With the wind and rain howling outside, what better time to dream of white sandy beaches and cocktails in your private pool than now especially if you are trying to decide where to go on your honeymoon. I recently caught up with Xpose presenter Lisa Cannon to hear all about her honeymoon to the Seychelles and Dubai with her new husband Richard. In this interview Mrs Keatley lets us in on her top tips when planning your honeymoon and why they don’t regret any of their Seychelles experience.
What made you decide on the Seychelles?
Originally we wanted to go to Thailand and then we realised it was rainy season in September and we just said we need to go somewhere sunny. I had interviewed a couple of celebrities who had been to the Seychelles so I asked one or two of them about it, and they raved about it. Then, when I heard that Georged Clooney and Amal had gone there and Salma Hayek and Kate and William, if it’s good enough for them, it’s definitely good enough for myself and Richard. So I started to get excited and did lots of research. We had been to the Maldives twice and we loved it so if it was anything similar we were onto a winning streak! We started looking at the hotels, the locations and what kind of honeymoon we wanted to create.
We flew Emirates Business Class and I know people think it might be a waste of money and it is very expensive to do but I think when you are throwing such a lavish wedding and a wedding for everyone else, you think what’s for me?! I know you get the dress and shoes but really you are putting on a wedding for everyone else. So when we were thinking of what way we would do our honeymoon I just thought we have to do Business Class. The thoughts of getting on a plane after the big wedding squashed into a seat next to everyone, I was like a child waiting for Santa when we booked the flights and did the extra mile, I’ve never been so excited. I was nearly more excited about getting the Business Class flight than I was going to the destination just for the fun factor of it getting all the free champagne, the movies, having a proper sleep, it just kinda set up the honeymoon, it made it feel automatically special. I would urge people if they can afford it or get it as a wedding present, it’s something that can make a difference. You can compromise a little on hotels but doing something like that can make it really special. When we flew with Emirates, they went above and beyond because they knew we were on honeymoon, we had cakes, bottles of Moet, they sang to us, we got unreal treatment as honeymooners. It was an amazing experience. We didn’t regret it for a second.
Seychelles Part 1: Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa
An Irish friend of mine had stayed at Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa and said it was amazing so we started there. We booked the Presidential Villa for 4 nights so that was going to be our huge glamorous start to the honeymoon. The Presidential Suite was amazing, we had our own butler, Richard organised quite a lot of it, whilst running things by me but arranged some surprises too which was very sweet. The first thing we did was a couples massage, which was badly needed after a week on the road with the wedding and we just needed that downtime together. It was so lovely and set the tone for the honeymoon. Richard wouldn’t get very many massages so something like that was a real luxury.
With the Presidential Suite we had complete exclusivity, we had our own little private beach, we had picnics on the beach, which the staff kindly organised, I felt like a movie star! I know even Beyonce would have been blown away! There were palm trees with hammocks and powder white sandy beaches. The villa was nestled in this lush tropical vegetation on Silhouette island, it’s like something out of Jurassic Park. It’s so tranquil yet private and that means that under Seychelles Law, it’s hard for paparazzi to take photos of A-listers so that’s why it’s so popular that they flock there, so you are bound to bump into one. We heard that Jude Law was there the week before us and Ronan Keating and his new wife Storm were on the next island. It’s really exciting and glamorous. Weather wise, it was a little bit stormy when we arrived but we got sunshine for the rest of the holiday.
The Hilton was great, we went for lovely hikes and learned all about the conservation of the island, which Richard and I are really into. We did a lot of snorkelling, kayaking, biked around the island. We lived in flip flops for the week! It was a really special start to the honeymoon. I was sad to leave, we made friends with the manager and drank cocktails every night, ate beautiful food in all their restaurants which included Creole and Teppanyaki and we also did a sunset boat cruise on the last night with skipper, captain and champagne, it as magical. After a few days there relaxing, we felt like rock stars, we drank champagne everyday, you can bring some with you. The management in the Hilton were so generous, once they know it’s your honeymoon, you get beautiful swans on your bed and little cakes and bottles of Prosecco every night. Being on honeymoon isn’t that bad! You get really looked after, they go above and beyond. It was lovely to start there.
So then our next choice of destination, I thought maybe we should kick off the make-up and shoes and go all Robinson Crusoe, so I booked Deroches Island, which I had heard so much about. Kate & William stayed there before they got engaged and were going to go back for their honeymoon but didn’t.
Seychelles Part 2: Deroches Island
Pic: Marius Lewis
It’s a tiny little island, only 6km long. So you have to get a little seaplane over to it, if you are afraid of flying, be mindful it’s a good hour and a bit in this tiny noisy seaplane. When you land you see loads of crystal clear waters and lush vegetation, it would remind you of Thailand, that dense forestry and beautiful plants and flowers.
There’s one restaurant and one bar and roughly 30 beautiful villas. We stayed in a 3 bedroom villa which was enormous on stilts, you can bathe your feet in the water with flowers in as you walk in. All of the island is flip flops! It was so different to the Hilton. It’s flip flops and shorts even a night time, I was overdressed in a sparkly skirt and a white t-shirt. It was so relaxing not having to wear make-up or do my hair everyday.
