Exquisite Sustainable Luxury in the Seychelles That James Bond Would Love: Hilton’s Northolme Resort & Spa

Written by Kevin Pilley
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“Exquisite Sustainable Luxury That James Bond Would Love: Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

For James Bond creator Ian Fleming, the gorgeous Seychelles and this property were not only a holiday destination and favorite haunt but also an inspiration for his writing. Though 007 went to the Seychelles in one of Fleming’s storylines, the British spy wasn’t made aware of any sustainability practices, didn’t adopt any sea cabbage or cauliflower, and did not do his part to rehabilitate the coral reefs.

Those tasks are now left up to us, a new era of intrepid travelers lucky enough to find their way to this 115-isle Eden in the Indian Ocean.

Bond, James Bond

Fleming had already completed much of the work on his seventh Bond novel, “Goldfinger”, when he left London’s rain and grey and arrived on the island of Mahé in the spring of 1958.

While on Mahé, Fleming stayed at The Northolme Hotel, one of the oldest on the island, located on the northwest coast along Beau Vallon Beach. So inspired by the stunning surroundings, Fleming documented much of what his eyes saw in his eighth Bond book, the short stories collection entitled “For Your Eyes Only”. A keen spear fisherman, Fleming stayed in a stilted cottage on the hillside.

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Reception

 

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

The current iteration of the hotel was reopened by Hilton in 2007 as the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa, with 40 private villas, five-star accommodation, and an unchanged private beach that looks as it did when Fleming stayed here. The cottage he stayed in is now in a gated complex with prime snorkeling just ten metres from the ocean edge.

The modern villas and rooms  of the resort  are nothing short of spectacular.

You can stay in sunset-facing King Sunset Villas with semi-private balconies whirlpool bathtubs. Or go big in the Grand Ocean Pool Villa, where you’ll have uninterrupted views of Beau Vallon Bay, the Indian Ocean, and Silhouette Island, as well as your own pool and a jacuzzi, with floating aperitifs served in your pool. Even James Bond would be impressed.

The hotel also has a community Infinity pool, yoga, a gym, and snorkeling gear. You can also practice your golf swing from your pool deck. The golf balls are ecological, and dissolve in the sea.

Dine at the Mahé Restaurant or al fresco dining at the Wave.  The Oceanview Bar & Restaurant is perfect for cocktails, light bites, and live music. Don’t miss the only gin bar in the Seychelles, The Lower Deck.

 

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Pool

Sustainability

All the Hilton hotels, including in the Seychelles, are striving for best practices and putting sustainability first by engaging with the local communities in their areas. Guests staying at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa,, including children over thirteen years of age, can take part in the hotel’s sustainability and conscious travel  activities, which are part of the hospitality brand’s “Travel With Purpose” commitment.

The Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa has a 650-metre snorkelling trail created by the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles team as part of the resort’s conservation project. The project is aimed at helping to protect and preserve the marine and reef life along the island’s north-west coast.

Special sustainability days and regular “Earth Hours” allow guests to witness first-hand how small but impactful small behaviours can protect the environment.

The hotel’s healthy dining restaurant, WAVE, has an environmentally-forward-and-aware menu, with dishes including ‘the blended burger’, a patty containing 30 percent mushrooms and 70 percent sustainably-sourced beef, which reduces the CO2 generated by the dish by 29 percent.

Small sand timers in villas urge guests to think about (and monitor) their water usage.

To help increase fish biomass, guests can adopt some stony table and brush coral like sea cabbage or cauliflower and contribute to reef rehabilitation by supporting the hotel’s on-rope coral cutting nursery and  artificial reef in its fight against marine degradation, coastal development, increasing sea temperature stress, anchor damage, bleaching and the Crown of Thorns starfish.

Conservation is important to the Seychelles and energy consumption important to Hilton. The introductory eco-orientation electric buggy tour takes in the hotel’s organic nursery in which 10 kilograms of produce is grown aquaponically each month, its energy-saving wind and hydro turbines and solar heaters. Ravi proudly sings the praises of his kitchen hood and fan speed regulators, guest villa occupancy sensors and A/C monitors as well Philips CorePro LED LL  vanity mirror lighting.

“Our villas are automatically controlled. The lights and air-conditioning switch off when doors remain open for more than 30 minutes, saving 2,500 kilowatts per hour.”

 

 

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Villas

Explore More

It can be hard to tear yourself away from the Hilton Seychelles Northholme Resort & Spa. But when you do, head to the capital of Seychelles – Victoria.

Explore the colorful Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, where you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and spices and visit local vendors for souvenirs and crafts. Stop over at the famous tiny Big Ben and make sure to visit the beautiful Arul Miho Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple.

The island’s forty-something beaches are fun to seek out too and the best way to locate the most sublime  is on foot.

For those who prefer to spend their holidays upright and active rather than languid and horizontal, the earthly paradise also has fifteen hiking trails, and Mahé boasts nine of them. The hotel can also arrange boat tours around the island.

You can get escorted tours along the clifftop edge of the Morne National Park to Anse Major. From black parrots, bulbuls, dancing snails which vibrate when touched, tiny leaf frogs, skinks, chameleons which look like they are wearing lipstick, there is much to take in.

Even the drive to the Belle Ombre trailhead and the start of the granite rockface walk to Anse Major takes you through Chinese hibiscus, patchouli, bougainvillea and frangipane as well as mahogany and silk trees.

 

Hilton Seychelles Northolme aerial View

“Look out for wooden horses,” said Julienne Madeleine my guide pointing out a giant stick insect.

“Walk like a tortoise. Real slow. And watch out for falling coconuts.  Or you will never leave Paradise.”

Refreshing us with soursop and cocoplum, picked from overhanging bushes, Julienne’s taxi driver husband Robert pointed out bonnet carre firework plants.  After an hour negotiating the glacis we arrived at the deserted beach and a shack selling coconuts for $3. Nectar doesn’t come cheap in paradise. Nor does the ambrosia.

 

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa at Night

 

The Takeaway

As well as making the most of the complimentary snorkeling and kayaking, James Bond would have learned a few things if he stayed here, not least of which is how not to drink a mojito or the resident mixologist’s signature Absinthe-Minded house cocktail without the bio-degradable, single use straw going up his nose.

Organized Beau Vallon Beach Clean Ups are in response to the unsettling calculation that  by 2050, the world’s oceans could contain more plastic and other man-made fibres.

The hotel’s commitment to  teaching its guests about the importance of sustainability is an inspiration, and when we leave paradise, we can all take home some of their best practices.

***

BeSeeingYou In: Seychelles

Good to know: The resort is for guests 13 years of age and older.

WOW! Factor: The entire resort is a WOW! From the service to the unrivaled villa views to the surrounding flora and fauna.

Tip: Hire local guides to accompany you on hikes. Book a spot on the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to Victoria. Pack reef-safe sunscreen.

 

Author bio:  Kevin Pilley

Kevin Pilley
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and ex-chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His work appears worldwide. He has been published in over 800 titles. Allegedly. He lives in Wales and collects roses.

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