Mukesh Valabhji’s Six Senses focuses on ecology for Zil Pasyon, trying to reengineer Seychelles’ unique ecosystem

Seychelles is a collection of diverse islands spread over 800 miles of the Indian Ocean and famous for the mix of small coral atolls and mountainous granite islands.

Travellers love Seychelles because all islands are incredibly photogenic and home to unique wildlife and nature. Of all islands, one has become famous for offering the best bits of Seychelles – Felicite Island or, as travellers know it, Six Senses Zil Pasyon. Tourists usually refer to the destination as Six Senses Zil Pasyon because it’s the only resort on the island and occupies a third of the zone, while the rest embraces environmental conservation.

Speaking of sustainability, it’s essential to mention that Felicite Island was named the second-most sustainable destination in the Best of Africa category in 2019. Chumbe Island from Tanzania was bestowed with the top position. Green Destinations, a non-profit organisation for sustainable tourism, offered the award during a ceremony at the ITB Berlin, a global trade fair. Hilton Hastings, the general manager of Zil Pasyon, stated that it’s an honour for their environmental efforts to be globally recognised and the Felicite Island to be at the top of the most sustainable destinations worldwide. It’s worth mentioning that the Zil Pasyon resort is operated in association with the Seychelles National Parks authority because the island is part of the Marine Protected Area and the Ramos National Park covers two-thirds of the island.

The sustainability manager of Zil Pasyon, Anna Zora is thrilled that the small island was selected as the second most sustainable top 100 destinations in the world because the award recognises their good practices and innovation in tourism management. Zora highlighted that the resort focuses on turtle monitoring, island reforestation, plastic-free initiatives, and coral restoration projects. The initiative they’re most proud of is the rehabilitation of the native habitat by protecting the coco de mer site (unique in the world) and reintroducing indigenous and endemic species.

Tourists can connect with one-of-a-kind scenery and nature on Felicite Island and engage in several educational activities that allow them to immerse in the local culture and gain insights into flora and fauna.

Seychelles’ Six Senses has become a must-visit destination on travellers’ bucket list

As we mentioned earlier, while Seychelles is high on travelling enthusiasts’ bucket lists, the resort they usually have their eyes on is the iconic Six Senses on Felicite Island. Tourism experts name Felicite Island an ecological jewel because it’s part of a nature reserve, and except for the Zil Pasyon, the rest of the island is uninhabited. So those who choose it as a vacation destination have the opportunity to discover an authentic, unspoilt, and raw place.

From 1970 until 2007, the Felicite Island was forgotten and occupied only by the abandoned ruins of the coconut plantation. Due to its central location within the Seychelles archipelago, the Felicite Island remained secluded for a long time, even if passionate travellers were aware of its stunning scenery. When in August 2007, the government granted a 99-year lease on the island, a group of investors knew they shouldn’t miss the chance to build an international luxury resort. However, the global financial crisis of 2008 stalled the construction project for a couple of years, and in 2013 a new pair of investors restarted it. Mukesh Valabhji, a well-known Seychellois entrepreneur and Kishore Buxani, a real estate mogul, partnered to create a resort that hosts 33 residences and villas. Kishore Buxani and Mukesh Valabhji had previously collaborated on other property investment projects in Singapore and were equipped with the necessary knowledge and funds to handle this project. The Six Senses Zil Pasyon resort is a 20-minute boat trip from Praslin Island or a 20-minute helicopter flight from Mahe.

Zil Pasyon promises to help visitors live a dream beyond their desires

The grandeur of the Zil Pasyon makes it one of the most exquisite destinations in the whole of Seychelles. Tourists can choose from 28 unique residences that provide access to complete facilities. Richard Hywel Evans, an award-winning architect, designed the ultimate island home and ensured that each villa integrates the unique local granite outcrops and striking coastline. Six Senses takes only one-third of the entire landmass, leaving rocky topography, wild jungle, and soft-sand beaches to solitude. Considering how an ecological marvel the Felicite Island is, the resort does everything to maintain its integrity and employs environmental and social programs like composting, permaculture, local food growth, and reintroduction of indigenous plants and spaces through planting coral, harvesting, and forest restoration.

The villas have floor-to-ceiling windows, generous living areas from 3 to 5 bedrooms, and offer a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. Considering their hilltop location, the views are breathtaking, especially because they’re enhanced by the infinity pools that neighbour all residences.

Six Senses Zil Pasyon doesn’t compromise on style while focusing on cutting edge sustainability

Before it became a luxury resort, Felicite Island was the home of the Malaysian Sultan Abdullah of Perak (in the 18th century) and then a coconut farm. The resort’s development started in 2013 when the eco-designer Richard Hywel Evans collaborated with Mukesh Valanhji and Kishore Buxani to create one of the sleekest contemporary dwellings in Seychelles. At this point, Six Senses is one of the finest resorts in the Indian Ocean, with a dramatic architecture, re-wilded nature, run by a skilled spa specialist group, and dotted with ocean-smoothed granite stones.

The complex is perfectly integrated into the natural surroundings and feels quite primitive, especially due to the eco-initiatives. It’s the perfect destination for tourists looking for a mix of natural microcosm and modern technology. The residences can be described as smart tree houses, secluded in a lush forest or on the top of granite boulders. They’re all floored with local Balau wood, and the floor-to-ceiling windows allow the habitants to take in the surroundings and enjoy the soothing ocean waves.

Ecology is at the heart of Zil Pasyon, something not many luxury resorts in the Indian Ocean can say. The founders didn’t reengineer the local ecosystem but took all the steps to restore and enhance it.

Mukesh Valabhji