Already perspiring at the potential cost of four full-priced holidays – our boys are now 17 and 14 – the clincher came when the youngest piped up: “I don’t care where we go as long as there’s Wi-Fi.”
That was the moment I decided they weren’t coming. They were home alone (not really, I drafted in my very understanding, put-upon mum). Strangely, they weren’t even bothered. Then it dawned on me that, apart from saving thousands in one fell swoop, it would be the first time just the two of us had holidayed in 10 long years.
Fast-forward to the Seychelles island of Félicité. I’m on an outdoor yoga pavilion overlooking the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. It’s 27 degrees (80F) and the teacher has just interrupted the class to point out a sea turtle. “Danny [my youngest] would love to see a sea turtle,” I muse for a nanosecond, before blissfully returning to my downward dog.
This Blue Planet scenario was one of many magical moments over a five-day stay at the stunning Six Senses Zil Pasyon that I will never forget. And it was infinitely better without children.
The last time we ditched the boys (yes, with Nana again) was for my husband’s 40th, but it didn’t quite go according to plan. It was meant to be a romantic week sunning ourselves in Kerala, where he had proposed to me on a rice boat many moons earlier. What actually happened was this: we spent the entire time in a darkened hotel room sheltering from a monsoon that started the second we stepped off the plane and stopped the day we left for Heathrow. Having been teased about my poor planning for approximately 3,650 days ever since, this time around I did my homework.
Seychelles seemed to tick every box, including the clincher of “all-year-round sunshine”, to quote one travel website. And so it came to pass that after a 16-hour journey that involved two planes, a teeny 12-seater light aircraft, a car ride and a speedboat (there is the option of a helicopter from Seychelles’ main airport in Mahé for big spenders) we arrived at the private island of Félicité – the fifth biggest in the archipelago.
Picture the island on the Pixar movie The Incredibles (the one run by evil Syndrome) crossed with Jurassic Park and you get close to our first impressions of Félicité. Tropical palm trees, lush landscape, the clearest blue sea, dominated by almost surreal giant prehistoric grey granite boulders. When I first saw an internet image of these rocks, I actually thought they were fake – like something from a Florida adventure park.
Waiting to greet us from our speedboat (how often do you get to say that?) was Sammy, our GEM – that’s Guest Experiences Maker, for the uninitiated. She was our 24/7 point of contact and a smiling tour de force, whisking us by golf buggy (the only transport on the island) to our villa. Over the following days she organised everything from a snorkelling trip to a surprise chocolate cake for my husband’s half-century. Not having to think was a luxury in itself.