Hotel insider When your hotel is perched on one of the world's most beautiful beaches it's hard to find fault.
Labriz Silhouette, Seychelles
There's one overwhelming reason to love tropical islands. No matter how flash your arrival (and mine was in a jet black Zil Air helicopter cruising by the beach and landing in a swirl of coral dust), life simply cannot move any faster than dead slow. My wife and I could have been Brangelina but the golf buggy would still have trundled gently to meet us and the "welcome to Labriz-Silhouette," would still have been just as unhurried.
Silhouette is a mountainous island off the north coast of the main island of Mahe. It boasts some of the most blissful beaches in the world: sand like oat-white moisturising cream, palm trees that lean out at just the right angle, a reef which can be explored ankle-deep at low tide and the towering, verdant Mount Dauban for a dramatic backdrop.
Good - and fun! Our cleaning man spent what must have been hours constructing a cavalcade of the most remarkable animals made from white bath towels - an elephant began the circus, followed by a family of swans and culminating in a turtle, complete with green leaves for flippers.
We scored a villa right on the beach so we shared our sandy garden with the odd burrowing crab and fell asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean crashing against the reef's edge. A villa (or "pavilion") is definitely the way to go - huge main area with king-size bed, good-size deck, soft day beds and a plunge pool to die for - but the more reasonable accommodation is high-quality, too. Take a garden villa (with pool) if you want complete privacy.
The Seychelles are not really concierge central, but tap Jovet the Seychellois nature guide for information and you'll not go wrong. There are few things that Jovet does not know about the island, or about the Seychelles for that matter. He took me on an inspiring nature walk over the bluff to the wild and deserted western shore where the fruit bats flap along the palm-frond skyline and the sun sets salmon pink into the waves.
Low-key and unassuming. The French still love the Seychelles but the islands are becoming more cosmopolitan - at the teppanyaki restaurant one night we sat with a Turkish couple, Spanish honeymooners, two people from Yorkshire and some brooding Russians.
Living on the beach. Waking 10 steps from the villa to the soft, cool sand, under the palm trees and into the waves. Also, falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the ocean and, on two mornings, tropical rain hammering on the roof and the deck, followed by bright sunshine and the overpowering scent of frangipani.
The hotel's policy of charging extra for nature walks, snorkelling trips (even if you bring your own gear, which we did) and even the privilege of borrowing a yellow kayak. Surely hotels charging the Seychelles' notoriously high prices can buy 20 kayaks in a Shanghai kayak market and make them available to guests for free. Also, food, service and atmosphere in the buffet restaurant (the only one for which guests do not need to pay a surplus) is markedly poorer than the speciality restaurants which creates a them-and-us feel. Not good.
When your hotel is perched on one of the world's most beautiful beaches it's hard to find fault. It's even tougher when your plunge pool is perfect, the Japanese restaurant serves some of best sashimi outside Ginza and the ocean-washed ambience is intoxicating. If they can revitalise the buffet restaurant and free-up the kayaks and non-dive activities, the place will shine. Labriz Silhouette, Silhouette Island, Seychelles, +248 293 949, www.labriz-seychelles.com. Doubles from approx Dh2,570 - 5,370 per night.