Knocking on heaven’s gate – my return to the MAIA



Very few resorts have captured my attention and admiration like the MAIA Luxury Resort which I was privileged to visit 15 months ago. Back then I said it was hospitality made in heaven and sent down to earth for us to enjoy, and during this recent visit to the Seychelles I dared to knock on heaven’s door and lo and behold, I was admitted through the front gate.

What immediately struck me was the way the gardens had matured even more since my last visit, undoubtedly aided by good rains and the extra special care of the Maia’s gardening team I met also last year and who showed me around the tropical paradise they had helped to create and shape by including much of the exotic vegetation they found on site before even commencing construction of the 25 villas spread across the 25 hectares of land.

Sadly my visit to the Maia was even briefer than the last one, but I nevertheless did manage to explore it some more and even got sand between my toes and my feet wet.

As every villa has a private and shielded infiniti pool outside the main bedroom, a dive into the refreshingly cool water came as a welcome change to the slightly humid afternoon, and restored this correspondent’s mettles in no time. A chilled fruit juice, just prepared, helped still the thirst and the lounger on the terrace then provided a perfect opportunity to put the tired feet up, take in the scenery across the Indian Ocean with all the catamarans and the Kir Royal moored below in the bay adding a scenic and adventurous backdrop.

The evening was dedicated to the sailors, champagne cocktails and all but ended all too soon as the competitors were heading back to their boats to sleep while those luck to be accommodated at the Maia counted their blessings and enjoyed a good night’s rest in a ‘luxurious cocoon’ aimed to take care of all creature comforts.

Even chronic insomniacs like this correspondent tend to sleep once in a while and a bed like this, when turned down by the villa’s own butler, on call 24/7, provides the incentive to actually do exactly that.

Breakfast at the Maia, either in the villa served at the appointed time or at the main restaurant by the beach and poolside, is thankfully ordered a la carte and not picked from a buffet, a ‘hint’ that in small and exclusive places silver service is also available for the first meal of the day and not just for dinner when it is expected as a matter of course. The menu for breakfast shows it can, and in fact should be a proper full scale meal and the Eggs Benedictine were again heavenly as were the crepes with  wild tropical fruit compote.

As ever, when one really wants to stay put, other pre-arranged meetings and visits took their toll, and in this case it was to board the Kir Royal for a last time, and as the last, having stretched the time at the Maia to the last second. When casting a last look back across the widening gap between the rapidly accelerating ‘Sea Legs’ and the resort I swore to myself that it will be ‘Kwaheri ya Kuonana’ rather than bye bye for ever.

The Seychelles are noted for both top end luxurious resorts, as the Maia or like North Island where the Royal Couple recently had their honeymoon, the larger properties of excellent value like Banyan Tree, Four Seasons, The Raffles Praslin or the Constance Hotels’ properties on Praslin and near Port Glaud on Mahe.

The other end of the market finds that they too can afford a holiday there, as airlines offer special fares and Bed and Breakfast’s and locally owned and managed Guest Houses, Holiday Villas and apartments offer a stay for much less and yet one is on the same islands as the rich and famous of this world.

‘Affordable Seychelles’ and ‘Seychelles – Another World’ both await visitors and the smiles of the Seychellois are for everyone walking past them.