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Review: Hilton Seychelles

Hilton seychelles (1).

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2nd June 2022

Hammocks have always been my downfall.

The hammock as a holiday pastime is something which I have not been able to properly master or fully grasp. Over the years my relations with hammocks have been strained. 

But there is nothing much else to do on the Seychelles other than hone your hammock skills and get the hang of being laid-back rather than highly-strung.  And lap up the natural beauty of terrestrial paradise. 

And respond to the call for action.

By getting out of your hammock and doing some good. Even if it means spending less time under the shower.

Energy consumption has always been a priority in the Seychelles.

Ravi Thundil is power mad. He is the chief engineer at the five-star Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa on Silhouette Island, a thirty-minute enclosed boat transfer from Mahe which once took eight men six hours to row.

Thundil wants his guests to shower and bathe less. Not just on World Earth Day but always.

Having previously worked as a technician at Ritz Carlton Dubai, The Address Hotels Dubai Mall & Downtown Dubai and the Conrad Dubai,  the Kerelan now heads up a team of energy-saving, very eco-minded “hospitality” engineers and gives unique behind-the-scene tours, introducing tourists to his “babies”. 

He trusts machines and computers more than people when it comes to reducing energy and utility consumption.

Labriz must be one of the few luxury hotels in the world at which the arriving guests’ resort familiarization and orientation tour involves a food waste grinder.

“We used to burn all food waste in an incinerator,” says Thundil. “Now we grind all food waste in a semi solid form, and then compost for use around the resort. We compost an average of 4800 Kg of food waste every month, representing total diesel savings for a year of approximately 48,000 Litres.”

The tours takes in the hotel’s organic nursery  in which 10 kilograms of produce is grown aquaponically each month, its energy saving wind and hydro turbines and solar heaters. Ravi proudly sings the praises of his kitchen hood and fan speed regulators, guest villa occupancy sensors and A/C monitors as well Philips CorePro LED LL  vanity mirror lighting. 

“Our villas are automatically controlled. The lights and air-conditioning switch off when doors remain open for more than 30 minutes, saving 2,500 kilowatts per hour.”

He also believe he makes the best , purest waterfall water in the world. Thundil also runs Labriz’s grey water and mountain spring water recycling plant on Mount Dauban, the highest peak of the five on Silhouette Island which was originally a French-run coconut and cinnamon plantation run by the Dauban family who were known as “The Rothschilds of the Indian Ocean.”

The water is filtered and placed in reusable glass bottles that are used throughout Silhouette and sent on to the two sister properties. The water bottling plant now eliminates up to 3800kg of plastic bottle waste. One man bottle 900  every day for guests who can top up their complimentary stainless steel water canisters from six hydration stations around the property and its 2.5km beach.

Guests drink their cocktails and mocktails through biodegradable pasta straws eliminating over 40,000 environment-degrading plastic straws since 2018. 

Ninety-three per cent of Labriz is  a protected nature reserve, as are the waters that surround it. At Grande Barbe, a four-hour hike across the island a local elderly couple, Abdul Jumaye and Elvira Dubois, look after eight octogenarian and nonagenarian giant tortoises as well as mangrove or “manglier” forests and largest natural marsh left in the Seychelles.

Aldabra giant domed tortoise is the longest-lived animal on Earth. The most famous was Adwaita who was brought back as a gift for Robert Clive of the British India Company. She died in Kolkata/ Calcutta zoo in 2006 at the grand old age of 255. A captive-breeding programme was initiated on Silhouette in 1997.  The hotel now looks after eight adolescents.

Once eighty people lived in twenty-six houses on Silhoutte, named after Louis XV’s finance minister. Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1767). The island was first annexed by France in 1771 having been discovered by the English boat, The Ascension” , in 1609. Vasco da Gama called the Seychelles the Admiralty Islands.

There was a church and a school. The old Gran Kaz plantation house by the jetty and harbour at La Passe is now a museum. The first hotel was built in 1983 and there is still a small community called Jamaica which has a store which one visitor once described as “making a Soviet-era supermarket look like Harrod’s food hall.”

Not only is Sihouette famous for its Indo-“reduce and reuse”  utility initiatives to use energy more efficiently and reduce greenhouse gases, it  also works closely with rangers of the Island Conservation Society to monitor green and nesting Hawksbill turtles and their hatchlings as well as the world’s smallest kestrel. 

The island is a rich biodiversity hotspot with many endemic and threatened plant and animal species, including the Critically Endangered Seychelles Sheathed-tailed bat which has two roosting caves in a coastal granite boulder field.   One of the rarest plants is the Impatiens gordonii, a white-flowered relative of the Busy Lizzie. 

On the first Tuesday of every month Labriz’s sister island on Mahe, Hilton Seychelles Northholme Resort and Spa, the oldest luxury hotel on the island and smallest resort in the Hilton Worldwide stable, now offers guests the opportunity to help with beach cleans  and other eco-friendly , conscious travel activities as part of the brand’s “Travel With Purpose” commitment. 

The new Sustainability Day allows guests  to witness first-hand how impactful small behaviours can have on protecting the environment. 

The hotel’s healthy dining restaurant, WAVE, has an environmentally-forward-and-aware menu, with dishes including ‘the blended burger’ - a patty containing 30% mushrooms and 70% sustainably sourced beef and thereby reducing the CO2 generated by the dish by 29%.

Small sand timers in guest villas’ bathrooms to urge guests to think about their water usage whilst showering. 

Hilton’s Seychelles properties are inspiring people to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and to spend  spend less time under the shower and in the bathroom. Shower heads and wash basins are set for eight liters per minutes. 

To help increase fish biomass, you can also adopt some stony table and brush coral like sea cabbage or cauliflower and contribute to reef rehabilitation by supporting the hotel’s on-rope coral cutting nursery and  artificial reef in its fight against marine degradation, coastal development, increasing sea temperature stress, anchor damage, bleaching and the Crown of Thorns starfish.

 In 2020, Hilton CleanStay was introduced, bringing an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection to hotels worldwide. The resort may be for over 13s but its new Sustainability Playbook teaches its guests in-villa energy and water conservation practices. Its organized Beau Vallon Beach Clean Ups are in response to the  unsettling calculation that ,  by 2050 , the world’s oceans could contain more plastic and other man-made fibres than fish. 

Established on Silhouette in 2011, the family-friendly Hilton Labriz continues to redefine the idea of conscious travelling with a wide range of sustainability initiatives, continually educating all age groups.

Comments Labriz’s cricket-mad chief engineer, Thundil :“ Golfers can even practise their swing with specially produced eco-friendly golf balls, which dissolve in the water and feed the fish. You can hot a golf shot and feed our resident Ray family at the same time!”

Lying on beach in the Seychelles you can’t help but be impressed by some of the figures currently coming out of the Somali Sea section of the west Indian Ocean.


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