As Mr & Mrs Smiths go, Wills and Kate take some beating. North Island in the Seychelles provided the backdrop for the royal honeymoon – and it’s not hard to see what lured the lovebirds in. For starters, there’s the sailor-seducing setting, plus the private-island idyll’s wow-factor extras: a PADI dive centre, enough flora and fauna to keep Sir David Attenborough coming back for more, a clifftop infinity pool, a duo of dazzling restaurants and VIP villas with views worth waxing lyrical about. Pirates once sailed here in hope of buried treasure; you can just hit the va-va-voom boutique.
11am; earliest check-in, 2pm. Both times are flexible, subject to availability, but late-check out after 5.30pm will be charged for an additional night's stay.
Double rooms from £8847.05 (€9,880), including tax at 15 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 6% per booking on check-out.
Rates include all meals and drinks (bar some top-drawer wine, champagne and spirits), your island and activities (scuba diving, daily yoga, half-day fishing and one spa treatment each). Rates don't include tax (15%) or the six per cent service charge.
In-villa massages and beauty treatments can be arranged in the blink of an eye.
At the hotel
PADI dive centre (with lessons included); spa (with a 30-minute pampering session each for guests staying in a Beachfront Villa and a 60-minute treatment each for guests in the Villa North Island); North Island boutique; gym; free daily group yoga; free watersports (sea kayaking, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding); free bicycles to borrow, sunset cruises, and guided walks; free laundry services. In rooms: free WiFi, desk, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, an island buggy to use for the duration of your stay.
Our favourite rooms
There are no duds in this billion-dollar bunch: any of the 11 villas will more than do (trust us).
Take a dip in the infinity pool near the spa – it comes with the requisite life-changing views, of course. Each villa also has its own small pool.
Even a frazzled, off-duty monarch-in-training would be wooed by North Island’s soothing, ocean-spying spa, which uses oceanic Thalgo marine spa products in its indulgent treatments. (If leaving your villa seems a tad too onerous, request an in-villa rub, scrub or facial.) Ease yourself into the day with morning yoga, or hit the gym and give the state-of-the-art Technogym equipment a workout.
Deliberately ‘forget’ your swimwear, sun towel and/or beach accessories: you’ll have no choice but to stock up on new ones from North Island’s enticing boutique.
The price of extra beds for children varies depending on their age and the rate you're booked on; please contact the Smith24 team for exact rates. The hotel offers a fast-track assisted immigration service for €90 an adult, €50 a child.
Children can only stay in the Beachfront Villas, sleeping two adults and two children. Babysitting is free; trained childminders can be arranged for an extra cost. Any guest under 19 must be accompanied by two paying adults staying in the same villa.
Any of the 10 Presidential villas will wow you. Children can only stay in the Presidential Villas, which sleep two adults and two kids.
The hotel’s North Island Bush Buddy programme gives your little Smiths the chance to take part in an array of activities both on dry land and in the water. (All the activities are fully supervised, so frazzled parents can enjoy some alone time if they wish.) Options include fun lessons on the island’s ecology, pizza-making classes, pirate treasure hunts, snorkelling and diving, beach volleyball, tot-tailored spa treatments and more.
The West Beach Bar will woo junior eaters with its pizzas, salads and snacks.
Free babysitting can be arranged; if you want a trained babysitter, one can be arranged for an additional cost.
No need to pack
The hotel has travel cots, pint-sized bicycles and baby bath products. Toys and games for older ones are provided.
Borrow a baby monitor if you need one. There's a €793 nightly charge for teens aged 17 to 19.
Very: the hotel runs a conservation and island-rehabilitation programme called ‘Noah’s Ark’. North Island’s admirable philosophy is two-fold: to honour the environment above all else, and to endeavour to turn back the ecological clock.
That depends: your own, in your villa, if you’re feeling lazy; your favourite part of the Piazza, if not.
