Cousine Island, Seychelles has only four elegant villas, each built in the French Colonial style within the lush endemic gardens just 100 feet from the sugar-white beach. Air-conditioned and full of fresh sea air, the villas are in full view of the ocean and offer both front and rear verandahs with outside showers for a luxurious Garden of Eden experience. Over-indulgent bathrooms boast twin showers and Jacuzzi baths with Ligne St. Barth bath amenities, and the spacious bedrooms open up onto the beach for magical views of the sun dipping below the horizon. Only 10 people are allowed on Cousine Island at a time, allowing each guest the feeling of privacy, seclusion, and ownership of a luxury Seychelles resort.

The main Pavilion is the where Cousine Island’s chef creates enticing personalized menus of fresh and island-grown produce. Meals can be taken at any hour and any spot on the island, whether a gourmet multi-course feast in the open plan kitchen or a romantic barefoot barbecue on the beach. Despite being in the middle of beautiful nowhere, Cousine Island offers full connectivity in the lounge and library areas, where broadband Internet access, satellite television, iPod docking stations, and DVD players allow guests to get in touch with the outside world. But for those looking to escape completely, the fresh water swimming pool and Beach House Wellness Retreat promise to melt all the stresses away.

While tantamount in luxury and exclusivity, Cousine Island is most memorable for its conservation efforts. Here, eco-tourism is not about sitting and watching, but rather being involved in the work on the island, whether performing the simple but important act of planting a tree or assisting the island’s ecologists with monitoring and feeding critically endangered marine turtles and Magpie Robins. Of course, one is also welcome to simply relax on the beach knowing that their stay has helped fund the conservation efforts under way. Cousine Island is home to increasing numbers of endemic land and sea Seychellois birds, as well as Hawksbill and Green Turtles, with some species just now recovering from the brink of extinction. Nature walks with the resident ecologist, deep sea fishing excursions, tours to the neighboring islands, and guided snorkeling expeditions reveal an entire world of marine wildlife and ecological history, leaving each visitor with a deeper knowledge of the environment and a sense of belonging to nature within the Seychelles.