The Portuguese named the Seychelles "the Seven Sisters," in honor of Mahé and the six islands right off its shores. One of those tiny islets is now a prison—with a beach so spectacular I almost wanted to get arrested. Two others are private-island resorts; both are ideal for a night or so at the beginning or end of a trip, thanks to their proximity to the international airport.
Ste. Anne Resort The largest of the Seven Sisters, the island of Ste. Anne is the centerpiece of a national marine park that protects some 150 species of fish. The island—a 10-minute boat ride from Mahé—was home to the Seychelles' original settlers and later served as a whaling station. Its latest tenant is a $46 million resort from the Mauritius-based Beachcomber Hotels group.
Seemingly modeled after a Florida retirement community, Ste. Anne's 87 villas are lined up along the shore. They are identical—stucco walls, terra-cotta floors, pagoda roofs—although some have curious Easter Island-esque sculptures out front. But the outdoor showers and walled gardens can't be beat, nor can the killer mountain-biking. Don't miss Le Mont Fleuri restaurant, run by Michelin-starred chef Marcel Driessen and located in a cliffside, Gilligan's Island-style bungalow.
DOUBLES FROM $1,019, INCLUDING BREAKFAST AND DINNER. STE. ANNE ISLAND; 248/292-000; www.sainteanne-resort.com
Anonyme Island Resort Numerous rumors circulate regarding Anonyme: The island is haunted by a woman in white. A pirate's treasure is hidden on these shores. The daughter of the president of the Seychelles owns the small seven-room resort.
While I was able to confirm only the last one, there's something about this place that makes it feel like the setting for an Agatha Christie novel—perhaps it's the sound of fruit bats crying in the night. I found myself charmed by the eeriness of Anonyme, and also by its unpretentious simplicity.
The rooms are set in four guesthouses that look as if they were decorated by your stylish-yet-quirky grandparents: mismatched towels, models of ships, varnished nautical platform beds. At the Creole restaurant, Piment Vert, Mauritian chef Marino Pierrot cooks meals to order.
DOUBLES FROM $500, INCLUDING BREAKFAST AND DINNER. ANONYME ISLAND; 248/380-100; www.anonyme.sc