Seychelles is a place you want to remember forever. Because despite being voted Most Beautiful Beaches in The World by both the National Geographic and the Funky Chicken, you probably never want to come back again. The flight takes 15 hours from China and a whole lot longer from the US, it’s damn expensive here, and the service here deserves its own blog post.
The Seychelles is a series of islands that literally has amazing beaches around the 360 degree perimeter of each and every island. The airport is on an amazing beach, with clear aqua water and powder white sand. The bus stops are on the beach. If you rented a car and stopped at random, you would literally find an amazing, picturesque beach at every single stop, filled with clear water amongst amazing huge rock formations and palm trees. I know, because I tried.
Prince William and Kate Middleton had their honeymoon here, and one of he rich princes from the UAE has a house smack right on the top of the mountain because he is buddies with the president of Seychelles, said my taxi driver.
Seychelles is a place for the rich and famous. I was told the entire island is priced to keep the riff raff and backpackers off the islands; it is for the elite. And funny enough, I have not seen a single hostel here.
So why did I end up on the Seychelles? I was meeting two friends from England for China’s week-long Golden Week holiday, and a series of islands off the bottom most tip of South Africa seemed like a good mid-point meeting spot between Heathrow London and Pudong Shanghai airports.
Nobody had bothered to look on a map.
The only places you can stay are on resorts. Only, this is not like South East Asian resorts where the 5 star hotels are cheap, the street food is even cheaper, and everyone is nice to you. In Seychelles, you are paying 5 star prices for 3 star resorts, and people are not nice to you. Because when your country has the best beaches in the world, you know they are coming for the beaches, not your service.
My first night, I had asked for two beds so my friends could crash in my room after they arrived on the following morning’s red eye. My room had one bed. I asked the lady at the counter to switch to two, which I had requested both on the reservation and via email to the hotel. The lady argued, my reservation had one person, if I switched to more, I would have to pay more than 100 USD extra. This made no sense, because I paid by the hotel room, and wouldn’t a king size bed in a honeymoon destination infer most rooms host two people? She then proceeded, sometimes guys brought hookers into their room, and if they did, that meant there were two people in a 1 person reservation, and the next day, the hotel would charge the guy 100+ USD for having an additional person there.
Hooker tax. Got it.
At the second resort we stayed, I ordered a chocolate martini at the hotel bar. It came back with no chocolate. I asked, Where is the chocolate? The bartender stared at me deadpan and asked, We don’t have chocolate. I told her, I don’t want a chocolate martini that doesn’t have chocolate in it. She stared at me for a full minute, went to the back of the kitchen, and poured me Hershey’s chocolate syrup into my martini.
The next island we went to, my friends’ room’s air conditioner didn’t work. And it is hot here. They waited 2 hours for the handyman to fix it. The handyman left, and it still didn’t work. My friend demanded to switch rooms. The hotel manager demanded they wait for the handyman to come back. My friend demanded they talk to the owner of the resort, because nobody pays 5 star prices for a hotel with no air conditioner. I asked the manager if they had other rooms available in the hotel. The answer was yes. But they only had the fancy beachfront loft rooms with open air bathrooms available, and that was not the room we paid for. My friend demanded we switch to the upgraded rooms, because nobody was going to sleep in a room where the air conditioner wasn’t fixed after 4 hours. I piped in, And I’m with them – I need to be upgraded too!
An hour later after arguing, we all got upgraded. Them, because they wasted 4 hours arguing with the hotel manager about a broken air conditioner, when there was a perfectly good upgraded room standing available. I have no idea why I got upgraded, but I spent the next two nights showering outdoors with plants and mosquitoes.
The third island, my friends decided to upgrade to a private section of the resort as a treat because they were leaving afterwards, with me making one more stop to the main island. For a country that tracks whether to charge you if you have a hooker stay in your room, this resort somehow mistakenly gave me the same upgraded private section room as my friends. I didn’t pay for it, but I was certainly not going to argue, either.
This place was pimp. You know how if you fly First Class, they make you feel special by not letting the ordinary folk wait in the same waiting room and having a nice stewardess remember what you like to drink? We got our own pool perched over the ocean with a private deck and a lady who’s job it was to welcome you every time you entered the special section. They served us drinks in the pool, even though there was an explicit sign saying No Drinking In The Pool. My room had a bathtub overlooking the ocean, and a whole separate living room area below the bedroom and above the balcony, all looking over the ocean.
Now, this was more like it.
Spoiled, I left for my last resort solo as they flew back for England. As I arrived at 9pm in the dark to my own version of treating myself, in the most expensive of all the resorts I had paid for, I arrived to find a dump of a place. It was not on the beach, like all the other resorts. You had to walk 7 minutes on a highway to get to the public beach. The scraggly front desk guy showed me my room, what was advertised as the garden room, so far away from the main lobby that we had to drive on a golf cart to get to, which had bars on the windows and was right along the highway next to a thumping nightclub. The “garden” were the trees along the highway.
I flipped out.
I told him, I’m a girl by myself, you’re having me stay in a room in the middle of nowhere with bars on the windows next to the highway, this hotel is way more expensive than the other hotels, and if you don’t switch me rooms to somewhere closer to the lobby that doesn’t have bars on the windows, I am leaving right now.
He shrugged and said all the other rooms were booked.
I pressed, is every single room in this hotel booked?
He said, empathetically, Yes.
I asked, Every single one, even the ones with no lights on inside?
He said, Yes.
I told him I was leaving. I told him he could either take this off my credit card or I would call my credit card company to take it off, because the ad for this place listed beachfront properly with a pretty garden room, that certainly as hell did not have bars on the windows.
He said, Ok ok, pulled out a drawer, took out a key, and showed me a new room. That was on the top of the hill, did not have bars on the window, and had a nice view of the ocean.
I upgraded myself again for free. This time only after pulling the girl flip out maneuver.
Seychelles is a great place as long as you stay in the ocean and away from the service people. And make your own fun. I spotted a little inner tube my first day here and thought it would be fun to float on it in the clear ocean. Only, when I did sit on it, the whole thing flipped over. It was for little kids. If I stuck my butt way into the center and didn’t move, I could float very precariously, and proceed to embarrass myself trying to get out of the thing when back on the sand.
So instead, my friends and I used it as a floating bar for every single sunset happy hour we created during the trip. As the sun was setting, we’d get our drinks, paddle to the middle of the ocean, and each hold a corner of the inner tube as we cheers’ed to sunset and to our holiday and friendship.
And that made the whole trip worth it.