stunning infinity pool and endless views of the deep-blue sea. The hotel’s three restaurants have earned an enviable reputation for their fine food, while the enchanting spa offers a range of signature treatments. Attentive staff can arrange a host of personalised experiences from private dining under the stars to cookery courses. Alternatively, visit the botanical and spice gardens or take a trip in a glass-bottomed boat. Whatever you choose to do in this incredibly romantic resort, it is highly likely you will leave wishing you had booked just a few days more.
The enormous private villas feature high, sloping ceilings, airy verandas and louvred doors. All come with their own plunge pool, a decking area with a separate gazebo and stunning sea views.
Before the beach - 3 days
Ancient yet avant-garde, demure yet decadent, Dubai is a city of dramatic and bewildering contrasts. Visit old Dubai on a guided tour to see the magnificent Majlis Al Ghorfat, modern palaces, and the Bastakia district. Then explore the 200-year-old Al Fahidi Fort and the gold and spice souks before heading to the heart of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for an evening of traditional Arabian entertainment. Relax on low cushions in an authentic Bedouin tent and watch the sun set over the rolling sand dunes before taking a camel ride under the stars.
The Palace Downtown Dubai is a lakeside hotel offering a blend of local heritage and contemporary style. The 323 guest rooms have Middle Eastern decor and stunning views.
Banyan Tree, Mahe
60 rooms, 3 restaurants, 1 pool
Banyan Tree Seychelles perches overlooking beautiful Intendance Bay in the southwest of Mahé. The resort is a mix of wooden decking, white clapboard villas and infinity pools, with views out over the sand and sea. The architecture complements the tropical landscape rather than blending in, with the white of the pavillions contrasting with the jungle greens and marine blues.
This is a high end resort with an emphasis on service and the numbers of staff to back that up. Expect efficiency and your every need to be thought of, but the service will still be delivered with a smile.
The resort has 60 well spaced villas which allows guests privacy, but the resort always has a buzz of excitement as new arrivals come to start their stay. Action is provided in the evenings by jazz and Creole guitar performances or movie nights around the pool deck.
The beach is the big draw: white sand framed by coconut palms and jungle. The resort is designed to make the most of the beach, with villas sitting on the sand or perched up above with sweeping views.
There are three restaurants, serving international, Thai and Creole cuisine and two bars, Lavarange Bar and the pool bar.
Excellent facilities ensure an action packed or relaxing break, from tennis to the landmark Banyan Tree Spa. On water there is plenty to do including snorkelling, diving and sailing.
The resort is part of the very well-regarded Banyan Tree group.
Children of all ages are welcome at Banyan Tree. Villas have sofa beds and cots can be arranged.
The Two bedroom double pool beachfront villas are peerless for family groups, with the amount of space and luxurious surroundings contributing hugely to a successful trip.
The Banyan Tree Seychelles is a top choice for a luxury stay in beautiful surroundings and with excellent facilities. The beach is outstanding, the buildings are designed to enhance the natural environment, and the facilities, including the spa, are very good quality.
The resort is stylish and luxurious, and prices are in line with other hotels of this standard. The sea attracts surfers, but can be a bit rough at times for those who prefer a gentle paddle.
The Banyan Tree will appeal to those that want to stay in a smart and well thought-out hotel with plenty of facilities.
There are 60 villas at Banyan Tree, split into seven different categories. They are finished in a colonial plantation style, with white clapboard walls, contemporary furnishings and great use of al fresco living.
The Hillside pool villas start at 97m2 and go all the way up to the 826m2 space of the Two bedroom double pool beachfront villas. In between there's a choice from the Pool villa by the rocks, the Beachfront pool villa, the Intendance Pool Villa, the One Bedroom Presidential Villa and the Two Bedroom Presidential Villa.
All villas have king-sized beds, air-conditioning, satellite television and CD player, in room internet, minibar, safe, tea and coffee making facilities and en suite bathroom with double basins, sunken tub and deluxe shower, bathrobes and hair dryers. They all come with splash pools or swimming pools, and all but the Hillside pool villas also have Jacuzzis.
