The otherworldly beauty of the Seychelles has long attracted curious travellers and fanned its reputation for both exoticism and elitism. Thanks to the islands’ remoteness – 1,600km off the east coast of Africa – they have never been cheap to visit, or, for that matter, on any cruise-ship itineraries. A great number of the islands have never been sullied by human habitation and remain splendid reminders of how things were a million years ago, like miniature versions of the Galápagos or Madagascar, worlds suspended in time. Some are protected nature reserves, and the Seychelles has two UNESCO World Heritage sites

Anse Victorin on Frgate Island in the Seychelles

Anse Victorin on Frégate Island in the SeychellesJulien Capmeil

The main island of Mahé – just 26km long – and its neighbours in the Inner Islands are stupendously forested and encircled with preternaturally beautiful beaches; some of those further afield are no more than windswept specks of coral, scattered like shotgun pellets over vast distances, or huddled together in tiny atolls as if taking comfort in each other’s company in the face of such terrible isolation. Unassuming guesthouses and small, locally owned hotels remained the order of the day until the 1990s, when the government adopted a more pragmatic approach to foreign investment. Which is when international hotel brands started to open on the main islands. These are our favourites of the bunch.