Mango House, Seychelles
The Seychelles is a place often described as one of the most photogenic places on Earth. Nowhere does it take on a more literal meaning than at Mango House, the former home of renowned fashion photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri. He fell in love with the Seychelles while he was in Mahé for a Vogue Paris photoshoot in 1975 and ended up buying a plot on the shores of Anse Aux Poules Bleues to build his dream home. The location he picked was blessed with copious amounts of fruit trees, so Gian Paolo dubbed it his 'Mango House'.
Fast forward several decades and Mango House is now a luxury beachside bolthole with a go-slow vibe. The resort still revolves around the building Barbieri built and with its record player, bookcases and nostalgic photos, the main nucleus feels like you're in his living room. But it's the location that made Barbieri call this place home and it retains its 'wow' factor today. Backed by lush forest, Mango House spectacularly clings to Mahé's rocky western coast and boasts a cream-hued crescent of sand pinned down either side by giant granite boulders. It overlooks Anse Aux Poules Bleues and while that literally translates as the 'Bay of Blue Chickens' its more affectionate nickname 'Aquarium of Wonders' is far more apt, given the rich marine life that lies within.
Mango House has never lost sight of its homely roots, gently encouraging you to get to know the 'neighbourhood' with visits to local artisans and the island's natural wonders. Remarkably, it still harbours a wonderful level of homely intimacy that could easily have dissolved once it became a luxury resort. Most importantly, we think if Mango House welcomed Gian Paolo Barbieri back today, he'd feel like he'd never left.
For a boutique resort, there's remarkable diversity in the accommodation offering at Mango House across its 41 rooms. They all embody that beach house low-key feel and are imaginatively sprinkled throughout the tropical gardens, Some rooms and suites cling to the emerald hillside and others are perched over the beach, but they all come with gorgeous ocean views from their a terrace or balcony.
The colour scheme of each room and suite is designed to reflect the resort's natural surroundings, with whites, creams, light woods, greens and blues echoes of the sand, palms and sea that await you outside. Beamed ceilings, chaise longues and four-poster beds add pinches of elegance, while throwback photos from the Barbieri era prove the resort hasn't lost sight of its roots. The team at Mango House are also keen for its guests to have a sense of place, so furniture, pottery and other decor made by local artisans are thoughtfully placed throughout. Even the bathrooms feature products made locally.
It's worth knowing there are interconnecting options if you're a family, while if you fancy being a little indulgent then the larger multi-bedroom suites come with their own plunge pool.
It's impressive that even though Mango House is a boutique getaway, there are still three excellent restaurants and two stylish bars to choose from.
Muse is the bolthole's main all-day dining venue, with a focus on soulful Mediterranean sharing plates intended to be enjoyed between couples, families and groups of friends. For breakfast, tasty dishes revolve around bread and eggs (think avocado tartine, dulche de leche pancakes and Kreol Benedict), while dinner boasts options like baked grouper casserole, spaghetti arrabbiata (Barbieri's favourite) and smoked squid tagliatelle.
Overlooking the beach, Japanese restaurant Azido masters fresh sushi, charcoal-grilled robatayaki and nigiri that taste even better when you're watching a spectacular sunset display. For something a little more down to earth, Moutya is casual beachside dining specialising in Creole flavours using indigenous fire methods. Seafood is cooked over sustainable coconut shell charcoal and the end results are magnificent: the slipper lobster and king snapper are delicious.
The two bars are both great places to enjoy a drink. During the day, poolside Soley pairs a light-heartedness with a sense of sophistication and its menu echoes that with its selection of tropical juices, rum, sugar cane and spirits. Customisable bento boxes will stave off any cravings you might have! Come the evening pay a visit to Kokoye, whose smart decor and atmosphere is inspired by South Indian-Creole heritage – a true celebration of the Seychelles. Pick your tipple of choice from its menu of tea-infused gins, rums and other spirits, while cheeseboards and caviar are available should you get peckish.
With three pools, sprawling lush gardens and an intimate curving beach, there's plenty of space at Mango House to find your own corner to relax in. A wide array of water sports operate from nearby the main pool, so you could find yourself kayaking, snorkelling, fishing, banana boating or wakeboarding on any given day.
However, Mango House is passionate about its guests exploring the wider island of Mahé and getting to know its locals, so it also has a wealth of authentic experiences to choose from to help you unravel the real Seychelles. You can hike the rocky coastline to idyllic Anse Major beach, embark on a ranger-led wildlife tour, visit a local art studio or even hop over to the neighbouring island of La Digue to explore its postcard-perfect sands and rock formations.
Meaning 'at peace' in Creole, Anpe is Mango House's spa. Looking out over the Indian Ocean, its menu of massages, facials and nail treatments are designed to refresh your mind, body and soul. They're all locally inspired, too, using ingredients like coconut charcoal, island fruit like banana oil and tropical plants.
There's also a modern fitness centre fitted with state-of-the-art gym equipment. Book yourself onto a spin class, learn from a personal trainer or just go for a run along the beach.
Where is Mango House?
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