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Accommodation

Denis Private Island

“Re-discover a forgotten mode of luxury: one of real food and real people, immersed in nature on one of the most secluded islands in the world”

Budget level: Mid-Range
Country
Seychelles
When to Go
All year
Property Type
Hotel
Location
Other Inner Islands
Kids Min Age
All Ages

A tiny speck in the Indian Ocean ringed by flawless white sand, just 170 hectares acres and none of it off-limits to see and explore. Denis Island is a living, breathing island community, for those who believe giving back to nature is the only way to receive its bounty in return.
It’s a place where you can bathe along beaches renowned the world over for their pristine beauty, snorkel in a sea turtle sanctuary, spot some of the rarest birds on earth, and go sport-fishing at the edge of a continental ocean drop-off…and all of that in a single day!

You won’t find a signal for your mobile phone when you arrive. There is no in-room internet. No cable television. This is for you to unplug from digital distraction and reconnect to the loved ones you hold dear, and to the earth that you share with them. On Denis, you’ll re-discover a forgotten mode of luxury: one of real food and real people, immersed in nature on one of the most secluded islands in the world. Welcome to Seychelles. Welcome to the Denis Private Island life.

Denis Private Island is part of the Inner Islands of the Seychelles and with the ocean depths close by, justly deserves its reputation for excellent diving and as a game fisherman’s paradise. Few places could conjure up more creative ways to do absolutely nothing. On Denis, if you’re only compelled to laze away on one of the most isolated, sparsely travelled beaches in all the world, no one will judge. Call it breathing practice.

On land, the lush and densely forested interior echoes with the melodious trills and calls of numerous species of land and seabirds. A walk along the paths is full of surprise and wonder. On-going conservation projects to restore part of the island to its pre-discovery state have seen over 50 hectares of woodland rehabilitated, giant tortoises meander along and no-where else will you come across such a combination of some of the world’s most endangered endemic species.

The island slowly reveals its riches and mysteries: from its 100-year-old lighthouse warning passing ships against hazardous shoals and reefs still, the remnants of a mysterious cemetery for which no known records exist, an old settlement, the coral structures next to the grass airstrip to the only ecumenical chapel of the Seychelles.

The mere 25 free-standing cottages and villas on Denis enjoy total privacy, scattered at various walking distances from the beach and separated by the island’s natural vegetation. Spacious rooms echo the Seychelles’ colonial past, from the furniture and wood flooring fashioned at the island’s carpentry workshop just a few hundred metres away, to the refined simplicity of the décor. Open-air bathrooms and garden courtyards in all of the rooms once again defer to nature’s calming influence.

  • Beach Cottage: 3 units, 90 sqm each these cottages lie directly on the beachfront, with chairs to lounge on in the veranda or on the sun loungers on the beachfront. Interior: Sitting area, writing desk and wine chiller. Exterior: Private beachfront with sun loungers and a furnished sea facing veranda.
  • Deluxe Beach Cottage: 10 units of 110 sqm each sea facing and with open terrace leading into a private garden and onto the beach, with sun loungers and personal sala and daybed. Interior: Sitting area, writing desk, wine chiller. Exterior: Garden leading to private beachfront with sun loungers.
  • Extended sea facing private deck with sala and day bed. Furnished sea facing veranda and an outdoor courtyard.
  • Beachfront Spa Cottage: 10 units, 150 sqm each these exquisite cottages lie directly on the beachfront; with lounge chairs in the veranda; sun loungers on the beachfront; and your own personal sala and daybed. Interior: King-size bed, sitting area, writing desk, wine chiller. Exterior: Extended sea-facing and furnished private deck with sala and daybed. Private courtyard and garden feature a massage/wellness pavilion.
  • Beach Villa: This luxury villa has a private beachfront with an extensive outdoor living and relaxation area with a private courtyard featuring twin alfresco showers. Interior: King-size bed, lounge area, wine chiller. Exterior: Extended sea-facing private deck with outdoor sitting and dining pavilion, day bed and plunge pool.

To savour elegant cuisine that tastes as good as it looks is a human impulse. To know that what you’re eating was nurtured, grown and harvested within a few hundred metres of where you’re sitting, is one that’s completely guilt-free. The island’s farm provides the international culinary team with an impressive palette with which to work, but also serves as a wonderful highlight for you to explore. Between the milk, yogurt and cheese from the cattle, fresh pork and all manner of fowl, fish caught on the ocean doorstep, and a wonderful array of island-grown fruits and vegetables, Denis gives new meaning to the phrase “farm fresh.” The kitchen is clear in its purpose: to highlight the island’s fresh produce, while keeping staples that can’t grow on the island to a minimum. Hearty breakfasts feature fresh eggs and dairy, while lunch buffets showcase authentic Creole and international fare. Evenings give rise to a more sophisticated approach, with intricate five-course table d’hôtel menus that showcase the creativity and skill of the chefs, an experience enjoyed in the understated elegance of the dining pavilion, or at a romantic sea-side table-setting under the stars.

