Private Paradises: Seychelles Sanctuary
For the nature lover with an adventurous spirit, Frégate Island Private is an ecological Eden begging to be explored, a sanctuary for both man and beast to relish. “We live with nature here,” the open-air restaurant’s hostess notes in reference to the sparrowlike tok toks, bright orange Madagascar fodies, and Seychelles pigeons that hover around tables set for lunch. In the distance, a pair of snow-white fairy terns twist together over the clear aquamarine water, while a flying fox glides past the table.
Years ago, developers went to great lengths to eradicate rats from Frégate Island, a huge undertaking that included the rounding up and sheltering of the island’s herd of Aldabra giant tortoises and countless birds. Their efforts were rewarded with a thriving ecosystem that includes the Seychelles white-eye and other endangered bird species. The birds share the island with equally rare creatures such as Seychelles terrapins and giant tenebrionid beetles, nicknamed Frégate beetles because they are found only on the island. A herd of about 170 giant tortoises roams about freely, and sea turtles are so comfortable here that it is one of the few places in the world where they nest on the beach in broad daylight, from October through January.
“This is no ordinary island holiday,” says the resort’s Steve Hill, pointing out the grounds that are left wild to foster the breeding of the magpie robin, the world’s seventh scarcest bird. “It’s a very rare combination of super luxury and a stunning nature experience. Frégate is home to some of the rarest creatures in the world, and we encourage guests to go out and explore, so they can have a truly unique experience.”
Easternmost island in the inner Seychelles, 990 miles off the east coast of Africa.
16 ocean-view villas, each with living areas, two baths, whirlpool, and the use of a buggy.
Seven beaches; water sports including snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing; boat tours and excursions to neighboring islands; hiking and ecology walks; spa treatments. A children’s program and babysitting are available.
Gourmet à la carte dining at the Frégate House, and casual Creole buffet at the Plantation House, both with emphasis on island-grown produce and locally caught seafood. Meal delivery to villas and beaches is also available.
Visit the juvenile tortoise nursery and select a baby Aldabra giant tortoise to adopt and name. After two years of safekeeping in the nursery, your tortoise will be set free to join the island herd.
From $2,500 per villa, per night, depending on the season. Rates include food and nonalcoholic beverages for two people. Exclusive rental of the island begins at $200,000 for five nights.