Nestled on one coast of the secluded island of Silhouette lies the luxorious Hilton Seychelles Labriz. This all villa resort is practically a private island, since just 160 people live in the tiny village of La Passe. The rest of the island - which is the Seychelles' third largest by size, if not population - is given over to an immense national park.
The resort itself is sensitively hidden amidst the trees, with generously spaced villas and carefully groomed gardens that complement rather than replace the surrounding jungle. The result is that you feel closer to the island and less like you are walking through a large resort.
As with all Seychelles hotels the resort’s 111 villas have been strictly built behind the treeline, so as you walk on the beach your view of the mountains, the sea and the sky is completely uninterrupted by man-made structures.
Yet hidden amongst the foliage is an impressive luxury resort, with enough variety in activities and delicious food in its 7 restaurants and bars to keep even long staying guests entertained throughout their stay.
The resort hugs the west coast of the island, in a narrow strip between the sea and the mountains. This is Anse La Passe, a stunning long white sand beach the appears to stretch to the end of the island. With a reef roughly 200 metres offshore the waters are calm, shallow except at the highest tides and crystal clear. There are views south to Mahe Island, while North Island can be seen in the opposite direction.
If you walk or cycle to the far end of the resort near the spa there is a second, smaller beach that is framed by the Seychelles’ classic granite boulders, while in the village of La Passe on the other side of the jetty is a small bay with a steeper incline if you wish to bathe in deeper waters.
The sea around the resort is a protected marine park, and while it is possible to see some sea life snorkelling off the beach, the resort recommends taking a guided dive or snorkelling trip on the hotel boat to see the marine life at its best.
We felt the Hilton Labriz really excelled when it came to food. Not only do the five main restaurants offer a great variety of menus, but the food was both delicious and authentic. Food prices in Seychelles resorts can be high compared to other destinations, but the Hilton consistently delivered in taste and quality of ingredients – which can’t be said of every resort. This is important in any remote resort, but particularly when it is the only option on the island.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Café Dauban, served delicious breakfasts and themed buffet nights comprising food from around the world. The buffets were impressive and managed to offer something unique on each evening, while the food was authentic and full of flavour.
For A La Carte the resort offered a choice of Creole, Japanese or Italian cuisine. The Creole restaurant, Grand Kaz, is unique in that is situated in a beautiful old wooden plantation house in the village of La Passe, outside the resort grounds. The food was excellent and full of flavour, and the setting was ideal for a romantic occasion.
Portobello, the Italian restaurant, offers a fine dining experience with the option of a cool air conditioned restaurant or outdoor dining facing the resort’s lake. The service was impeccable on our visit, and the food of a very high quality.
For lovers of Asian food the resort offers two choices – seafront a la carte in Sakura restaurant, where you can enjoy a choice of sushi, grilled seafood or South East Asian favourites, and a dedicated Teppanyaki restaurant on a little island in the lake, where the cooking of your meal is a performance in itself. Although we didn’t have time to try the Asian restaurant we were very impressed by the Asian themed buffet – the flavours were in no way dumbed down in flavour as so often happens in international hotels, yet the heat was managed to ensure everyone could enjoy it.
The resort’s poolside bar Lo Brizan, and accompanying pizzeria offer lighter salads, soups and meals for lunch and dinner, with live music and DJs offering entertainment in the evening. The staff were friendly and the drinks delicious, with two generous happy hours and reasonable pricing on wine by the glass – but we did feel the food on offer was not quite up to the standard of the hotel’s other restaurants.
Activities, Sports & Recreation
At the centre of the resort lies an impressive swimming pool, with a large shallow area for children and a Jacuzzi with massage jets. The surrounding palms offer ample shade for families while still offering plenty of tanning time for the sunbathers. The large double sunbeds are ideal for couples to share, and you have a choice of sitting with a view of the pool or the beach and the sea.
If you can bear to pull yourself away from the beach and the pool there’s masses of activities to do at the Labriz. Our favourite was the free bicycle hire, allowing you to cycle to the village or the other beaches – not only do they offer children’s bikes with and without stabilisers, but they have bicycle carts which can transport a young family around the island with ease.
For sporting types there are tennis courts and table tennis tables, with plans for volleyball, badminton and basketball courts in the near future. The gym is well equipped and accessible 24 hours with your key card – and is blissfully quiet for most of the day. If you’re looking for something less strenuous the hotel offers a fun mini golf course alongside the lake, and archery, as well as free yoga sessions on some mornings.
There’s a range of boat trips and excursions that can be booked from the island’s activities centre. These range from a relaxing sunset cruise, with bubbles and canapes included, through to coastal trolling and fishing charters at day and night. If you’d prefer to meet the fish than eat them you can go on snorkelling cruises and scuba diving – the centre is PADI certified and its situation in a marine park means the range of sea life you will encounter is stunning.
There is also a well-equipped Kids Club with a busy schedule to keep young and older children amused. The centre is open from 8am until 5.30pm and has a range of activities. Children older than four may be left in the care of professionals, and it is possible to arrange babysitting in the evenings should you wish to dine as a couple for a change.
Perched on a rock, embedded in the jungle at the far end of the resortlies the Eforea spa. The spa is built around a tranquil bathing area offering a sauna, steam room and plunge pool, which are accessible to all guests at no charge. Further up the hill, deeper into the forest lie the six couple’s treatment rooms, where services including massages, face, nail and body treatments are available.
Rooms & Villas
The rooms at the Hilton Labriz are beautifully designed, with dark woods that match the surrounding forest. The 30 King Garden Villas are 88sqm, and offer an outdoor rain shower as well as a spacious bathroom, king bed and veranda from which you can watch the bird life in the garden. None are more than a two minute walk from the beach.
There are 57 King Beachfront villas, plus another 6 that have their own plungepools. These villas are slightly larger at 101 sqm, and as well as a spacious terrace that looks out to the ocean there is a private, shaded garden area with sunbeds that leads to the beach. In front of many of the gardens are hammocks, spaced along the beach so that you can relax and enjoy the breeze while taking in the magnificent views.
For those who’d like a little more space and privacy, the resort offers 8 King Deluxe Hillside Pool Villas, and 9 King Deluxe Beachfront Pool Villas. At 185 sqm these luxury villas offer significantly more room, with a 6x3 metre private pool and outdoor shower. While the pool at the beachfront villas looks directly out onto the beach, the Hillside villas turn 180 degrees to face the mountain and forest, offering a calming, tranquil scene.
The pool villas benefit from a larger living area with two sofas, a whirlpool bath in the bathroom and an enhanced terrace area, with sunbeds and a rounded daybed that is perfect for couples. Each villa has its own hammock and a private pavilion area where you can arrange for a massage accompanied by the sound of the waves, or your own private beach barbeque.
Finally the resort offers an immense 1090 sqm presidential villa for the ultimate in luxury. The villa offers two 150sqm en-suite bedrooms, complete with private terraces overlooking the sea, a living room and lounge bar. There is also a large outdoor dining area, and the largest private swimming pool in the Seychelles. Combined with your own private beach access and 24 hour dedicate butler service the villa is the ultimate in private luxury.