We cycled a lot around the dirt tracks and they have turtle sanctuaries and it’s beautiful. But it’s still modern day with 52 inch TVs and WiFi. We had a romantic dinner in the villa one night and they lit up the pool with floating candles and they served us for the night and wished us a happy honeymoon, it was absolutely amazing. We did lots of kayaking, there is a different kind of coral reef there. There wasn’t many people when we were there. You really feel like you have the island to yourself. Nadal and other celebs had been there before. It’s so remote that you just are yourself. Their food is incredible, it’s very bespoke with Michelin Chefs cooking. It was such an intimate place, the staff knew your every move so when you came back in the evening your bed had been turned down with mosquito nets pulled back and roses on your bed. It was romantic beyond I’ve ever been romantisized in my life!
So we moved away from our Robinson Crusoe experience and the complete intimacy after 4 days there to the Four Seasons, which is one of my favourite hotel chains.
Seychelles Part 3: Four Seasons
The beach there is pristine. There are loads of fruit bats around the islands flying in and out of the trees among the villas on stilts. It was so wow to watch. We had a beautiful villa with a sunken bath and when we arrived had another bottle of champers waiting with a cake that said happy honeymoon and roses on the bed. Every different hotel we went to gave their own unique welcome. The Four Seasons was fantastic. Again we did more snorkelling and swimming and went to loads of restaurants and listened to the bands. We spend another 3 nights there.
We stopped off in Dubai for 2 nights on the way home to do some shopping and stayed in the Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach which was so different to the Seychelles. After Deroches I was started to put a little bit more make-up on, by Dubai I was fully made-up with false eyelashes and heels on. There were Ferraris parked outside and people booked in for a month at a time. It was amazing to be there. We wandered around the shops, we were amazed at all the new developments that were there. I was as much sad to leave there as the Seychelles.
I have to say the Seychelles was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. All 3 unique properties had a different feel and all contributed to making the honeymoon so unique and different. We got to have a unique, intimate paired back experience in Deroches to a bit more glamorous drinking cocktails by the pool to the hustle and bustle of Dubai. 2 nights was enough, we didn’t that to overshadow the Seychelles. A part of you misses the simplicity of Deroches with a cocktail and sand between your toes gazing into each others eyes. Leaving Dubai for Dublin wasn’t so bad when we had a business flight to get us home!
Do you prefer that you moved around rather than spending longer in one place?
I’m glad that we didn’t stay in just one spot that we moved around, it was educational. The key to making the holiday so unique was the fact that we moved around a little bit so we never got bored. But we had enough time in each place to really enjoy it and soak it all up and have complete different photos from each different region of the Seychelles so it was lovely. If you don’t like where you are staying at least you only have 4 nights there and you aren’t there for a week plus it depends on cost too. Also, it felt so much longer too because we moved around.
How long to go until the wedding did you book your honeymoon?
I went to lots of wedding fairs and travel shows and spoke to people cause we really were quite undecided for a while. I really felt Seychelles was the one for us and I’m glad we made the right decision. I think we booked our flights in January/February, just over 6 months before we were going. And it was so great to have that to look forward to. Once the flights were booked we could look at hotels and where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their honeymoon?
The wedding is so full on. Make the honeymoon the investment for you because besides the wedding day itself, the honeymoon is what you will look back on and say I wish we were there again, I wish we had our wedding day again. The day before and after the wedding are fantastic but I wouldn’t invest too much in them, I would really put your money into yourselves and what you like. Get family, friends or bridesmaids to pay for extras in the resorts as gifts if you want to make the most of it. You’ll never regret going on those trips. One of the stand-out moments for me was, we had a champagne brunch on our own private beach near the Presidential Villa, with the sun beating down on the palm trees, the sea was lapping up near our feet, while we kissed and cuddled on the mat, it was amazing. Even if the brunch costs €100, it’s worth it cause they are memories that you will have forever.
Try and book it as early as you can so that you can look forward to it. And people can add elements to it for you as gifts. If it’s an adventure you want or a romantic meal in your villa with a butler it is a unique experience. Do enjoy it! If they know you are on honeymoon, they will make it extra special.
What did you bring on honeymoon?
I bought Richard a selfie stick and we brought that, it was the best thing, we took photos of us cycling, jumping into the pool, kissing on the dirt track. Other fun things we brought was a blow up ball of the world for the pool to play games and a deck of cards that you can have a laugh with that you can just shove in the case.
Lisa’s Top Honeymoon Tip:
Don’t over pack! If you are moving around between places, you don’t want to be lugging cases and unpacking them every few days, so less is more. That’s the one big mistake I made, I completely over packed! I think if I had a lot less clothes I wouldn’t have minded.
More information on Lisa’s Seychelles honeymoon destinations:
Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa
Kuoni (01306 747008 or http://www.kuoni.co.uk) offers 7 nights with breakfast at the 4.5 star Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, Seychelles in a garden villa, including flights BA from Dublin to Heathrow & Etihad Airways to Seychelles and group transfers in resort. Lead-in prices for 2016 are from £1,830 per person, based on two sharing. To book please quote: IO0381*Book by 4 March 2016*
For more information on Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa click here.
Visit their website here for more information.
Pic: MICHAEL LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY
Visit their website here for more information.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about Lisa & Richard’s honeymoon and a huge thank you to Lisa for sharing her trip and tips and photos with me.
Love from my world,