Villas have king size beds and can accommodate a child under 16 on a sofa bed, while the Two bedroom villas have the option of twin beds in the second bedroom.
Ocean Pool Villa
Situated high on a hill these ocean view villas are surrounded by rainforest. They have a private plunge pool, veranda with sun loungers and an open-air pavilion.
Intendance Bay View Pool Villa
Set in front of the ocean and large granite boulders, each of these villas has a private pool, massage pavilion, large veranda, outdoor jet pool and steam room. A delightful villa garden offers direct access to the beach.
Beachfront pool villa
The beachfront pool villas are luxurious and spacious. There is a private swimming pool, massage pavilion, sprawling veranda, outdoor jet pool and steam room. A delightful villa garden offers direct access to the beach.
Sanctuary Ocean View Pool Villa
Perched on the hillside in the tropical rainforest, these villas have spectacular views over the Indian Ocean. The villas have both a swimming pool and Jacuzzi and lots of living space, all cleverly connected by a network of paths and walkways.
One Bedroom Royal Banyan Ocean View Pool Villa
This villa has a prime location at the end of the beach, overlooking its own private cove with large amounts of space in which to unwind. The infinity pool spreads out over the rocks that protect the villa from the Indian Ocean giving you a swim with a view.
Two-Bedroom double pool beachfront villa
The two bedroom double pool beachfront villas are just steps away from the beach, and are an inspired choice for groups and families looking for a tropical retreat. They have lots of space to spread out in, and are supremely comfortable, with plenty of al fresco dining space.
Because just one might not be enough, they have two private swimming pools, as well as a Jacuzzi. When teamed with a villa host and the in-villa chef service, they are the ideal way for a big group to relax and celebrate in style.
Activities, diving & excursions
Non-motorised watersports including snorkelling and canoeing are included in the cost of your stay. Diving can be arranged locally, as can big game fishing. Banyan Tree has boats for private charter to explore the waters around Mahé.
There is a tennis court, health club, library and small boutique. The Banyan Tree Spa has eight pavilions and offers guests a wide variety of beauty and massage treatments. Finally, the hotel can arrange for mountain bike hire, or for those like a more relaxing way to explore, there is a variety of cars to hire.
The resort's five star PADI certified dive centre can teach you to dive if you want to try this incredible sport for the first time, or for experienced divers, they can show you the best local spots.
With a dive centre manager, 3 PADI instructors, 1 PADI divemaster and 2 skippers, the enthusiastic team can offer all PADI courses, with Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses running daily.
They have 20 full sets of equipment and a catamaran that can carry up to 14 divers.
Average dive depths are 15 metres, with the maximum depth of 22 metres, so most dives are suitable for Open Water Divers and Advanced Open Water Divers.
Local dive sites of repute include Shark Point, which has swim through boulders, a huge variety of fish life and, unsurprisingly, several shark species. Also notable is Takamaka Rocks which is home to most of the Indian Ocean's fish species including frog fish and ghost fish.
The best time of year for diving is October to April, with visibility not as good in December and January.
Food & drink
There are three restaurants to choose from at Banyan Tree, Au Jardin d'Epices, Saffron and Chez Lamar.
Au Jardin d'Epices is set above the bay and serves buffet breakfasts, a selection of light lunches and fine international cuisine for dinner. The dinner menu is inspired by local, fresh ingredients and features a variety of Creole and Mediterranean cuisine.
Saffron has tables on the veranda of the colonial mansion and serves fine South East Asian cuisine, with an emphasis on Thai food.
Chez Lamar is set in a colonial style house that exudes old-world charm, overlooking Seychellois wetlands. It specialises in Creole cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients. Drawing its influence from European, African and Indian cuisine, Creole dishes are prepared with exotic spices and a unique cooking style.
La Varangue is the place to grab a couple of drinks and snacks, a pizza or some light Thai specialities. The views out over the ocean are a great accompaniment.
For when you just can't drag yourself away from the pool, the Pool Bar serves up freshly squeezed juices and other refreshing drinks, plus snacks.
It is also possible to enjoy beach picnics or dine in the pavilion in your villa.
