Paradise found: Six Senses Zil Pasyon
Island of passion
T here's something to be said for islands that live up to their name. As the fifth largest island in the Seychelles archipelago, Félicité Island was inhabited by the Six Senses in late 2016, who affectionately named it Zil Pasyon, which literally translates to "passion" in creole. And it's achingly evident. Before you even step a weary toe onto the pristine white shores of Six Senses Zil Pasyon you'll immediately feel an air of passion: a passion that extends beyond the resort's hospitality and into the aura of what was previously little more than a coconut plantation. Today it's one of the world's leading island holiday destinations. Here, the ethos is to enter in the anticipation that the island will bear every inch of its magic and leave having had each and every element of said expectation met.
Littered with boulder-like granite rock, the beauty of the island is immediately evident. From each vantage point there's a new view to soak in and a photo opportunity to seize. Even the ice-cream truck agrees, with a slogan that reads: "My head says go to the gym". But the Buro 24/7 Middle East verdict is to take advantage of a few must-do, need-to-see, you-only-live-once-opportunities. Here goes...
For the sun seeker you don't need to go far. Every alcove of the island has a well-placed hand-crocheted hammock, positioned between the branches of a palm tree, which swing ever so slightly with the fresh sea breeze that blows in. All you need is an island-inspired read, which you can find in the resort's enviable library — this is also a noted nook to relax and unwind out of the sun under the comfort of the thatched roof.
The best way to get well acquainted with any location is to walk (or run, with the season's latest sneakers in tow). Along the wide and windy paths you'll discover canopy after canopy of fruit trees (mango, coconut, banana), which attract a flock of fruit bats, below are chickens and their too-cute chicks as well, who seemingly stay out of the way of the hotel's call-and-collect buggies — at the press on your villa phone they'll be at your door ready to shuttle you to your destination of choice: sea, spa, gym, restaurant, pool...
This isn't the kind of island where a simple, "meet me at the pool", will suffice as a meeting point. Every villa has a pool, plus the main area of the resort has it's own infinity pool, which is lined with deck chairs and umbrellas aplenty.
Expect turtles, stingrays, sea enenamaes, a complete colour palette of tropical fish, and sharks (grey tip, white tip). You'll be forgiven for whiling away the hours just floating with the current and witnessing the beauty beneath the surface of the sea. The snorkeling on the shores of the Six Senses, despite being affected by the recent El Niño (as have most of the islands in the area), this part of the planet is fast making a comeback.
Prefer to explore a little further afield? The resort has a few adjoining islands, which are safe to paddle board, kayak or even swim laps to. Across the channel brings a whole new plethora of sea life too, think whale sharks (if you're lucky), schools of larger tropical fish and sea birds who fly overhead. If you want to make a day on the water, be sure to book a boat.
The resort has 30 villas and 17 residences in total that each have their own private pool (read infinity), a swinging chair in the state-of-the-art bathroom, rain showers and day beds. Emphasis is on privacy here too, with impeccably structured plots that face nothing but the ocean, with groomed forests either side of each individual property.
The island offers three dining options, the Island Cafe, which is also the location for breakfast. Expect bowls of fresh fruit, baked breads, nourishing juices and an a la carte menu, which makes way for lunch and dinner too. Dining at the Chef's Kitchen and Ocean Kitchen is a must too. Then there's the Koko Bar and Lakanbiz, which specialise in drinks. In room dining is available with a menu that is just as mouthwatering, with complimentary coconut water provided on arrival.
Six Senses offers personalised wellness packages, which they expertly integrate into your stay at Zil Payson. The programs centre around four pillars: sleep and resilience, trim and fitness, full potential, cleanse and detox. A complete wellness screening is done too, which is used as a preventative tool to track your biometrics, not a diagnostic tool, and one that can be referred to long after you leave the island to maintain a healthy and balanced life. Each program has been created by the doctors of Six Senses. The sleep program comes complete with optional bamboo pajamas, a yak eye mask, lavender wool bag, jasmine sleep spritser and coconut water.
The home of healthy bodies and minds, the spa at Six Senses is brimming with the most sough-after skincare products, which sit pretty in the relaxing reception. Then, cross the rope bridge and venture through the larger-than-life boulders that make way for the treatment rooms. Here you can indulge in a rose crystal facial, detox seaweed wrap or even a deep tissue massage.
The spa also offers an outdoor yoga studio with three yoga programmes: Yoga Discovery, which is 3-14 days, Yoga Sleep, which harnesses alpha waves and Yoga Detox, which utilises a salt water solution plus the five yoga posture practice. Or else you can simply enjoy the schedule of yoga, aerial included.
If you prefer a more structured workout, visit the spa's palatial pool or the close-by floor-to-ceiling glass-walled gym, nestled into the side of the mountain. Complete with treadmills, weights and exercise machines. Then, outside there's a plethora of fitness activities, think archery, kayaking and paddle boarding too.
If there's one experience that will tick every millennials must-do list, it's the Hilltop sunset glamping. Watch the sunset as you enjoy a bottle of bubbles, enjoy the packed picnic and savour the skies as they change colour above the picturesque camp fire.
Stay at Six Senses Zil Payson today. To make a booking, visit the Six Senses Zil Payson website now. Then, book your seat with Air Seychelles at airseychelles.com, which operates two direct flights daily from Abu Dhabi to the capital, Mahé at Dhs5,880 (Business). During the four-and-a-half-hour flight expect to experience the Dine on Demand service, while you watch one of 100 movies and television shows on the 10.5-inch screen. When you land make a beeline for the Air Seychelles VIP lounge on Mahé Island, complete with refreshments, prior to boarding the twin-otter flight to Six Senses Zil Payson.