The Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Mexico & Latin America, talks to us about her incredible getaway to the Seychelles–including the exclusive island retreat she stayed at and the minimally-chic items she brought along. (Oh, did we mention that Brad and Angelina like to vacation there too! Yup.)
Destination you traveled to:
North Island in the Seychelles. The only way to get there is by chartering a helicopter from Mahé, the main island in the Seychelles. The 20 minute ride is exhilarating and the views are breathtaking.
Who did you go with:
My husband, Rodolphe de Lapeyrouse
Where you stayed:
The whole island is a private sanctuary owned by The Wilderness Collection. We had our own private villa by the sea, complete with pool, jacuzzi, game room with Apple TV, movie screen and projector, Bose speakers throughout, etc. But even with all these modern luxuries, the decor and feel of the lodge is very boho, making me feel like a chic Robinson Crusoe. It was bliss. Each villa has a golf cart and bikes to travel around the island discovering the secret beaches and local wildlife.
Places where you ate:
There are 3 different places to eat on the island. My favorite was the West Beach Bar, which faces the sunset, so it´s perfect for a late afternoon lunch or early sunset dinner sitting on the bright red cushions on the sand. There´s nothing better than the feeling of your feet in the sand while listening to the waves crashing.
Local delicacy you feasted on:
The best thing to eat was the freshly fished lobster, shrimp, or fish roasted in the wood-burning oven, served natural with lime and spices.
Cocktail/beverages you sipped:
The bartender made a killer mojito so I pretty much had that for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Books you read:
I read Tamara Mellon´s book, In My Shoes, and when I finished that I started reading Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office, by Zach O’ Malley Greenburg. I didn´t get very far though because it was a bit of a mood killer. I preferred to flip through magazines instead.
Music you listened to:
Everything from Bob Marley, The Bird and the Bee, Jarabe de Palo to Lorde, Miriam Makeba and Si*Sé.
My uniform there was:
A swimsuit underneath a caftan, K-Jacques sandals, panama hat and sunglasses.
Brand of luggage you traveled with:
I am constantly traveling because of my job so I need really sturdy luggage. I always travel with Tumi and my carry on is a Kenzo python-leather “weekend” bag which I stuff with magazines, books and airplane essentials.
Items you packed:
I am an awful packer and tend to always over-pack. I was limited here because the helicopter could only take a 10k (22 lbs) suitcase so I really had to pick the essentials. I threw in a few bikinis by Missoni Mare, Melissa Obadash, Lisa Marie Fernandez and Vix; two K-Jacques sandals (one in nude leather, the other in black patent leather); Chanel espadrilles; a panama hat from J.Crew; denim cut-off shorts by Current Elliott; caftans from Pucci and Vix; linen shirts and pants; a Michael Kors raffia beach bag; and lots of shawls and ethnic jewelry that I bought the weeks prior while on safari in Africa.
Beauty-essentials you brought:
Again, luggage weight was a factor so I only packed the basics. For makeup I took Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with sunblock, Guerlain terracotta bronzer, Lancome mascara and Chanel lip gloss. My perfume was L´Eau d´Issey. I took the Lancaster Skincare pot for bronzing, and Sisley sunblock for my face. My beauty regime was stripped down to include only face wash and moisturizer, both by Dr. Lancer. And I can´t live without Laura Mercier almond coconut milk soufflé body moisturizer (I get high on the scent.) And of course Marvis toothpaste.
Secret only a local would know:
Brad and Angelina like to vacation there, as well as Prince William and the Dutchess of Cambridge. They rent out all the villas on the island when they go so nobody sees them.
Favorite place to find local treasures:
The gallery on the island is beautiful with lots of cool finds from local and international designers. My favorite were the bracelets made by South African designer Lianne Landman.
What was a typical day like:
We´d wake up and have breakfast in our villa in front of the sea; we´d lay in our private pool for a couple of hours reading or listening to music. Around noon we´d ride our bikes to the main Villa to play backgammon and take a dip in the sea. It was nesting season for the turtles so we got to take care of a nest and helped move the eggs to a more protected space on the beach. We´d have lunch in the main Villa and after we´d go to the pool which overlooks the beach on a cliff. From there we drove our golf cart to the West Beach bar to have drinks while taking in the sunset.
And at night:
By the time we got back after sunset, the butler had already turned on hundreds of little candles throughout our villa. The sight was breathtaking! We religiously went into our private jacuzzi to wind down, and from there we´d get ready to enjoy dinner either on our terrace or in the main beachside restaurant. If we still had energy after dinner, we´d watch a movie on Apple TV which was projected on the screen in the playroom of our villa. The butler would bring us popcorn and lots of goodies. I think I gained 5 pounds during my stay there.
First time visitors must:
Relax and take it all in. Don’t stay in your villa all day–the whole point is to discover the island and take advantage of all the little private beaches. I loved it here because there is total privacy and you really feel ‘away from it all’. I loved the feeling of knowing this entire island, in the middle of nowhere, was inhabited by nobody except us and the wildlife.
Brenda Diaz de la Vega photographed on North Island in the Seychelles