The evenings at the Banyan Tree are filled with a mixture of jazz evenings, Creole dance performances and cinema under the stars. There is also a Rum Shack on the beach guaranteed to get you into the island mentality.
Banyan Tree Spas are world renowned and therapists are trained at Banyan Tree Spa Academies in Bintan, Phuket or Lijiang.
The spa has a strong Asian influence, drawing on Banyan Tree's heritage. Choose from treatments such as the Harmony Banyan 150-minute treatment which includes:
Apple & Green Tea Scrub • Harmony Massage • Head & Foot Massage • Apple Green Tea Bath
or the Balinese Boreh for men 150-minute treatment which includes:
Balinese Massage • Face & Head Massage • Boreh Wrap • Carrot Scrub • Milk Bath
Banyan Tree Spas use their own signature products, which are extremely high quality.
On the shores of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai was, until recently, an oil rich desert state with little tourist infrastructure, but in only a few decades it has transformed itself into one of the world’s leading beach destinations.
If you are travelling to the Musandam Peninsula in Oman or flying to Muscat with Emirates airlines you will be landing in Dubai and it makes for a natural break for a few days’ relaxation. Dubai’s hotels are renowned and include some of the most lavish properties in the world, either on the beach, around Dubai Creek, or in the splendid isolation of the desert.
Never understated, Dubai makes a bold statement with an extensive list of activities including excellent restaurants, shopping, championship golf courses, and an indoor real snow ski slope.
The Palace Downtown Dubai
Accommodation: The Palace Downtown Dubai
This luxurious hotel is located in the heart of the area of Dubai known as downtown, facing the towering Burj Khalifa, the tallest man made structure in the world. The Palace is directly connected with the Souk Al Baha, a few minutes walk from the enormous Dubai Mall and just a short stroll from a huge variety of restaurants and shops. The Palace is set on the edge of downtown’s lake where every day a fountain show to rival that of The Bellagio in Las Vegas happens regularly. Although set within the heart of downtown Dubai, the hotel’s lakeside setting, small garden areas and grand entrance driveway allows guests to escape the hustle and bustle of the area.
Surrounded by tall towers, the Palace has only 8 floors and the design of the hotel is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern heritage and contemporary Dubai. The Palace offers an elegant Thai restaurant with views over the fountains and lake and an excellent Argentinean grill as well as more informal options serving Arabic dishes and international cuisine. There is also an outdoor pool and a spa. The 242 guest rooms are spacious and comfortable with a sophisticated décor.
Day by day
You will leave the UK today for your flight to Dubai. You will be met on arrival and taken to your hotel by private vehicle and driver. You can spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day at leisure in Dubai. This evening we have arranged a sundowner dune safari, including dinner in the dunes. This is a great way to experience the desert and escape the city for the evening.
We have included a guided half day City of Merchants tour of Dubai City today. Lunch will be payable locally. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore independently.
You will be driven to the airport for your Emirates flight to the Seychelles, arriving in the early afternoon in Mahe. Here you will be met and transferred to the Banyan Tree where you will stay for the next week relaxing in the beautiful surroundings.
For something a bit different, why not go on a nature walk, or hire bicycles to explore the coastline independently. This is a lovely way to see more of the island.
Today you can enjoy a day at leisure to spend doing as much or as little as you like. The pool is a lovely area to unwind, soaking up the sun and catching up on a good book.
If you wish you can explore Mahe itself, perhaps visiting the capital Victoria to learn a little more about the history of the islands or take a drive out to nearby beaches. Car-hire can be easily arranged if you want to explore independently, or you can arrange private transfers if you prefer.
If snorkelling is something you particularly enjoy, there are plenty of small islands and marine parks to visit off Mahe. St Anne is a particular highlight, as the marine life here is really superb.
If you fancy getting out on the water, you can hire a windsurfing board or a small catamaran for a couple of hours on Beau Vallon bay, which you may enjoy at some point during your stay.
Port Launay is a lovely spot for some snorkelling and a change of scene one day - you can either arrange transfers through Creole, our ground-agents, or taxis through the hotel, or of course if you hire a car you can please yourselves.
You will be picked up this morning and taken to the airport for you flight back to the UK via Dubai.
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