A Faraway Five-Star Paradise

Illustrations by James Taylor.

Molly, 33, model/actress, and
Jeffrey, 43, business developer
Upper West Side

Date: Fall 2007
Budget: He said: $10,000;
She said: $20,000
Duration: Two weeks

Jeffrey Said: “As much as I’d like to go skiing, a warm place would be easier. Typically, I wouldn’t go away just to be pampered around the clock, but for my honeymoon I would. I’ve gotten very picky about hotels and would love to be near a renowned golf course—I bought Molly a set of clubs for her birthday. I wouldn’t mind doing an island-hop vacation as long as we were on a nice, small boat. Nothing cruiselike; no floating casinos. I’ve done a lot of international travel, but I’ve still never been to Africa or the Maldives.”

Molly Said: “I want this trip to be once-in-a-lifetime and I’d go as far as Asia. I want to be secluded; I don’t want to bump into anyone I know. I was on a sailboat in Italy once, and as long as I’m not part of the crew, I love it. I want to be on a beach—but close to a city. Room service and amenities are important to me—a good pillow especially—and restaurants. My life revolves around food.”

Runner-Up Destinations: Greek Islands and the Maldives


A Hillside Villa at the Banyan Tree hotel. Photo: Courtesy of Banyan Tree

Getting There: The Seychelles, a string of African islands in the Indian Ocean, are a 28-hour plane ride from New York, so consider a brief stay in London, Rome, or Paris before touching down on the main island of Mahé.

Where to Stay: Check into Mahé’s Banyan Tree—a hotel that epitomizes a remote oasis and boasts service of the highest order, with five staff for every two guests. Begin with a golf-cart ride across manicured lawns, past the main building—a white colonial mansion—to the Hillside Pool Villa, a retreat nestled into the hillside’s jungled slope (from $1,200; banyantree.com). Luxuriate in the private pool; sunbathe on the cliff-top deck; relax in an ocean-view Jacuzzi surrounded by boulders; and visit the spa for the three-hour Thai Ginger Healer treatment for couples, where steaming herbal ginger pouches are applied to the body after an Ayurvedic massage.

Tour the Islands: There are 115 islands in the Seychelles, many uninhabited but easily accessible by air or sea. Start at the half-square-mile-long Denis Island, a 30-minute puddle jump from Mahé. By day, swim among tortoises and sea turtles. By night, enjoy the exclusive luxury of a thatched-roof seaside cottage at the Denis Island Lodge (from $850; denisisland.com). Next, head to Praslin Island by helicopter: Tee off at the Lémuria Resort Golf Course, an 18-hole wonder with Indian Ocean views; unwind on Anse Volbert beach, ringed by rock outcroppings and jungle; and enjoy some of the island’s finest Creole specialties, such as fish fillet with passion fruit, at the magnificent Château de Feuilles. Finish at La Digue, a sleepy island where locals get around on bikes or oxcarts.

Where to Eat in South Africa: In Johannesburg, a five-hour flight from the Seychelles, secure a table well in advance at Auberge Michel, a wood-beamed restaurant with seasonal menus. While in Cape Town (a two-hour flight away), follow a long day game-watching with a superb dinner of tea-seared salmon and wasabi mash at Wakame, a trendy sushi restaurant with three-meter-long fish tanks inside and views of Table Bay and Robben Island outside.

Wisit Cape Grace: Stay at Cape Town’s refined Cape Grace Hotel. There are fresh flowers in every room and French doors that open onto the harbor. Truly splurge by booking one of the penthouse suites. Follow a dip in the private Jacuzzi with a sensational meal, tailored by the executive chef to the guest’s personal preferences, on the dining terrace (from $650; capegrace.com). Arrange a chauffeured car to take you on a tour of the vineyards, like Buitenverwachting, an oak-lined estate 100 miles from Cape Town, while you toast your nuptials with a bottle of their refreshing Buiten Blanc 2002.

Itineraries by Gabe Struck.

A Faraway Five-Star Paradise