Joining one of the regularly organised nature tours is merely an induction to the island. After that, the island and its inhabitants are yours to discover. Rise early with the rangers, to tally tracks of egg-laying sea turtles on the beach or scout the forests for magpie robins and paradise flycatchers to learn more about breeding and tagging projects for these critically endangered birds. You can also discuss with the Green Islands Foundation rangers about current adoption programmes available and other ways you can contribute to the cause.For a more relaxed experience in which to get to know the island and its inhabitants, a simple stroll or bicycle ride can reveal plenty: century-old tortoises, the island’s poultry coops and animal pens, the chapel, the staff lodging (a community in its own right), and much, much more.

In constant earshot wherever you might be on the island, the sea is always calling. A swim, a snorkel or something more: the sea around Denis is officially protected, and for good reason. The resort provides snorkelling equipment and kayaks and paddles for you to explore the island’s surrounding lagoon to your heart’s content. The waters around Denis have enjoyed officially protected status by the Seychelles government, making it a no-take zone and off limits for fishing. The reefs in the lagoon are thus teeming with tropical fish, turtles and other colourful forms of marine life.

Should you wish to venture further and enjoy more time – and greater depths – underwater, the PADI dive centre offers a range of different dive sites to choose from, as well as certification courses for beginners.

Denis Private Island can also organise true catch-and-release sport fishing for you, with a boat charter to “The Drop-Off,” where ocean depths plunge to 2 000m at the edge of the Seychelles plateau: hallowed waters for prized catches of big game. There are also excellent opportunities for bottom-fishing grouper or Seychelles’ famous red snapper, and should your catch meet the conservation requirements (juveniles are returned to the sea), it may also be possible to turn your fish over to the chefs to prepare something special in the kitchen.

Nature’s own spa sanctuary using only local ingredients, the spa offerings are as unique as Denis itself, made even more so given that you won’t find an actual spa on the island. They bring treatments to you at your cottage in the open air, and enthusiasts can opt for the Beachfront Spa Cottage, with its very own spa pavilion in the courtyard. Or, if you truly wish to retreat within yourself amidst the soothing sounds of nature, book an outdoor treatment under the casuarina trees, where you’ll find the only distractions to be the gentle lapping of waves and the occasional chirp of the fairy terns.

A self-sustainable refuge preserved for future generations. That’s the vision for Denis, and you are invited you to share in the conservation successes that reveal the wonders of the island, as well as the challenges they face in seeking a better appreciation and understanding of the resilience of nature.

The Green Islands Foundation, an NGO with a decade-long track record of conservation success in Seychelles, has a permanent outpost on the island and oversees a variety of programmes. The translocation of some of Seychelles’ rarest endemic birds has been one of Denis’ most important environmental achievements, paving the way for some of these species to improve their standings on the IUCN Globally Threatened Birds list. As a result, Denis is the only place in the world in which a morning’s walk can bring you across the Seychelles fody, magpie robin, paradise flycatcher and the Seychelles warbler.

Hawksbill and green turtles laying their eggs on the protected shoreline of Denis are monitored and tagged, providing valuable information to assist in the protection of the species. Extensive research into the ecosystem of the island’s reef flats – essential nursery and feeding grounds for fish and green turtles – and the Seychelles government designating official protected status for the waters surrounding Denis, have been instrumental in preserving the island’s marine environment just the way nature intended. The restoration of native forest habitats, rearing of giant land tortoises, and a fledgling seabird colony are just a few of the many other conservation projects currently ongoing on Denis.

Apart from conservation programmes, the island’s overall administration places an emphasis on sustainability, to reduce wastage and maximise what the island provides. This of course goes for the farm and the kitchen, and other practical applications as well. The self-sustaining lumber mill and carpentry workshop provides all of the wood floorings for the hotel, as well as the bulk of furniture pieces in the cottages, the lobby and restaurant. The innovative use of always-available coconut palms for cattle feed, has increased milk production for the entire island. With a deep-rooted knowledge of the local eco-system, they aim to use local materials and methods as import substitutes whenever possible, significantly reducing the carbon footprint.

All in all a highly recommended eco- and nature experience!

Why we like it

  • A completely private coral islet of 170 hectares, exclusively reserved for guests to share with nature.
  • A responsible accommodation choice, striving for self-sustainability.
  • A conservationist’s paradise, hosting several globally recognised programmes.
  • An important spawning area for marine life, granted national protected status for its lagoon.
  • Extraordinarily safe, whether roaming the island or swimming in the calm lagoon.
  • An excellent family holiday destination, ideal for children.
  • Promoting healthy cuisine and farm-to-table concept with a rich culinary experience.
  • A paradise for lovers, ideal for weddings and special occasions in nature’s splendour.
  • Perfect for groups, with the possibility to book out the entire island for total privacy.

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