Seychelles socialite: massive sunnies; tiny swimwear; the chicest of cover-ups; a Vit D-enhanced glow.
The Piazza offers proposal-worthy private dining in a ravishing range of locations: eat in the shade of a towering takamaka tree by day, or dine beneath a twinkling canopy of equatorial stars by night. The menu is shaped by the seasons, but a noted favourite is the squid-ink linguini with lobster, freshly caught red snapper, langoustines and local octopus (best enjoyed with an ice-cold glass of fruity chardonnay). For more casual offerings – pizza, salads, barbecued treats – hit up West Beach Bar; you can also have chef-cooked feasts brought to your villa.
Enjoy cocktails such as the BOB Mojito – starring island-grown passion fruit, mint, and bitter local oranges planted on the island centuries ago by pirates – at the chilled-to-horizontal West Beach Bar. The Minuty Prestige Rosé deserves special mention; then again, there are more than 2,000 premium wines to choose from…
Timings are fitted around guests’ preferences: you won’t ever go hungry or thirsty here.
Speak and ye shall be fed or watered: helpful staff will bring treats to your villa whenever you like (you’ve also got a well-stocked pantry to exploit).
Your new home is a private-island paradise in the sensationally scenic Seychelles.
Mahé International Airport is 40 kilometres away (a 15-minute chopper ride). Let Smith24 sort your flights. For an extra charge, you can be greeted on arrival at the airport by the Air Seychelles team as part of the Fast Track service; they’ll whisk you away to the lounge for your helicopter transfer to North Island.
You’ll need to catch a helicopter ride to get there from Mahé; flights should be arranged with North Island when booking your stay. An additional charge applies – check with our Smith24 Team or North Island for current rates – but talk about arriving in style.
Worth getting out of bed for
Explore the island: each villa comes with an island buggy and bikes, so you can go wherever you like, whenever you wish. Keep your eyes peeled for the incredible local wildlife, which includes giant tortoises, fruit bats and crab-plovers. (Obliging staff can arrange eco-tours.) Stretch out with morning group yoga sessions (or arrange private yoga sessions for an addtional cost), and make the most of the hotel’s PADI dive centre (all scuba diving courses, scuba diving activities and snorkelling in and around the North Island and Silhouette dive sites are included) and go on an underwater adventure; you could encounter whale sharks, manta rays and blotch-eye soldiers and more. Visit the aptly named Honeymoon Beach and enjoy a dip in the turquoise waters (or simply starfish on the sand). Sun-worshippers can also stretch out on East Beach (the island’s main beach) or West Beach, which is perfect for sunset sessions. Shore-based fishing and half day fishing trips are included; if you want to sail out for the full day there's an extra charge. Go kayaking, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and cycling (all included in your stay) – or treat yourselves to an afternoon spent in the blissful spa (guests staying in a Beachfront Villa will get one 30-minute massage each with their stay; it's a 60-minute massage each for guests in Villa North Island). Invest in an Aquapac from the boutique and stage your own underwater photo shoot, using your newly waterproofed phone. Sunset cruises and guided walks are also included in your stay.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this eco-kind hotel in the middle of the ocean and unpacked their diamonds and deck shoes, a full account of their private-island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside North Island in the Seychelles…
Forget what you’ve heard about pirates: they’re not all bad. They planted the bitter little oranges that now add citrusy oomph to North Island’s potent cocktails, after all. (Admittedly, they were mainly interested in stashing away their plunder, as opposed to horticulture, but we’re grateful nevertheless.) Today’s stewards of North Island are a more peaceable and law-abiding bunch; the staff also demonstrate an ardent love for the island’s Attenborough-worthy flora and fauna, and will happily give guests a mini lesson in its ecology and conservation. Understanding more about the natural beauty of your Edenic setting will only add to your enjoyment of its considerable man-made lures, which include VIP villas, a clifftop infinity pool and a wallet-wrecking North Island boutique. No wonder the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave it the royal-honeymooning seal of approval…