Zilwa, a name meaning “Islander” in the native Creole language of St. Anne, is a 5-star, $450-million luxury island resort in the Seychelles designed by Antoni Associates of Cape Town. It includes two exclusive hotels, restaurant and retail facilities, beach and sports club, and serviced residences: premium beachfront ocean villas, secluded hillside villas, luxury marina apartments, penthouses, and a private residence club, all overlooking the Indian Ocean. As the site’s developers say, “…the emphasis is on clean and contemporary tropical architecture, allowing the lush natural vegetation and incredible sea views to be drawn into each living space.” Just a view of one of the hotels reveals how well that succeeds: an infinity pool seems to let you swim right from the deck into the sea, while a scenic hillside of green cools the sightlines as you bask in the warm sun.
At one of the hotels, a curved, latticed roof covers the outdoor dining area, blending effortlessly with swaying palms. Residences boast open, flowing indoor/outdoor living, from the stone walk at the edge of the pool to living and dining areas that work day or night, thanks to ample overhangs and modern tapered lighting above the tables. Steps from dining, a lounge area cushions you in soft white couches accented with floral print pillows. Indoor plantings echo the outdoors; from one level to another, expanses of glass adapt, sliding open and shut to allow in the ocean breeze whenever the mood strikes you. Décor is all soothing neutrals, white and pale wood grain, with elegant wood ceilings and fans that bring to mind all the glamour of a tropic paradise. Zilwa is, indeed, an “islander” haven, an oasis of luxury.