The lucky winners of the Win a €35,000 Wedding at The Wedding Journal Show Dublin last autumn tell us all about their luxurious Seychelles honeymoon!
Amanda and Darren won the €35,000 wedding with The Wedding Journal Show Dublin and part of this amazing prize included a luxurious Seychelles honeymoon staying at Raffles Seychelles and flying business class with Ethiopian. Here the newlyweds tell us all about their amazing honeymoon.
‘We were very lucky to win our honeymoon with The Wedding Journal Show. Obviously, the destination was chosen for us and how blessed we were that it was none other than Praslin Island in the Seychelles, we couldn’t have dreamt for a better place to spend seven nights – when you think of a dream holiday on an exotic island – that’s exactly what this was for us.’
‘We waited five month’s after our New Year’s Eve wedding and travelled to the Seychelles in May. A lot of websites recommended May and November as the best months in the Seychelles, the weather is not too warm, there is not too much of a breeze blowing which makes the seas calmer for swimming/snorkelling and it’s not peak season.
‘It was 28 degrees on average morning and night; during the day when the sun was shining it was a bit higher, so having air conditioning wherever you stay would be a must. We had sunshine every day of the week, there was heavy showers here and there, but they only lasted for five to 15mins or so and then they were gone – there was something comforting about the rain when we were down there…suppose being Irish we are well used to it!
‘The local currency is Seychellois Rupees – approx. 0.065 euro to 1 rupee, we were able to take cash out there from the local ATM’s, so no need to carry loads of cash with us from Dublin.’
‘We flew Business Class with Ethiopian Airlines, so we had an easy check in at the Cloud 9 business desk in Dublin airport followed by a couple of drinks and food in the business lounge in Terminal 1. We then embarked on a Dreamliner 787 plane headed for the first leg of three stops which was Madrid.
‘On the plane we were greeted with Champagne and orange juice as we slouched into our spacious pods with their 15-inch screens – “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the movie of choice. A three-course meal along with whatever drinks we wanted followed en route to Madrid, the food was really good and it wasn’t like we were on a plane at all from the moment we took off. The shoulders well and truly dropped and a massive sense of relaxation set in.
‘The stopover in Madrid was for one hour (with no need to leave the comfort of your seat). We then took off for Addis Ababa airport, a seven hour flight. More Champagne followed with another three-course meal before we reclined the seats to the bed position and got some sleep.
‘When we arrived in Addis Ababa a dedicated Cloud 9 passenger bus picked us up, there was no need to check back in here, we simply showed our boarding cards and were directed right into the departure areas. We had a three-hour wait so found the Cloud 9 business lounge to kick back, connect to WiFi and catch up. The final leg was a three-hour flight to Mahé which is the main island in the Seychelles, this flight was on a 737-800, we were greeted with the same reception as before and another three-course menu to feast on which included a buffet trolley of local Ethiopian food – this was really good, so much flavour and spice. The cabin staff were really nice throughout our flights from Dublin to Mahé and couldn’t have done more for us. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.’
Arriving in the Seychelles
‘Once on Mahé Island we were greeted by a driver who would take us down to the port for our boat trip to Praslin courtesy of Seychelles Tourism, it actually bucketed down rain from the airport to the port which was only a 15min drive (was still approx. 30 degrees), by the time we got our bags checked in for the boat trip the rain had stopped and the sun was beaming again, much to our delight. The boat trip was an hour to Praslin (the second biggest Island in Seychelles), it’s a high speed ferry, so it was a bumpy enough crossing!
‘We arrived in Praslin after a day’s travelling with the sun still shining and a driver to take us from the jetty to Raffles Seychelles a mere 15 minutes away.’
‘Raffles Seychelles is amazing! When the taxi pulled up to the gated resort on our first evening we couldn’t believe it! As we drove up to the reception our jaws dropped. This was not your regular hotel reception, it was outdoors with a roof, half glass panels surrounded it, with staff sitting at some desks, with a seating area for guests arriving with the most spectacular views out into the sea – we just couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.
‘The general manager came out to greet us while the staff brought us fresh chilled towels to cool down along with a glass of iced tea. Once checked in a golf buggy brought us up a steep path to our Ocean View Villa – another jaw dropping moment when we walked in and took a look around! Once in the main door we walked onto this massive deck, to the left was a large seating area with a table for eating at, we turned to the right and we had our own infinity pool which looked out into the Indian Ocean – fantastic views that never got old. We then opened two large patio doors into our bedroom and adjoining walk-in wardrobe and bathroom, plus we also had an outdoor shower. We felt like celebrities!
