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Royal couple's honeymoon possibilities in the Seychelles

By Tiffany Lam, CNNGo.com
Fregate Island Private is just one of several possibilities for the royal couple's honeymoon in the Seychelles.
Fregate Island Private is just one of several possibilities for the royal couple's honeymoon in the Seychelles.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • William and Kate's honeymoon is taking place somewhere in the Seychelles
  • The most likely spot, North Island, is attractive for its privacy and green credentials
  • Possibilities: Desroches Island Resort, Fregate Island, MAIA Seychelles, Cousine Island
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(CNNGo) -- Buckingham Palace may be agonizingly tight-lipped about the juicy details of William and Kate's honeymoon, except that they're somewhere in the Seychelles. But not everyone's quite so discreet.

Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, 16 of which offers hotels and resorts for tourists. With a population of around 87,000 people, Seychelles has the smallest population of any African state.

The nation is famed for its natural beauty and eco-tourism. Seychelles' Aldabra Atoll, which is home to the world's largest population of giant tortoises, and Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, which has remained unchanged since prehistoric times, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Here are five places, in descending order of honeymoon-likeliness, that have been touted as potential royal rendezvous.

1. North Island

Likelihood of a Will and Kate honeymoon: 8/10

Following Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St. Ange's admission that the couple is spending their honeymoon on the tropical island, German real estate magnate Farhad Vladi told German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt that he rented North Island to the couple.

The royal newlyweds would no doubt be attracted to North Island for its privacy and green credentials.

North Island, one of the Inner Islands of the Seychelles archipelago, is occupied by 11 villas made by Balinese and Tanzanian craftsmen.

Each of them is equipped with plunge pools, gazebos and private butlers, but the most profligate of them all is the 8,000-square-foot Villa 11, which is almost twice is large as the island's other villas, and comes with circular-flow swimming pool and a private cinema.

Given Wills' love of the wild, he will also love the resort's conservation policies. Before the island was sold to the Maier family during the 1970s, the island was colonized by pests and alien plant species left over from its days as a coconut plantation. Indigenous trees and birds have been re-introduced these days.

Cost: An average honeymoon for two costs £3,220 ($5,280), whereas renting all the island's villas costs a staggering £43,000 ($69,700) -- a price tag that doesn't seem to faze Brangelina, Posh and Becks, JK Rowling and Liz Hurley, all of whom reportedly holidayed there.

www.north-island.com

2. Desroches Island Resort

Likelihood of a Will and Kate honeymoon: 6/10

Some tabloids like Usmagazine.com are speculating that the royal honeymoon will include a "nostalgic excursion to Desroches Island."

In August 2007, following a temporary break-up, the couple spent a week in Desroches Island Resort, which is only accessible by plane from the main island of Mahe. The experience was romantic enough for them to decide to soldier on with their relationship.

The resort certainly seemed to impress William. He allegedly told islanders that it was the best vacation he has ever had.

Desroches Island Resort consists of 20 suites and 28 villas, scattered over the island's 14 kilometers of un-spoilt beaches.

The island has enough facilities to satisfy all hot-blooded young couples, such as diving hotspots, bike trails, fly fishing, tennis courts, sea kayaks and surfing. And they'd be sharing it all with onlookers they probably don't mind -- the 150 green turtles that call the island home.

Cost: Rates of a beach suite per night starts at €1,100 ($1,580) per person for one night during high season.

www.desroches-island.com

3. Fregate Island Private

Likelihood of a Will and Kate honeymoon: 4/10

Before word got out that the couple had chosen North Island, most thought they had gone for Fregate Island Private. With only 17 villas, Fregate is almost as exclusive as North Island.

Non-residents are banned from visiting the island. The island is fringed by seven beaches, one of which is a hawksbill turtle nesting ground.

Their spa, perched on top of a cliff, uses oils and pastes made from island-grown ingredients.

The island's vigorous conservation programs should impress the eco-minded prince. Almost 80 percent of Fregate Island's surface area has been restored to its original flora and fauna.

The island also claims to have rejuvenated the populations of Seychelles Magpie Robins, Seychelles Whiteye, Aldabra Giant Tortoises, Seychelles Terrapins on the island. Conservation efforts continue today.

Cost: Rates for a one bedroom villa starts at €2,950 ($4,230) per person per night during high season.

www.fregate.com

4. MAIA Seychelles

Likelihood of a Will and Kate honeymoon: 2/10

Since MAIA Seychelles opened in 2006, it's been subjected to a lot of press -- perhaps too much press for the low-key-loving newlyweds. The resort continues to feature on hot travel lists in publications around the globe, the latest being the Conde Nast Traveller Gold List 2011.

Here's why: it's regarded by some as the first top-notch resort to appear on the main island of Mahé, its native Seychellois cooks meals with the wow factor (bat curry, anyone?), and its La Prairie spa is regarded by Tatler as "the most spoiling set-up in Seychelles."

Its 4.8-hectare garden was named the best in Africa in 2008.

The only reason the resort is not flooded with rubbernecks is because it only has 30 villas, dispersed over a 12-hectare hill top. Each member of staff is trained in yoga and meditation to deal with hissy fits from diva customers.

That said, given Mahé houses 90 percent of the country's population, the resort is probably not secluded enough for the royal couple.

Rates: Villa rentals start at €1,590 ($2,280).

www.maia.com.sc

5. Cousine Island

Likelihood of a Will and Kate honeymoon: 1/10

Cousine Island probably has the last word in exclusivity in Seychelles. The tiny island, situated 1,600 kilometers from Kenya, only has four villas. It's only accessible by helicopter, and hotel management encourages guests to rent out the whole 25-hectare island.

Guests are encouraged to volunteer in the resort's conservation projects, from tree-planting to monitoring endangered sea turtles. Endemic plants take up 95 percent of the island's vegetation.

With carbon footprint kept to such a minimum, it's little wonder that the resort frequently wins green tourism awards. It also has the standard facilities that its competitors offer, including a spa, deep sea fishing and a myriad of water sports.

But it's not quite as opulent as some of the other resorts available to the couple, so we have this one down as an 'if all others fail' entry.

Cost: Individual Villa rental costs €1,200 ($1,720) per night, and the entire island can be rented out for €4,500.

www.cousineisland.com

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