‘We had thought about exploring one of the neighbouring islands, La Digue, but everything we needed was here and with two young kids waiting for us at home we took the time to completely relax within the resort itself. As well as two swimming pools, the resort has four separate restaurants, a games rooms, private beach with beds, snorkelling, kayaks, shops, turtles (one was 135 yrs old), gym, spa, yoga, hikes, runs, bikes….the list is endless, it really was five-star all the way!
‘The food was delicious. Breakfast was massive, it had everything! Prosecco to start, fruits, cereals, cheeses, hams, pastas, Indian food, pastries, traditional Irish breakfasts and an Asian stir-fry station (this was our favourite – really good, not something we would normally eat in the morning). The pool bar had a lovely menu also for during the day and for dinner there was plenty of choice between Sushi, Asian or international restaurants – one of the nights we had the special for two which was a whole red snapper with all the trimmings – it was really good and filleted to perfection. The chef had recommended it and didn’t steer us wrong!
‘In fact, all of the staff were very friendly and couldn’t have done enough for us. On our second night the resort had a meet the staff night along with some complimentary cocktails – this was a really good idea and set us up for the week knowing who to approach if we needed anything.
‘The resort is perfect for honeymooners. It is so relaxed and anything you want or need is catered for – exactly what a honeymoon should be all about. In our villa, on an evening of our choosing, we were treated to an indulgent bath. After dinner we arrived back to the lights dimmed, rose petals on the floor which led into the bathroom, where the bath was filled and a chilled bottle of Moet with two glasses sat waiting for us…this was a lifestyle we could certainly get used to!’
What To See & Do
‘On Praslin its either, walk, run, bike or taxi – the island is not that big which for us was perfect, no hustle and bustle, things went at a much slower pace here than Ireland
‘On the first day, we walked up to Cote D’or town and beach, (about a 50min walk) this allowed us get our bearings and get a feel for the locals. We had a lovely lunch up here (local curry) and were able to get some snacks to take back to the villa. Supermarkets are small, but have a good selection and a very well-priced. We got the local bus back which was really cheap.
‘We walked up to the beautiful ‘Anse Lazio’ beach on day two. This was a steep walk but the beach and the views when we got there were well worth it. It is probably the nicest beach we have ever seen, it even had hidden bar called the ‘Honesty Bar’ (historically this was unmanned, so people would go up take a beer and leave the money), so we took a stroll up and had one of the local beers (SeyBrew) – and enjoying breathtaking views. We would highly recommend it for anyone who visits Praslin.
‘Day three, we got a taxi to Vallée De Mai (about 15-20mins from the resort), a UNESCO world heritage site, which is home of the Coco De Mer palm – we joined a group tour around this reserve which was well worth it, the tour only takes about 30 to 40minutes, and our tour guide was very funny and actually made it really interesting.
‘For the last few days, we took full advantage of the resort, sunbathing on the beach, eating, drinking and sleeping! We also enjoyed a couple’s massage in an outdoor room looking out at the sea with the sounds of the sea crashing in against the shore – heaven!’
‘We were spoilt from the moment we checked in until the moment we touched down in Dublin airport on May 22nd – this for us was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we grabbed with both hands and enjoyed every second of it, there is nothing we would have changed about the week itself, we mixed getting some activities in with some pure relaxation whilst drinking and eating all around us – it was paradise on a plate and we lapped it up and had dessert afterwards! We made memories that will last for a lifetime and we cannot thank the Wedding Journal and the prize partners enough for this unbelievable prize.
‘When we spoke with people on our honeymoon and told them that we won it they were so happy for us and kept saying that you never actually meet people that win these types of prizes and are they real at all – well we can vouch that the Wedding Journal prize was well and truly real and delivered on everything they offered.’
Top Honeymoon Tips
‘Look upon it as something that you are only ever going to do once, we found having space between the wedding and the honeymoon gave us a chance to recharge the batteries to take full advantage when it came around. The Seychelles was well worth the day travel there and back, (Business class did help massively with the long distance), the place is amazing full of beautiful beaches, the weather was perfect, there’s no need to get any shots before you travel there, a three hour time difference, plenty to do, good food and the people were very nice. The only regret we have is that we didn’t book for an extra week!’
‘Our highlights would be flying business class with Ethiopian, the beauty of Praslin itself and its beaches, the people overall and last but not least Raffles resort – it was pure luxury.’